While the Los Angeles Lakers were unsuccessful in landing big prizes like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony this offseason, they have been busy over the past several weeks to say the least.
The Lakers have made a few under-the-radar acquisitions and managed to keep some of their own players in L.A. as well. While Los Angeles will probably have a difficult time vying for a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference this season, it could easily be better than expected.
There is still plenty of time to improve as the offseason is far from over, and the Lakers are currently linked to some intriguing names. Here is the latest buzz surrounding the purple and gold as they continue their march back toward relevancy.
As the No. 2 overall selection in the 2008 NBA draft, Michael Beasley was expected to be a superstar. He has shown flashes of brilliance over the course of his career and has even had a couple of extremely productive seasons, but he hasn't quite put it all together. He is only 25 years of age, though, and could potentially break out at any time.
Beasley averaged eight points per game off the bench for the Miami Heat last season and was a model citizen. Beasley's attitude has always been one of the biggest question marks surrounding him, but he seems to be maturing. Because of that, Alex Kennedy of BasketballInsiders.com is reporting that Beasley has garnered plenty of interest:
Several teams have expressed interest in free agent Michael Beasley. Teams like the efficiency and maturity he showed last season in Miami.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 26, 2014
Although the Lakers have a glut of forwards, including Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle, Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and many others, Kennedy believes that L.A. would be a logical landing spot for Beasley:
Michael Beasley is currently training in LA with Kevin Durant. Lakers could make sense for Beasley. He'd be a good fit to fill out roster.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 26, 2014
It is unclear if the Lakers have any real interest in Beasley, but he seems like an ideal low-risk, high-reward candidate. The Lakers need to put as much talent as they possibly can around Kobe Bryant, and Beasley is the type of player who can be a complementary 20-point scorer if utilized correctly.
Beasley is a big man who can shoot the lights out and rebound as well. He is also young and has only scratched the surface of his potential. The Lakers need to start looking toward the future, and Beasley is the type of player who could help them down the line and currently as well.
If the Lakers decide against signing a player like Beasley, there are still other options on the market. Among them is 15-year NBA veteran Shawn Marion, who remains one of the most versatile and useful forwards in the league at the age of 36.
"The Matrix" is no longer the same player who made four All-Star teams and churned out double-doubles for the Phoenix Suns, but he does a little bit of everything and knows how to win. Marion spent five fruitful seasons with the Dallas Mavericks; however, his comments seem to suggest that he is on the way out, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:
It was memorable, baby. It's hard to say it wasn't fun. We had a great run and made the playoffs four of five years and won a championship. We set goals every year, and most years we reached them. And to win a championship, it was unbelievable. I wish we could have made a couple more runs at it, but it is what it is.
Now that Marion is officially on the open market, one can only assume that a number of teams have interest. Per Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram, the Lakers are among the teams that might be willing to bring him in:
Marion would be a solid fit in Los Angeles since he could help mentor some of the young role players. He is also an excellent rebounder and remains one of the NBA's better defenders. Defense could potentially be an issue for the Lakers this year with offensive-minded players like Jeremy Lin, Young and others on the roster. Marion would add another dimension, though.
The Lakers might shy away from acquiring Marion after already bringing in a veteran forward in the form of Boozer, but Marion is a different type of player, and he would definitely make L.A. a better team overall.
It took an unexpectedly long time, but the Lakers finally settled on a new head coach. Byron Scott was officially hired on July 28, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, which means that he can now start putting his staff together.
A well-respected coach like Scott shouldn't have any problem luring in some quality assistants. As it turns out, he may very well have a big name on his radar already, per Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times:
Gary Payton, a candidate for Bucks coaching staff, is also a candidate for Lakers staff under likely new head coach Byron Scott.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) July 24, 2014
Gary Payton is a Hall of Famer and unquestionably one of the greatest defensive point guards in NBA history. He played for the Lakers from 2003 through 2004 as well, so he already has a connection to the franchise. Although he has never served in a coaching capacity, Payton is certainly the type of person who players would be willing to listen to.
Who is most likely to end up with the Lakers in 2014-15?
Payton would be especially good for someone like Lin as he looks to return to the form that made him a sudden star with the New York Knicks. Lin tends to be a liability defensively, and there would be no one better to learn the nuances of defense from than "The Glove."
You never know for sure whether or not someone will excel in the coaching ranks until they are given an opportunity. Payton deserves a shot based on everything he accomplished as a player, and it will be interesting to see if Scott feels as though Payton is ready.
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