The offseason is young for the Los Angeles Lakers but it’s not too early for them to start thinking of how they can improve the roster. They had the best team this past season but that doesn’t mean there aren’t holes on the team. The Lakers also have a large number of players set to hit free agency and there’s no guarantee they will all be back.
There’s no doubt they’ll look to the free-agent market to improve and there will be some strong options. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, there are at least five guys that the Lakers could be interested in for free agency:
Some names to keep an eye on with the Lakers’ $9.3 million midlevel and $3.6 million bi-annual exceptions — including their own free agents Markieff Morris and Dwight Howard — are Jeff Teague, D.J. Augustin, Jordan Clarkson, Maurice Harkless and Nerlens Noel.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Jordan Clarkson Return to Los Angeles?
Jordan Clarkson was once one of the Lakers’ more promising young pieces. Unfortunately, the team was greatly mismanaged back then and he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Clarkson has developed into one of the best sixth-men in the NBA for the Utah Jazz. He’d be exactly what the Lakers need, which is a consistent scoring option off the bench.
He’s also played with LeBron James and even made it to the NBA Finals with him. He’d make a lot of sense on this Lakers roster. He’s an unrestricted free agent so the team can sign him without a trade. It remains to be seen how much he’d want to come back to his old team. The Lakers can sell him on being the top player on the bench for a championship team.
Jeff Teague Tops Other Options
Clarkson would be an ideal fit but there will likely be several teams interested in his services. If he goes elsewhere, some of the other names Marks mentioned could work well with the Lakers. Jeff Teague has been in the NBA for a very long time and has had some very productive years. He’s getting up there in age so perhaps coming in and leading the bench for the Lakers could be a good move.
There’s also D.J. Augustin, who could also make sense. He’s another veteran guard who has spent a lot of years in the league. He’s not a big scorer but is consistent enough. That said, he is a career 38% 3-point shooter which is solid and the Lakers should definitely try to add more shooting.
The focus for Los Angeles should be to add shooting and ball-handling help but they could also need to find a big man. Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee could both be hitting free agency this year. It would be a problem for the Lakers if they lost both. As Marks pointed out, Nerlens Noel could be a target. The former top draft pick hasn’t lived up to the hype but he’d be a solid prescence in the middle should Los Angeles lose Howard and McGee.