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What's next for Lakers as they struggle to win in free agency?

What's next for Lakers as they struggle to win in free agency?
Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins argues a call during a game against Golden State on Dec. 22. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

After striking out with Portland Trail Blazers free agent LaMarcus Aldridge, the Lakers will meet Clippers center DeAndre Jordan.

While Jordan may choose to change locker rooms at Staples Center, he may be more likely to re-sign with the Clippers or flee to Dallas to join the Mavericks.

The Lakers also met with Detroit Pistons forward/center Greg Monroe on Wednesday.

A single yes would use up most of the Lakers' $22 million in spending power this summer, but what happens if both say no?

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The Lakers are well positioned in the backcourt with rookie D'Angelo Russell, second-year guard Jordan Clarkson and  Kobe Bryant.  The team also has Nick Young and Jabari Brown.

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Where the Lakers are woefully thin is up front in the paint, bringing back Robert Sacre and Tarik Black, along with forward Julius Randle, who missed all but one game of his rookie season to a broken leg.

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Other options at center already have come off the market, with Brook Lopez reportedly returning to the Brooklyn Nets and Tyson Chandler joining the Phoenix Suns.

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Forward Kevin Love also announced he'd return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Restricted free agent Tristan Thomas is believed ready to join him.  Marc Gasol is also close to a return to Memphis with the Grizzlies.

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That leaves Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez as arguably the best free agent left on the board.  The defense-minded role player might not command a maximum contract, but then with a number of teams desperate to add size, he's likely to get a hefty deal.

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The Lakers could always look to re-sign Jordan Hill, Ed Davis and/or Carlos Boozer.  Other free-agent options down the list might include Omer Asik, Kostas Koufos or Brandan Wright.

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Another path for the Lakers could be using their cap space on the trade market.  The team tried to acquire Sacramento Kings forward/center DeMarcus Cousins before the draft.

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To revisit, the Lakers would need to pay a hefty price, likely starting with their recent No. 2 overall draft selection in Russell.  Cousins will earn $15.9 million for the coming season with three years left on his deal.

Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert is believed to be on the trade block, in the final year of his contract at $15.5 million.

The Lakers needed a yes from Aldridge.  The path ahead is unclear as they hope one of their fallback options changes the narrative.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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