Bargain Bin Free-Agent Options for LA Lakers to Fill out Roster
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Who will the Los Angeles Lakers pursue to fill out their roster?
Needless to say, don’t expect any big-name signings to arrive in Tinseltown over the next few weeks.
An injury-plagued 2012-13 season helped Los Angeles see the importance of depth. Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant all missed time due to injury. It was a large factor in why the Lakers finished just 45-37 last year.
With two open roster spots, it would be in the team’s best interest to fill them out carefully.
Luckily, there are still several low-cost options out there for Los Angeles.
Lou Amundson, F, 30
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Career Per-Game Averages: 12.8 minutes, 3.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 49.0 FG%
One way or another, Lou Amundson hopes to be in Los Angeles by the start of the season.
Looking at Amundson’s numbers, it might not be clear as to why teams would want him. But that’s not entirely his fault.
Over seven years in the NBA, Amundson has played for eight different teams. When moving as much as he has, it’s really tough to establish yourself on the roster and break into the rotation. In fact, Amundson has only averaged double-digit minutes in four seasons—two of them were with the same team.
With more time on the court, he should be more effective. Amundson has averaged 10.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per 36 minutes throughout his career. On the Lakers—who have a thin frontcourt—he should get that chance.
Shawne Williams, F, 27
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Career Per-Game Averages: 16.4 minutes, 5.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, 16.4 minutes, 40.7 FG%, 33.5 FG%
Head coach Mike D’Antoni knows Shawne Williams all too well.
In fact, he could even be credited for resurrecting the 27-year-old’s career.
During his first three years in the league, Williams struggled both on and off the court. However, he seemed to finally find his groove while playing under D’Antoni in 2010-11 with the New York Knicks.
In 64 contests, Williams averaged 7.1 points and 3.7 rebounds over 20.7 minutes per game. He also shot 42.6 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from beyond the arc.
His versatility and shooting touch on the wing made Williams a valuable rotation piece for the Knicks.
According to ESPN New York’s Ian Begley, the Lakers have invited the five-year veteran to training camp. D’Antoni must be trying to see if the magic is still there.
There’s no doubt Williams would be a tremendous asset to Los Angeles’ bench. However, the verdict is still out to see if he can recover from his latest disastrous stint with the New Jersey Nets in 2011-12—4.5 points over 20.6 minutes per game on just 28.6 percent shooting.
Chris Douglas-Roberts, G/F, 26
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Career Per-Game Averages: 20.3 minutes, 7.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 44.3 FG%
Chris Douglas-Roberts was so close to realizing his dream of playing with the Lakers, but, on the final day of training camp, he was let go.
The 26-year-old is eager to try again.
According to Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, playing with Los Angeles means a whole lot to Douglas-Roberts:
I think they’re interested. They were interested last year, but things happen. It was a numbers game, which I fully understand. But I definitely think this is a good fit and it’s why I’m back this summer.
I’m willing to die for this. It’s as simple as that.”
With the Lakers’ Summer League team, Douglas-Roberts made a case that he belongs, averaging 8.6 points, 1.8 assists and 1.6 rebounds over 23.2 minutes per game. He actually finished second on the team in assists.
For a second straight year, Douglas-Roberts will likely get the invite to training camp. But what does he bring to the team?
The four-year veteran has the talent to play at both shooting guard and small forward. Given time on the court, Douglas-Roberts tends to make the most of it—in 12 starts with the New Jersey Nets in 2009-10, he averaged 15.1 points and 5.0 rebounds on 41.7 percent shooting.
Los Angeles could use a guy like Douglas-Roberts off the bench.
Marcus Landry, F, 27
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Career Per-Game Averages: 6.2 minutes, 2.4 points, 1.1 rebounds, 37.2 FG%
The star of the Lakers’ Summer League team was hands down Marcus Landry.
In five contests, the 27-year-old averaged 15.2 points and 4.2 rebounds over 26.8 minutes per game. He also shot 42.1 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three-point range.
As expected, Los Angeles has shown interest in the forward per Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times.
The addition would be great for the Lakers. It would give the team a dangerous outside shooter on the wings. And the Summer League wasn't just a one-time thing for Landry.
He also showed off his talents at the D-League last season, averaging 16.5 points and 5.0 rebounds on 42.8 percent shooting from downtown. Landry even took home the 2013 D-League Three-Point Shooting Contest.
For a Los Angeles team that ranked third in three-point field-goal attempts last year, this move is a no-brainer.
Lamar Odom, F, 33
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Career Per-Game Averages: 33.4 minutes, 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 46.3 FG%
Over seven seasons and two NBA titles, Lamar Odom gave his all to the Lakers day-in and day-out. During the last two years—with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers—the 33-year-old has looked out of place.
Might be time for Odom to return home.
There’s a good chance that he’s holding out hope that the Lakers will make an offer.
Although Odom hasn’t shown much over these past two years, there’s still hope that a reunion can change things. Only three years ago he averaged 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game on 53 percent shooting—a career high.
Sure, there will be risks. But at such a cheap price, Los Angeles would be crazy not to jump at the possibility.