The Los Angeles Lakers are about to head into the All-Star break with a record close to .500 (25-28 prior to playing the Clippers on Thursday night), but will still be without Pau Gasol for at least a few more weeks.
According to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, the Spaniard will not need surgery for the torn plantar fascia on his right foot, but should still be out until mid-to-late March if the original timetable holds up.
If the organization is going to add a backup big man to soak some minutes while the former all-star is rehabilitating, now is the time to do it.
Let’s take a look at some of the best available options to replace Gasol with while he recovers over the next month or so.
Louis Amundson Now Available
According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Los Angeles is one team that has already considered bringing in the 6’9”, 225-pound reserve.
Ken Berger @KBergNBA
Among teams that have internally discussed Amundson are the Lakers, Knicks and Sixers, source says.2013-2-12 21:47:00
Although his career averages are only 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds, Amundson was a solid contributor for the Indiana Pacers during their 2012 playoff run and plays with the kind of heart that the Lakers need at this juncture.
While “Sweet Lou” wouldn’t be needed to contribute more than a few minutes a night, he could give some of the L.A. bigs a much-needed breather and inject some life into the second unit.
Kenyon Martin Still Waiting
It’s hard to believe that Kenyon Martin is still jobless, as the 12-year veteran is arguably the most skilled power forward available in free agency.
The 6’9”, 240-pound behemoth has the brute strength to bang inside and has a soft touch around the basket. That much is evident in his career averages of 13.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per contest.
K-Mart was last with the Clippers in 2012 after playing in China, appearing in 42 regular-season games, while helping provide depth on their way to the Western Conference semifinals.
With a disabled player exception available to use (due to Jordan Hill’s season-ending injury), they should once again be throwing Martin’s name around as a possible signing over the All-Star break.
Already on the Roster?
It seems that coach Mike D’Antoni and Kupchak have come to the consensus that the players to fill in for Gasol are already on the roster.
ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne recently reported that the organization has no plans to bring in a free agent, even with a roster spot open and an exception to burn.
Mark Medina of the Daily News noted that D’Antoni feels this just may be more of a burden for a team that simply can’t afford any more issues at this point in time:
It would add somebody who doesn't know what they're doing and it could take awhile. You're playing games you have to win and we might not even play them. That's a hard thing.
The last thing the Lakers have right now is time. They are racing against the schedule and need wins now to make the playoffs.
Expect the coach to continue leaning on Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Antawn Jamison and even Robert Sacre at times to get things done.