The Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the most intriguing team on the 2018 NBA free agent market. For now, though, everything seems to be a in a holding pattern for Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and company, as talks have reportedly cooled in the Kawhi Leonard trade extravaganza.
LeBron James hasn’t made his free agent decision, either, and the Lakers are waiting just like the rest of the NBA. But that doesn’t mean LA can’t persue other options, and it seems they are exploring an interesting avenue for potential improvement.
David Aldridge of NBA.com noted on Sunday that Los Angeles will meet with restricted free agent big man Clint Capela.
Capela isn’t the only center tied to the Lakers at this juncture, with rumblings that DeMarcus Cousins could be an intriguing target. However, Capela’s situation is far more complicated than that of Cousins, at least transactionally, with all indications pointing to the Rockets being willing to match any offer sheet and, thus, retain Capela, even at increased price.
Houston does have serious luxury tax concerns in the wake of a massive deal for Chris Paul but Trevor Ariza snuck away to Phoenix, leaving the Rockets in a spot where even a max contract for Capela might be matched. On the Lakers side, it makes sense that Capela would be a target, given his youth and versatility (especially on the defensive end), but Los Angeles also has to know that the Rockets are likely to match.
This could simply be a due diligence meeting for both sides, but there are a lot of moving parts right now for a Lakers franchise that almost certainly wanted to make things neater when July 1 arrived.