The Lakers announced today that they have reached a 4-year, $16 million agreement with 30-year-old point guard Steve Blake.
Blake entered the NBA highly regarded out of Maryland where he was a key part of their Final Four team in 2001 and their National Championship team in 2002.
The 6-3 point guard isn't known for his scoring ability (he only averaged 7.5 points per game in his career), but has averaged four assists per game over his career in just over 25 minutes per game.
After being traded to the Clippers late last season, Blake averaged over six assists per game in only 26 minutes per game, a noticeable uptick in production.
There were some whispers of Blake and the Lakers having mutual interest in each other in the weeks leading up to July 1st, so this isn't a surprise signing by any stretch of the imagination.
The four year deal that Blake just signed may suggest that he will get some stability and be with the Lakers for a while.
What does that mean for Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar, and Shannon Brown, the three free agent guards from the Lakers?
First of all, even though the Lakers signed a guy at his position, this signing probably has no impact on the decision regarding Derek Fisher. The Lakers still have the opportunity to sign Fisher if they want to, and Blake's signing shouldn't impact that decision too much.
We all know Fish can't handle the workload of being one of the Lakers' top minute-men anymore, so Blake's signing could mean that Fisher and Blake would split minutes almost evenly at the point.
Going into the off-season, it was probably unlikely that the Lakers could bring back all three of their free agent guards.
With the signing of Steve Blake, it is now a certainty that they can only bring back two of those free agents, and it probably means that they can only bring back one of Farmar or Brown.
Which one, if either, should the Lakers focus on bringing back?
If I were the Lakers, I'd probably focus on bringing Shannon Brown back, even though I believe that Farmar is the better player.
Think about it. Farmar wants to be a starter somewhere where they don't run the triangle offense. He has enough talent to be wanted in the NBA as a starter, so I don't see much the Lakers can do to keep him in town.
Also, Phil Jackson has announced that he will be coming back for a final season next year, so L.A. doesn't seem like a likely destination for Farmar.
Because of that fact, the Lakers should avoid letting Shannon Brown slip from their grasp and lock him up as soon as possible.
The guard provided a ton of good minutes during the playoffs and was critical in many of the Lakers wins down the stretch. Plus, he is only 24 and has plenty of time to keep growing into a starting point guard in this league.
Even though the Lakers are clearly the best team in the NBA right now, they still need to have an eye for the future. The biggest mistake the Lakers could make is being stuck with only two 30+ point guards by allowing both Farmar and Brown to walk.
Both of those players could want a better chance at starting in another place, but it is up to the Lakers to convince at least one of them to stay on.
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