Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison, Mike James & More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2021

Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison, Mike James & More

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers are not done overhauling their roster for the 2021-22 season. While several additions and subtractions have already occurred, the Lakers are reportedly looking to add at least two more players to the roster before the regular season.

    According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers currently have 12 players but are looking to carry 14 in order to "maintain flexibility" this season. This means that other new names will join a list of additions that includes Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington and Kendrick Nunn.

    LeBron James and Anthony Davis will remain the centerpieces of the roster, of course.

    The Lakers may also already have a few potential targets in mind. Here, we'll examine the latest buzz surrounding those potential targets and a couple of players who won't return from last year's squad.

Lakers Work out Three, Including Isaiah Thomas

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    One option to fill a vacant roster spot is Isaiah Thomas. The free-agent guard—who recently scored 81 points in a game at the Crawsover Pro-Am in Seattle—certainly sounds as if he believes in the roster Los Angeles is building.

    "I think they’re getting ready for that NBA championship run," Thomas said (h/t Jonathan Adams of Heavy). "The guys that they got on their team, they're playoff-ready. They've been in every situation possible."

    The interest, it seems, is mutual. According to Haynes, the Lakers recently worked out Thomas, along with point guards Darren Collison and Mike James. However, Haynes does not believe that the workouts will lead to a swift signing.

    "A signing is not imminent, sources said. The Lakers could also elect to bring players into training camp to fight for the last few roster spots," Haynes wrote.

    It appears that finding a backup guard is among Los Angeles' priorities, though it certainly isn't the only position the Lakers are likely to consider moving toward training camp.

James Ennis a Possible Target, Jared Dudley Likely out

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    It's obvious that the Lakers do value an additional guard. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, however, Los Angeles may also look to add another wing to the mix.

    "For the Lakers, wing depth is more important than a backup guard. James Ennis is a name that’s been mentioned for the Lakers," Stein wrote.

    Adding a perimeter shooter like Ennis would certainly make sense. Having James and Davis on the interior should create open looks on the outside, and Ennis is fully capable of taking advantage. Last season with the Orlando Magic, he shot 47.3 percent from the floor and 43.3 percent from beyond the arc.

    While Ennis could potentially join Los Angeles, guard/forward Jared Dudley is likely on his way out, according to Haynes.

    "With the intention of signing two more players and leaving a roster spot open, it means Jared Dudley’s two-year tenure with the organization will likely come to an end," Haynes wrote.

    Dudley appeared in 45 games during Los Angeles' championship run two years ago. However, he appeared in only 12 last season before suffering a right MCL tear.

The Lakers Did Want to Retain Alex Caruso

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Dudley is likely gone, the Lakers actively moved Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma, and Dennis Schroder was allowed to walk. However, Los Angeles was hoping to keep point guard Alex Caruso.

    "In the wake of my report about the Lakers not countering Alex Caruso’s four-year, $37 million offer from Chicago in free agency, a source with knowledge of the negotiations strongly refuted the inference that he wasn’t wanted back," The Athletic's Sam Amick wrote.

    Caruso was never a superstar in Los Angeles—he was certainly a niche fan favorite—but he was a valuable rotational piece. He averaged 6.8 points, 2.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds last season, and the Lakers clearly valued his contributions.

    However, Los Angeles didn't value Caruso enough to hand him a deal worth $9.3 million annually. They may not have made it clear just how much they valued him either. According to Amick, Caruso "claimed to be confused" by L.A.'s communication—or lack thereof—with him.

    A strong counteroffer might have kept Caruso in Los Angeles for the long term. Instead, the Lakers allowed him to leave and used the cap savings to sign Talen Horton-Tucker to a three-year, $30.8 million deal.