The Lakers have never been shy about their stated plan to quickly rebuild the team into one that can contend for a title. The problem has been that no star-level free agents have been willing to cooperate as of yet.
L.A. watched players like Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol leave for greener pastures, and were unable to lure others like Carmelo Anthony away, despite having the necessary cap space last summer to sign a max-level player to the roster.
Byron Scott believes that may change very quickly, specifically because players have told him they want to play for him next season — and have done so while competing against the Lakers during games this year.
“You have a lot of free agents out there who would love to play for us. They’ve been making it pretty clear,” Scott said. “You have guys during the games come by the bench saying, ‘Hey Coach, I would love to be in L.A. next year.’ That makes you feel good there are players out there that want to be here. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re taking it in a different direction. They know this organization and the history of the organization is going to be back.”
Scott would not name any candidates because of tampering rules. Nor would Scott disclose how many potential free agents expressed those sentiments to him during games. But the direct and indirect feedback from those players prompted Scott to express confidence.
There’s plenty to chew on, here, but most of it doesn’t translate into anything tangible — at least not yet.
We don’t know the level of talent of the guys Scott is referring to, and we also don’t know what their salary requirements might be, whether or not they’re restricted free agents (making them far more difficult to acquire), and whether those in the Lakers front office would even be interested, for a variety of reasons.
It is a positive that guys have reached out, however, and the way the last few summers have gone for this franchise, that’s at least a place to start.