Best Potential Veteran's Minimum Free Agent Options for Los Angeles Lakers
At this point in the 2014 NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have nearly filled their roster with the recent signing of Carlos Boozer, as well as the re-signings of Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and Ryan Kelly.
The Lakers haven't made many major headlines this summer, but they've earned praise from one of the most important people they need to impress—if not the most important.
Bryant may be content with the acquisitions thus far, but there could be a move to bring in a veteran on the horizon. There are plenty of solid players on the market, and L.A. would be smart to target a few who just might sign a minimum contract for a chance to join the allure of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Lakers have an incredibly crowded frontcourt. The 4 and 5 spots comprise Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre, Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle and Ed Davis, and bringing in another power forward doesn't make sense, unless that player is versatile enough to spread out to the perimeter.
Enter Shawn Marion.
Bringing in Marion would allow the veteran to play his more natural position of small forward, and it would help the Los Angeles Lakers' perimeter production both on offense and defense. Marion has been a strong three-and-D presence for much of his career, and that's something the Lakers need entering 2014-15.
Convincing Marion to take the veteran's minimum might be difficult for a team not in contention for a title, but the longer the 36-year-old remains a free agent, the more leverage a team like the Lakers have. This would be a fun scenario for fans in L.A. to watch, and it's one worth looking into if you're Mitch Kupchak.
The Andrew Bynum saga has been a strange one to follow since the big man's departure from the Los Angeles Lakers. He's only played in 26 games since the 2011-12 season, and he's made more headlines for his hairstyles than his play on the court.
From a talent perspective, Bynum was once considered the best center in the game behind Dwight Howard. He was a starter in the 2012 All-Star Game, but it's been injures that have dominated his entire career.
As Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com states, "Yes, his knees are a problem. But haven’t they always been a problem? If it is a question of pain management, he is worth a looksee at the veteran’s minimum."
What complicates the story here even further is that Marc Berman of the New York Post has written that the 26-year-old is considering skipping the 2014-15 season to undergo a "Germany-based knee therapy called 'The Regenokine Program' that would require an extra long rehab."
Bynum may not be one of the top available players on the market in terms of recent production, but if the Lakers are willing to stick him behind Hill and Sacre while he rehabs, it could be an investment that pays dividends down the road.
Like Andrew Bynum, Emeka Okafor could come in and provide depth at the center position for the Los Angeles Lakers. Also like his fellow big man, Okafor is coming off a year that was dominated by injuries.
Unlike Bynum, Okafor's lost year to a neck injury was an anomaly compared to virtually every other season during his 10 years in the league. Getting Okafor on a minimum contract is possible because of the questions surrounding his health, but there are bound to be suitors because of his ability to protect the rim.
If L.A. can in fact bring in Okafor, it will be to ensure that it has someone to be a force down low. Hill and Sacre are currently the two centers listed on the roster, but someone with Okafor's toughness is sure to challenge for minutes as long as he's healthy.
Al-Farouq Aminu is only 23 years old. He hardly counts as a veteran in the traditional sense, but you must remember that he's entering his fifth year in the league and is coming off of a solid season with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Getting Aminu to commit to a true minimum contract could be difficult, but he's yet to draw much attention as it pertains to high-paying offers. He's still very raw on the offensive side of the floor, as his three-point percentage is below 30 percent for his career, but he has the length and athleticism to be a potential lockdown defender.
Chances are, someone will pay the former Wake Forest product based on potential alone. But if the Lakers are willing to sell him on things such as the L.A. lifestyle and potential over the next few seasons, this could be a pitch worth making.
Jameer Nelson spent the first 10 years of his career with the Orlando Magic, but year 11 will have him wearing a different uniform, courtesy of free agency.
There is conflicting thoughts out there about whether or not Nelson is willing to take a minimum contract. In a tweet from the Daily Herald's Mike McGraw, the reporter states that he "doubts" the point guard accepts such a deal. Conversely, ESPN's Amin Elhassan states with confidence that, "Jameer is a vet min guy."
What we know for sure is that the veteran would be a great addition for L.A. It's clear, following the release of Kendall Marshall, that this group has the potential to be crowded in the backcourt, but with Steve Nash's health a concern moving forward, having someone with Nelson's skill set would only benefit a team that has been ravaged by injuries the past few seasons.