Lakers rumors: LA linked to Mo Bamba, Nicolas Batum, more in NBA free agency


NBA free agency officially begins Thursday at 3 p.m. PT, but Lakers rumors are already flying in the hours before the league’s legal opening bell. Khobi Price orlando sentinel reported earlier in the day that Los Angeles, in addition to the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves, were expected to show interest in Mo Bamba after the Orlando Magic failed to offer him a contract. qualifying offer and allowed him to become an unrestricted free agent, and he’s not the only one linking the Lakers to the four-year veteran.

According to Jovan Buha of the athletic – as connected to all things Lakers as anyone along the way – Bamba is one of several free-agent targets the Lakers would be willing to give their roughly $6.5 million mid-tier full exception to:

The players the Lakers will target with their mid-tier taxpayer exception include Otto Porter Jr., Nicolas Batum, Gary Harris, TJ Warren, Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, Mo Bamba and Danuel House Jr., according to multiple sources. the league.

Notable on this list is that almost all of the names are wings, which makes sense considering that was the biggest positional weakness the Lakers had last season. All of them would also be totally defensible signings for that money (although Batum seems destined to return to the Clippers). But Bamba could provide enough valuable skills to make it worthwhile to use the Lakers’ biggest contract on another big man.


Our very own Alex Regla had Bamba on his list of three centers the Lakers should try to sign in free agency, writing that he is exactly the type of traditional center with defensive chops and floor space who could be a perfect fit alongside Anthony Davis. in both extremes:

The more consistent reps may also have had in mind helping Bamba find his shooting touch. Not only did Bamba let him fly out of deep frequently (44% of his shot profile came from downtown), but he was wildly efficient when he did.

Bamba drilled 38% of his 3-point attempts overall and 40% of his chances over the break per Cleanup the Glass last season. His 39.3% shooting rate on catch-and-shoot 3s was second only to Karl-Anthony Towns among centers with at least 200 attempts.

Beyond the welcome floor space Bamba would provide the Lakers at center point, it would also help bolster their interior defense. With his still otherworldly wingspan of 7’10”, Bamba has ranked in at least the 91st percentile in his position in blocking percentage in every year he has played thus far.

And Bamba, Batum, Otto Porter Jr. and the rest of the names are not the only ones that the Lakers have in their sights, according to buhawho also outlined several players the team can buy in the free agency pool:

Players the Lakers will be interested in for the midlevel partial exception or minimum contracts include Nemanja Bjelica, Jeremy Lamb, Jevon Carter and Juan Toscano-Anderson, according to league sources.

Juan Toscano-Anderson appears to be exactly the type of active, young, bouncy athlete the team was missing last season, and he could provide solid wing depth if he’s really available for such little money. Given how quickly the Lakers moved in last year’s free agency frenzy, we’ll probably know the answer to how attainable he and the rest of the names on this list are soon. Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for every update.

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