After moving on from veteran forward Luol Deng, the Los Angeles Lakers will have a roster spot available as the 2018-19 season approaches.
Ramona Shelburne reported that Los Angeles does not feel much urgency to fill the roster spot (via ESPN):
“This gives Lakers a max slot next year, roster spot this year and means they don’t have to give up an asset to shed Deng’s contract in a trade. I’m told Lakers don’t have an immediate plan for the open roster spot.”
While there is no rush, according to Shelburne, there are several free agents still available who could help the squad next year. Top candidates to join the Lakers include Jamal Crawford, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Wright.
Crawford posted a cryptic tweet the day the Lakers moved on from Deng, more than likely hinting that he would be interested in joining L.A.
Jefferson is longtime friends with head coach Luke Walton and the two were teammates at the University of Arizona. The veteran forward also played alongside LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Meanwhile, a recent article from 247Sports predicted that Wright would end up playing for the Purple and Gold next season. The big man was limited last season due to injury.
Popular free agents including Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Nick Young seem incredibly unlikely.
But other names some have floated on Twitter – like Mario Chalmers, Terrence Jones and Lucas Nogueira – are all worth considering. Most believe a big man or a shooter would be the best fit for the Lakers.
The Lakers also have a few players signed to training camp deals that do not yet have fully guaranteed contracts, meaning they could search internally for Deng’s replacement.
Those options include undrafted free agents Joel Berry, Jeffrey Carroll and Jonathan Williams. All three are likely signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, which means they could get converted to two-way deals.
The Lakers already have both of their two-way contracts allotted to Alex Caruso and Travis Wear. The most likely scenario would likely involve Berry, Carroll or Williams signing a two-way deal, with Caruso getting a guaranteed roster spot with Los Angeles.
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