The Los Angeles Lakers have said they’re going to use the buyout market to try and improve their roster as they attempt to make a late push to improve their playoff positioning, and it’s now being reported that they will go after Goran Dragic once the San Antonio Spurs set him free from his current contract.
After (hilariously) accidentally calling Dragic “Doncic” in his first attempt at tweeting the scoop, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Lakers would be one of a few teams pursuing the 13-year veteran:
The San Antonio Spurs and Goran Dragic are expected to negotiate a contract buyout in the coming week, clearing the way for a formidable list of free agent suitors for Dragic that now include the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, sources told ESPN.
The Lakers and Warriors are planning to join several rivals, including the LA Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets, in aggressive pursuit of Dragic, sources said.
Wojnarowski followed up with more on “NBA Countdown,” saying the purple and gold would be “aggressive” in their pursuit of Dragic:
“The Lakers are going to be very aggressive in going after Goran Dragic.”— Audel Del Toro (@CantBeatAudel) February 13, 2022
-Woj on NBA Countdown pic.twitter.com/oLxt7EUXaY
Dragic has only played five games this season, preferring to sit out and wait for a buyout rather than suit up for the Toronto Raptors, where he was sent in the Kyle Lowry sign-and-trade. Last season, he averaged 13.4 points per game and 4.4 assists while shooting 43.2% from the field and 37.3% from three.
What is more notable from this news is that it’s yet another point guard being linked to the Lakers on the buyout market after the team was rumored to have interest in Dennis Schröder if the Houston Rockets let him go. As with Schröder, the Lakers would have to cut someone at the end of their bench to make room for Dragic, as they currently already have the maximum of 15 rostered players.
But the Lakers already have a glut in the backcourt, so this trend appears to indicate one or two things:
- They may not be that confident that Kendrick Nunn is returning, or in what he can give them even if he does get back on the floor in late March after missing the whole season, or...
- ... they may even be preparing for the worst with Russell Westbrook, who has continued to demonstrate how unhappy he is after the team tried to dump him last week as he keeps his feud with the coaching staff alive.
Now, that second one is obviously speculation, but as the Lakers seek to try and improve their vibes down the stretch, it wouldn’t be totally shocking if they eventually let Westbrook channel his inner Dragic and go home and wait out an offseason trade, should the already-toxic atmosphere around the team continue to trend downward. One Dragic rumor certainly does not guarantee that worst-case scenario will come to pass, but it is at minimum yet another signal that the team is far from satisfied with the options they have at point guard, and are looking for the types of upgrades they couldn’t secure on the trade market.
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