The Los Angeles Lakers are used to making a big splash in free agency but after losing center Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets in 2013 and missing out on New York Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony in 2014, the Lakers are likely looking towards the 2016 (and maybe the 2015) offseason.
Larry Coon of Basketbal Insiders explains the Lakers are trying to preserve cap space, likely for what could be a deep class of 2016 in free agency.
The Lakers want to preserve cap space for 2015 and 2016, and in general, restricted free agents end up being overpaid (because a team has to overpay to shake him loose from his previous team — if it’s a reasonable offer, the team simply matches). There’s some attractiveness to the idea of Bledsoe, but he really doesn’t fit into their long-term financial plans.
And I wouldn’t say Hill & Young were a reaction to them not getting Melo. Hill became more valuable to them when they knew Gasol was heading elsewhere. And they wanted to keep Young in any event, although Melo signing likely would have precluded it.
Durant is the big fish in 2016 and the Lakers are reportedly making him their number one target, but there are other key free agents including Brooklyn Nets’ point guard Deron Williams, Charlotte Hornets’ guard Lance Stephenson, Portland Trail Blazers’ swingman Nicolas Batum, Atlanta Hawks’ big man Al Horford and Chicago Bulls’ center Joakim Noah. 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, Houston Rockets’ center Dwight Howard (play option) and of course, Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward LeBron James, can also become free agents.