Lakers Rumors: Role Players LA Is Looking to Add to Aging Roster

Maxwell Ogden@MaxwellOgdenCorrespondent IIIJuly 3, 2013

Apr. 17, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Chris Copeland (14) looks to pass the ball around Atlanta Hawks power forward Anthony Tolliver (4) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 9892. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers, every move they make in free agency is maximized to a level to which few organizations in all of professional sports can relate. After all, this is the franchise that got Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the same offseason.

With that being said, the Lakers learned the hard way that depth is equally as important as star power—that's why they're targeting role players in 2013.

With an aging roster that's thin on quality reserves, L.A. appears to be doing all it can to find players that fit its ideology and system. From sharpshooters to athletes, L.A. knows that it must bring on quality players to maximize the abilities of its elite.

Here's whom they're targeting.


Chris Copeland, RFA

Position: Small Forward

Age: 29

Experience: 1 Season

2012-13 Season Averages

16.89 PER, 15.4 MPG, 8.7 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 42.1% 3PT


During the 2012-13 NBA regular season, the New York Knicks found the latest unlikely success story with small forward Chris Copeland. While he may not have produced at the rate of Jeremy Lin, Copeland made the transition from the D-League and European basketball to the NBA.

According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York, the Los Angeles Lakers have already made an exploratory offer to see what it would cost to bring him on board:

You shouldn't be surprised.

Copeland, 29, averaged 8.7 points in 15.4 minutes of action during his rookie season with the Knicks. More importantly, he did so on a slash line of .479/.421/.759 and had a knack for making big shots when they were needed most.

At 6'8" and 225 pounds, Copeland certainly has the blend of size and shooting prowess that New York would love to add.

Copeland played both forward positions, which suggests that he could provide the positional versatility that Earl Clark gave the Lakers in 2012-13. The key here, however, is that Copeland can score from down low and space the floor with his shooting.

For a team that currently lacks a defined sixth man, Copeland could team with Jodie Meeks to give L.A. the quality perimeter tandem it needs off of the bench.


Wayne Ellington, UFA

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 25

Experience: 4 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

12.29 PER, 21.3 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 39.2% 3PT


Wayne Ellington played for both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies during the 2012-13 NBA regular season. In both locations, he shot the lights out, getting stronger as the year progressed.

It's hardly a surprise to hear that the Lakers are interested in bringing him on board:

For a team that was third in three-point attempts and 19th in three-point percentage, the need for shooters is undeniable.

Ellington finished the year at 39.2 percent from beyond the arc and 90.7 percent from the free throw line. He shot 42.3 percent from three-point range in Memphis and upped his scoring average to 10.4 points in 25.9 minutes on 37.1 percent shooting in Cleveland.

To put it simply, Ellington is exactly what the Lakers need.


Nick Young, UFA

Position: Shooting Guard

Age: 28

Experience: 6 Seasons

2012-13 Season Averages

13.38 PER, 23.9 MPG, 10.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 1.4 APG, 35.7% 3PT


According to Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Lakers have reached out to shooting guard Nick Young. The 28-year-old has spent the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Washington Wizards.

While his consistency has been criticized with regularity, there's no question that Young would offer the Lakers a major boost off of the bench.

Young is a 6'7", quality athlete that thrives in getting out in transition and throwing down flashy finishes. While he's not the most dynamic scorer, he thrives off of the catch and could be the swingman L.A. needs to bolster its second unit.

At worst, he's a better athlete than L.A. currently has to offer.


Other Notable Names

Dave McMenamin and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles report that the Lakers have no shortage of targets in their sights. It just so happens that all but one reported person of interest is a shooter.

Sounds like the Lakers have finally realized how poor their perimeter depth is—it only took them half a decade.

Two former Lakers are on their radar in point guard Jordan Farmar and small forward Matt Barnes. Farmar won two NBA championships with the Lakers, while Barnes was with the team from 2010 to 2012.

Barnes most recently played for the Los Angeles Clippers, going off for 30 points and 10 rebounds in their final game and providing high-level defense throughout the season.

In terms of shooters, athletic swingman Chase Budinger and veterans Carlos Delfino and Francisco Garcia are all on their radar. Budinger was injured for a majority of 2012-13 but is an explosive athlete that shoots the three-ball at a high clip, making him an ideal target.

Delfino played an extremely valuable role on Houston's thin postseason roster, while Garcia shot 38.6 percent from beyond the arc upon his trade to the Rockets.

Byron Mullens is the lone big man—you know, besides Dwight Howard—the Lakers have been reported to be chasing. This provides evidence of the Lakers' pursuit of shooters to better fit Mike D'Antoni's system.

It's hard to do anything but give a nod of approval for these efforts.


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