Los Angeles Lakers Rumors: Team Targeting Big Free Agent Pickup To Prepare For Kobe's Retirement

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly targeting a big free agent pickup; one that may take a year to pull off.

Sources say the team has been following closely as the Phoenix Suns and star point guard Eric Bledsoe struggle to reach a long-term deal. The Suns have reportedly offered a four year, $48 million contract extension, which is far below the five year, $85 million max deal that Bledsoe wants.

As the contract talks unravel, many believe that Bledsoe will sign his $3.7 million qualifying offer for the next season and wait until unrestricted free agency in 2015 to leave the Suns.

That could be where the Los Angeles Lakers come in. The team has reportedly been interested in Bledsoe and could be gearing up to make a move for him when free agency hits.

But that could also create quite a quandary for the Lakers. The team has also been interested in Goran Dragic, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the same time as Bledsoe. Though they have quite a bit of money to work with, the Lakers likely couldn't get both free agents.

The timing could be perfect for the Los Angeles Lakers to make a splash. Some sources close to the team believe that Kobe Bryant could be retiring after this season, and the Lakers are looking to avoid a rebuilding period after the face of the franchise for nearly two decades calls it quits.

Depending on his output this season, Eric Bledsoe could blossom into a star at just the right time to take over Kobe's reins.

The Lakers may already be headed in that direction. This offseason they pulled off a one-sided trade with the Houston Rockets, who unloaded Jeremy Lin for practically nothing in order to shed payroll.

Lin was actually a target of the Lakers for quite some time.

"They had interest a few years ago when he (Lin) was in the summer league and signed with Golden State," said his agent, Robert Montgomery. "The Lakers were one of three teams that we were talking with, so they did have interest then. If you've been following the NBA, you know it's a very fluid league, so Jeremy is still playing, he's played well throughout his tenure thus far and I think that the Lakers, just like a lot of other teams, have interest and have had interest."

If the Los Angeles Lakers rumors are true, then fans could look forward to a backcourt of Jeremy Lin and Eric Bledsoe for years to come.