The Los Angeles Lakers called a lot of free agents last night – even the restricted ones.
According to Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne from ESPN Los Angeles, the Lakers put in calls to Chandler Parsons from the Houston Rockets, Gordon Hayward from the Utah Jazz and Isaiah Thomas from the Sacramento Kings once free agency officially got underway last night. All three players are restricted free agents, meaning their respective teams will have the opportunity to match any offer they receive from a rival organization.
The Jazz are expected to match any offer for Hayward, though Parsons and Thomas may be ripe for the picking.
However, to land one of those two guys, the Lakers would likely need to overpay.
Parsons will likely receive a max contract offer from somewhere other than Houston, and that would then put the Rockets in a tough predicament – matching such an offer could be costly, though letting the 25-year-old walk could be even more devastating to the franchise seeing as the forward is their third best player and Dwight Howard would lose one of his favorite teammates. Parsons was extremely instrumental in recruiting Howard to Houston last summer.
As for the Kings, they have shopped the 5’9″ Thomas in the past, which gives off the feeling that they’d be willing to let him walk if he receives a large offer elsewhere. The Detroit Pistons are currently leading the bidding for Thomas, according to Jared Zwerling from Bleacher Report, who says Stan Van Gundy and co. are offering $8 million per season for the 60th pick in the 2011 draft, an amount that would likely be out of the Lakers’ price range.
However, Thomas is a huge Lakers and Kobe Bryant fan, so there’s always the possibility he’d take less to play alongside the Black Mamba in Los Angeles.
Then again, if Thomas signs a reasonable offer sheet with the Lakers, the Kings would likely just match it, anyway.