For some time, it looked like the Lo Angeles Lakers were going to sit back and wait for the 2015 offseason when they could potentially have even more cap space with Steve Nash off of the books. Then, they could pursue the likes of Memphis Grizzlies’ center Marc Gasol, Portland Trail Blazers’ power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Minnesota Timberwolves’ power forward Kevin Love, who will all likely be free agents.
Instead, the Lakers are being very aggressive and even met with New York Knicks’ free agent forward Carmelo Anthony on Thursday. Of course, signing Anthony seems like a bit of a long shot.
Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders not only believes the Lakers should make a run at Phoenix Suns’ guard Eric Bledsoe, but thinks they should do what they can to sign either Cleveland Cavaliers’ free agent forward Luol Deng or Washington Wizards’ free agent Trevor Ariza.
I’d also offer Ariza/Deng the same 2-year, $18-20 million deal and be happy with either that accepted..knowing that you’d have another perimeter defender to take even more pressure off a returning Bryant, but could also be free of that deal in time for the summer of Durant and possibly LeBron (again) in 2016.
Of course, the Lakers aren’t alone. The Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns have all been connected to both Ariza and Deng while nearly every team in the league is interested in at least one of the two. Deng looks like a sure bet to leave Cleveland, but recent reports have indicated Ariza may be close to a striking a deal to remain in the nation’s capital.
Deng averaged 16.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting 43.1% from the field, 30.2% from three and 79.1% from the charity stripe. Ariza went for 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He shot 45.6% from the field, 40.7% from beyond the arc and 77.2% from the free throw line.