Breaking Down the Pros and Cons of Each LA Lakers Offseason Move
Los Angeles Lakers fans far and wide are bracing themselves for what is expected to be one of the most traumatic and demoralizing seasons in recent memory.
Without Dwight Howard manning the interior and Metta World Peace patrolling the perimeter, the Lakers are going to have to rely on their new acquisitions to shore up the gaping holes in their squad.
While their influx of serviceable big men and shooters seem to fit in better with Mike D'Antoni's original vision, this does not mean that the Lakers will automatically be better than the unorganized mess they were last season.
What they gained in able-bodied athletes and role players, they lost in sheer talent.
Without the likes of Howard, World Peace, Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison, Laker nation better hope that a more cohesive implementation of the D'Antoni system can supplement their weaknesses.
Every move the Lakers have made this offseason has served a dual purpose.
With each acquisition, the Lakers hope to keep this squad competitive enough to satiate Kobe Bryant's undying thirst to win while also retaining the financial flexibility they are set to utilize in next year's offseason.
Drafting Ryan Kelly
Selecting Ryan Kelly is definitely a low-risk, moderate-reward option for the Lakers.
While he hasn't been officially signed yet, Kelly should be able to carve his niche out as a player who sees limited playing time during garbage minutes.
There are really no cons to his acquisition.
Initially, he wouldn't see enough minutes on the court to make a true difference. He is merely a low-cost bench player with limited athleticism and decent shooting range that could allow him to thrive in Mike D'Antoni's system during very limited minutes.
Although Kelly doesn't have a lot of upside, there is no harm in developing a big man who has enough skill to score in different ways offensively.
If he can become disciplined on defense and learn how to mitigate the weaknesses stemming from his poor athleticism, he may be able to earn enough floor time to provide some depth for a very shaky frontcourt.
Re-Signing Robert Sacre
Re-signing Robert Sacre to a very economic contract isn't a bad move for the L.A. Lakers.
Making less than a million per year over the next three seasons, Sacre is a prospect that could eventually become a very serviceable role player for the Lakers.
The only negative to his signing is the risk that he may not progress as expected and ends up being more of a liability than a productive role player.
However, even that negative is mitigated because of the relatively low salary he garners as well as his third year being only partially guaranteed.
As for the pros, they definitely far outweigh the cons.
While there isn't All-Star potential in Sacre, he does conform to an old NBA adage: you cannot teach size. Sacre is listed at 7'0" tall and 260 pounds.
With that kind of girth and height, Sacre can be an intimidating presence and a source of six hard fouls per game.
If Sacre continues to improve his already competent post defense and his rebounding skills, he could see some major minutes as the backup center and power forward.
Waiving Metta World Peace
Using the amnesty clause on Metta World Peace has one very important positive.
The Lakers will save $7.7 million from his salary and much more from luxury tax fees. This move is purely a monetary move that was intended to help them acquire more players for this season.
Because his contract would have expired at the end of next season, this saved them a lot of short-term money without having any real impact on their long-term financial flexibility.
With that short-term monetary saving out of the way, the waiving of Metta World Peace yields no positives in terms of actual basketball.
Despite being an inconsistent offensive threat and a declining defensive threat, World Peace would have still been the Lakers' best perimeter defender.
His big body and toughness also made him a valid option in the post on both ends of the court. Not only could he overpower smaller players in the interior, he was also a very competent post defender.
Without his defensive versatility, the Lakers will have to rely on their young talent to step up and play with an edge.
Although it is true that the perception is that the Lakers are going to be worse next season, the prospect of being even remotely competitive is bleaker without World Peace.
Signing Nick Young
Nick Young is a very cost-effective prospect that should yield some very tangible positives for the Lakers this season.
Inconsistency is a recurring theme in Young's career. During his most consistent and competent streaks, Young has been known to go off for double-digit scoring numbers at a whim in a variety of ways.
Making his name as a high-volume shooter, Young is an adequate three-point threat that should fit right in with Mike D'Antoni's system.
Though his defense and inconsistency stem from lack of true discipline, being mentored by Kobe Bryant should help him develop into a more complete player if he takes the criticisms with a grain of salt.
The only on-court negative about this signing is the possibility that his skills will be mitigated by sharing time with Bryant at the two spot. This could result in a poor attitude and outlook on the season if he feels he isn't seeing the time he is accustomed to.
When his minutes per game eclipses the 30 minute mark, he has shown to be a very dangerous scorer who is capable of putting up close to 20 points per game.
If he is able to contribute in less minutes while upping his efficiency, he will carve out a niche as a potential sixth man.
Contract-wise, Young's two-year, $2.3 million contract with a player option on the second year is economically friendly enough to allow the Lakers to retain their financial flexibility for the 2014 offseason.
Signing Chris Kaman
Despite a dreadful season with the Dallas Mavericks, Chris Kaman has shown flashes of All-Star talent throughout his career.
While he still shot an impressive 50.7 percent from the floor and 78.8 percent from the line en-route to 10 points and close to six rebounds per game, he only played 20 minutes per game and never meshed well with the Mavericks' system.
Injuries and inconsistency has plagued Kaman throughout his career. However, with his contract only extending through next season for $3.2 million, Kaman is a cheap and temporary option that could help the Lakers tread water next season.
Knowing Mike D'Antoni, there is a chance that Kaman may not fit in at all.
As a more traditional, back-to-the-basket type center, Kaman may face the same woes as Dwight Howard did last season.
Whether it is as the starting power forward or the first big off the bench, if Pau Gasol plays center, Kaman will have to earn his playing time by showing some versatility in his offensive approach. Concurrently, Kaman will also have to use his big body to make a defensive impact.
Realistically, it is almost impossible to duplicate what Howard brought to the Lakers defensively even with a hurt back. However, if Kaman is able to gobble up rebounds at a high rate and contest shots, he will definitely see major minutes.
For $3.2 million, the Lakers should expect the worst but hope for the best from a center who has yet to find true consistency during his career.
Signing Wesley Johnson
Perhaps the rawest talent on the roster, Wesley Johnson is definitely a prospect with huge upside.
At less than $900,000, his contract only runs until the end of next season and is very cost-effective for a player with such an upside.
With enough athleticism to guard multiple positions, all he needs is discipline and good coaching to develop into a complete player.
Although Mike D'Antoni isn't the coach to truly rein in Johnson and make him into a more disciplined defender and selective shooter, playing under Kobe Bryant should at least help Johnson develop the drive to progress and develop his game.
Of course, his youth and inexperience will also lend itself to volatility and inconsistency. However, having a young, versatile and athletic prospect for less than a million is definitely a positive for a team looking to satiate both Bryant's thirst to win and management's wish to retain financial flexibility.
Like Nick Young, Johnson is a high-volume shooter with decent three-point range. With so many high-volume shooters on the team, there is a risk that players will get frustrated with their lack of touches or minutes.
To mitigate this, D'Antoni will have to establish clear roles for all of his role players. Knowing D'Antoni and the struggles the Lakers went through last year in terms of establishing roles, Johnson and Young could end up being under-utilized.
While this outcome is a definite possibility, it is worth taking for less than a million a year during a season that is expecting to be a wash anyways.
The Return of Jordan Farmar
The return of Jordan Farmar is possibly the best offseason move the Lakers have pulled off thus far.
A fan-favorite and versatile point guard, Farmar will be tasked with being the first guard off of the bench to substitute for both Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant.
With a contract that costs less than a million for one year of his services, Farmar could prove to be the bargain of the offseason.
Averaging 7.7 points, three assists and two rebounds, Farmar has shown his versatility in limited minutes on both ends of the court throughout his career.
Always averaging around 20 minutes per game throughout his career, Farmar should see more minutes than that given Nash's durability issues.
At only 26-years old, Farmar should continue to progress and develop. With a new focus on defense, Farmar should be a two-way threat with his proficiency as a ball thief and range as a shooter.
Shooting 36.7 percent from three-point range for his career, Farmar fits into D'Antoni's offense perfectly and should be productive right off the bat. His experience utilizing the pick-and-roll during his stint in Turkey should translate into this offense well.
The Lakers have defined this offseason by making low-cost acquisitions that could possibly yield major rewards. Farmar defines this theme with his low-cost contract and versatility.