With Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash coming back this season healthier and the organization still in search of a new head coach, Los Angeles has been active this offseason. Not only did the team trade for high-priced point guard Jeremy Lin, but the Lakers also already signed No. 7 overall pick Julius Randle to his rookie contract.
Here are the latest pieces of news from the Lakers and what each addition means for the franchise moving forward.
Jeremy Lin Trade Completed
The Houston Rockets were determined to move point guard Lin’s contract this offseason, and it was the Lakers that were willing to eat the over-priced salary and add the talented player for the right return.
Los Angeles traded away the rights to center Sergei Lishchuk for Lin, a future first-round pick and a 2015 second-round pick. This was a no-brainer deal for the Lakers and further proof that the organization is heading in the right direction.
When asked about the trade, general manager Mitch Kupchak told The Associated Press, via ESPN, about what the deal means for Los Angeles on and off the court:
This trade allows us to acquire a solid player who will make us a better team, as well as draft picks to improve our team in the future, while at the same time allowing us to maintain financial flexibility. In addition to what he'll bring us on the court, we think Jeremy will be warmly embraced by our fans and our community.
The Lakers needed to add depth at point guard to make up for the loss of Steve Blake and the injury concerns that plague Nash. Lin is more than capable of starting or coming off the bench, and he can teach a young player like Kendall Marshall how to play the game the right way.
Lin will make $14,898,938 this season (only $8 million will count against the salary cap), but he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2015. This is a wise short-term investment that will help Los Angeles on and off the court.
Lakers Lock Up Julius Randle
The Los Angeles Lakers need serious depth and skill in the low post, and the team addressed the power forward position by selecting former Kentucky freshman Julius Randle at No. 7 overall in the 2014 NBA draft.
Los Angeles officially signed Randle on Sunday before the team’s Summer League against the New Orleans Pelicans.
When asked about putting pen to paper on his rookie deal, Randle told Brett Pollakoff of ProBasketballTalk.com about how quickly it came to fruition and how fast he was out on the court for his Lakers debut:
I signed it like 20 minutes before the game. We were on the way to the game, and I was in my polo and shorts. My agent called and he said ‘Hey, Mitch has landed. We’re signing today.’ I was like, what? I don’t even have my shoes. I had to run off the bus, go get my shoes, take a car up here to sign and then get ready to play. That’s the first five-on-five I’ve done since the national championship game. It was good to finally get out there and play, and start competing again.
For a player with only one year of college experience, he was the clear on-court leader for a young Kentucky team. Despite the youth of the players on the roster, Randle managed to add 15 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 30.8 minutes per game.
With Jordan Hill and Ryan Kelly listed as the only other power forwards on the roster for the Lakers—former starter Pau Gasol signed with the Chicago Bulls as a free agent—Randle will be asked to step in and make an immediate impact.
As seen when presented with the same opportunity in college, Randle will step up and shine.
*Stats via NBA.com.
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