The Lakers officially announced they have re-signed point guard Marcelo Huertas. From their press release:
“Marcelo’s understanding of the game, unselfishness, and professionalism are assets to our team and he has an uncanny ability to change the pace of the game,” said Kupchak. “He’s fundamentally solid but also has a flair and excitement to his style of play, which makes him a fan favorite.”
In his first NBA season with the Lakers last year after playing professionally in Brazil, Spain, and Italy since 2001, Huertas averaged a team-best 3.4 assists per game in addition to 4.5 points and 1.7 rebounds over 53 games. Prior to coming stateside, he spent the previous four seasons (2011-15) with Spanish power FC Barcelona, where he was a key piece on their 2011-12 and 2013-14 Spanish National Championship and 2013 Spanish National Cup-winning teams. He also has 165 games of Euroleague experience, and was the 2013-14 Euroleague Top 16 Round Two MVP.
While the Lakers did not announce the terms of the deal, the contract is believed to be worth $3.3 million over two season with the 2nd year non-guaranteed.
As we wrote when this deal was originally reported, it’s hard to project Huertas into the lineup should the team’s rotations play out as are currently expected. With as many as 4 players besides Huertas (Russell, Calderon, Clarkson, Williams) who can play point guard for at least short stretches, projecting where he finds minutes is not easy. All of those players bring more well rounded offensive games to the table than Huertas, especially as shooters and scorers.
That said, Huertas is probably the best pure passer of that group and on a team which needs more ball movement and players who know how to make plays for teammates on the floor, Huertas has potential to be a value add offensively. As noted in the team’s press release he led the team in assists and truly does offer dynamic passing skill. When operating in the P&R he can make every read and execute every pass — pocket bounce passes, lob, same side kickouts, next level skip passes, everything.
So, it will be interesting to me how Luke Walton handles Huertas. Should Russell end up more comfortable as a scoring option, pairing him with Huertas for short stretches could unlock that ability even more. Huertas is also a natural pair with Clarkson and, in time, I think would establish good chemistry with Randle, Nance, and Ingram. Whether he gets that chance, however, remains to be seen.