NBA Free Agency: 8 Available Players the Los Angeles Lakers Should Sign
The Lakers are coming off of a 7-game Finals win over the hated Boston Celtics, but they are still in need of some additions if they plan to 3-Peat. The most important issue the Lakers had entering this offseason was adding another point guard, but they quickly solved that problem by signing Steve Blake, possibly the best PG the Lakers have had since the Shaq days.
Now, the Lakers focus should shift to a backup wing scorer/defender and a backup big man who can rebound and defend in limited minutes, while also potentially looking for a young 3rd string PG for the future. Although some of these options haven't been rumored, I think they could be good additions to the Lakers.
Tracy McGrady - SG/SF
2009-2010 Stats: 8.2 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 38% FG, 25% 3P, 1.5 TO, 22.4 MPG
Tracy McGrady used to be one of the best players in the NBA, but due to age and injuries is a now merely an above-average role player, who can't be relied on to lead a team and play big minutes. Players don't simply lose talent in a year, so McGrady is still a very good offensive player who would help the Lakers bench become one of the best in the league again.
McGrady is a good shooter, passer, and defender, who could play 26 minutes a game at both the SG and SF positions. He is also the only free agent left who could start in place of Kobe if he was injured, and still allow the Lakers to be one of the best teams.
The problem with McGrady is his injury risk, which would be reduced with lower minutes, but could still put the Lakers in a bad situation if he can't play in the Playoffs and Sasha Vujacic is their only other option. While McGrady could probably get more money from another team, the Lakers would be his best chance of winning a ring.
Larry Hughes - SG/PG
2009-2010 Stats: 9.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 35% FG, 30% 3P, 1.7 TO, 24.8 MPG
Larry Hughes is definitely the best defender of the remaining free agents, and they do say that defense wins championships. One criticism of Hughes has been that he is a very low % shooter, but on a team like the Lakers, he would get a ton of open shots, which would raise his shooting %'s. Hughes is a strong scorer who can score off of jump shots and layups. He can also create his own shot, and create shots for others.
Another advantage of Hughes is that he can play point guard, so he could play next to Bryant and Artest to form a strong perimeter defending trio that could potentially shut down or slow down the Spurs (Parker, Ginobili, Jefferson), Mavericks (Kidd, Terry, Butler), Celtics (Rondo, Allen, Pierce), Nuggets (Billups, Smith, Anthony), and Heat (Wade, Miller, LeBron) perimeter trios. Hughes could also be gotten for the remaining MLE or the veteran minimum.
Jarvis Hayes - SG/SF
2009-2010 Stats: 7.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.9 APG, 42% FG, 33% 3P, 0.6 TO, 23.0 MPG
Jarvis Hayes hasn't lived up to his 10th overall draft standing, but he has developed into a good all-around role player who could help a contending teams in many ways. He has the ability to make jumpers, as well as score near the rim. He is also an above-average perimeter defender, but a below-average rebounder for his height and position. Hayes also doesn't have the ego of McGrady, so he could be a better fit.
Because of Hayes' versatility, he could play alongside either Kobe Bryant or Ron Artest without a problem, and could be a consistent scorer for a Lakers' bench that has lacked offensive weapons in recent seasons. Hayes is also a cheaper option than most of the other free agents available.
Marquis Daniels - SG/SF
2009-2010 Stats: 5.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.3 APG, 49% FG, 21% 3P, 0.8 TO, 18.4 MPG
Marquis Daniels had an off year last season due to injuries and lack of minutes, but before that he was an outstanding scorer for the Indiana Pacers, and should be able to return to that form given the opportunity. Daniels isn't much of a shooter, but he is a good passer and defender. But, what he really excels at is getting to the rim and hitting short jumpers. Marquis could be the basket-attacking scorer that the Lakers need since Kobe and Artest get the majority of their points off of jump shots.
Another advantage of Quisy, would be that he could distribute for the second unit, and defend the other teams 6th man scorer, if they have one. Considering his bad season with the Celtics, he could easily be gotten with the $1.8 million left of the MLE.
Kurt Thomas - PF/C
2009-2010 Stats: 3.0 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.7 BPG, 47% FG, 0.7 TO, 15.0 MPG
Kurt Thomas is a ringless veteran who could provide rebounding and defense for the minimum. Although he is a small PF/C at 6'9", he is a strong rebounder and defender that could fill in some minutes behind Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and Pau Gasol.
Since he wants a ring, he would come for the veteran minimum, as well as mentoring some of the younger players on the team. He is a no risk player who gets along with his teammates, but is also a strong competitor on the court.
Theo Ratliff - C
2009-2010 Stats: 3.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.5 BPG, 46% FG, 0.8 TO, 16.4 MPG
Like Thomas, Theo Ratliff is a ringless veteran big man who would provide defense and rebounding in small stretches off the bench. He would be able to come for the veteran minimum, and could provide low-post defense against the likes of Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal if needed. He would also be a good banger to matchup against Kendrick Perkins if their was a Finals rematch. He is also a strong shot blocker. If he accepted under 10 minutes a game, he would be a good fit.
Acie Law - PG
2009-2010 Stats: 4.3 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 1.0 APG, 46% FG, 31% 3P, 0.6 TO, 9.0 MPG
Acie Law is so far considered to be a bust after he was drafted in the lottery in 2007, but he has shown glimpses that he can be a good scorer in the NBA at the point guard position. Law wouldn't be asked to do much on this Lakers team other than be a 3rd PG who could provide an offensive spark if needed. He is also a big point guard at 6'3", which Phil Jackson loves and is a good fit for the triangle.
Speaking of the Triangle, it doesn't require a pure point guard who is a great passer, and is actually better with a strong shooter and scorer at the point guard position, which Law could become if he works on his shot. He is still young and has potential, so this is a no risk, high reward signing for the Lakers. No team seems to be interested in him right now, so he could be gotten for the minimum, or at the very least, he could be given a chance in Training Camp.
Kwame Brown - C
2009-2010 Stats: 3.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.2 BPG, 50% FG, 0.9 TO, 13.8 MPG
Kwame Brown was booed out of Los Angeles the last time he was here, but as a backup he was solid. It wasn't until Andrew Bynum went down that everyone started to hate Kwame for his lack of offensive skills. Kwame will never be a low-post scorer, but he is a good low-post defender and rebounder that could help the Lakers off the bench. For the veteran minimum, the Lakers would be getting a player that is friends with members of the team, and that already knows the system. If he was willing to face the L.A. fans again, this could be a good pickup for the Lakers.
There are a lot of players that want to play for the Lakers, but there isn't a lot of money for the Lakers to spend. They will need to go for someone that could potentially be had for cheap, so that means no Rasual Butler or Shaquille O'Neal, that can contribute off the bench.
The people I listed are some of the best options for the Lakers, that could be had for a low price. If the Lakers don't bring back Shannon Brown, they will definitely need to sign one of the SG/SF's that I listed in order to have a decent bench next season.