Under-the-Radar 2013 NBA Free Agent Bargains LA Lakers Must Consider
The Los Angeles Lakers have virtually no cap room heading into the summer of 2013. Although they possess a number of expiring contracts, the only one significant enough to create cap flexibility is Dwight Howard's.
However, there are financial considerations that make returning to the City of Angels (via ESPN.com) for the long term in Howard's best interests.
Should Howard re-sign, the Lakers will find themselves with decisions to make regarding Earl Clark (unrestricted free agent), Antawn Jamison (unrestricted free agent) and Jodie Meeks (team option for 2013-14).
With a bench in need of a makeover, here are a few under-the-radar options the Lakers would be wise to pursue with their limited cap room this summer.
Marquis Daniels isn't a prolific scorer (a career 7.9 points per-game average), but that's not the type of player the Los Angeles Lakers are in the market for this summer.
At age 32, Daniels is still an athletic wing, one who can disrupt passing lanes and use his 6'6'', 200-pound frame to get physical around the basket when necessary.
While he started 33 games last season with the Milwaukee Bucks and played an average of 18.4 minutes per night, Daniels also fits the mold of a prototypical energy player off the bench.
In need of players who are committed on the defensive end, the Lakers' front office should target Daniels this summer.
At one point in time, Dorell Wright had earned the title of prolific three-point shooter. During the 2010-11 season with the Golden State Warriors, Wright poured in a league-high 194 threes, not coincidentally the same season during which he averaged a career-high 16.4 points per game.
Since then Wright has struggled to regain that long-range shooting form. Although he shot 36 percent from beyond the arc in 2011-12 and 37.4 percent from deep in 2012-13, Wright saw his minutes decrease as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers in each of the last two seasons.
Going in and out of Doug Collins' rotation last season, Wright simply couldn't get into a groove.
A move back to the West Coast could be beneficial for both Wright and the Los Angeles Lakers. Wright's a capable three-point shooter who excels off the catch and would be an improvement over incumbent specialist Jodie Meeks.
Standing 6'7'', Wright can play as an over-sized 2 or an under-sized 4, and he is far more versatile than the 6'4'' Meeks.
Keeping with the theme of inexpensive three-point shooters, Anthony Morrow feels like a match with the Los Angeles Lakers.
A career 42.4 percent shooter from three, Morrow is the sort of body the Lakers are looking for to stretch the floor.
With hopes of building around Dwight Howard, Morrow could prove to be a shooter that helps bolster the Lakers' expanding repertoire of inside-outside schemes.
As Kobe Bryant rehabs from his Achilles injury, the Lakers will be dependent on a collection of players to pick up the slack in the scoring column.
Like Dorell Wright, Morrow is at his best moving without the ball and shooting off the catch, and he could be the sort of scoring presence the Lakers need with Bryant injured.
Elton Brand was once a pricey option for teams in need of a veteran power forward, but since being amnestied by the Philadelphia 76ers, he can be had cheap.
Brand signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks prior to the 2012-13 campaign, and at age 34, he is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Should the Lakers let Antawn Jamison walk, Brand would be an adequate replacement. Although he doesn't possess the same skill set as a stretch 4, Brand provides more in terms of toughness and defense than Jamison.
With averages of 7.2 points, six rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game this past season, Brand could be a nice alternative to Jamison should the Lakers look to strengthen their frontcourt.
This is arguably the most idealistic signing on the list, but it's an intriguing one nonetheless.
DeJuan Blair has never been a staple of Gregg Popovich's rotation in San Antonio, evidenced by the career-low 14 minutes per game he played this season.
However, minimal playing time combined with his undersized presence may make Blair a steal for a franchise this summer.
While Blair may still possess some untapped potential, he doesn't exactly have the ideal build in today's NBA, as his 6'7'', 265-pound frame makes it difficult to peg him as either a 4 or a 5. Yet his hustle and workman-like efforts on the glass are what make him a great fit in L.A.
Still just 24 years old, Blair could be an excellent fit as a rotational big alongside Jordan Hill.
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