After finishing last season with an abysmal 27-55 record, the Los Angeles Lakers made major offseason changes, but the rumors now claim the franchise has a few more possible additions to make to the roster.
With reports surfacing of an interest in free agent small forward Michael Beasley and rumors circulating about which undrafted players Los Angeles will be inviting to camp, there is still a chance the depth chart could look much different when the 2014-15 regular season begins.
Here are the latest offseason rumors surrounding the Lakers.
Michael Beasley an Option for Los Angeles?
Locking up Nick Young and Wesley Johnson this offseason was the correct move by Los Angeles, but the team needs depth at the small forward position. One possible option would be former Miami Heat small forward Michael Beasley.
After coming off the bench in Miami last season, Beasley understands his role on a winning team and will look to excel when given the opportunities. The former No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft only managed 15.1 minutes per game in 2013-14 but still racked up 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds despite the inconsistent playing time.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, the Lakers have already worked Beasley out and may have liked what they saw:
The Los Angeles Lakers are considering signing free-agent forward Michael Beasley and brought in the six-year veteran for a workout at their El Segundo, California, practice facility Wednesday, according to multiple sources.
"[Beasley] looked very good and he has been working out," one source said. "A tiny rust from layoff, but [he] did a good job."
Los Angeles is in no rush to make a decision on Beasley. The 25-year-old isn’t exactly setting the free-agent market on fire, and the Lakers are wise to leave open the salary-cap room in case something unforeseen happens this offseason.
If Beasley is still there as training camp approaches, the team understands that it can sign him then. Beasley does bring versatility at both forward positions, and his willingness to come off the bench is a valuable asset.
Adding Beasley would be a smart depth move by the Lakers if the price was right.
Training Camp Invites
Training camp is approaching fast, and Los Angeles will be looking to invite a strong crop of undrafted prospects with the hopes of finding a player who could blossom into a contributing member of the NBA roster.
There is a deep group of players on the market, and the Lakers must take advantage.
In a report from Shams Charania of RealGM.com, Los Angeles has invited former Michigan State point guard Keith Appling to training camp:
Keith Appling of Michigan State has reached agreement on a non-guaranteed camp deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell RealGM.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 4, 2014
According to Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv, the team also invited UNLV’s Roscoe Smith:
Former UNLV/UConn F Roscoe Smith has accepted an invite to Lakers' camp, source tells @SNYtv— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) August 4, 2014
Appling is the more intriguing of the two prospects. As a senior, he averaged 11.2 points and 4.5 assists per game and was a big part of Michigan State’s two Sweet Sixteen runs and its Elite Eight finish in the NCAA tournament over the course of his collegiate career. He fills the team's need for depth at point guard perfectly.
On the other hand, one of the reasons Beasley may not have signed with the Lakers yet is the team’s reported interest in fellow small forward Smith. At 6’8” and 202 pounds, Los Angeles wants to see if the former UConn and UNLV standout can translate last season’s collegiate success to the courts of the NBA.
If he proves to be a valuable asset, Smith may be a cheaper alternative to Beasley.
The Lakers are smart to invite players at key positions to training camp. The franchise needs depth at point guard and small forward, and the fact that the organization is directly addressing its needs should help Los Angeles fans feel better about next season.
Stats via NBA.com.