Lakers Rumors: Seven dark horse free agents to pursue this summer

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Elfrid Payton

The current Orlando Magic point guard is in his fourth season as a professional basketball player. Originally drafted tenth overall as a first round pick by Philadelphia in 2014, Payton has spent his entire playing career with the Magic but will be able to test the market at the end of this season.

So far this year, he is averaging 11 points per game along with 6.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds. If the Lakers were going to move on from Jordan Clarkson before the summer gets here, Elfrid Payton wouldn’t be a bad replacement.

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They average the same numbers on the glass, with Payton dishing out three more assists per game while Clarkson is scoring four more on average. Payton’s scoring hasn’t fluctuated much over the last three seasons, remaining in double figures and jumping anywhere from 10-12 points per night.

He’ll be coming off of a $2 million salary, so the Lakers could also probably get him for an affordable price. When you compare what they’re paying Caldwell-Pope right now, who will be taking home $17 million when his one-year deal with the Lakers is all said and done, picking up Payton is chump change.

The kind of deal that it would be great to see them offer him is in the neighborhood of three years and $14 million. He’d be getting a decent raise, while also not getting overpaid and still fitting a need that the Lakers will have more immediately at that time.

He’ll be a restricted free agent, so Orlando will have the chance to match any offers for him, but the Lakers might be a more enticing offer for Payton. he wouldn’t be the starting point guard, but perhaps could develop into someone who can lead a strong second unit without having all of the drama and worry about clutter that surrounds whether not LA will keep Jordan Clarkson.

He should be someone at the top of their list after, of course, the bigger names are checked off and explored as options.