Offseason Moves the LA Lakers Should Have Made

Thomas Duffy@@TJDhoopsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2013

Mitch Kupchak put together a really nice offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers. But it could’ve been better.

After losing the Dwight Howard sweepstakes, LAL’s general manager signed young talent like Wesley Johnson, Jordan Farmar and Nick Young while also making a move for a veteran big man in Chris Kaman over the summer.

With training camp approaching, the Lakers also inked deals with Xavier Henry and Shawne Williams—serviceable players but certainly not game-changers.

Had the front office in Los Angeles taken a more microscopic look at its team—focusing on personality, locker room effects and overall ability rather than simply position gaps—the Lakers would be a better team heading into the 2014 season.


Nate Robinson

Outside of Kobe Bryant, who on the Lakers has sort any sort of pit bull in them?

Although Young certainly brings a ton of flavor, he doesn’t possess that killer instinct that only a handful of NBA players have in today’s game. Swaggy P just has a lot of…well…swag.

And that flair is great for L.A., it’s definitely necessary. But even after the signing of Young, the team was still missing something.

Nate Robinson is as fiery, cocky and electric a player as they come.

Had the Lakers convinced him to sign a lower-level deal—like the two-year, $4.3 million contract he agreed to with the Denver Nuggets—it would’ve been a match made in basketball heaven.

The Lakers are currently working with Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Farmar at point guard. And upon reading that list of names, it’s easy to foresee a significant amount of injuries and consequent lack of depth.

Robinson was sensational for Chicago Bulls last season, putting up about 13 points and four assists per game. In Game 4 against the Brooklyn Nets of the Bulls’ opening playoff series, the 5’9” PG dropped 23 points in the fourth quarter. He also pinned a LeBron James layup off the glass in the next round.

In the 2013 postseason, Robinson’s scoring, rebounding and shooting percentages increased from his regular season numbers.

Nate the Great is a big-time player who has always thrived in the spotlight. He would've been a star in L.A., as the Lakers play under some of the brightest lights in all of sports, let alone the NBA.

An eight-year veteran, Robinson would be able to play at either guard spot—which is essential with Bryant’s timetable to return from his Achilles injury up in the air. As of now, L.A. has very few guys who can take over a game single-handedly.

Robinson would’ve been an ideal signing for the Lakers, who reportedly showed interest in his services, according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld, but never offered a deal. The team let a perfect opportunity get away.


Tyrus Thomas

Right now, the Lakers have Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris backing up Pau Gasol at power forward, according to Rotoworld’s depth chart.

Two inexperienced rookies simply isn’t going to cut it in a season where Mike D’Antoni’s rotation will be pretty deep, and that’s why Los Angeles should have pursued Tyrus Thomas.

Thomas was amnestied by the Charlotte Bobcats over the summer, and L.A. could’ve easily snagged him off of waivers had they had the desire to.

The 27-year-old forward is no superstar, but his career averages of about eight points and five boards per game prove that he would’ve been viable backup for Gasol at power forward.

Although Kaman was a necessary signing at center, Kupchak neglected his team’s remaining lack of depth in the frontcourt. Gasol’s inevitably high minute total playing in front of two rookies could result in some injury problems (again) as the season unfolds.


Kenyon Martin

Since the team showed minimal interest in Thomas, it would’ve made sense for the Lakers to pursue Kenyon Martin.

It’s clear that K-Mart’s days would’ve been limited long-term in Los Angeles, but after seeing him resurrect his career with the New York Knicks last season, it’s evident Martin has a lot of basketball left in him.

New York picked him up midway through the 2013 season, and the 13-year veteran gave the Knicks more than his seven points and five rebounds a night indicated—he brought a much-needed fire and relentless effort every single night.

The Lakers had every opportunity to sign Martin to a one-year deal, but the Knicks eventually agreed to a contract with the 35-year-old after he didn’t receive any offers from other teams.

It could’ve been a steal for L.A., as Martin could've backed up Gasol or even given the team some minutes at center. Perhaps it was his age that scared the Lakers away, but Martin proved last season that he’s still a productive NBA player.

Despite letting some potentially perfect opportunities slip out of their hands over the summer, the Lakers should still find their way into the 2014 playoffs.

However, the road to the postseason would be much smoother if the team had signed Robinson, Thomas or Martin.


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