The Lakers would love to lure DeAndre Jordan across Staples Center from the Clippers this summer, not surprisingly, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, and the Clips meanwhile have their eyes on convincing a Laker to switch sides. The Clippers, who are reportedly expected to float a max offer to try to retain Jordan, are also interested in swingman and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Wesley Johnson, sources tell Shelburne.
Johnson, the fourth overall pick in 2010, has expressed a desire to remain with the Lakers, but he’s made it clear he’s seeking a multiyear deal as he hits free agency for the third year in a row. The Lakers are reportedly intrigued with his potential, but Johnson has struggled with inconsistency that Byron Scott has attributed to an issue “between the ears.” Johnson chalks up that inconsistency to a whirlwind of changing roles during his NBA career, but the Lakers are on the fence about retaining the 27-year-old who’s made 121 starts for the purple-and-gold over the past two seasons, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
The Octagon client averaged a career-high 9.9 points this past season, but even that demonstrates that Johnson has yet to live up to his lofty draft position. The Clippers aren’t set for significant cap room regardless of whether Jordan re-signs, and if the center does come back, the Clips would likely be limited to the $3.376MM taxpayer mid-level exception to sign anyone for more than the minimum. Johnson has made the minimum in each of his two seasons with the Lakers. The taxpayer mid-level limits teams to handing out three-year deals, while the Clips can’t give anyone more than a two-year deal with the minimum-salary exception.
The Clippers aren’t going to bring in another maximum-salary player, as coach/executive Doc Rivers acknowledged, according to Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, but the Lakers certainly can, and they no doubt aim to do so. They’ve been linked to a laundry list of marquee names, from Kevin Love to LaMarcus Aldridge to Goran Dragic to Rajon Rondo, and it’s not clear exactly where Jordan would fall in the hierarchy of their priorities. Still, it seems as though the market will be strong for the third-place finisher in Defensive Player of the Year voting, whom the Mavs also reportedly plan to pursue.