NBA Free Agency 2012: 8 Veteran Players Who Would Restore Promise to L.A. Lakers
The Lakers are out, the exit interviews are nearly done, and it's time to get working on the new Lakers team of the future.
After the loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder this year, and to the Dallas Mavericks last year, it's all too obvious that the Lakers need to blow the team up. No man is safe, except Kobe, and there's a good chance that we'll have an almost entirely new roster next season.
This year there are lots of great veteran free agents out there. Get excited Lakers fans, because you may be able to break out your Kwame Brown and Vladimir Radmanovic jerseys again. Okay, that's a joke, but there are some seriously good veteran free agents who could restore a ton of promise to the Lakers.
There's so much buzz around this guy right now.
Deron Williams is an elite point guard with six years of experience under his belt. Last season he averaged 21 points a game and 8.7 assists. He played for the New Jersey Nets last year, and there's speculation that he wants to be Brooklyn's first guard. However, the problem is that the Nets still have the same team, despite changing cities.
If arenas won basketball championships, then the Knicks would have as many banners as the Lakers, seeing as how New York is the Mecca of Basketball and all.
The reason the Lakers might not go for Williams is that they are looking to keep the payroll low. They've got some very high paid players, and unless they amnesty or trade one, then they are looking at paying more luxury tax.
While Rondo may have some issues, he still hasn't had as many as Andrew Bynum. Rondo averages double-doubles with 15.6 points and 13.2 assists. He's one of the best point guards in the game, and that's exactly what the Lakers need.
Sessions is a good, young point guard, but he needs grooming. Rondo is up to the task right now. He could help lead the Lakers to a championship, like he's trying to do with the Celtics.
Could you imagine Tim Duncan taking Pau Gasol's spot?
Ever since they did away with the triangle, Gasol has been nearly useless. He doesn't attack the paint and isn't a great shooter. Duncan does both these things. He is not as strong as Bynum, but the two combined would be everything the Lakers could want out of a “Twin Towers” scenario. Coach Brown also knows Duncan since they won a championship together back in San Antonio.
Duncan, however, will come with a high price tag. This again is something the Lakers are not going to take lightly. There's the chance that Duncan will just flat out want to stay in San Antonio. He knows the team, and it will likely be his last contract.
Kris Humphries is actually a really good choice for the Los Angeles Lakers. It's unfortunate that he got the bad rap he did, because he's actually just this side of being an All-Star.
Humphries is a seven-year NBA veteran. He averages a double-double with 13.8 points and 11 rebounds (these are better than Gasol's playoff averages). He also shoots 48 percent. Not only can he shoot, but Humphries is 6'9" and strong. He can muscle his way into the paint and does on many occasions.
He's been playing contract to contract, but with his external distractions behind him, Humphries may be just what the Lakers are looking for. The best news is that he'll come pretty cheap.
Lamar Odom is a tough one, given his recent season, but it seems like he's gotten himself together.
Odom went through a pretty rough summer after being crowned Sixth Man of the Year. He even considered sitting last season out. Then he found out he was traded in the botched Chris Paul-Lakers trade. Odom is an emotional guy, and that got the best of him last season. On the Mavericks, he played decently (when he showed up at all).
Here's the bottom line: Odom is a 12-year vet who's expressed that he's still got a lot of basketball to play. The Lakers could really use him. With Derek Fisher being gone, Kobe could use his friendship (especially since it looks like Pau will be gone).
I'm the first one to say Odom is too emotional, but maybe that's what the Lakers need. Bynum's blank look, and the apathetic play of everyone in Game 5 of round two said it all. Odom may be the guy they need.
The man who was runner up to Odom for Sixth Man of the Year, then went on to help lead his team to a NBA championship.
Jason Terry is a NBA vet who is as serious about his game now as he was the day he started playing basketball. One area he could really help the Lakers in is with his shooting. Terry averages 13.8 points and shoots 45 percent from the field and 50 percent from the three.
His downside is that he's old, having played 12 years in the NBA, but he's showed that there is still gas in that tank. While he's not as fast as teams like the young Thunder, he can shoot with the best of them, which is what the Lakers really need off the bench.
There's a slim chance the Celtics will let Garnett leave Boston, but if that happens, the Lakers have got to make a run at him.
Garnett is an anomaly. He's playing his 16th season in the NBA, but still laying a beating on the competition. His averages are 19.3 points per game, 10.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists. This means he's more effective than Pau Gasol, whose place he would likely be taking, unless the Lakers trade away Bynum for Garnett.
Garnett is showing in these playoffs that he's still a very viable basketball player who can help a team achieve greatness. While he has played for the Celtics all these years, the Lakers should welcome a player of his caliber...if they're willing to pay the price.
Chauncey Billups got a raw deal last season when he sustained his Achilles injury and was out for the season. He showed prior to that, though, that he can still be a formidable opponent.
Billups played for the Clippers and averaged 14.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and four assists. These numbers would be huge for the Lakers' bench. Billups might start at point guard, but would likely come off the bench, and that's where the Lakers need the most help.
Billups is very cheap as well. He'd likely need to get a bit more than the veteran minimum, because the Clippers will probably try to get him back, but that's still not too much. The Lakers can afford a few million dollars for a guy who will significantly improve the team at his position.