Like last off-season, the Lakers are set to have a boatload of money to spend during free agency this summer. However, are there actually any players out there who still want to rock the purple and gold?
The answer is yes, of course there are. Despite what the media might tell you, playing for the Lakers in Los Angeles is a dream for most players – even the younger ones.
For example, Julius Randle gushed about just having the opportunity to work out for the Lakers before the 2014 NBA Draft, as did Zach LaVine.
Of course, Randle would later be drafted by the purple and gold with the seventh overall pick.
Additionally, Tarik Black’s father recently told Time Warner Cable SportsNet’s Backstage: Lakers that his son wanted to be drafted by the Lakers back in June.
While Black went undrafted last summer, he would eventually wind up in the purple and gold after being waived by the Houston Rockets in December.
There’s also bound to be a bunch of Laker fans entering this year’s draft, too. In fact, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson has already confirmed that he’s one of them.
But what about the veteran players around the league? Do they still want to be Lakers, too?
Absolutely, according to Byron Scott, who says players are actually telling him during games that they’d like to wear the legendary purple and gold uniform next season.
“You have a lot of free agents out there who would love to play for us. They’ve been making it pretty clear,” Scott said recently, according to Mark Medina from the L.A Daily News. “You have guys during the games come by the bench saying, ‘Hey Coach, I would love to be in L.A. next year.’ That makes you feel good there are players out there that want to be here.
“I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’re taking it in a different direction. They know this organization and the history of the organization is going to be back.”
Now, some fans and critics may laugh at Scott’s comments and even call him a liar, though it wouldn’t surprise me if what he’s saying is actually true.
While many have bashed Scott’s coaching ability over the past few years, there’s one thing that always stands out: the majority of his players like and respect him.
This isn’t surprising, though, as it seems that NBA guys will almost always respect a head coach who has actually played in the Association and has been successful.
Of course, Scott was a member of the Showtime Lakers and won three NBA championships during the 1980s. While he was never an All-Star – though he probably should have been – he was still a key part of those championships teams.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see if Scott is ultimately able to help in the Lakers’ free agency recruiting efforts this summer.