This summer, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to go after the biggest unrestricted free agents on the market, such as Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson. However, if they’re unsuccessful in unrestricted free agency, there’s reason to believe they’ll test the restricted free agent market.
There have already been reports that the Lakers are monitoring D’Angelo Russell’s situation with the Brooklyn Nets, and during an episode of the Silver Screen and Roll Podcast on Wednesday, Marc Stein of the New York Times revealed that Los Angeles also might make a run at Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon:
“I know there’s been the big rumblings this week about D’Angelo Russell in the event the Nets end up renouncing him if the Nets get Kyrie. I’ve heard a rumble or two that don’t be surprised if (the Lakers) make a run at Brogdon as a restricted free agent. They would be a team that would be interested in him. I think it’s going to take a really big offer sheet to convince Milwaukee not to match, because they obviously are very fond of Brogdon.”
Brogdon was limited to just 64 games last season in part due to of a foot injury he suffered in March, but when he was on the court, he looked as good as he ever has, averaging a career-high 15.6 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting from the field, including 42.6 percent from behind the arc, while having a usage rate of just 20.7 percent. For context, Lance Stephenson had a 20.3 percent usage rate with the Lakers last season.
Brogdon also posted a defensive rating of 102, which would have been the highest defensive rating on the Lakers last season.
His low usage rate, defensive prowess and efficient shooting from behind the 3-point line arguably makes him a better fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis than Russell is, but Russell is probably the more realistic target, per Stein:
“I don’t know that I have anything aggregate-able, at this hour. Like I said, I’ve heard a rumbling or two that they will look into the Brogdon situation. I haven’t heard it strong enough to like tweet it out, guns blazing, but I think he’s somewhere in their thinking. It sounds like Russell is the preference, but that might also be because they know that the Bucks have the disposition of ‘we’re gonna match anything in free agency,’ because they don’t want to lose him.
“But the Bucks are in tough spot. They’re going to give Middleton some kind of five-year deal. They badly want to keep Brook Lopez, and if there is a thorny offer sheet to Brogdon, it’s going to be tough for them to deal with. They’re worried about it.”
Obviously having Russell, a 23-year-old All-Star, as a consolation prize wouldn’t be a bad outcome for the Lakers, but if Brodgon becomes available, they have every reason to explore that route as well.
You can listen to Silver Screen and Roll’s full conversation with Stein, covering the latest on free agency and more, below: