The Los Angeles Lakers rumors are beginning to fly as the 2016 NBA offseason continues to draw closer. They will need to bring in quite a few new players if they want to take a step towards competing for a playoff spot.
Timothy Downs of Rant Sports opined that Joakim Noah would be the ideal starting center for the Lakers and should be a free agent target this coming offseason.
Noah looked washed up last season with the Chicago Bulls, but there is still some basketball left to play. He dealt with nagging injuries that held him back all season long. A full offseason of rest and recovering from those injuries will help him get back on track to make an impact next season.
Los Angeles is going to be a new-look team next season with Kobe Bryant retiring. He has been the face of the franchise throughout his entire career, but now a new leader will have to step up for the Lakers. They have a lot of young talent, although there is no telling whether their young talent will reach the potential that they possess.
D’Angelo Russell is widely expected to be the Lakers’ leader moving forward, but others believe that Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle are capable of stepping into that role. Clarkson will hit restricted free agency this offseason, which is going to end up being the Lakers’ top priority in the offseason.
Throughout the course of the 2015-16 NBA season, Noah ended up playing in just 29 games and started in two of them. He averaged 4.3 points per game to go along with 8.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. Just two years ago, Noah averaged 7.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 1.1 blocks per game to show his all-around talent.
At 31-years-old, Noah is without question one of the more intriguing free agents this offseason. There will be a few different teams that will show interest in him, but his value is at an all-time low. Noah could search for a one-year deal, although he may end up signing a two or three-year deal.
There is no question that Luke Walton would welcome a veteran presence like Noah in the locker room. He would be able to play a big role on the court, but a young team needs to have a strong veteran leader.
Walton is expected to install a much faster pace on the offensive side of the floor. If Noah is able to get back to full health, he should be able to fit in nicely. His ability to pass the basketball and all-around offensive game will be a major tool for the Lakers to utilize.
If the Lakers do end up signing Noah, it will be a big step in the right direction for their franchise. It will also be a major upgrade over Roy Hibbert. That alone would make signing a piece like Noah worth it for Los Angeles.
All of that being said, the Lakers have a lot of work to do in order to get themselves back to being a serious playoff contender. Noah would be a start, but they would have to do plenty of other things in addition to signing him. Walton and company have to find a few different players this offseason who can help on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court, and it won’t be shocking if they pursue a deal with Noah.
Do you think that the Los Angeles Lakers should pursue Joakim Noah in free agency this coming offseason? Would Noah be a solid addition for the Lakers to be their starting center? Let us know in the comment box below!
[AP Photo/Nell Redmond]