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Shannon Brown's Return: End of Free Agency for the LA Lakers?

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IAugust 5, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  (L-R) Jordan Farmar #1, Shannon Brown #12 and Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate with the Larry O'Brien trophy after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Reports have recently surfaced that Shannon Brown and the Los Angeles Lakers are finally close to an agreement, and if this is true, the Lakers' roster for the 2010-11 season would appear to be set.

Brown was the final offseason priority for general manager Mitch Kupchak, and his signing should bring an end to any thoughts of adding Tracy McGrady to the Lakers' roster.

Brown's future had been the topic of much speculation over the past couple of weeks, and due to the lengthy negotiations, some observers wondered if a deal would be reached at all.

If the rumors are true, the Lakers can declare this offseason a rousing success, and they would enter next season deeper and more talented than at any other point during the Phil Jackson era.

Assuming rookies Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, the Lakers have a unique blend of size, strength, quickness, and arguably the top two players at their respective positions in Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Re-signing Brown was key for the Lakers because he serves as the most reliable back-up to Bryant at the shooting guard position, and although Sasha Vujacic remains an option, Brown brings more energy and athleticism to the position.

Brown has always been a favorite in the eyes of most Lakers' fans, and this season presents an opportunity for him to show his game has advanced past his array of jaw-dropping dunks.

Brown has the potential to be a great defensive player for the Lakers, and this is the area of his game that must show the most progression, because the Lakers have adopted a defensive mind-set for next season.

The recent acquisitions of Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff were made with defense in mind, and the Lakers who were among the league's best defensive teams a season ago, could be even better.

Brown will join Barnes, Bryant, and Ron Artest in what should be one of the NBA's top perimeter defensive units. He can also serve as a secondary ball-handler behind Derek Fisher and Steve Blake.

The Lakers would have been a good bet to reach their fourth consecutive NBA Finals even if Brown had decided to part ways, but his return helps upgrade an already improved Lakers' bench.

Barnes, Blake, Ratliff, and Brown will now join Lamar Odom on a second unit that has the potential to be one of the Lakers' primary strengths next season.

Jordan Farmar and Josh Powell are the only significant players from last season to leave through free agency, and Kupchak did a fine job of ensuring the Lakers wouldn't miss a beat.

If Brown did turn down a chance for more money with the New York Knicks, it also says something about his character, because it could mean the opportunity to win his third championship was more important than a bigger paycheck.

That line of thought is rarely seen in today's NBA, and if this is the case, Brown should be applauded for his decision to chase rings as opposed to dollars.

The Lakers should also be applauded, because Brown's signing means Kupchak did everything he set out to accomplish in the offseason, and by adding Barnes and Ratliff he even put a cherry on top.

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