With LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma on their roster, one would assume the Los Angeles Lakers are mostly set in the frontcourt. However, it seems as though the Lakers still plan on targeting a starting center in free agency.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Lakers are planning on pursuing veteran big men Brook Lopez (who already was a Laker for the 2017-18 season, and has been linked to the team for this offseason once already) and DeAndre Jordan this summer (h/t Real GM):
“The Lakers, I think, are sniffing around (Lopez),” said Brian Windhorst. “I think the Lakers need perimeter players. I think they’re going to have to use their money on perimeter players. I know DeAndre Jordan is a guy on the Lakers’ radar that they’re hoping they may able to get for relatively cheap because he wants to be back in L.A.”
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the Lakers will be able to sign both even if they do manage to open up $32.5 million in cap space. So the question is: Which one is the best fit with their current roster?
Jordan and Davis would arguably be the most athletic big man pairing in the NBA, and they would bully teams on the boards, but there’s reason to be skeptical about their fit on offense. While Davis has made serious strides as a 3-point shooter over the last few seasons, he’s yet to cross that 35 percent mark, so pairing him with a floor-spacing big man would be ideal.
That’s where Brook Lopez comes in.
This past season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Lopez averaged 12.5 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting from the field, including 36.5 percent from behind the arc (512 total 3-point attempts), while swatting away a career-high 2.2 blocks per game. The only other player to average more than 10 points on 35 percent shooting from the field or higher while also averaging more than two blocks per game last season was Myles Turner, who will make $18 million next season. While Lopez is expected to get more than the $3.3 million he made last season, his market shouldn’t enter eight figures.
If the Lakers want to make their frontcourt more versatile while saving a few bucks, Lopez is their guy.