Part of any building process is the acquisition of assets. While in this stage, whoever is responsible for raising a roster from the ashes has to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves as competitors deal with their own issues. In this case, the Lakers could benefit from the Phoenix Suns and an extremely unhappy Markieff Morris.

Anytime a player demands a trade, though, the scenario is obviously pretty complicated. Morris’ situation is no different and the outside variables cannot be ignored. Before we get to those, though, let’s first examine why the Lakers should kick the tires.

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A good rule of thumb to live by is to never really expect much from a second round pick. While most of the guys drafted after the first 30 picks are surely talented, the NBA is filled with skilled players whose careers are hanging on by a lose thread. The churn at the bottom of NBA rosters isn’t quite like what you see in the NFL, but every year guys lose their jobs to similarly talented peers.

Depending on any 2nd round player for real contributions, then, is a mistake. If you strike gold — like the Lakers did with Jordan Clarkson — that’s great, but you cannot expect this to happen. The odds are just too low.

This brings us Anthony Brown, whom the Lakers selected with the 34th selection in this past draft. Brown showed strong play in the PAC 12 as both a Junior and Senior and looks to have translatable skills to the NBA level (more on this in a minute). The Lakers, hoping they’ve found another player who can be a long term piece, invested in Brown as such by signing him to a three year contract with the first two seasons fully guaranteed and a non-guaranteed third year*.

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Over the weekend, the Lakers made what will probably be their last significant personnel move of the summer, reportedly signing former Texas combo forward Jonathan Holmes to a partially-guaranteed deal. While the current construct of the Lakers roster may make it difficult to envision another piece fitting in, the UDFA Summer League standout has a legitimate shot to stick with the team (both due to playing a position of need and overall skill set) if his talent prevails over the preseason.

The fact that Holmes went undrafted was truly mistifying to me. He was undoubtedly one of my favorite prospects in the draft and I felt he deserved late first-round consideration and at least mid-second. Nevertheless, he is another young piece, in the Lakers hands and with that, I decided to uncover some pre-draft articles on Holmes. This piece by Jason Mcintyre in particular, offers a glimpse of just what Holmes may be able to offer as a potential “steal” at the next level:

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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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Among a large sect of Lakers’ fans, Byron Scott is not held in the highest of regards as a coach. The former Showtime shooting guard is absolutely revered as a former great player who helped the team capture three championships as Magic’s backcourt mate, but when it comes to stewarding the ship from the sideline there are reasons to doubt him.

I have, admittedly, been one of these critics. There is no need to rehash it all in now, but his history in New Jersey, New Orleans, and Cleveland — especially how he exited those places — spoke a lot more to me than some of his early success in the first two of those stops or his knowledge of “what it means to be a Laker”. When he was hired, then, I spoke my mind on this. I still believe what I wrote at the time had merit and that is independent of the bad season he shepherded the team through last year.

Like any fair critique, though, one must look at the full picture and note where things were actually, you know, good. For all his faults, Byron did several things worthy of recognition, including getting players to play hard all year even with all the losses, getting some above expectations performances from more than one of his big men, and, of course, the management of Jordan Clarkson’s development from forgotten 2nd round pick early in the year to 1st Team All-Rookie by the end of the campaign*.

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No Lakers-centric links post this week would be complete without a reference to the team’s most widely-covered news of the week surrounding it’s most celebrated player. So, let’s get that out of the way, first.

In an interview which has been well-documented, Kobe Bryant spoke with Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports and discussed a variety of topics including his eventual retirement (more on that in a minute) and his outlook on the upcoming season:

Q: What do you think about the state of the Lakers right now?

Kobe: “They have really set themselves up for a promising future going on years. I think they drafted very well. The free agents that we picked are extremely solid, [Roy] Hibbert, [Brandon] Bass, Lou [Williams]. We have a very good mix of young and veteran leadership. The challenge is going to be blending the two and cutting down the learning curve.

“How quickly can we get going? How quickly can we bring up [rookie D’Angelo] Russell, [Julius] Randle. [Jordan] Clarkson got valuable experience last year in playing that will benefit us tremendously. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to running with these young guns.”

Q: Can this Lakers team make the playoffs?

Kobe: “Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players. How exactly will the pieces of the puzzle fit? We really don’t know. We are going to [training] camp trying to piece this together just like every other team does. We have to figure out what our strengths are, figure out what our weaknesses are. And every time we step on the court we are going to try to hide our weaknesses and step up to our strengths.”

It is also worth reading a related piece by our own Darius Soriano where he dissects some of Bean’s most noteworthy comments from the interview.

**

Perhaps my subconscious is intentionally burying the “lead” here, but Kobe’s most highly-noted comments from the above interview revolved around his inevitable departure from basketball. Until Kobe officially hangs ’em up, there will continue to be questions in regards to his official farewell and quotes like “I don’t know if I’m going to retire or not.” will lead to attention-grabbing headlines such as, “Kobe and Mitch aren’t on the same page!”. Regardless of when his swan song will officially be composed, I am of the mindset that enjoying Kobe’s every moment is crucial at a time where we are more aware than ever that any step onto the court could be his last.

No, his waning moments will not always be pretty, but according to Silver Screen and Roll’s Harrison Faigen, to make the closing of his career a lot more effective and a bit more eye-pleasing, Kobe should take note of an old adage; “Like Mike”:

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