Report: Lakers To Sign Antawn Jamison

Darius Soriano —  July 18, 2012

On Monday, Rick Bonnel of the Charlotte Observer tipped us off that this was coming. And today, Marc Spears of Yahoo! confirmed that earlier report. When Antawn Jamison returns from his trip to Italy, he will sign with the Lakers for one season at the league minimum.

First and foremost, at this price, Jamison is a fantastic bargain. The quality of player that is typically nabbed for a minimum salary contract is low. There’s normally little expectation that he’d be a rotation player, much less one that can be depended on to contribute nightly. The Lakers know this well from some of their recent acquisitions using this exception (Troy Murphy and Jason Kapono are examples from last season) and have suffered from depending on them to fill real needs.

With Jamison, though, the Lakers have grabbed a player that can come in and instantly bolster their bench production. This was a hole that needed filling and the Lakers addressed it by grabbing one of the more accomplished players still available at this stage of free agency. Jamison’s stats from last season – 17 points and 6 rebounds in 33 minutes – show he’s still quite capable of contributing at an above average level (as does his 16.1 PER) and he instantly becomes the Lakers best bench scorer.

And, make no mistake, this is exactly what he’s going to be asked to do. His reputation as a boost to any offense is well earned, evidenced by the fact that last season the Cavs were 11 points better per 100 possessions when Jamison was on the floor versus when he was on the bench. Though his overall field goal percentage was the lowest of his career, his three point percentage was right in line with his career average. Most important, though, he provided a stabilizing force for the Cavs as a player that could hit spot up jumpers and still create shots for himself with his nifty in-between game that’s been a staple of his arsenal his entire career.

These are the same strengths he’ll bring to the Lakers, though without the constant pressure of having to be a go to player. Jamison can now do what he does best – spot up, make smart cuts, and finish off the open looks his teammates create for him. Add him to lineups that feature any combination of Kobe, Nash, Pau, or Bynum and Jamison bolsters the offense instantly. He’ll give those guys more space to work by occupying defenders and can serve as a capable outlet that can be depended on to make the right play when they give up the ball to him. His turnover rate his historically low and he ranked first in the entire league in points off open jumpers last year.

Where there are concerns, however, are on defense. Just as Jamison helped prop up the Cavs offense, he helped drag down their defense. The Cavs were 8 points worse per 100 possessions when Jamison was on the floor and is ability to lose his man off the ball and get beat while guarding it was pretty bad. And while his rebounding isn’t quite at that same lowly level, he posted his lowest total rebound rate in a decade. As a comparison, he had a lower defensive rebounding rate than Matt Barnes, while playing almost all his minutes as a PF compared to Barnes playing mostly SF and SG. Considering the responsibility bigs have in Mike Brown’s defensive schemes, playing Jamison will come with its issues on that side of the ball.

There’s some hope here, though. When Jamison was paired with Anderson Varejao, his defensive rebounding rate and  defensive efficiency metrics all improved. The hope is that if Jamison can be paired in the front court with a very good defensive big, he can respond similarly to what he did by playing next to Varejao. In Bynum and Gasol, the Lakers should be able to provide Jamison that partner. And, with some encouragement from his coaches and higher nightly stakes in swapping the Cavs for the Lakers, maybe Jamison will put forth a bit more effort on that side of the ball and produce results that go from bottom of the league bad to simply below average. Of course, time will tell if this is wishful thinking or not but he will be put in an environment where success is more possible.

Regardless of how the defensive issues play out, the Lakers will get better because of this signing. They’ve added a true offensive threat to a bench that ranked dead last in scoring last season. They’ve added a player that aids in lineup versatility; a player that can work off the strengths of his more talented teammates seamlessly. With Jamison on board they’ve shored up a weakness and have effectively replaced one of their lesser performers with an above average talent. And they did it via a minimum contract. You rarely get this good a player for that price and for his offense alone, he’ll be more than worth it.

*Statistical support for this post provided by NBA.com


Darius Soriano

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210 responses to Report: Lakers To Sign Antawn Jamison

  1. D-William and Steve Nash are smart. D-William said he grew up in Dallas and want to return there,…, he got max contract with the Nets. Nash said i don’t think that i will wear Lakers uniform,…, he got 24 mill in 3 years. D-Howard, the super man did not know what to do, the Nets have money for him, but because he re-signed with Orlando for one year, they signed Johnson, Wallace, Lopez.

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  2. I hope that the lack of new posts by Darius and Co. means that, due to some “inside” knowledge, they are holding on for a special announcement….. Otherwise, can we get a new post please? I’m having withdrawals.

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  3. Now, the Nets controls the situation, if everything goes well, forget Howard, if not they can talk to Orlando later. Lakers FO should be smart too, we got Bynum, Orlando should do the fair trade or nothing will happen.

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  4. While the Lakers fiddle with Dwight, Boston just makes another killer move by signing Courtney Lee to a 4 year $21 million contract. This my friends, is a new team to beat for now and the forseeable future. Damn D12. We need a bench. Sign Jordan Hill and Ebanks and add someone before they are all gone.

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  5. My personal opinion is to give DH12 exactly what he wants. Do not trade for him, as he has not expressed any loyalty to the team that acquires him. Let him waste another lame duck year with Orlando. Let him miss the playoffs, again. And then let him decide where he wants to go after that.

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  6. Manny,
    We’ll have a new post up soon. Dave will post a Friday Forum. From my end, I’m a bit caught up today so I haven’t been near a computer that often.

    As an aside, there are several things up in the air with the team right now. Of course there’s the Howard situation. But apparently Jordan Hill will decide soon between the Lakers and his other options (Minnesota is the other likely destination) and I still believe the Lakers will target another wing. However, that last acquisition may really be tied to whether something happens with Howard or not. I’ve read reports that say Ebanks not yet signing is both related to the bone bruise he has on his knee AND the fact that remaining unsigned keeps him out of trade scenarios while also keeping a roster spot open should the Lakers take on an additional player in a trade.

    Basically, there are a lot of moving parts right now and until some of them are resolved, there’s really not much to say. I’ll likely post some Summer League thoughts late tonight when I get some time but those won’t be too different than some of the thoughts I posted the other day.

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  7. Totally agree with everyone that the bench still needs work especially with everyone falling off.

    Most recent news has Shannon resigning in phoenix amd with lee going to Boston there are really only a few guys that would actually help with my preferred being pietrus or foye

    Also – Boston has had a really nice offseason – anyone else hoping for a celtics-lakers finals trimatch?

    Anyone else on the list for backup shooting guards – hearing Bellini is going to the clippers

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  8. Because of next year’s incremental (super) tax system, any incoming salary will have to be offset as much as possible. That is why Hedo is a deal breaker, as the only offset is Blake. JRich is closer in salary to Blake, but still more, which translates to a lot more when adding in the tax. Plus, there is the Nash/JRich rumor that makes it hard for me to believe that JRich is coming. Even if not true, or only somewhat true, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to potentially alienate Nash.

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  9. The Ebanks injury report must be tied in some way to the Howard trade. He was set to sign and play in Vegas,then Howard heated up again. I`ve learned over the years not to put too much import on SL play,but wait for Oct.; did notice that Morris has turned into a hulk SG,who still can`t shoot .

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  10. @Darius, @JimC –

    Per hoopshype, none of the contracts moved by Boston were non-guaranteed. Houston in fact waived some of them. Regardsless, I don’t understand how an S/T of Lee – a player they effectively relinquished could lower their payroll. The only benefit they got out of it was a second round pick.

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