NBA Rumors: Delonte West's Baggage Shouldn't Keep Lakers from Signing Him

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2012

Free-agent point guard Delonte West would provide a possible solution to the Los Angeles Lakers' point guard issues.

According to ESPN's Marc Stein, that's actually a possibility:

No firm decisions made yet but Lakers, I'm told, ARE weighing pros and cons of creating roster spot to sign Delonte West to ease PG crisis

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 12, 2012

Even when Chris Duhon and Darius Morris manage to score points—which isn't often—both players struggle to defend. That became more obvious Tuesday night when Kyrie Irving dropped 28 points and dished 11 assists in his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers lineup.

West isn't the world's best defender, but he's a definite upgrade over either one of those players. Even when Steve Nash comes back, he would provide a much better option as the team's primary backup ball-handler.

Stein does mention that there would be an issue:

One issue, of course, is Lakers have full 15-man roster. Among reasons they didn't sign D-Fish before Mavs: L.A. wanted to move one PG first

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) December 12, 2012

Clearing that roster spot could be difficult, but sacrificing someone like Robert Sacre wouldn't be a bad idea right now. It would leave the Lakers without a third-string center, but this is a win-now situation. The future has to be considered, but not at the expense of everything else.

Granted, West was cut from the Dallas Mavericks before the season began. He hasn't always been the easiest guy to handle, and that factor has to be weighed in this situation. 

On a Lakers team that's filled with veteran players, how would West respond? I'd like to think that Kobe Bryant and Co. would motivate him, but he could ruffle some feathers, which would be a problem.

But that doesn't mean that the Lakers shouldn't try. This team needs talent right now above all else.

Stein does mention that the Lakers will look around, and he believes that Mike James and Jonny Flynn are two other possibilities. If that's the case, then the argument for signing West is even stronger. He's certainly better than either one of those players.

In his eight-year career, West has averaged just over nine points per game, 3.6 assists and nearly three rebounds. Add in nearly two steals per game, and you have yourself a capable combo guard. He's a sound ball-handler who isn't afraid to attack the rim, and he's a career 37 percent three-point shooter.

All of that would help Los Angeles. The team needs another threat on the perimeter. Once Nash gets back, West would instantly upgrade the team's second unit, and that's also something that has to happen for this team to improve.

West probably isn't fun to deal with all the time, but neither is losing games. The Lakers have done an awful lot of the latter to start the season, and it's time for the team to find a consistent option to handle the ball.

West is the best guy available right now, and the Lakers should do what it takes to land him.