Lakers Free Agency: Best and Worst Additions

The Los Angeles Lakers front office is mostly done with its offseason shopping. While there are a few free agents left, the Lakers’ roster is just about finished being constructed. The Outsiders give their thoughts on a turbulent offseason.

Which non-draft addition to the Lakers did you like most? Why?

Matt Vazin: Roy Hibbert. Adding a rim protector in the frontcourt to play with Julius Randle was one of the main necessities for the Lakers and they got one for a low price. Hibbert fits in well on the Lakers and although he only has one year left on his contract, he is someone that the team could look at it to bring back for the 2016-2017 season. This should be considered a low-risk, high-reward move since the Lakers will have the ability to let Hibbert walk if it doesn’t work out or make an offer to re-sign him next offseason if he produces at the level the front office is hoping.

Ryan Kelapire: The addition of Roy Hibbert was my favorite, because not only does Hibbert give the Lakers the rim-protector they desperately needed, but he also doesn’t take minutes away from the young talent. About a week ago, I analyzed how Hibbert fits with this team, and he mostly fits well. He’s also on an expiring contract, so if it doesn’t work out the Lakers aren’t tied down long-term, and if it DOES work, they’ll have the inside track to re-sign him next summer. It’s a pretty low-risk, high-reward move.

Gary Kester: Roy Hibbert. Since the Lakers decided to pass on Jahlil Okafor with the No. 2 overall pick, they needed to find a rim protector, and they acquired a player that’s elite in that category. Giving up virtually nothing for a top-five defensive center was a no-brainer. The Laker roster was void of defensive-minded players, so a guy like Hibbert was desperately needed. People forget that Hibbert was an All-Star at one point. Now, I don’t expect him to play at that level in Los Angeles, but a new situation and environment could rejuvenate him to some extent. Plus, he’s in a contract year, so he should be motivated to make his next contract as lucrative as possible.

What was the Lakers’ worst move of the offseason?

Matt: None of the moves that the Lakers made in free agency were what I would call awful decisions. However, letting Ed Davis go to the Portland Trail Blazers for 3 years/$21 million was the decision that disappointed me most this offseason. I felt like that was a reasonable contract for a player like Davis. In fact, I wrote about the future of the Lakers and how they should consider Davis if he was in the 3 years/$20 million price range just one day before he signed.

Ryan: There really wasn’t a move that I disliked, but if I had to pick the “worst” one, I’d say it was the Lou Williams signing. He’s actually an efficient scorer (his TS% last season was 56.4%), and his contract is reasonable ($7M a year for the 6MOY is good value), but I’m just concerned that having him and Nick Young is too redundant. As of now, the Lakers are spending $12M on volume shooters off the bench. That’s definitely not the best allocation of their resources.

The front office has tried to move Young (and are probably trying to do so right at this moment), but until they do, having both Lou and Swaggy P is superfluous. If they do manage to deal Young, the Lou Williams signing will look a heck of a lot better.

Gary: Drafting Larry Nance, Jr., with the 27th pick. Don’t get me wrong, I like Nance. He plays hard and brings some intriguing abilities to the table. However, I thought taking him at 27 over a guy like R.J. Hunter was a reach, considering the Lakers could have probably taken him at 34. Plus, it contributed to the log jam at the power forward spot. Julius Randle, Brandon Bass and Ryan Kelly are all presumably ahead of him in the rotation this season, so using a first round pick on a guy that won’t see the floor much this year is a little baffling to me. He seems like a good kid with a great attitude and motor, but I’m not sure there’s a unique role for him moving forward, unless he learns how to play small forward, which is at least a few years away.

Is there anyone else you want the Lakers to sign or trade for? Why or why not?

Matt: The free agency pool of realistic targets for the Lakers is very thin at this point. At this stage, the Lakers should not make move that takes up the ample amount of cap space that they will have heading into next offseason. The priority for this upcoming season is to develop the young talent and show the upcoming free agents that they could be pieces to a future title contending team. One guy that I wouldn’t be opposed to the Lakers offering the minimum to is Jimmer Fredette. Clearly, Fredette has had a tough NBA career and has not lived up to the potential of many. However, his teammates and coaches have raved about his unselfishness, hard-work, and ability to be a great teammate. By no means will he make the Lakers a much better team than what they are right now, but he is someone that would be great to have in the locker room to help work with the young guys, especially for the minimum.

Ryan: Steve Novak. With rumors the Oklahoma City Thunder may be looking to trade the master of the discount double check, the Lakers should pounce on an NBA legend who may only be on the move because Kevin Durant feels threatened by his greatness. If the Lakers were to acquire Novak, not making the NBA Finals at minimum would feel like a colossal failure. No one on this roster is untouchable. Go get him, Mitch.

(Note: the statement above was crafted by another unidentified member of Lakers Outsiders, who thought he was being funny as it was supposed to make fun of my obsession with Steve Novak. But everything that was written was true, so I decided to keep it as is. Joke’s on you, guys)
Gary: J.R. Smith, just so we can see him, Kobe, Lou Williams and Nick Young all fight each other for the ball on offense.

No, but seriously, a guy I think could be a great addition for cheap is Dorell Wright. The Lakers are going to be extremely thin at the three this year, so adding another guy that can play that position would be ideal. Plus, the Lakers could use another three-point shooter, and that’s exactly what Wright excels at.

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