In a perfect world for the Los Angeles Lakers, they’d hope to avoid thinking about free agency for another few weeks as they pursue another championship. However, it’s clear that the team has issues and is in a competitive series with the Phoenix Suns. It’s far from a guarantee that they’ll make it to the NBA Finals. If they get bounced early in the playoffs, changes will be made in the offseason.
According to Mandela Namaste of Bleacher Report, New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina could be a strong fit in Los Angeles. The former No. 8 overall draft pick is a very good defender but can’t play offense. A switch to the Lakers could be what Ntilikina needs to unlock his potential.
“Perhaps Ntilikina just needs a team with multiple incumbent playmakers to take the pressure off and let him do what he does best,” Namaste wrote. “For instance, if the Bucks or Lakers come calling with a minimum-salary deal and the Knicks decline to match it, the rest of the NBA should be scared.”
Ntilikina has a lot of work he’d need to do before he’s going to strike fear in any NBA team. If he can develop a 3-point shot, he’ll have a very long career but it’s not a given that will happen.
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Could Talen Horton-Tucker ‘Blow up’ on Another Team?
There’s no doubt the Lakers will look at a lot of the top free agents this offseason but they have plenty of their own they need to retain. Talen Horton-Tucker could end up being one of the most interesting players to hit free agency this year. The 20-year-old guard has shown legitimate star potential. What could be holding him back is that his role isn’t large with the Lakers.
Teams with money could look at that and give him an offer Los Angeles can’t afford to match. Namaste mentioned the Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls as possible destinations. The Bulls make a lot of sense as they need more talent and Horton-Tucker is from Chicago. That said, the Lakers will do what they can to keep him. The allure of consistent championship contention is strong and will play a factor in whatever decision the guard comes to.
Lakers Need More Shooting
Last year, the Lakers weren’t a great shooting team. They signed Wes Matthews, Marc Gasol and traded for Dennis Schroder to help fix that issue. That didn’t end up happening as the Lakers continue to be a poor shooting team.
This offseason, they need to figure out a fix for the glaring issue. LeBron James has always had the most success when he’s got strong shooters to work with. The Lakers do have some decent shooters in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso, but neither of them is consistent. The Lakers need a guy like Joe Harris or JJ Reddick. If they had a knockdown shooter like one of those two, they’d be really difficult to stop.