The Los Angeles Lakers got free agency started with a bang, reportedly offering Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgove a four-year, $65 million deal on the first night of free agency. While that might understandably worry some fans, one of the team's other top targets is a bit more encouraging.
Mike Bresnahan of Time Warner Cable Sportsnet reports that Charlotte forward Nicolas Batum is "at or near the top of the Lakers' list" of free agent targets. Batum is arguably the top-wing option on the market not named Kevin Durant, and the Lakers do have a need for more players with the ability to play small forward.
Batum is a capable three-point shooter and playmaker who can also defend up or down a position, making him one of the most versatile players in a league that increasingly values the ability to switch on defense. Bresnahan reports this is a large part of his appeal to Los Angeles:
Batum is a small forward and the Lakers obviously drafted one in Ingram, but they think Batum can also play shooting guard if need be.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 1, 2016
Batum would additionally alleviate the need for Brandon Ingram to guard the best opposing wing player right off the bat, while also being able to shift down and play the role of small ball power forward should new head coach Luke Walton decide to bring that style of play with him from Golden State.
The Lakers reportedly will meet with Batum, and while he still seems most likely to remain in Charlotte, he would be an awesome signing for Los Angeles.
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