After the Lakers traded for Jose Calderon, my initial thought was that Marcelo Huertas would no longer be brought back. The Lakers had tendered Huertas a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, but Calderon, to me at least, made Huertas redundant and no longer needed.
Turns out I was wrong. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical is reporting Huertas will return to the Lakers with a 2-year contract and Huertas himself confirmed it via instagram:
Huertas is a dynamic passer who can aid in any offense where the P&R and ball/player movement will be featured prominently. While he’s not a shooter, he has a nice floater game and puts himself in positions where he seems like he’d be a scoring threat only to make the pass to a teammate who has slid into an open position. For the Lakers and Walton, these are skills which can be utilized well.
How much he will see the floor remains to be seen, however. With Russell and Calderon, the Lakers have two point guards more than capable of soaking up all the team’s minutes at that spot. After those two, Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams are both combo-guards who can run the point for stretches. With this many guards, it would seem Huertas would only be an emergency guard who might only see minutes in a blowout or if there were injuries.
On the other hand, having Huertas on the roster would also serve as insurance for a trade. Remember, the Calderon trade fell into the Lakers’ lap and came with two 2nd round draft picks. Calderon could be the type of player a playoff team might look for should then need additional depth at PG due to injury or ineffectiveness. The Lakers, then, might end up needing another PG on the roster later in the year. That’s just speculation, but at this point it makes more sense considering the length of his deal (two years) whereas Calderon only has one more season remaining.
In any event, Huertas is back and I’m happy to have him. No, he’s not very good on defense (though he does try hard) and his lack of shooting can be a drag on his overall effectiveness. But he’s a great teammate, his flare for passing and sharing the ball keeps teammates engaged, and he’s another older player who can be a good sounding board in practice, the film room, and on the bench.