Archives For Free Agents

While optimism was a big theme of Monday’s Lakers Media Day, there was another story (and set of quotes) which I find very interesting. During his media availability, Rob Pelinka provided additional context on the team’s plans for 2018 free agency. Pelinka made it clear he values financial flexibility in next summer’s chase for free agents while simultaneously opening up more options than the “2 max players or bust” mindset that seemed to dominate the discussion to this point.

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One of the major, ongoing storylines of the summer has been what is going to happen with Carmelo Antony and the Knicks. Well, rest easy. The Carmelo Antony Trade is done. He’s going from New York to Oklahoma City per Adrian Wojnarowski:

The draft pick is only a 2nd rounder, so this isn’t such a great return for the Knicks. Kanter can score, but is not good on defense. McDermott has offensive potential and will try defensively, but has not yet lived up to his status as a lottery pick (not to mention, this will already by his 3rd team). And the pick will be a 2nd round pick (though, it’s a Bulls pick, which means it should be pretty good since Chicago projects to be awful). In other words, this is a great deal for the Thunder.

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In a wonderful behind the scenes look at what Andre Iguodala’s free agency process was like this summer, Chris Haynes of ESPN reports that the Lakers offered the Warriors wing big money to leave Golden State for Los Angeles. Here’s Haynes with the details:

Set up in the presidential suite at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, Iguodala kicked off his free-agent meetings with a conference call with the Los Angeles Lakers, multiple sources said…

…Los Angeles had significant cap space and a desperate need for veteran leadership to help guide its young core, including Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. The call lasted about 20 minutes, sources said, but the Lakers were optimistic and offered a one-year deal in the $20 million-plus range.

First, one might question “who cares?” regarding this report as it relates specifically to the Lakers. Teams try to sign FA’s every summer, and besides some high profile failures in this area under the final years of the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak partnership and the optics of missing out again this summer, this report falls in line with that. We only have access to this specific information because of Haynes’ great reporting, so what does that matter now?

While I can see this line of thinking, this interests me more on the levels of who the Lakers have targeted, why they target them, the means they use to try to get them to sign, and how all those things tie together into their larger free agent strategy. This is especially true now, in the wake of the Andrew Bogut signing.

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Just when you thought there were no more deals to be made, that free agency was dead and buried, the Lakers front offices sticks their hand out the gave like Beatrix Kiddo and make another move by signing former Warrior (and Maverick and, most recently, Cavalier) Andrew Bogut.

Well, then.

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One of the last vestiges of Lakers free agency rumor season was regarding their 15th roster spot and whether they would use that vacancy to fill a hole on the wing. The name that was most recently associated with that opening was Shabazz Muhammad, the Timberwolf turned restricted free agent turned unrestricted free agent.

The former UCLA Bruin and Rob Pelinka client played SF for the Wolves and, in theory, would have filled in on the wing behind Brandon Ingram. Turns out, though, he won’t now. Since he’s going to return to Minnesota:

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With training camp a little over a month away, the Lakers are starting to fill out their roster with players they’d like to see more of over the course of camp and preseason. The team had already signed Vander Blue to a make good contract, giving him a $50K guarantee to come to camp and try to make the team. I don’t think Blue’s chances are great to do that, but he showed some flashes in Vegas and I’m happy for him to get this chance.

The team also has already inked Alex Caruso to a two-way contract. So he’s automatically at camp and, in theory, not competing for a roster spot. Caruso will get some time with the big team, I’m sure, but will spend most of his season with the SBL in the G-League, running the system and being used as insurance should the Lakers need an extra body in practice or on the bench for potential game minutes.

With Blue and Caruso, the Lakers had 16 players under contract for camp. They are allowed 20. So, more were coming. And, now, more are here:

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While there were reports that the Lakers were likely done signing free agents, the team has reportedly picked up a familiar name:

First, I’m happy for Blue. He’s been with the Lakers in some way — either with the big team or their G-League affiliate — since 2015. Last year, he was the league MVP. He’s played for their summer league team multiple times and after his exploits in Vegas this past month in helping the team to the LVSL championship, he openly spoke about wanting to catch on with the Lakers and get his shot in the NBA. It seems he’ll get his shot to try to stick this fall.

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Just two days ago we wondered what moves the Lakers might still make with an unbalanced roster and needs in both the backcourt and the wing. Well, the first domino has fallen as the Lakers will reportedly bring back a somewhat familiar face to serve as their backup to Lonzo Ball.

First, getting Ennis for the minimum is a nice pickup. After flirting with Derrick Rose for what was likely their full room level exception (roughly $4 million), the team found a viable backup for much cheaper than that.

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