No NBA team can contact free agents until the clock strikes 9:01 p.m. on Tuesday. But that does not preclude teams from setting up meetings with them.
The Lakers plan to meet with Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge once free agency starts on Tuesday night, according to a league source familiar with the team’s itinerary. The Lakers will then follow that up with a meeting on Wednesday with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, the league source said.
The Lakers will put the highest priority in acquiring a marquee frontcourt player after selecting Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell with the second pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. But it remains unclear if they can attract other candidates, such as Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Cleveland’s Kevin Love or Detroit’s Greg Monroe.
The Lakers would have to woo either Aldridge or Jordan to a four-year deal worth $80 million as opposed to a five-year deal worth $108 million they can make with their respective teams. Aldridge plans to also meet with Houston, San Antonio, Phoenix, Dallas, Toronto and New York. Jordan will meet with Dallas and New York on Wednesday and the Clippers on Thursday, according to league sources. Jordan currently gives the Clippers “a slight edge” because of the team’s recent success, according to a league source familiar with his thinking.
Aldridge averaged a career-high 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds last season, while making an All-Star appearance for the fourth consecutive season. Jordan averaged a career-high 11.5 points and 10.1 rebounds in his seventh NBA season.
The Lakers have $23 million available to spend in free agency. But if the Lakers land a marquee free agent, they will take up about $18.8 million of that cap space.