5 Free Agents L.A. Lakers Must Target to Bolster Small Forward Positoin

Bryant Knox@@BryantKnoxFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

5 Free Agents L.A. Lakers Must Target to Bolster Small Forward Positoin

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    The Los Angeles Lakers have made the necessary moves to improve this summer, but the small forward position remains shallow heading into the 2012-13 NBA season.

    Despite adding Steve Nash to the starting lineup and Antawn Jamison as a key reserve, the bench in L.A is still relatively weak and the small forward spot needs some serious bolstering before the new year begins.

    Without any real options at the 3-spot off the bench—and Metta World Peace seemingly a viable amnesty candidate until the day his contract runs out—the team should look at a handful of remaining free agents to help balance out the rotation.

    They’re not going to get an all-star, but with one of the best starting lineups that the league has to offer, the team simply needs someone they can rely on to come in and provide solid minutes behind World Peace next season.

Mickael Pietrus

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    According to Jay King of MassLive.com, Mickael Pietrus will not be returning to the Boston Celtics next season.

    Pietrus averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in his only year with the Celtics.

    He has historically proven he can hit shots from behind the arch, but his three-point percentage dropped last season to just 33.5 percent.

    His numbers may not be where they once were, but the 30-year-old small forward would certainly provide the team with a gritty defensive presence out on the perimeter next year.

    If he’s looking for a starting spot, he may choose to look past L.A.; but if he's willing to help add depth to a potential contender out West, the Lakers would be a prime location for the nine-year veteran.

Martell Webster

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    Having declared for the 2005 NBA draft straight out of high school, Webster has never fully lived up to the expectations of a No. 6 pick, but he certainly knows his role as a shooter.

    As a threat to score from beyond the arch, Webster could come in and provide the kind of bench scoring that the team was missing a good portion of last season.

    Webster has shot 37.4 percent from behind the three-point line and has averaged 8.4 points throughout his career.

    If you remove the fact that he is a former lottery pick, you see a player whose offensive abilities could be a nice complement to the defensive mindset of Metta World Peace.

Matt Barnes

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    Matt Barnes has spent the last two years with the Los Angeles Lakers, and is certainly a viable option to bring back again next season.

    So far with the team, he’s been a solid presence off the bench, as he rebounds and defends well for a perimeter-focused position.

    He can even hit the occasional three-point shot, although his career percentage is down around 33 percent.

    The Lakers could look to go in a different direction, as they haven't found much success in the past two years; but if the team feels that bringing in Steve Nash is all the change they need, bringing back a player who is familiar with the system could be a good step toward continuing to improve.

Terrence Williams

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    Terrence Williams has yet to truly make a name for himself, but at just 25 years old, the three-year player has room to grow.

    Shot selection has been an issue for Williams in the past, but with a scorer in Kobe Bryant to whom he can defer, and a facilitator in Steve Nash who can get him the ball in the right spots, his primary role would be to make the right play when his number was called.

    He’s not going to provide outstanding shooting from the perimeter, but having averaged 8.8 points in just 20.5 minutes with the Sacramento Kings last year, he could certainly come off the bench and put the ball in the basket when need be.

Tracy Mcgrady

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    Tracy McGrady has at times been more of a shooting guard than a small forward, but at 6’8”, 225 pounds, he’s no stranger to playing any position out on the perimeter.

    At 33 years old, McGrady doesn’t appear to have much left in the tank, as he averaged just 5.3 points and three rebounds per game with the Atlanta Hawks last season.

    He has the talent to still score on occasion, but his length may be his biggest remaining asset, as his long frame and freakish wingspan could disturb players while on the defensive end.

    His best days are clearly behind him, but he could be a cheap way to fill the roster and add talent to next year's team.