Los Angeles Lakers fans may have to make do with another season of struggle even with the return of their hero Kobe Bryant to the Staples Center court in 2014-15.
But, according to reports from ESPN, the famous franchise is already preparing plans for 2015 free agency, with two of the Western Conference rising stars in their sights - namely Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic.
Both players were integral in helping the Phoenix Suns achieve modest success last season.
But with Bledsoe yet to agree on a new deal this offseason and Dragic coming into the final year of his three year deal there is the potential that both will enter the open market next summer.
"The Lakers, for example, are just one team league sources say would likely make a hard run at both of them, based on the premise that the Suns couldn't afford the cost of paying both at that point, theoretically making either Bledsoe or Dragic gettable."
Bledsoe and the Suns have failed to make much progress on a new deal and with just 29 days until a compromise must be reached in one form or another it looks increasingly likely that the 24-year-old guard will sign a qualifying offer with Phoenix.
Most often with qualifying deals the player refuses to sign a long-term deal with the same franchise and as such this would play into the Lakers hands come 2015, with the purple and gold waiting patiently in the wings to pounce.
With the Lakers desperate to upgrade their roster next summer they have been linked with a host of big money moves for the free agency class of 2014 and Eric Bledsoe would definitely warrant one such offer if he can repeat his impressive 2013-14 performances during the next campaign.
The Lakers are crying out for a point guard now nevermind next summer and with their offseason work this summer ensuring they will have cap space to burn come 2015 a move for either Dragic or Bledsoe would be welcomed by the Lakers nation.
Whilst many may see Bledsoe as the more appealing option, Dragic at present looks the more likely to be an unrestricted free agent when the 2014-15 season draws to a close.
The Slovenian guard has improved year on year throughout his NBA career to date, recording 20.3 points and the 2014 NBA Most Improved Player Award last season. His improved form means that the Lakers will face steep competition for his signature should their 'hard run' materialize however, with ESPN noting that Dragic's former team the Houston Rockets are considering making a move come 2015.
Whilst there is a lot of time between now and the summer of 2015 it does at least seem that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Lakers fans.
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