Archives For Free Agents

The moratorium has been lifted and free agents are able to sign the contracts they verbally agreed to during the dead period of July 1st through the 8th. If you’re logged onto twitter, expect to see a lot of team accounts posting pictures of players putting pen to paper, making the deals official. We’ve already seen some of that with Anthony Davis’ extension, Ed Davis going to Portland, and DeAndre Jordan going back to the Clippers.

Speaking of Jordan, his drama filled situation kept everyone plugged into the final hours of the moratorium in a way not quite ever seen and sets us up perfectly for our fast break thoughts. Let’s get to it…

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If you remember last summer, after the Lakers missed out on Carmelo Anthony (and the rest of the big name free agents) they quickly moved on to signing other free agents, inking deals with Nick Young and Jordan Hill (and eventually Ed Davis). Well, this summer seems to be playing out quite similarly.

After it was announced yesterday LaMarcus Aldridge would sign with the Spurs, the Lakers have moved with accelerated pace in the market, agreeing to acquire Roy Hibbert in a trade and sign Lou Williams away from the Raptors as a free agent. They are not done, however, as it is now being reported they will ink another veteran free agent forward:

The Lakers have also released a statement on the ongoing negotiations with Brandon Bass (and Williams):

Los Angeles Lakers have engaged in negotiations with free agent guard Lou Williams and free agent forward Brandon Bass and intend to enter into player contracts with them at the conclusion of the NBA Moratorium Period, it was announced today by General Manger Mitch Kupchak.

A key part of the statement, of course, is “in negotiations with” as the exact terms of these deals are not yet determined — at least with Bass. For more on how the money might work for Bass, let’s turn to Eric Pincus of the LA Times:

The “room exception” makes sense for Bass as that is the cleanest way to sign him without having to make any additional roster adjustments. However, if it were as simple as Bass signing for the $2.8 million that exception would offer, we would likely have that information right now. Instead, then, might we see more roster moves to help clear space to sign Bass (as well as create more space to take on Hibbert’s large deal)?

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Remember how the Lakers weren’t doing anything in free agency? Yesterday morning seems like so long ago. After pursuing, and ultimately (seemingly) agreeing to acquire Roy Hibbert from the Pacers, the Lakers have made another move by adding to their backcourt:

Okay, there’s sort of a lot to say about this so bear with me. I’m going to use bullet points because, well, bloggers love bullet points…

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Now that it is official LaMarcus Aldridge will sign with the Spurs (which was the presumed outcome when free agency started), the Lakers have officially missed out on every player they have (reportedly) targeted in free agency. To summarize, they met with Aldridge, Greg Monroe, and DeAndre Jordan. The latter two signed with the Bucks and Mavericks respectively while other “players of interest” like Robin Lopez (Knicks) are now also off the market.

This leaves the Lakers as the team standing up in this free agent game of musical chairs. And, with that, here are 10 thoughts on where the Lakers are now, how they got here, and what comes next:

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So far, free agency has not been going well for the Lakers. Beyond the optics problems with taking meetings and having reports label them as unimpressive, the bigger issue is having top targets decline offers from the team while the speed of the market has taken most other viable options to other teams for more reasonable deals. (Ed Davis bolting for Portland is a perfect example here — while the Lakers broke bread with LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, DeAndre Jordan, and Aldridge again, Davis decided he could wait no longer and signed with the Blazers for a very reasonable deal.)

Again, stripping away all the optics from this, a more tangible problem has surfaced. Who is actually left on the market for the Lakers to sign? The answer is, well, not many people. Since we last discussed this on Thursday, Robin Lopez can likely be removed from any list as reports have him signing with the Knicks should Jordan choose the Clippers or Mavericks (as he is expected to). For big men, then, this leaves a list looking like this:

  • Kosta Koufos
  • Bismack Biyombo
  • Jordan Hill
  • A bunch of other middling guys like Chuck Hayes, Ryan Hollins, Andrea Bargnani, Greg Smith, Jeff Withey, etc

Of that list, the top three options are all useful in one way or another. If the Lakers signed any of them to help fill their hole in the middle, I’d give a polite clap and go on my way. There’s nothing inherently wrong with taking on any of those guys. It’s not exciting, but chasing excitement is probably what got the Lakers where they are in free agency to begin with.

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In a pretty wild turn of events, it seems LaMarcus Aldridge may not have ruled the Lakers out after all:

This, really did come out of nowhere. It seemed the Lakers truly were out of the running, as the Spurs maintained their status as the frontrunner and the Suns making moves from the outside to swoop in and sign the seemingly soon to be former Blazer. But here the Lakers are, making another pitch:

What exactly does getting it right mean? After reports the Lakers’ initial pitch was focused too much on off-court opportunities and not enough on how things would work on the floor, this second meeting will be purely basketball:

We can make jokes about this, and I’m guessing the Lakers won’t make too much headway in this meeting. But, in saying that, while the Lakers do not have a lot of proven talent to pair with Aldridge today, they can talk Byron’s offense and how Aldridge fits into it as a centerpiece players. If Byron is able to articulate how Aldridge will get the ball in his sweet spots, have ample opportunities to work in the hub of the offense from the elbows, and be a pick and pop partner with Kobe, Clarkson, and D’Angelo Russell, that is more in line with the type of information he might want to hear.

I mean, look at his shot chart:

Aldridge

If looking at the types of shots Byron’s offense produces and the types of shots Aldridge seems to build his game on, there is actually¬†a pretty big overlap. If the Lakers could combine this type of information (in more detail, of course) with a discussion on how they might also acquire a Center to pair with Aldridge in the starting lineup, that might further aid their cause:

I am by no means getting my hopes up here. If I were a betting man, I’d say Aldridge ends up with the Spurs or the Suns. But the Lakers are going to get their chance to make a second first impression and see where that gets them.

As discussed earlier, the Lakers have dwindling options in free agency as many of the most desirable players were snatched up in a frantic first 24 hours of activity. One of the more appealing options left on the market as of Thursday morning was the Lakers’ own free agent, Ed Davis.

The market moves quickly, however, and reports now have Davis no longer available:

First things first, this is a very reasonable deal for Davis. It is slightly above the Mid-level Exception, but in a climate where many players are getting more per/year money than that and inking longer contracts, the Blazers did well for themselves getting Davis for slightly more than a $6 million annual average.

For the Lakers, however, this is pretty rough news. Unless they have another option lined up, this is the type of deal they could have easily offered Davis to stick around. Considering Davis said he would like to stay with the team and, reportedly, that interest was mutual, it is difficult to see why there could not have been a mutual agreement with the end result him being in a Laker uniform next season.

When you consider the Lakers’ depth chart at Center and the fact Davis’ deal still leaves room for, roughly, a 25% max salary slot that would have still allowed the team to chase other players, it’s harder to see why something couldn’t get done.

In other words, if you weren’t fully frustrated before, this type of deal for Davis with another team likely inches you closer to that point.

The Lakers haven’t been idle in free agency, but the results have still made them out to be spectators. When free agency opened on Tuesday night, they met with LaMarcus Aldridge in Los Angeles, on Wednesday morning they flew to the east coast to meet with Greg Monroe, then returned back to Los Angeles to meet with DeAndre Jordan. If you’re scoring at home, though, Aldridge will reportedly not sign with the Lakers, Monroe has chosen the Bucks, and DeAndre Jordan will choose between the Mavericks and the Clippers.

Looks like the team did all that zigzagging across the country for nothing. I guess John Wooden was right, do not mistake activity for achievement.

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