Lakers Eyeing Two Underrated Free Agents

After being spurned by multiple free agents, the Lakers are reportedly interested in two under-the-radar players that could help them immediately next season.
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

NBA free agency hasn’t been kind to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer as they struck out on signing multiple free agents, including Klay Thompson and Buddy Hield. 

After getting bounced in the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Denver Nuggets and hiring a first-time head coach (JJ Redick), Lakers GM Rob Pelinka needed to do everything in his power to upgrade this roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Thus far, Pelinka hasn’t been able to do that, leaving Lakers fans questioning if this team will be good enough to compete in a tough Western Conference next season. 

However, Los Angeles still has a few more chances to upgrade their roster on the margins, as there are some under-the-radar free agents still available that can still help them. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Shams Charania reported Sunday that the Lakers are interested in Spencer Dinwiddie and Gary Trent Jr.

But there’s one wrinkle to the Lakers’ interest in those two guards, the team must be able to get enough cap space to use their taxpayer midlevel exception. 

The MLE has been a huge topic for the Lakers this offseason as there were talks about James not taking the full max to open it up for players such as Klay Thompson, Jonas Valaciunas, and James Harden. 

However, as things would unfold for the Lakers, they saw Klay Thompson head to the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade, Jonas Valaciunas sign a three-year contract with the Washington Wizards, and Harden stay with the Clippers on a two-year deal.

But as we found out on Sunday, James still took a pay cut of $3 million (two-year, $101.35 million deal), helping Los Angeles stay under the second luxury tax apron.

Nonetheless, Dinwiddie and Trent Jr. could be of great use off the bench as the Lakers’ rotation looks shaky heading into next season. Dinwiddie spent the second half of the 2023-24 season with Los Angeles after being waived by the Toronto Raptors.

The 31-year-old point guard wasn’t impressive in his short stint with Los Angeles, averaging 6.8 points and 2.4 assists in 24.2 minutes per game. However, there might be an avenue for LA to get Dinwiddie back on a vet minimum deal due to his performance.

As for Trent Jr., he would give the Lakers’ offense a huge boost with his ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc. The 25-year-old scored 13.7 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting from the field and 39.3 percent from deep with Toronto this past season.

Furthermore, Trent is shooting 38.6 percent from three-point range for his career. With Malik Beasley getting a one-year, $6 million deal from the Detroit Pistons, Trent Jr. may not get more than that on the open market, which could help the Lakers.

With all that being said, it doesn’t matter how many free agents the Lakers are interested in. The Lakers must make some moves this offseason, or they could be looking at another first-round exit next season.

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