Lakers
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Lakers Offseason 2020: Who Should the Lakers Target in Free Agency?

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Free agency for the NBA officially starts on November 20th at 6:00 p.m. eastern time.

 

Lakers offseason
Photo Credit: ClutchPoints

Many rumors and trade possibilities have been reported from reliable sources such as ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Stadium’s Shams Charania, and Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. The first Lakers transaction of the 2020 offseason will send Danny Green and the player they draft 28th overall draft pick on Wednesday night’s draft to Oklahoma City for point guard Dennis Schroder.

Since the Lakers traded their pick and have so many free agents and player options, they will need to target other free agents to make up for who may leave. In this article, I will explain what will happen to their lineup and which players the Lakers will possibly target depending on what happens this offseason. I will also analyze their decision to trade the 28th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft tonight.

 

 

The Lakers trading the 28th draft pick is a smart decision for many reasons.

 

Dennis Schroder
Photo Credit: CBS Sports

First, this draft class is the most unpredictable one in recent history because there has not been much in-person scouting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If there is ever an ideal time to trade a draft pick, this is the year to do so. This is also a smart decision for the Lakers by General Manager Rob Pelinka because acquiring a player as good as Schroder is not easy an easy task.

Trading a pick as late as the 28th overall selection and an older player in Danny Green for Schoder is beneficial, to say the least, because odds are that Schroder will impact the team immediately and more significantly than the player who is taken with that pick tonight. The Lakers are trying to win as many titles as they can with the core of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. By making this trade to kick off the offseason, the Lakers are already off to an amazing start once this trade officially goes through after the draft tonight.

FSM’s Joe Arrigo wrote about the Schroder trade earlier today on FSM. In the article, Joe says, “By trading for Dennis Schroder, the Lakers have made it clear to the NBA that they won’t just try to “run it back” in defense of their title next season. The entire NBA is chasing the defending champions. And Sunday, the Lakers got themselves a head start by acting first.

This is a great point Joe raises considering the price the Milwaukee Bucks paid in the trade for the Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday and what Phoenix paid for the Thunders’ Chris Paul. The Lakers basically stole a Top 35 player entering the prime years of his career for an aging player and a player who won’t make a huge impact this season.

 

Since the Schroder trade is basically guaranteed to happen, his role will depend on what happens with Avery Bradley.

 

Wesley Matthews
Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

If Avery Bradley does not return, Schroder will most likely be the starter because he is a reliable three-point shooter and scorer. Since he’s a great ballhandler who can create his own shots, the Lakers should adjust his minutes to play when James is off the floor.

If the Lakers also lose Rajon Rondo, which is likely, it would be more ideal for keeping Bradley and using Schroder as a reliable sixth man who will run the offense when James is not playing. Schroder is the perfect player to replace Rondo’s role, and he is a better scorer than Rondo.

Regardless of whether Bradley stays or not, the Lakers will need Green’s replacement since he will be traded. Green was a catch and shoot three-point shooter with a lot of experience. The ideal replacement for him is Wesley Matthews.

Matthews plays a similar role as Green, and they both shot near 36 percent from the three-point line last season. Both players averaged around 24 minutes per game, so they are similar in the amount of time they can play. Matthews has been in the NBA longer than Green, so the veteran presence will still be there. Even though Matthews has not made it to the NBA Finals and Green has, they have enough players experienced on the big stage as James and Anthony Davis just won the NBA Finals together.

This possibility is realistic because Matthews might be convinced to go the Lakers since they just won the NBA Finals and are looking like a stronger team with Schroder. Matthews is also a cheaper option than Green. Green was making around $15 million while Matthews only made around $2 million. Even though he will need to sign a new contract since he’s a free agent, there’s almost no way he makes $13 million more than he did before.

This is an ideal option for the Lakers and a realistic option as well. They could also offer this spot to the Nets sharpshooting forward Joe Harris, but he would want to sign for a lot more money, and the Lakers do not need to spend that money on him desperately.

Another name to keep an eye on is the Portland Trail Blazers’ Carmelo Anthony. While he hasn’t been linked by any major NBA insider, LeBron’s close friend would be an excellent fit for the Lakers. Anthony resurrected his career in Portland and would provide a scorer off the bench with a knack for hitting the big shot.

 

Another valuable player for the Lakers that might leave is Dwight Howard.

 

Montrezl Harell
Photo Credit: Yardbarker.com

According to Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard, it is unlikely that he resigns with the Lakers. Many people are saying Montrezl Harrell could sign here, but he is not ideally a center. What would most likely happen if they landed him is Harrell coming off the bench while JaVale McGee starts at center and Davis at power forward. He could also be the starting center if they wanted to utilize a smaller lineup with less defense.

Howard is a physical player, while Harrell is more of a scorer and is not as good on defense, so adjustments will be necessary. Since Howard did not play much in the Finals and Frank Vogel was able to make many adjustments in the playoffs, there is no reason he could not make this work. He made near $6 million last season, so it will be tough, but maybe the Lakers winning the Finals and possibly giving Harrell an extended role will earn a slight discount.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristian Thompson is also an option for the Lakers. Thompson is a friend of LeBron and also a member of the Klutch Sports family. Thompson is a solid defender and a good rebounder who could be looking for another ring. There is no better place for him to achieve that goal than Los Angeles with the Lakers. He also has a child in Los Angeles with Khloe Kardashian may want to be closer.

Finally, the last, and possibly the best option for the Lakers is Serge Ibaka, who averaged one more rebound per game than Howard last year and is known to be a physical kind of player as well. The problem with this is that he made near $23 million last season and will most likely ask for more. He is also likely to have a lot of title-contending suiters. Spending that kind of money on a replacement for Howard is not worth it. The ideal situation for the Lakers would be to make the adjustments with Harrell.

The draft is tonight, and the dominoes will begin to fall. This Laker team has a championship or bust mentality from the training room to the front office to all of Laker Nation. Winning in LA only creates the desire to win more. Let’s see if Rob Pelinka can further quiet his naysayers and break the tie with the Celtics by raising that 18th banner in Staples Center.

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-Kyle Randolph – Franchise Sports Media

@KyleRandolphFSM

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