When the free agency period begins in just over a day, many top-talent players will be available on the open market. However, the Los Angeles Lakers are not expected to be among the fray of teams looking to make a big splash, according to Mark Medina of the Orange County Register.
After failing to retain their own free agents (Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol) or sign new ones (LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Durant) in recent years, the Lakers do not have any sales-pitch meetings scheduled with any prospective free agents.
After splurging on veterans Timofey Mozgov (four years, $64 million) and Luol Deng (four years, $72 million) last summer, the Lakers plan to pursue players on one-year deals so they have enough salary-cap room for when James, Russell Westbrook and Paul George are expected to become free agents in the 2018 offseason.
The Lakers over the last several offseasons have made it an emphasis to maintain financial flexibility in order to go pursue many of the biggest names in free agency, but have struck out in each instance with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Greg Monroe, and DeAndre Jordan all electing to pass on signing with the team.
That said, Los Angeles has taken a much different approach this time around under their new regime. They have made a major roster move this offseason last week by dealing away D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for veteran center Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in this year’s draft that was used on Utah forward Kyle Kuzma.
General manager Rob Pelinka has also pointed out over the last several days that the team plans to target shooting in free agency that will likely come on short-term deals. Ultimately, all of this is to put themselves in the position to have a significant amount of salary cap room next summer to make some major moves in free agency.