Archives For Free Agents

With about a month left until the start of training camp, the Lakers continue to add talent to their roster. The most recent addition, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, is Brazilian Point Guard Marcelo Huertas:

Free-agent guard Marcelo Huertas – one of the Euroleague’s most accomplished playmakers – has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Huertas also provides some background as how he believes he can be successful in the NBA:

“There’s so much more space in the NBA,” Huertas told Yahoo Sports in April. “It’s not like Europe now, where you have one guy full-time in the paint. Space is harder to come by. One of my strengths is playing in the pick-and-roll, finding open guys and making shots in the mid-range game off the dribble.

“I think that part is harder to find now, because you mostly have guys who get all the way to the hole, or they’re three-point shooters. And if I’m open, and I can get my feet set, I’m going to make a lot of those kind of shots.”

Huertas believes he can make a difference in the locker room, too, by mentoring young players and meshing with veterans. For the Lakers, Huertas could give them an ideal partner as Russell is groomed to become the franchise’s cornerstone.

“If you look at NBA rosters, there are unbelievable starting point guards, but maybe not as many guys who can come off the bench able to run the team, score the ball, as well as being able to be a leader for young players,” Huertas said. “Those are things I know I’ll be able to bring with me.”

Mitch Kupchak and Byron Scott have both mentioned their want for another point guard — preferably a veteran — on the team and it seems they have found him.

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The Lakers currently have 16 players under contract, but will look at to add anywhere from two to four more players to their roster for training camp. Among the players they have shown interest in is former Kings Forward Eric Moreland. From Shams Charania of Real GM:

Free agent Eric Moreland has multiple deals to compete for a roster spot in NBA training camp, with the Detroit Pistons as frontrunners, league sources told RealGM. The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are strong under consideration for Moreland, sources said, and their front offices expect the 6-foot-10 forward to settle upon a destination once the final offers are presented. The Kings waived Moreland on July 29 before his contract guarantee date for the 2015-16 season.

After having a good summer league with the Kings (6.4 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 20 minutes a game), Moreland is looking to catch on and find a more permanent role with a team. That said, any contract and camp invite from the Lakers isn’t likely to bring that security.

The Lakers are already very deep at PF with no fewer than 5 players who could draw consideration for minutes at that spot. There might be more flexibility if Moreland could play C, but with a listed weight of 218 pounds, that’s an unlikely solution.

Ultimately, then, I’d not expect Moreland to stick even if he did choose the Lakers. There are simply too many players he’d need to unseat to earn a regular season roster spot, nearly all of them players the team has already invested in. He would likely just be camp fodder who could compete with the other Lakers’ bigs in practice and provide an extra body as insurance should injury occur or if a player needs a day off for rest.

Whether that situation is enough to entice him would likely depend on how he and his agent view the opportunities with the Kings and the Pistons. Detroit currently has more guaranteed contracts than roster spots and will need to make cuts to get down to the maximum roster size. The Kings offer familiarity, but also just drafted Willie Cauley-Stein and added Kosta Koufos and Quincy Acy in free agency.

Whichever team Moreland chooses, then, offers an uphill climb to a roster spot. We’ll see if the Lakers end up being that team.

The Lakers have been active on the undrafted free agent market in recent days, signing Jonathan Holmes to a 2-year contract on Thursday and agreeing to a 2-year contract with Michael Frazier on Sunday. With this activity, a persisting question is when the Lakers would follow through on signing Robert Upshaw to the contract they reportedly agreed to after the team’s first summer league game.

Well, it looks like we have an answer and it’s not exactly the one I’m guessing a lot of fans were hoping for:

As Pincus notes, Upshaw remains a possibility and I wouldn’t be surprised if he still gets an invite to camp on a “make good” contract. Whether that contract would have any guarantees — even small ones like those which appeared in Holmes’ and Frazier’s contracts — is unknown.

Especially since, I’d imagine, the team is greatly balancing his history of off-court issues with the promise he exhibits on the floor. Unlike other UDFA’s the team might deal with this summer, Upshaw has both a higher probability of becoming a sunk cost just as he has a higher ceiling and potential to become a long term piece.

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We recently touched on where the Lakers’ roster stands with a little over a month left until training camp opens, but it seems like we could have waited an additional day since the Lakers have made another addition:

Reports are that Frazier has not yet signed his deal, but per the above report, the deal has been agreed to. My guess is that Frazier will sign a similar deal to the one Jonathan Holmes just inked — a two year deal with a small guarantee — with the intention of seeing if he can make the team by flashing some skill in training camp. (UpdateEric Pincus is reporting Frazier’s deal is a two-year contract with $50K guaranteed.)

As for Frazier’s measurables and game, he’s a 6’4″ shooting guard who went undrafted after leaving the University of Florida after his Junior season. He averaged 12.4 and 12.1 points per game his last two years in college with some very good shooting splits. Kevin O’Connor of SB Nation has a very good scouting report on Frazier that is worth your time, but here is a key passage:

At 6’4, Frazier has the passing skills of a combo guard, but shooting will always be his career ticket. He shot more than 43 percent from downtown in his three-year tenure with the Gators. Mechanically, Frazier features a compact release and can either hop or step into his shot attempts depending on the situation. In addition to having strong mechanics, Frazier possesses excellent instincts. He was one of the best in the class of 2015 at moving without the ball to find soft spots in the defense.

In summer league, Frazier did not have his best showing, shooting only 26.3% from the field while missing all of his three point field goal attempts (0-11). His lack of elite size for a shooting guard and his struggles from the field in Vegas likely contributed to a team not yet inking him to a contract, but considering the small sample and his body of work at UF, the Lakers are likely betting that his potential as a shooter and ability to develop his playmaking skills further warrants a better look.

Considering the Lakers’ lack of shooting and the need to always mine and hoard that skillset in the pros, this is a gamble worth taking if you’re the Lakers. If he doesn’t pan out, all the team is out is a small sum of guaranteed cash. If he can challenge Jabari Brown, though, and show enough as a floor spacing shooter who looks like he’s able to be another combo-type of guard who can handle the ball some while also playing off other playmakers who create good looks for him, this small investment could pay off.

Time will tell if Frazier ends up being camp fodder or something bigger. But the Lakers continue to add to their roster, looking for more pieces they can potentially develop.

What was reported last week has now become official: the Lakers have signed undrafted free agent Jonathan Holmes to a multi year deal. From the Lakers press release:

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Jonathan Holmes to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

In five games for the Celtics’ entry in the 2015 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Holmes averaged 12.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.0 steals in 21.8 minutes per game, while shooting 55.6% from the field. The 6’9’’ Holmes also appeared in three games for Boston in the 2015 Utah Jazz Summer League, and in his eight games (seven starts) between the two competitions, shot a perfect 15-15 from the free throw line, and 13-28 (46.4%) from beyond-the-arc.

As we covered in our initial write up, Holmes is more of a tweener forward who would likely do his best work as a “stretch four” in the NBA. He has good size (6’9″) and decent length (6’11” wingspan) with a solid build. While at the University of Texas, he spent most of his junior year banging down low as a more traditional big man and then, as a senior, moved the perimeter by playing a lot of small forward.

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After reportedly inking Jonathan Holmes to a partially guaranteed contract and, if you listen to sources close to the player, showing some interest in veteran big man JaVale McGee, the Lakers are still looking to add to their roster.

Per Sportando, Monday’s scheduled workout will include 11 additional players bringing the total to 14.

With training camp set to start next month, reports like these should not surprise. While, if you include Holmes and Robert Upshaw — whose reported deal is apparently still not signed — the Lakers have 16 players on their roster, they typically bring about 20 players to training camp with the last six or seven of those players competing for the final one or two spots on the roster.

Without knowing for sure how much of Holmes’ contract is guaranteed or if the Upshaw verbal agreement ever turns into one on paper, it’s difficult to know how much of a chance these players have to unseat Tarik Black or Jabari Brown who have non-guaranteed contracts or even Robert Sacre, whose deal is guaranteed, but is for the minimum. The Lakers could easily waive any of these three players to minimal or no financial impact.

As for the talent coming in for the workout hoping to sign a deal and compete in camp, Brown is easily the most accomplished. As Marc Stein noted, Brown had a very good showing at the Pan-Am games for Team USA last month and has also performed quite well in China in recent seasons. He is a scoring point guard who can really fill it up and is at the point of his career where, I’d imagine, he’s looking to get back into the NBA and see if he can make a difference stateside. Murry is more of a combo guard who has seen some action in the NBA the last two years, but had his most significant burn with the Knicks in the 2013-14 season where he played 373 minutes. Not the biggest sample size, for sure.

While the session is worth discussing, don’t expect much, if anything, to come from this workout. The Lakers roster is already (essentially) full with players they like and have invested resources into. The likelihood any of the 14 players coming to compete for a camp invite usurp even one of the current end of the bench guys is low. I mean, they’d have to shine enough in today’s workout to be one of a handful of guys just to get asked to come to camp and then beat out a guy who already knows the Lakers’ system. That’s a tough road to hoe.

But the Lakers are wise to do their due diligence and see if any of the above are worth a more extended look in training camp where they can compete daily with guys currently on the roster. From there, maybe they open enough eyes to make the Lakers think hard about keeping them around.

The Lakers have been quiet on the personnel front in the last few weeks, though have reportedly agreed to a contract with undrafted free agent Jonathan Holmes. Adding a combo forward doesn’t necessarily seem like the biggest need, but his combination of youth, skill set, and versatility are worth a longer look.

More of a need, at least according to Mitch Kupchak, is another big man. The Lakers were rumored to have interest in former Wizard F/C Kevin Seraphin, but the Knicks signed him to a deal earlier this week. With one former Wizard off the market, maybe the Lakers would explore signing a different former Wiz:

As long as McGee remains unsigned, his combination of name recognition, athleticism, and “potential” will have some fans intrigued. And, with the report above — a report, it should be noted, comes from sources “close to McGee” — those same fans will likely get a bit more excited.

I, for one, am not a fan of McGee and don’t see him as a particularly good fit on the Lakers despite front office desires to add another big man. For all of McGee’s ability, it’s rarely been channelled into long stretches of productivity. And while a lot of his “issues” that have earned him a questionable reputation seem to just stem from a quirky personality or a general aloofness, I’m of the mind that the Lakers could probably do just as well without him in the fold as with him.

This doesn’t make him a bad person or a bad player. Again, his combination of size, athleticism, and ability to impact a game by using both well is not the question. The question is whether he can provide this ability for long enough stretches over the course of a full season. Based on his injury history and how he has shown a proclivity for either checking out mentally or simply making boneheaded plays, I think these questions have probably already answered themselves. Or at least they have for me.

In saying all that, though, McGee is out there and sources close to the player seem to be saying the Lakers have an interest. Whether that interest turns into anything more than a summer flirtation remains to be seen.

We recently discussed what the Lakers might do with their 15th roster spot and it seems we may have found an answer — or at least a potential one. From Real GM’s Shams Charania:

Holmes is a combo forward who went undrafted after spending four years at the University of Texas. In his Junior season he boasted averages of 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds a game on 50.5% shooting, but saw those numbers dip dramatically to 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds on 38.9% in his Senior campaign. It was likely this dip in production which saw his stock fall.

In speaking with Jonathan Tjarks, also of Real GM, about Holmes he said the following about his pro prospects:

“(Holmes) is almost certainly a small-ball PF in the NBA. He has average physical tools for the position and his success will almost certainly be dependent on how well he shoots the 3 ball at the next level”

For what it’s worth, Holmes shots 33.1% and 33.3% from behind the arc in his final two years at Texas, the final year launching 4.1 shots from distance a game.

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