Free agency has been humming along since the start of July, at least for most NBA teams.
Teams in much of the league have agreed on terms with free agents, but the Lakers’ roster still has only seven players with guaranteed contracts.
With free-agent center Dwight Howard departing for the Houston Rockets, “Plan B” for the Lakers has yet to bear any tangible fruit.
Second-round pick Ryan Kelly (48th overall) and restricted free agent Robert Sacre are likely to make it a nine-man roster, but the Lakers would need to add at least four more to hit the 13-player minimum.
The difficulty the Lakers could have in luring free agents is their plan to have as much cap space next summer as possible. Outside of Steve Nash, the Lakers will have no other player under contract -- and that’s not likely to change.
Additionally, the Lakers can only offer their $3.2-million taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts. With the summer of 2014 in mind, the team isn’t likely to offer more than a one-year deal.
Some free agents, like Darren Collison, are willing to take a smaller short-term salary if they feel they’re joining a team that has a shot at a championship. He recently agreed to sign with the Clippers for $1.9 million for the season (with a second year at his option).
The Lakers don’t appear to be on the verge of a title, what with Howard spurning them and Kobe Bryant recovering from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles’ tendon.
General Manager Mitch Kupchak will continue to sit on the team’s mid-level exception, with hopes of finding some help for next season, but for the moment, the Lakers just don’t appear to be an attractive destination this off-season.