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Patty Mills, Dwight Howard and other Lakers free agency options

Patty Mills makes a pass while playing for the Spurs last season.
Former Spurs guard Patty Mills.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

For the Lakers, landing Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards via trade was the splashiest move in the NBA so far heading into the free-agency period, which starts Monday.

By sending out Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson, the Lakers now have just five players under contract and will have to be creative to field a team around Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Adding the salaries of James, Davis, Westbrook, Marc Gasol and Alfonzo McKinnie together, the Lakers’ payroll stands at about $131 million, leaving them with not much money to spend on free agents.

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The Lakers have their own players they would like to re-sign: restricted free agent Talen Horton-Tucker and unrestricted free agent Alex Caruso.

The Lakers will have the taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.9 million to use and the veteran minimum exception.

Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations, has a lot of decisions to make for the roster rebuild. Here’s a look at players that the Lakers probably will look at and some who desire to join the team:

The Lakers and Clippers have many holes to fill. The Times’ NBA reporters discuss the big names in play, all of whom will have to take small pay.

Patty Mills (PG, 6-1, 180)

This 12-year veteran would give the Lakers the shooting they need off the bench. He was one of the NBA’s best three-point shooters last season in San Antonio, making 37.5% of his threes and averaging 10.8 points per game. At 32, Mills fills a big need for a Lakers team that was not good at shooting the trey last season.

Wayne Ellington (G, 6-4, 210)

Since shooting will be a premium for the Lakers, this 12-year veteran has his eyes on returning to the Lakers, a team he played for during the 2014-15 season. Ellington, 33, shot 42.2% from three-point range and averaged 9.6 points a game last season in Detroit.

JJ Redick (G, 6-3, 200)

Redick is another interesting player because of his ability to knock down the three-pointer. He split time between New Orleans and Dallas last season, averaging 7.4 points, the first time in 10 seasons at less than double digits. Over his 17-year career, Redick, 37, is a 41.5% three-point shooter.

Carmelo Anthony (F, 6-7, 240)

Even when looking at wings and forwards, the Lakers will search for 3-and-D players. Carmelo Anthony and James are longtime friends and have always wanted to play together, and this might be the season it happens. Anthony will be waiting on a phone call from the Lakers when free agency starts. Anthony, 37, is an 18-year veteran who averaged 13.4 points, made 40.9% of his three-pointers and was solid off the bench last season in Portland.

Guards Joel Ayayi and Austin Reaves reportedly agree to two-way contracts with the Lakers, who also reportedly get Mac McLung on a training-camp deal.

Trevor Ariza (F, 6-8, 215)

This 36-year-old remains a very good defender and solid three-point shooter after 17 years in the NBA. He played for the Heat last season, when the forward shot 35% from three-point range, averaged 9.4 points and played outstanding defense.

Jeff Green (F, 6-8, 235)

If the Lakers can afford Green, he is an ideal fit because of his all-around skills. Green can shoot the three — he made 41.2% of his three-pointers last season in Brooklyn — and he’s versatile enough to play power forward and small-ball center. Green, 34, averaged 11 points per game with the Nets last season, his 13th in the league.

The Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook for Kyle Kuzma, Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell. Inside the talks behind the blockbuster trade that created a new Big 3.

Dwight Howard (C, 6-10, 265)

There is a strong possibility that Howard returns for a third go-around with the Lakers. Howard won a title with the Lakers in 2020, but he bolted to the 76ers last season. Now, there appears to be interest on both sides to have Howard back for his physical and defensive play. Howard, 35, averaged 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 17.3 minutes last season in Philadelphia, his 17th in the NBA.


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