All-Star Guard Pegged as Top Free Agent Target for Lakers

rob pelinka

Getty Los Angeles Lakers VP of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka.

Thanks to the delay in action for the Los Angeles Lakers, the team’s holes have become much clearer. After looking like the best team in the NBA before play was suspended, the Lakers have been very disappointing. They rely too heavily on LeBron James and Anthony Davis to carry the load. When those two are having off nights, it’s really hard for the Lakers to win.

No matter what happens with this year’s playoffs, Los Angeles will need to improve the roster this offseason. Unfortunately, there aren’t any superstars available in free agency this year so they will need to look to find strong role players.

Goran Dragic the Answer?

Unlike last year, the Lakers won’t have to put all of their focus on trying to land superstars. That probably hurt their chances to find top role players early in free agency. The main focus of this upcoming offseason is to find somebody who can run the offense while LeBron is off the court. Dan Favale of Bleacher Report thinks Miami Heat All-Star Goran Dragic could be a strong fit:

Goran Dragic can help navigate set defenses both with and without LeBron. He’s 34 and battled injuries the past two seasons, but he’s averaging 16.2 points and 5.1 assists off Miami’s bench this year while draining 50.5 percent of his twos and 36.7 percent of his threes.

Rajon Rondo’s probable return (player option) shouldn’t dissuade the Lakers from giving Dragic a look. He hits enough of his catch-and-shoot treys to place next to other ball-handlers—although he’s at just 31.1 percent since the All-Star break—and he’s a bigger off-the-dribble threat than either Rondo or Alex Caruso.

Kyle Kuzma’s sweet, sweet shooting in Disney might convince the Lakers they don’t as desperately need another scorer. That’d be a mistake. Kuzma is doing a lot of his damage off the catch—which, for the record, is just what Los Angeles needs—and cannot double as table-setter. Dragic brings the entire offensive package: from-scratch scoring, playmaking and floor spacing, all of which the Lakers still need in much, much heavier supply.

The Lakers are already a very old team so adding Dragic doesn’t help that fact. However, he’s a proven scorer and the team needs more of those. LeBron isn’t getting any younger and it would be shortsighted for Los Angeles to think he’s going to be able to take on this big of a workload once again.

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Any Chance of Making a Trade?

In a perfect world, the Lakers would be able to just trade for a third star. Bradley Beal would be such a perfect fit for this team as it is. The bad news is that the Lakers don’t really have great tradeable assets. Kyle Kuzma is probably their best trade piece but his value has diminished this year. He’s looked good in the bubble so far and a big playoff run could help his value a lot.

While Los Angeles obviously wants a third star, it’s unlikely to happen in a trade unless somebody like Beal specifically says he won’t play anywhere else. Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets could be an interesting target who won’t cost as much. He’s proven to be an effective scorer this season and is from Los Angeles. Perhaps the Lakers don’t need a third superstar and could land someone like Dinwiddie.

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