With a record of just 15-12, the scuffling Los Angeles Lakers obviously need to make some improvements. Star guard Kobe Bryant realizes that and giving his blessing to sign Gilbert Arenas proves he is desperate for a move to be made.
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak intends to watch Arenas' private workout to see if he might have interest in signing him. The Kobe stamp of approval certainly points toward Arenas soon being a Laker, but would the move actually be helpful?
Right now the only players that are really contributing for the Lakers are Bryant and bigs Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. With that in mind, it's obvious that Los Angeles needs some backcourt help, but Arenas clearly isn't the player he used to be.
Arenas has averaged at least 25 points per game in three different seasons, but after multiple knee injuries, Arenas is a shell of his former self. After being traded from the Washington Wizards to the Orlando Magic last season, Arenas put up just eight points and three assists per contest.
Seeing as the Lakers have little depth at point guard with veterans Derek Fisher and Steve Blake getting the lion's share of the minutes, Arenas would probably be asked to do a lot. Bryant has always essentially been the Lakers' point guard as he has been responsible for bringing the ball up the court and distributing, so Arenas would likely be the main spot-up shooter.
Since Arenas lacks explosion and has never been the greatest playmaker, that might be the ideal circumstance for him. Arenas shot a mere 34.4 percent from the field with the Magic last season, though, and a lousy 27.5 percent from beyond the arc. If he puts up similar numbers should the Lakers sign him, he would be a major albatross.
Is Kobe Bryant desperate for the Lakers to improve?
The issue is that the Lakers don't have a ton of options in terms of improving the roster. They can make a blockbuster trade to acquire a point guard like Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, but that involves trading away a major asset like Gasol, so it may not really be an upgrade at all.
Additionally, the free-agent market is bone dry and Arenas is really the only available player of note. Bryant obviously realizes this and that is why he is so willing to endorse the signing. Arenas has never been able to play second fiddle during his career and that is precisely what he will have to do in L.A.
In fact, he'll have to adjust to being the fourth scoring option behind Bryant, Gasol and Bynum if the Lakers sign him. The risk of bringing him in is negligible since it won't cost much, but it seems like a move that is destined to fail.
Bryant may not even believe that it will actually work, but he realizes that the team needs a major shakeup of some kind, so it's Arenas or bust.