Lakers News & Rumors 2014: Los Angeles Planning to Form Trio of Kevin Love, Eric Bledsoe, and Kobe Bryant?
The Los Angeles Lakers are on pace to miss the NBA playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 NBA season, creating speculation that the team will undergo a major facelift in the offseason.
Kobe Bryant will continue to be the face of the franchise after the 35-year-old guard signed a lucrative two-year, $48.5 million contract extension earlier in the season.
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The Lakers are expected to surround the 15-time All-Star with young talents, and recent reports suggest that Eric Bledsoe could be the team's primary target next summer.
An ESPN Insider-only report indicated that the Phoenix Suns will look to make sure to retain Bledsoe over the next several years.
The Suns are in a good position to do so since they can match any offer to the restricted free agent, but the Lakers are reportedly willing to overpay the promising point guard—an offer that could make the Suns think twice.
"Speaking of the Suns, I was told the Los Angeles Lakers might go hard after Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe, who is out the rest of the season with a knee injury. Bledsoe will be a restricted free agent next summer, but I'm told the Lakers might be willing to overpay him to pry him away from Phoenix," the ESPN Insider report noted, via the Examiner.
Bledsoe, who is averaging 18.0 points to go along with 5.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game this season, could be open to the idea of playing in Los Angeles again. The 24-year-old point guard spent the first three seasons of his NBA career with the L.A. Clippers.
Aside from the former Kentucky point guard, the report also suggested that there is no stopping Kevin Love from fulfilling his desire to play for the Los Angeles Lakers.
An anonymous NBA general manager was cited in the report, saying that most GMs are already 100 percent sure the All-Star power forward will leave the Minnesota Timberwolves to sign with the Lakers when he hits free agency in 2015.
The Love-to-Lakers scenario could also be fast-tracked either next summer or before next season's trade deadline if the Timberwolves decide to trade him instead of losing the former UCLA standout for nothing in the summer of 2015.