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Lakers Rumors: Rounding Up Buzz on Jimmy Butler, Draft Possibilities and More

Published by Bleacher Report on Wed, 17 Jun 2015

As a different West Coast team celebrates seizing the crown, the Los Angeles Lakers and general manager Mitch Kupchakremain hard at work, the goal being to get back to contention.There's an available avenue to do so. Last year's top-five pick, Julius Randle, is a start. The upcoming draft will add another rookie of the same stature, and once the floodgates of free agency open, anything is possible.It's a new approach to the rebuild for the prestigious franchise, but it's a necessary one as more and more teams begin to show success via patience and the draft.Below, let's take a look at where the Lakers stand with some of their biggest plans, as told by the rumor mill.Lakers Fading in Aldridge Race'The Lakers love Portland Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge.Who can blame them' He's by far one of the best players in the league and just posted averages of 23.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocks, the points total a career high despite playing on a deep roster.As Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times pointed out in early June, there was a thought that the team wanted to pair Aldridge with a top rookie:It's a wow-worthy thought, a frontcourt sure to have few issues contending for the postseason, where anything is possible upon arrival.There's just one problem: If Aldridge is going to make a move, it sounds like he would prefer the San Antonio Spurs or Dallas Mavericks.Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher recently reported what he was hearing on the topic and classified the Lakers as a "distant third" in the video:It's a disappointing dose of reality, but a necessary one. The Lakers must understand that some big names won't want to join a rebuild and waste awaycareer years in the process.This goes double for a guy like Aldridge, who will lose a ton of cash leaving Portland, with the thought of returning home perhaps the only thing capable of soothing the loss. For the Lakers, it seems the best bet lies elsewhere.The Kristaps Porzingis FactorAsk most and the Lakers will hit No. 2 with one of either Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor, pairing a talented big man with Randle and swinging open the door wide for a major free-agent guard to complete the rebuild.Or not.It sounds like the Lakers are one of the teams behindKristaps Porzingis' epic late rise up draft boards. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski provides the details:Every day, front-office fascinations rise with Porzingis. Every day, hes moving himself closer into contention to become one of the top three picks in the NBA draft on June 25. Los Angeles Lakers officials conducted a workout of Porzingis on Monday night at the franchises El Segundo, Calif., practice facility, league sources told Yahoo Sports.It seems to go even deeper, as Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding reveals:So who is Porzingis' The Latvia native stands at 6'11" and 220 pounds with elite defensive abilities. He lacks a bit of strength and the rebounding could be better, but he's a nightmare on the offensive end for opponents, with an ability to stretch the court by stepping outside and nailing shots from deep.As a defender who can guard multiple positions, score from anywhere on the court and create offense on and off the ball, it seemed just a matter of time before Porzingis' stock blew up.If the Lakers like what they see, he might just be the pick on draft night.Jimmy Butler UpdateSee, Jimmy Butler is the kind of player who makes the Lakers want to draft a big man and pursue guards.Butler's just 25 years old but exploded for averages of 20.0 points, 3.3 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game last year while shooting 46 percent from the floor and 38 percent from deep as one of the league's premier scorers.For a while, it seemed the Lakers were out of the running for the Chicago Bulls star, but it's a notion that seems to change by the day, especially after a bomb dropped by Wojnarowski this week."As Butler spends time in Los Angeles this summer, a stretch thats included an overseas Entourage promotional jaunt with producer Mark Wahlberg, Butlers intrigue with signing a potential Los Angeles Lakers offer sheet has increased, league sources told Yahoo Sports," Wojnarowski wrote.Look, this may come as a surprise, but it isn'tmost of the league's big-name stars are trying to position themselves for more cash when the Association's new television deal kicks in and the cap jumps in a few years.It just seems the Lakers might benefit from this, as Butler may not want to lock himself into a five-year deal with Chicago. Kupchak and Co. wouldn't mind landing the star guard on a short offer, then trying to convince him to stay in a few years when he again hits the market.If that's the price to rebuild the Lakers, there's no doubt the front office will pay it. Keep an eye out for more out of Butler's camp soon.All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
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