L.A. Lakers: Predicting Which Free Agents Would Take a Pay Cut to Play in L.A.
Los Angeles is a popular destination for many players, especially those who are headed toward the end of their careers and looking to get a championship. The Lakers need to add talent that is ready to play—not players who need to develop. Kobe only has so many years left to get a championship and wants to make it happen.
The tough part is that the Lakers are very short on cash. They're looking to make some moves right now to unload some payroll, and what they're able to do before June 30th will affect which free agents they look at. But as of right now, there are some that should be on their radar.
These are players who are still good, but way overpriced. At some point, you have to know what you're worth, and these players know they aren't worth the money. They also have no championship rings. With these things in mind, here are five players who might be willing to take a pay cut to play with the Lakers.
Last year, Andre Miller made $7.8 million. While he was good, he wasn't worth near that much money. He started in seven games, averaged 27 minutes, nine points, three rebounds and six assists. This is not worth that kind of cash.
Lakers fans were able to see just how useful Miller can be down the stretch when they met the Nuggets in the playoffs. Even with the current team the Lakers have, Miller would be smart to take a pay cut to get a shot at his first ring.
Brace yourself. Antawn Jamison was making $15.1 million last season. He averaged 17 points, six rebounds and shot 40 percent, all of which were not even as good as his career averages.
He's been on a lot of lackluster teams, but his pay has fluctuated throughout the years. 2008 was his last All-Star game appearance, and it was also his biggest contract year. The following season he went from $16 million to $9 million, so he's no stranger to getting a pay cut.
Jamison might start on the Lakers, but more importantly than that, he'd create depth. If they plan on getting rid of Metta World Peace, Jamison would be a solid option to step in, but he would definitely need to take a pay cut.
Gerald Wallace has made a steady $9-10 million for the last five seasons, and he's been to the playoffs five of his 11 seasons in the NBA, never having made it to the finals. He doesn't have much of a legacy to leave behind, and yet he's a solid player.
Last season, Wallace averaged 15 points in 35 minutes, six rebounds and three assists. He's a good defender, which the Lakers really need on their team. As a forward he would be playing in place of Metta World Peace, who is the team's main defender.
If he wants to leave behind any kind of a real legacy, Wallace would be smart to swallow his pride and take a pay cut to join the Lakers.
Boris Diaw has made $9 million every year for the last five years. Last season, he was waived by the Charlotte Bobcats and picked up by the San Antonio Spurs. The numbers show he was even worse for the Spurs than for the Bobcats. He did, however, have a 58 percent shooting average while adding a lot of intangibles that gave him value.
The Lakers don't need someone who is lazy, but they do need someone who can play quality minutes, and that's something that Diaw can do.
If he thinks he'll get anywhere near $9 million, he's crazy, but if he's willing to bring down his price tag several million, then the Lakers should look at picking him up.
It's pretty clear that they want to move Pau Gasol. He's expensive and can get them multiple pieces. Diaw is a big strong player who can help out in the position where Gasol was lost last year. The Spaniard would rather take an easy shot than drive to the basket, whereas Diaw knows a lot of his skill is in his strength.
Chris Kaman should come back home and play for the other L.A. team. He was shipped off last year by the Clippers, who he had played his entire career with, but it's time for him to come home. Last year, the big man made $12.7 million, which the Lakers would not give him.
He averaged 13 points in 29 minutes and only seven rebounds. This is not what you want out of a center who is getting paid that kind of money. However, if he were willing to come for much cheaper, the Lakers should take a look at him. They've lost Jordan Hill to free agency, so the Lakers have no one to back up Andrew Bynum. While he's great when he's playing, every time he falls to the floor, Lakers fans hold their breath. There's no cushion at that position.
Also, Kaman is nearing the end of his career ringless and with nothing to show except one All-Star appearance.