NBA Rumors: Otto Porter, Other Warriors Free Agents Draw Interest From Lakers

The expensive core of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis has the Los Angeles Lakers strapped for cash ahead of 2022 NBA free agency.

Working with a limited checkbook, the Lakers are reportedly interested in former Warriors players Otto Porter Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson and Nemanja Bjelica, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Buha listed Porter as one of eight players the Lakers plan to target with their mid-tier taxpayer exception, estimated at $6.5 million. The other players on this list? Nicolas Batum, Gary Harris, TJ Warren, Caleb Martin, Cody Martin and Danuel House.

But the Lakers’ interest in players who contributed to the Warriors’ 2021-22 championship doesn’t stop there. Per Buha, Los Angeles is intrigued by Nemanja Bjelica and Juan Toscano-Anderson to sign as a mid-level partial exception or minimum contracts.

Porter signed for the veteran minimum with Golden State last summer and is now an unrestricted free agent. He averaged 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game during the regular season and played a crucial defensive role in the playoffs, averaging nearly a steal per game while shooting at 40.4% in depth.

The Warriors did not offer qualifying offers to Toscano-Anderson or Bjelica on Wednesday, making both players unrestricted free agents.

Toscano-Anderson had a limited role off the bench, but he provided Golden State with immediate energy and athleticism on the court. The Oakland native also represented the Warriors in the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk contest.

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Like Porter, Bjelica signed a one-year contract for the minimum last summer. He recorded 6.1 points per game and drained triples at a 36.2% clip in 71 regular season games.

The Lakers will have the opportunity to bring back one or more of the former Warriors players when the NBA free agency period officially begins at 3 p.m. Thursday.

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Christy J. Olson