The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of work to do to improve their roster for the 2022-23 season, but limited resources to do so.
With Wenyen Gabriel and Stanley Johnson having their team options picked up and Russell Westbrook picking up his player option, the Lakers are limited to the taxpayer mid-level exception of around $6 million and minimum contracts in free agency.
While the expectation is the Lakers will target two-way wings in free agency with their mid-level exception, there may also be another route that makes sense.
According to Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Magic aren’t expected to tender a qualifying offer to center Mo Bamba, which will make him an unrestricted free agent and the Lakers are expected to be among the teams with interest:
The Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves are expected to be interested in Bamba, a source told the Sentinel.
While Bamba’s four-year career with the Magic has largely been disappointing since being drafted sixth overall, he seemed to find his form last season, averaging 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while shooting 38.1% from 3-point range on 4.0 attempts per game.
As a rim-protecting big that can stretch the floor and is still only 24 years of age, Bamba is the exact type of player that would make sense playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Whether or not the Lakers will offer him the mid-level exception remains to be seen considering they are believed to be targeting wings. With other teams expected to have interest in Bamba though, the Lakers will have to be aggressive if they want to bring the big man to L.A.
Bamba has a previous connection to James after appearing on his HBO show “The Shop” a few years ago, so perhaps that relationship will work in the Lakers’ favor.
Wall expected to sign with Clippers
Another player the Lakers had reported interest in was John Wall as the expectation is he will be bought out by the Houston Rockets.
While Wall will be coming to L.A., it won’t be to play for the Lakers are reports indicate he will be signing with the Clippers as soon as he clears waivers.
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