Lakers Jump into Free Agency But Don't Make Big Splash

The Los Angeles Lakers did not wait to begin an active and intriguing free agency

Tuesday night at 9:01 p.m. Pacific Time, NBA officially granted teams the ability to meet with players and agree in principal on deals. As would be expected, the Los Angeles Lakers did not wait to roll out the red carpet.

A contingent of LA Lakers executives, which included Lakers president Jeanie Buss, Lakers VP Jim Buss and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, joined the likes of Kobe Bryant and James Worthy in meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge. The meeting would last approximately two hours with "#LAtoLA" featuring prominently on the Lakers' social media accounts.

On Tuesday, Mike Bresnahan reported that Aldridge would not be joining the Lakers because he "didn't quite gel" with Bryant.

After the initial Monday night meeting, a smaller contingent hopped a red-eye flight to Washington D.C. to meet with free agent Greg Monroe on Tuesday afternoon. The traveling party featured Kupchak, Lakers coach Byron Scott, Lakers assistant general manager Glenn Carraro, Lakers COO Tim Harris and Lakers P.R. czar John Black. The meeting with Monroe started at noon Eastern Time and lasted approximately two hours.


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Free agency is not for the weary, as the traveling contingent of Lakers' brass had a meeting with LA Clippers' free agent DeAndre Jordan in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Time Warner executives expect to be part of the Tuesday night meeting, and Jordan could possibly be the best fit of all the available free agents since the Lakers desperately need a defensive presence in the lane.

With the first three meetings, the Lakers made their intentions clear. LA wants a big man wearing purple and gold. Aldridge, Monroe and Jordan are the top three big bodies available on the open market. DeMarcus Cousins may or may not be available via trade, but landing a big name with the roughly $23 million of salary cap space the team vacated became the top priority.

While the Lakers zigzagged across North America, Kevin Love announced that he would be returning to Cleveland. Also, Jimmy Butler agreed to a long-term contract with the Chicago Bulls. Even Tyson Chandler, who had been rumored as a potential fall back option, agreed to a deal in Phoenix per Adian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. As dominoes around the league began to fall, the Lakers still did not have any deals in place.

LA did reportedly reach out to Ed Davis shortly after the start of free agency. Also, the team expressed interest in Jordan Hill, whose team option was declined before the start of free agency, Wayne Ellington and Jeremy Lin. Lin is the least likely to return due to a frustrating season in LA last year and the Lakers' decision to draft guard D'Angelo Russell.

Whether or not LA learned lessons from a disastrous offseason a year ago remains to be seen. Last year, LA missed on signing potential free agents waiting around for Carmelo Anthony, who ended up going back to the New York Knicks. Not even 24 hours into free agency, the Lakers have been busy. However, the NBA is a results-based business, and so far, the results have been underwhelming and largely nonexistent.

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