So far this offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have swung and missed with several of the league’s premiere free agents.
Carmelo Anthony re-signed with the New York Knicks. LeBron James returned home and signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Even Kevin Love, who is not a free agent until after the 2014-15 season, looks destined to either be a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors or Cavaliers come the fall.
And as it turns out, the acquisitions of Jeremy Lin (trade) and Carlos Boozer (amnesty waivers) were not necessary at the top of Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak’s list.
In fact, before bidding on Boozer’s services, the Lakers reportedly had interest in another prominent target.
None other than Phoenix Suns restricted free agent guard Eric Bledsoe, who spent his first three seasons in the league playing at the Staples Center — albeit it with the Los Angeles Clippers.
In Sunday’s edition of the Boston Globe, NBA reporter Gary Washburn suggested that Kupchak and Co. pondered making an offer to Bledsoe, before ultimately settling on bulking up their frontline with Boozer.
Before the Lakers decided to make an amnesty claim for Carlos Boozer, occupying more than $3.2 million on their salary cap to ensure more space next summer, NBA sources said they considered making a bid for Phoenix restricted free agent Eric Bledsoe. Although the Lakers already acquired former Harvard standout Jeremy Lin and his $14 million salary for this upcoming season, it was only to create more space next summer. Bledsoe could have been the team’s point guard of the future. Teams such as Houston and Milwaukee are considering bids for Bledsoe, who remains the biggest free agent on the market.
While Bledsoe might very well be the best remaining talent on the market, the 24-year-old has yet to receive even an offer sheet 20 days into free agency.
According to ESPN insider Chris Broussard, Bledsoe’s camp and the Suns’ front office remain ‘far apart on a deal’ because the fourth-year pro is seeking a max contract.
Should the two sides fail to reach an agreement, HuffingtonPost.com sports columnist Jordan Schultz reports that the Lakers could re-enter the picture via a sign-and-trade deal.
In order for such a transaction to take place, however, Schultz noted that the Suns would want No. 7 overall pick Julius Randle and the Lakers’ 2015 first-round pick (acquired from Houston).