The Lakers plan to host a set of heavy hitters for when they meet with Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge at 9:01 p.m. in Los Angeles, which will mark the beginning of free agency.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is expected to sit in on the meeting, according to a league source familiar with his itinerary. He will join Lakers president Jeanie Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak, executive Jim Buss, coach Byron Scott, assistant general manager Glenn Carraro, senior vice president of business operations Tim Harris, team spokesman John Black, representatives from Time Warner Cable SportsNet and AEG. Former Lakers forward James Worthy, who serves as a studio analyst for Access SportsNet, also plans to attend the meeting.
The Lakers hosted New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony to a 2 ½ hour meeting at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. Anthony was left impressed with the Lakers’ pitch, which included movie producer Joel Silver making a four-minute trailer of Anthony’s life, narrated by Tobey Maguire. But Anthony re-signed with the Knicks.
Though the Lakers finished last season with their worst record in franchise history, they can offer more clarity in their latest pitch. The Lakers were actively looking for a coach following Mike D’Antoni’s resignation. This time, Scott can provide his own vision for Aldridge’s role as well as provide insight about the Lakers after winning all three of his NBA championships during the Showtime Era. The Lakers also have a more established roster because of their young roster, most notably D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
Bryant will also presumably address his health entering his 20th and perhaps final NBA season after suffering season-ending injuries for three consecutive years.
Still, Aldridge plans to meet with several other teams, including the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks. The 29-yeart-old Aldridge could also re-sign with Portland for a five-year deal worth $108 million as opposed to a four-year deal worth $80 million everywhere else. Aldridge has averaged 19.4 points and 8.4 rebounds in his career and made the NBA All-Star team in the past four years.