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NBA Los Angeles Lakers

13 Players the Los Angeles Lakers Should Pursue During Free Agency

13 Players the Los Angeles Lakers Should Pursue During Free Agency

Kobe guarding LeBron
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After a productive 2014 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers and general manager Mitch Kupchak must look toward free agency to help rebuild one of the league’s most popular franchises. With only three players under contract and two rookies who are yet to be signed, here are 13 free agents the Los Angeles Lakers should contact during free agency.

13. Gordon Hayward

Gordon Hayward
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

13. Gordon Hayward

Gordon Hayward
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Although Gordon Hayward had his share of ups and downs last season in Utah, the 6-foot-8 sharp shooter still managed to post career highs in points (16.2), rebounds (5.1) and assists (5.2). Hayward’s ability to hit the outside shot would make him a nice complement to Kobe Bryant and newly drafted Julius Randle. While Gordon is coming off his worst shooting season of his career, teams in need of outside shooting will be calling.

12. Marcin Gortat

Gortat
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

12. Marcin Gortat

Marcin Gortat
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Even with the addition of Julius Randle at forward, the Lakers remain thin in the post. Unrestricted center Marcin Gartat would be a serviceable addition to a Lakers team who struggled significantly to rebound and defend the post last season. Gortat may get a lot of offers, thus making Kupchak’s job a little harder.

11. Earl Clark

Earl Clark
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

11. Earl Clark

Earl Clark
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a forgettable season in Cleveland, small forward Earl Clark is once again a free agent and should be on the Lakers’ radar. Clark had the best season of his NBA career in purple and gold and proved he can play well with Kobe Bryant. While Clark isn’t the most efficient scorer, his ability to defend and rebound should very well entice the Lakers.

10. Patty Mills

Patty Mills
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

10. Patty Mills

Patty Mills
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran point guard Patty Mills should receive a lot of offers this summer after helping the San Antonio Spurs win the title. Mills’ ability to score from the perimeter and knock down shots off the dribble would be a major addition to the Lakers. Although he is known as a scoring point guard and is a bit undersized, the Australian native’s ability to knock down open shots would make it tougher for other teams to double-team Kobe Bryant.

9. Chandler Parsons

Chandler Parsons
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

9. Chandler Parsons

Chandler Parsons
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Parsons is one of the most underrated forwards in the NBA and could be a steal for the Lakers if Houston decides to let him walk. The former Florida Gator has become more than just a shooter and Lakers fans know all about Parsons and his ability to get to the rim. Last year, Parsons averaged 16.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and four assists alongside Dwight Howard and James Harden. Parsons would be a great fit in Los Angeles.

8. Evan Turner

Evan Turner
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

8. Evan Turner

Evan Turner
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

After averaging a career-high 17.4 points, six rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, Evan Turner was traded to the Pacers and we never heard of him again. The former No. 2 overall pick has been labeled as a volume scorer, but his length and versatility at either guard position could be a great match in the back-court for the Lakers.

7. Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

7. Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

After being drafted last in the 2011 NBA Draft, Isaiah Thomas has proven to the NBA that his size, or lack thereof, is not a factor. In Sacramento, Thomas averaged 15.2 points and 4.8 assists in three seasons and has improved each year. Despite his size, Thomas is a pesky defender who plays the passing lanes exceptionally well. If the Lakers are going to part ways with point guard Kendall Marshall or Steve Nash, Thomas should get a call.

6. Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

6. Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Point guard Kyle Lowry would be higher on our list if rumors of him being involved in a sign-and-trade weren't floating around. Lowry’s ability to score and create plays for his teammates will make him a hot commodity this offseason, if available. Last year, Lowry averaged a career-high 17.9 points and 7.2 assists for a Toronto Raptors team that no one expected to make the playoffs.

Lance Stephenson

Lance Steohenson
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

5. Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Expect combo-guard Lance Stephenson to receive numerous offers this summer after an impressive season. Stephenson’s defense alone should be enough to attract Kupchak and the Lakers, a team who struggled to guard the quicker guards on the perimeter last season. Stephenson improved in almost every statistical category and led the NBA in triple-doubles, five.

4. Eric Bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

4. Eric Bledsoe

Eric Bledsoe
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With the selection of point guard Tyler Ennis, Eric Bledsoe looks like the odd man out in Phoenix. If Bledsoe is 100 percent and can play all 82 games, the Lakers should seriously consider the 6-foot-1 guard. Bledsoe only played in 43 games last season due to a knee injury, but still averaged 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds for the Phoenix Suns, all while playing with the fellow PG Gordon Dragic. Expect Bledsoe’s numbers to improve.

3. Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

3. Greg Monroe

Greg Monroe
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers must lure former Georgetown center Greg Monroe out west if they are indeed interested in making a championship run before Kobe Bryant retires. Monroe is one of the league's rising centers and would pair well with energetic forward Julius Randle. Last season, Monroe averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds, but was overshadowed by the emergence of forward Andre Drummond. The Lakers would be crazy not to offer Monroe a long-term contract.

2. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

2. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Although the Lakers were not on Carmelo Anthony’s list of teams to sit down with this summer, Mitch Kupchak and company would be crazy not to contact the scoring forward. Melo won’t help improve the Lakers' defense, but a player of his magnitude is definitely needed to help take some weight off Bryant. If Anthony is willing to take a pay cut and Bryant can convince free agents he’s more interested in a championships than scoring, watch out, NBA.

1. LeBron James

LeBron James
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1. LeBron James

LeBron James
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Four-time MVP LeBron James should definitely be at the top of the Lakers' list of free agent hopefuls. The Lakers have an abundance of cap space and shouldn’t be afraid to spend some cash on the league’s most coveted free agent. Although their current roster isn’t too appealing, a duo of James and Bryant would surely lure a few others to Los Angeles. If James is serious about winning championships, he’d at least entertain the Lakers and Bryant.