Free agency is almost here! And there are a ton of rumors around, especially about the Lakers and who they are looking to sign.
Let’s dissect the latest rumors about the purple and gold.
The Lakers believe they will be successful in acquiring Nuggets championship player Bruce Brown, Lakers insider Jovan Buha reports.
“The Lakers are increasingly confident they can sign Nuggets free-agent wing Bruce Brown Jr. for the non-taxpayer midlevel exception starting at a projected $12.4 million, multiple league sources not authorized to speak publicly on the matter told The Athletic,” Buha said.
The franchise has waived center Mo Bamba’s $10.3 million contract and are planning to decline Malik Beasley’s $16.5 million contract, which will keep them below the $172 million luxury tax cap threshold for 2023-24.
These moves also mean they will have the cap space for Brown.
AUSTIN REAVES AND RUI HACHIMURA
The only thing that is a lock for the Lakers this summer is their willingness to match any offer sheet for restricted free agent Austin Reaves, NBA insider Marc Stein believes.
“The only ongoing certainty about the Lakers’ offseason, league sources say, can be found in their determination to match any offer sheet for restricted free agent-to-be Austin Reaves,” Stein said. “The richest offer Reaves can receive from an external suitor is a four-year deal valued at nearly $100 million. One source with knowledge of the situation labeled it an ‘automatic match.’”
However, LA will have to battle some suitors to keep Reaves as well as Rui Hachimura. Two players the Rockets have earmarked, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.
Other teams like the Spurs and Magic are interested in Reaves, while Rui has garnered interest from teams like the Jazz and Pistons.
There were reports that the Lakers drafted Jalen Hood-Schifino as Reaves’ potential replacement because as we know, anything can happen in free agency.
Brook Lopez is a North Hollywood native who already had a stint with the Lakers in 2017-18 and ESPN’s Dave McMenamin says the team is interested in the unrestricted free agent once more.
“Among the players L.A. has interest in signing with the non-tax midlevel are Denver Nuggets forward Bruce Brown and Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, sources told ESPN,” McMenamin wrote.
Lopez being from LA would mean the Lakers would get him on a hometown discount and now would be the time to snag the big man as he comes off a career-best season.
He averaged 15.9 points and 6.7 rebounds while earning All-Defensive First Team honors.
The center made $13.9 million in 2022-23 but could fetch more than $18 million on the open market.
However, Stein thinks Lopez will stay with the Bucks and help them chase another title.