Los Angeles Lakers Rumor: With Kobe Retiring, Team Could Target Kevin Durant In 2016

The Los Angeles Lakers are rumored to be moving one aging superstar out in favor of another at the apex of his career.

With the season-ending injury to Kobe Bryant, the team is reportedly taking a hard look at the future and what it will take for them to return to title contention. Bryant has already said he plans to retire at the end of next season, when his contract is up, and rumors indicate that the Lakers could now be targeting reigning MVP Kevin Durant.

Durant will be a free agent in the summer of 2016, which should be in the middle of a post-Kobe rebuild for the Lakers. Though team sources have not said officially whether they will make a run at Durant, they would certainly have the cap space to try if they wanted.

Competition could be tight. Frank Isola of the New York Daily News noted that the New York Knicks could also be a major contender.

“No question about it,” says a person close to Durant. “Kevin loves Carmelo (Anthony). It could work in New York. But never rule out the Thunder.”

The Los Angeles Lakers may not even need to turn to Durant for the rebuild. Some believe that the Lakers could push Jeremy Lin into a larger role to see if he can recreate the magic of his coming out party with the Knicks a few seasons ago.

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But as Rant Sports writer Pablo Jacobo noted, the Lakers should at least take the chance to see what Lin can do in an already lost season.

“The time has come for the Laker organization to let Lin run the team. At this point, they have nothing to lose – this roster is not talented enough to win many games.

“With Bryant out of the picture, Lin is free play to play his style of basketball. He’s still 26 years old and could still be of use to the organization. He burst onto the scene with the New York Knicks three years ago, and he had a fantastic stretch of games that electrified Madison Square Garden.”

The Los Angeles Lakers still have a while to decide which direction to go regarding Kobe Bryant and the rumors of a run at Kevin Durant. Kobe is expected back in September, and Durant has about 18 months before he hits free agency.

[Image via USA Today]