Archives For Free Agents

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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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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