After losing center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets in free agents and then losing guards Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant, among several others, to injuries for a large portion of the season, the Lakers finished with a record of 27-55, the sixth-worst mark in the league. The Lakers tried to be a player in free agency this year and landed meetings with LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, and Carmelo Anthony, but James left the Miami Heat in favor of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Anthony re-signed with the Knicks.
Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders believes the Lakers are set up to make a run at free agents in 2016 when the likes of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Chicago Bulls’ center Joakim Noah and Atlanta Hawks’ center Al Horford can all become unrestricted free agents.
But to be frank, the Lakers won’t be set up to make another huge run at a free agent until 2016, when Kobe’s money comes off the books. That’s Kevin Durant’s year. Deron Williams, Lance Stephenson, Nic Batum, Al Horford, Joakim Noah could be up, too. I think L.A. is going to keep flexibility leading into that summer, but I couldn’t even begin to tell you who might actually be considering switching teams two years from now. Look at that list and dream.
Other key 2016 free agents include Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard Mike Conley, Brooklyn Nets’ guard Joe Johnson, Dallas Mavericks’ forward Chandler Parsons (player option), Golden State Warriors’ power forward David Lee, New Orleans Pelicans’ power forward Ryan Anderson and Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard (player option), but that is obviously a long-shot.