The Los Angeles Lakers already have one former Laker reportedly interested in joining them in Dwight Howard, while it appears that there might be another former Laker ready to join the 2021-22 team. That former Laker is the sharp-shooting veteran Wayne Ellington who will be coming off a season with the Detroit Pistons (Ellington played with the Lakers during the 2014-15 season).
Brad Turner of the L.A. Times reported that Ellington has interested in joining the Lakers. This was the same report that stated that Dwight Howard had interest while also referencing a long list of other veterans who could be candidates for the Lakers to sign. Carmelo Anthony’s previously reported interest was mentioned, in addition to other candidates such as Patty Mills, Andre Iguodala, Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green, and Goran Dragic.
The idea of trading for the Kings’ Buddy Hield continues to seem less and less likely by the day, while the Lakers took themselves out of that Hield deal by including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the Russell Westbrook trade. That leaves the Lakers without any real shooters, which would make them extremely happy to give Wayne Ellington a deal for the 2021-22 season. The 12-year veteran is a career 38.2% three-point shooter, most recently shooting 42.2% on 6.0 attempts per game in the 2020-21 season. That 42.2% would have given Ellington the best three-point shooting percentage on last year’s Lakers team, just above Caldwell-Pope’s 41.0% average.
Ellington was signed to the Pistons last season for the veteran minimum, which would assumedly be the contract that the Lakers sign him to. The Lakers only have the taxpayer mid-level exception (around $5.9 million) to offer to free agents, with only veteran minimum contracts available to all other players. Although the Lakers desperately need shooting, Ellington isn’t good enough to validate using the MLE on him.
The Lakers can sell him on his first-ever championship if he agrees to the vet minimum contract, as he would help make LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook even better than they already are.