Throughout the year, nearly all the NBA free agency rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers connected them to the starriest names. LeBron James. Paul George. Even a possible trade for Kawhi Leonard that would help them sign stars was discussed.
The actual start of free agency has played out ... differently. The Lakers reportedly didn’t meet with James to start free agency, while George opted to just immediately re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Leonard trade talks have been slow.
But that doesn’t mean that the Lakers haven’t been active! They have at least shown an interest in two big men who their fans have ... I guess at least most likely heard of?
The @LAClippers and @Lakers have contacted free-agent C/F Amir Johnson about a vet's deal on the first night of free agency.— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) July 1, 2018
As @DWolfsonKSTP reported, the Timberwolves contacted him, too.
Warriors, Lakers, Pelicans and Thunder currently in the mix for @JaValeMcGee, per source.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 1, 2018
One of the Lakers’ most obvious offeseason needs is at center, so it’s hardly surprising that the team is looking at a few, even if McGee and Johnson would likely be bargain bin options towards the end of free agency once the Lakers’ business with the stars gets sorted out.
Remember, just because these are some of the first names to come out doesn’t mean that they’re the Lakers’ top priority, it just means someone wanted them connected to the Lakers. I’ll let you be the judge of who you think that might be.
The Lakers do clearly want centers though, as made obvious by their reported meetings with DeMarcus Cousins and Clint Capela. It remains to be seen which ones they end up getting, and which ones they’re targeting the most highly, but the front office definitely wants at least one more big body around to add to the recently kept Ivica Zubac for next season.
That seven-footer might be none of these players, but it’s clear the team wants a bigger center for next season as of right now.
To track all of the latest free agency rumors about the Lakers, go to this page. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.