An Early Look at the Lakers Free Agent Signings
*Photo via Doublecluthpod.uk
The Lakers made some pretty telling moves so far this offseason. They completely struck out on the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, by not even getting a meeting with him. Instead of panicking, they did not go out and sign a lot of players to try to make up for it. They made it known that they are committed to the young core they have, and that they believe they can win with this team. The Lakers offseason starts with Luol Deng. Deng played last season with the Miami Heat and proved that he’s one of the best combo forwards on the market. He played the stretch four for the Heat, and will provide valuable minutes with the Lakers. He will more than likely start at the 3, but can roll to the 4 when Randle is out and Ingram is in. He can knock down three pointers and can attack bigger players off the dribble.
Demn goes to the Lakers where he can be a mentor to one of the youngest teams in the league. He has playoff experience in case the Lakers sneak into the playoffs, but more importantly, he can show Ingram and Russell what kind of work it takes to succeed in the league.
*Photo via Deadspin
Perhaps the most questionable move the Lakers made was signing Timofey Mozgov. They signed him to a 4 year, $64 million deal. after essentially getting left out of the playoffs by the Cavs last year. This seemed like a panic move right after Hassan Whiteside would not meet with them. However, Mozgov brings more value than most people think. Mozgov was a critical member of the 2015 Cavs NBA Finals team that lost to the Warriors. He has offseason knee surgery and never really recovered from that. A year after that, he should come back stronger and back to his old form. He gives the Lakers a rebounder and inside presence, something that they didn’t have at all last year. On a team that struggles shooting like the Lakers, offensive rebounding is something that could be the difference in games. To compare, in this inflated year due to the salary cap, Joakim Noah received the same number of years and more money, even though he’s two years older. Mozgov might not be the big splash that Lakers fan wanted, but if he can return to his form in the 2015 season, he could be a valuable role player. Plus, he comes with playoff experience, and he is obviously a team player, after sitting quietly after being benched in this year’s playoffs.
*Photo via SPorts on Earth
One of the most important moves, the Lakers-signed Jordan Clarkson back, which is no surprise to anyone around the league. Just a couple hours after free agency started, Clarkson signed a 4 year, $50 million-dollar deal. It’s yet to be seen how the starting rotation could work with Russell and Clarkson, but he could start coming off the bench and be a 6th Man of the Year candidate.
The Lakers seem to be close to done in free agency. They have added valuable veterans, and signed back, perhaps their most solid player of the last 2 seasons. They have built a team that is going to be much more attractive to free agents next year.