Lakers Rejected by Yet Another Top Target in Free Agency

The Los Angeles Lakers strike out on yet another free agent as the clock is ticking for GM Rob Pelinka.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As Western Conference contenders load up on talent on the fifth day of free agency, the Los Angeles Lakers continue to miss out on their targets. In fact, general manager Rob Pelinka is yet to make an addition to the roster so far this offseason.

Before free agency started, it was reported that LeBron James was willing to take a pay cut for the Lakers to make significant improvements to the roster. Since then, Los Angeles only managed to strike out on their intended targets, most notably Klay Thompson. The most recent reporting suggests that things are getting even worse for the Lakers.

The Lakers desperately need more shooting, especially after Klay Thompson turned them down. The obvious next target was Buddy Hield. However, despite interest from the Lakers, Hield chose to sign with the Golden State Warriors on a four-year deal, according to The Athletic.

"Hield chose the Warriors because of the opportunity to win over other interested suitors, including the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers."

The Athletic

Hield's contract is guaranteed for only two years and a total of $21 million. It is the type of contract the Lakers could have easily afforded if they were to engineer it as a sign-and-trade, similar to what the Warriors did. It is clear that the finances weren't the reason why Los Angeles couldn't acquire the 31-year-old shooting guard. In fact, the reporting suggests that it was "the opportunity to win".

The real problem for the Lakers is the fact that they are not considered the best place to win anymore. Whether it is Pelinka's incompetence, a lack of trust in the roster, or first-time head coach JJ Redick, free agents don't seem to prioritize the Lakers in negotiations. This is a big departure from where the franchise has been historically.

If the Lakers are consistently losing talent to the Dallas Mavericks or the Golden State Warriors despite making financially competitive offers, they are in trouble. The front office has to nail their decisions on the trade market for the Lakers to have a chance of contending in the loaded Western Conference.

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