How Did the L.A. Lakers Do This Offseason?
The Lakers entered the 2010 off-season a little worried with what could happen.
Phil Jackson was thinking about retirement, Derek Fisher was thinking about leaving and the Lakers could have been left without a legitimate starter at point guard.
Now that the off-season has wrapped up, let's see how the Lakers front office performed.
Signed Steve Blake
The first move of the off-season was the signing of point guard Steve Blake.
Blake wasn't signed to be a starter, so this was a very good move for the Lakers. Derek Fisher isn't getting any younger and could benefit from more bench time than he has been getting in recent years.
The Maryland product has some experience starting and should fit right into the Lakers point guard rotation.
Re-Signed Derek Fisher
The key player move of the off-season for the Lakers was retaining Derek Fisher, and keeping him away from the Miami Heat.
Fisher has been a key part of all five championships L.A. has earned over the first 10 years of this millennium. So, it was crucial that the Lakers bring him back if not just for a leadership role.
After suffering through a up and down regular season, Fisher stepped up his game in the post-season, showing Lakers fans he still has what it takes to be a successful starter in the NBA.
Signed Matt Barnes
Another under the radar signing for the Lakers during the off-season was swingman Matt Barnes.
Barnes will give the Lakers another quality body off the bench and is quite adept shooting the three point shot, something the Lakers have lacked recently.
After playing with seven teams in seven years, maybe Barnes will find a home in L.A. and decide to stay put for more than one season (he signed a two-year deal).
Signed Theo Ratliff
Around the time the Lakers signed Barnes, they also inked the 37-year old Theo Ratliff.
Ratliff isn't known for his offense, but that is fine. The Lakers were looking for a good defender off the bench to give Andrew Bynum the rest he needs to stay healthy.
They got that with Ratliff, who has averaged 2.4 blocks in only 25 minutes per game in his career.
Drafted Devin Ebanks
Without a first round pick because of the Pau Gasol trade, the Lakers focused on getting as much upside as they could with their two second rounders.
Ebanks was the first player the Lakers drafted and he has some serious potential. His frame (6-9, 215) is well suited for success in the NBA and he could be a future starter for L.A.
With that said, I don't see Ebanks making too much of an impact this season, and he could spend some time in the development league if the Lakers want to get him some playing time.
Drafted Derirck Caracter
L.A.'s second pick of the draft was used on a extremely athletic power forward/center, Derrick Caracter.
After transferring from Louisville to UTEP, Caracter led the Miners to a NCAA Tournament berth while averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game.
Caracter has the physical build of a successful post player in the NBA and the Lakers are very high on him making the team this year. We'll see if that happens, but I think the Lakers got some great value here.
Let Jordan Farmar Go
The only negative of the off-season was something the Lakers really couldn't control, a free agent leaving.
Jordan Farmar left for greener pastures (the Nets are greener pastures?) after deciding he wanted a new challenge in his NBA career.
While he wasn't a huge statistical player for the Lakers during their last two championships, Farmar was a solid bench player for L.A. and looked like he could be the future starter for this team.
Kept Phil Jackson
The key move of the off-season for the Lakers was convincing Phil Jackson to give it one more try, and a chance at a fourth 3-peat.
Jackson has been the mastermind of Kobe Bryant's five NBA championships, and the Lakers would have certainly be in a state of flux next year if Jackson didn't return.
Now that he is returning, the Lakers can legitimately call themselves the favorites to win it all again.
The Lakers have accomplished all they set out to this off-season (except re-signing Shannon Brown).
They drafted well, filled some holes through free agency, kept their emotional leader and kept their coach.
Even with what has happened on South Beach in the crazy free agent period of 2010, the Lakers are the class of the NBA. They will be until someone knocks them off their perch, and I don't see that happening any time soon.