It’s no secret the Lakers will try their best to pursue superstar players during free agency. They have already been linked to chasing Kevin Durant come July. In recent years, the Lakers have struck out hard in their efforts to recruit top free agent players and have settled on players on one to two-year rental contracts.
With a new young head coach and a solid young core of talented players (including the second overall pick), the Lakers are heading into free agency this year with a different swagger and approach.
It’s safe to say that we can expect the Lakers to sign at least one All-Star caliber player, but it is also imperative that they should look at veteran players who would their extremely young roster. Veteran players are extremely important for a young team, not only do they offer experience on the court; they also provide leadership off the court as well. They can help bring a locker room together instead of alienating it. Below are some veteran free agents I believe the Lakers should consider signing.
The list is in no particular order.
1) D.J. Augustin. Augustin will be entering his ninth year in the league. He may not be a recognizable name in Los Angeles, but he will offer the Lakers a solid backup point guard that can score and pass. Augustin spent almost half of his career in Charlotte where he averaged 11 points and 4.4 assists as a backup.
Augustin had a decent season last year in Denver. In the 28 games he appeared in, Augustin averaged 11.6 points and 4.7 assists in 23.5 minutes of play. Augustin is a tough and gritty player that will compete off the bench and could offer some veteran leadership and advice for D’Angelo Russell like he did for rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay in Denver.
Oh, and did I mention that Augustin has a great relationship with Kevin Durant? The two played with each other in college at Texas.
2) Jordan Farmar. If you’re a Laker fan and don’t know who this guy is, then I don’t know what to say to you. Farmar would offer leadership and a veteran presence to the Lakers’ squad. He and knows and understands the Lakers’ front office and management.
Farmar also played with Luke Walton for four years where he was a part of two championship runs in 2009-2010, last playing for the Lakers under Mike D’Antoni in the 2013 season where he averaged 10 points and five assists in only 22 minutes of play.
I believe that under Walton’s system, Farmar can be an effective player. He is only 29 years old and offer scoring, passing and solid defending off the bench for the Lakers. Farmar has championship experience and that could be beneficial down the line.
3) Brandon Rush. Rush is on the verge of winning his second consecutive championship with the Warriors in a week or so. I wouldn’t be surprised if Walton is already recruiting Rush to follow him down to Los Angeles as a second coach to the players during practices and games. Walton needs someone he can trust and Rush would be that guy.
4) Dorell Wright. Wright didn’t play much last year because he spent most of his time playing in China. He will be entering his 13th season in the league at the age of 30.
Wright would be a solid defender and wing player with his frame at six feet and nine inches tall for the Lakers off the bench. He is a respectable shooter from deep with a career average of 36.5%. I think Wright would be a versatile player who can either play the four or three position for the Lakers.
5) Joakim Noah. Noah would be perfect in Walton’s system. He could be used the same way as Andrew Bogut is at Golden State.
Additionally, Noah is a solid defender, rebounder and passer- important qualities that Bogut brings for the Warriors and could be extremely effective for the Lakers.
Noah has been a starter for most of his 9 seasons in the NBA, but he was sidelined most of the last year due to a season-ending shoulder injury. Maybe because of his shoulder injury, Noah would be willing to take a reserve for the Lakers if the Lakers end signing a top free agent center. I think Noah would be extremely effective for the Lakers off the bench with his high energy and competitive play. Our own Gary Kester wrote more about Noah as one of his top free agents at the center position.
The Lakers will have a tremendously young team and a rookie coach going into next season. It is important that they look to fill out the rest of their roster with enough quality veteran players who contribute on and off the court while complementing the rest of the youngsters.
Statistics from Basketball-Reference and NBA.com