The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to use this offseason to strengthen their roster but the question is with who?
2021 Free Agency Recap: Every player is going to the Lakers — Matt Brooks (@MattBrooksNBA) July 23, 2021
A few names have already come up as expected, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, DeMar DeRozan… you know, the usual suspects.
As a result, I will be exploring the options available to them and how they each could potentially fit in.
Lakers need to strengthen
The recurring theme of last season was key players missing games due to injury or covid restrictions, proving once again the importance of a deep roster. That was the Lakers’ undoing and the major reason for their disappointing season which ended with a first-round playoffs defeat.
The need for a capable third option has never been more apparent. The Andre Drummond experiment didn’t work, Dennis Schroder isn’t consistent enough and Kyle Kuzma is well…Kyle Kuzma.
The Lakers need someone who can command the respect of opponents whether LeBron James and Anthony Davis are on the floor or not. It would be better if the aforementioned third option is a shooter (sorry Russ) to another problem from last season.
The Lakers shot just 34.9% from three-point range last season, which was tied for 23rd in the league.
What are the options?
Rob Pelinka is fully aware of the problem, which is why the Lakers have been actively seeking trades all over. They’ve reportedly offered a deal including Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to multiple teams in the league.
While it would take more than that to get a valuable third piece, the intention behind the offer is admirable. A free agent would be the ideal option but the 35-year-old Lowry reportedly wants $90 million over three years.
Kyle Lowry is reportedly interested in joining the Lakers in free agency. https://t.co/nerOK8hjgw pic.twitter.com/DAHmPhKkeK — Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) July 23, 2021
Chris Paul is another free agent option but he’s even older than Lowry and would probably rather stay in Phoenix.
Lonzo Ball and Russell Westbrook are the two other point guard options but neither of them is exactly what the Lakers need for different reasons.
The offseason solution
Here’s the thing, the Lakers already have a point guard in Dennis Schroder, he’s not the best, sure, but he’s capable.
Why not pay him and then focus on strengthening the shooting guard position? Basically killing two birds with one stone.
DeMar DeRozan is a free agent and native of Los Angeles who publicly stated his desire to play in LA.
DeRozan would welcome playing with Bron and AD on his hometown Lakers 👀 (via @ClubShayShay)pic.twitter.com/MIDs4yH0sR — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 26, 2021
This is a no-brainer, DeRozan is a perfect fit on the court and it is potentially a mutually beneficial relationship. DeMar would finally be on a championship-caliber team after enduring the last three years in San Antonio.
He fits the profile of the Lakers, a talented player with leadership skills on and off the court.
But, if they’re unable to land DeRozan for whatever reason, Sacramento King’s Buddy Hield should be the next best thing.
Buddy for Kuzma, KCP, and the 22 is one of those rare trades where it’s good for everyone. Important to remember: Buddy would be a better player on LAL, but he wouldn’t do the same in Sac with this squad https://t.co/bArx9tPgny — Carmichael Dave (@CarmichaelDave) July 26, 2021
Buddy Hield is a career 40.6% three-point shooter and knocked down 39.1% of his shots last year while averaging 16.6 points. A trade for either one or both of Kuzma or KCP and some draft picks to sweeten the offer.
In conclusion, the Lakers’ search for a suitable third option should be focused on shooting guards rather than point guards.
Not only does it help them keep Schroder but it would also complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis better.