L.A. Lakers: 5 Lakers That Mitch Kupchak Could Wave Goodbye To
If anyone has watched a Laker game with an obnoxious fan, it won't be hard to hear him or her yell at the television, screaming about how a certain player should be traded and how he is absolutely useless.
Most of the time they're overreacting and emotional over a play that happened during the game. Sometimes, though, they're right.
The Lakers have a few players that are either taking up too much contract space or have too many flaws that are detrimental to the team.
Here are five players the Lakers can do without. Note that just because there are five players doesn't mean all of them should leave. Letting one or two of these five go and replacing them with better players will be highly beneficial for the Lakers.
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Here is an obvious one.
Luke Walton has been an absolute disappointment for the Lakers ever since signing that contract extension several years ago.
In the last two seasons, Walton has mostly played in blowout situations. He's been a benchwarmer and contributed very little to the team.
Worst of all, he's getting paid $5.3 million per year to do nothing.
One thing Walton did well, especially during the 2010 playoffs, was help move the ball around and facilitate the offense. However, he did so sparingly, and the Lakers can get a cheaper and more effective option in the free-agency market.
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Steve Blake's only highlight with the Lakers came on opening night of the 2010-11 season, when he drilled a huge game-winning three-pointer against the Houston Rockets.
After that, it was mostly downhill. Blake became a liability on defense, and he seemed to be forcing his three-pointers. His field-goal percentage was almost five percentage points lower than his career average, and his three-point shooting percentage was almost two percentage points lower than his career average.
He couldn't even facilitate the offense, as he only averaged 2.2 assists per game.
In other words, he didn't live up to his $4 million contract. With a possible hard salary cap looming, the Lakers can't afford to pay that kind of money for a marginal player who isn't living up to expectations.
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Matt Barnes' production fell from his last year with the Orlando Magic. He was expected to bring a lot more tenacity and physicality to the Lakers roster. He did at times, but overall he was pretty inconsistent.
His points per game totals and field-goal percentage were lower than his career averages. His rebounding average declined from 2009-10.
At least he wasn't overpaid—he only made $1.77 million. However, at 31, he's past his prime, and the Lakers can expect even more decline in production.
The Lakers need to get younger and stronger, not older and more frail.
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Derek Fisher will forever be one of the most beloved Lakers. However, it's time the Lakers either let him go or he decides to retire.
He is a great leader and will never be forgotten, but it's time to move on. The Lakers can't be nostalgic and live in the past. Once again, they need youth on their roster.
Ron Artest (Metta World Peace)
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Peaceful Artest may be a lot better for team chemistry than Angry Artest, but the quality of his game play has declined tremendously ever since he signed with the Lakers.
In his last season with Houston, Artest averaged 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Now, he's averaging 8.5 points and 3.3 rebounds.
He's a very valuable player for the Lakers. He brings edge and grit, and the Lakers wouldn't have won Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals without him. However, is he worth $6.3 million?
The Lakers can get the same output from similar players on the free-agency market for half the price.