The Lakers should be used to this by now, waiting around and hoping the free agent they craved would agree to terms with them.
It’s the third consecutive summer they’ve made a pitch — or pitches, in the case of LaMarcus Aldridge — in hopes of a successful off-season acquisition.
Their presentation to Aldridge was “much better” the second time, according to a person familiar with the hastily assembled meeting, but there could be only hope, not overt confidence, he would eventually sign on the dotted line of their four-year, $80-million offer.
They want Aldridge badly and genuinely need him because almost all the free-agent post players have allied themselves with other teams.
DeAndre Jordan chose Dallas over the Clippers, Kevin Love returned to Cleveland, and Greg Monroe went with Milwaukee over the Lakers and New York.
Even the second-tier big men are getting snapped up, including Robin Lopez for a reported $54 million over four years with the Knicks.
There’s still … Kosta Koufos? Bismack Biyombo? Cole Aldrich?
It’s a touch of deja vu for the Lakers — another July, another waiting period.
They tried to convince Dwight Howard to stay with them two years ago, but he retreated to Park City, Utah, for an agonizing length of time after getting pitched by numerous teams. Then he chose to join Houston for less money.
Last year, the Lakers were thrilled that Carmelo Anthony liked their Hollywood-themed pitch but not so excited when he returned to the Knicks after thinking about it for several days. Then Pau Gasol left them to take less money in Chicago.
The Lakers weren’t sharp in their initial Tuesday night meeting with Aldridge and tried to turn it around with a redo Thursday, centering on more basketball talk. They performed better in the follow-up but didn’t have the feeling afterward he would eventually join them.
Aldridge has also met with San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Miami and Toronto, and he could still stun everybody by returning to Portland, his employer the last nine years.
The Lakers hope that’s not the case. They have exactly two big men with NBA experience — Robert Sacre has barely been used his first three years with the team, and Tarik Black was a rookie last season.
So the Lakers wait. And wait. Another July, moving forward ever so slowly.