The Los Angeles Lakers announced they have signed free agents Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff— and while this move certainly improves the Lakers' size and depth, what does it mean for Shannon Brown?
The details on Barnes' and Ratliff's deals have yet to be finalized, but it looks a lot less likely Brown will receive the security and 4.8 million dollars he was asking for, and his options may be limited to a one year deal.
Judging by the performances of Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter in the NBA's summer league, their chances of making the roster are greatly improved, leaving just two roster spots open.
When the postseason ended and the Lakers were crowned repeat champions general manager Mitch Kupchak said his main priorities in the offseason were resigning Brown and Derek Fisher.
Fisher, after a brief flirtation with the Miami Heat resigned, but Brown's case has dragged on with no end in sight— if the two sides cannot agree to terms, trade possibilities need to be explored immediately.
Steve Blake's size and ability to move between the shooting guard and point guard position makes Brown less of a necessity as a ball-handler, and Barnes can easily spell Kobe Bryant at the shooting guard position if the need arises.
Unless Sasha Vujacic is traded he too will claim some of the minutes that may have gone to Brown, and now the player dubbed as "the human pogo" finds himself stuck in between a rock and a hard place.
Brown is not likely to receive the money he wants from the Lakers, and unlike former Laker Trevor Ariza, the demand for his services around the league doesn't appear great enough to create any type of leverage.
In reality, Brown's game has not advanced enough to be considered for the money he is asking, and although he is a competent ball-handler and a decent shooter he doesn't do either well enough to be a priority.
Brown does bring a high level of energy and athleticism off the bench, and the Lakers would miss his ability to incite the crowd with his rousing dunks. But Barnes and Blake are more polished in the fundamental aspects of the game.
I would hate to see Brown leave, I feel he could be a very solid player if his game progresses, but the NBA is a business and two-time world champions are focused on a third.
While Brown could assist the Lakers, his absence won't hurt their chances. From his perspective this has to be a bad thing, it gives the Lakers all the leverage in negotiations.
The best thing for Brown may be to accept whatever sum of money the Lakers offer him over the period of a season, and begin preparations for an attempt at his third career championship.
It may not be what Brown wants, but if he performs well next season he could set himself up for an even bigger payday. Besides, there are a lot of things that could be worse than competing for another championship.