The Lakers have been quiet in free agency through two days, having discussions with several players and waiving Tarik Black, but that’s about it. No signings, not even any face to face meetings with potential additions. That last part, at least, is going to change on Sunday night, however:
Los Angeles Lakers have a meeting with free agent guard Dion Waiters tonight, a league source told Basketball Insiders.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) July 3, 2017
Waiters is a former client of Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, so the meeting makes sense if only looking at it from that angle. Of course, it makes sense on other levels too.
The Lakers are terribly thin in the backcourt, with only rookies Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart along with Jordan Clarkson and David Nwaba as the only “guards” currently on the roster. Brandon Ingram can moonlight there some, but he’s more of a pure SF and, really, the hope would be he’d slide up to play some small-ball PF instead of sliding down to SG or PG for any minutes.
Beyond the depth issue, Waiters is good! Long viewed as an irrational confidence guy who didn’t seem to fit next to LeBron/Kyrie in Cleveland or Russ/Durant in OKC (and thus became disposable), Waiters thrived in Miami as a featured scorer and primary bucket getter. He got into tremendous condition, played hard, and did what he said he’d always do from the second he got into the league — take it to defenses from all over the floor.
Stylistically is iso heavy approach isn’t the most natural fit, but Waiters’ shot creation and ability to get a basket with the clock winding down or on a key, late possession would have a lot of value for a Lakers’ team that doesn’t have many guys who can do that competently at this point. I mean, if diagraming a set for a player to work in space to get his own shot right now you’d go to…Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson. Maybe Brandon Ingram if he develops more scoring chops in his 2nd season. Waiters would instantly fill that role and would also take up a role he had in Miami with these Lakers.
Of course, a deal is not done and this is only a meeting. But when looking at the remaining guards/wings on the market, Waiters is one of (if not the) best options. So, the Lakers would do well to ink him, even if it would likely take up the majority — if not all — of their remaining cap space to get him to come on board for a one-year deal.
We’ll see how it goes, but considering this is the team’s first chance to “close” on a guy they like enough to meet with in person and when you add in the ties to Pelinka, I would hope the team has strong hand to play.
The Lakers also met with Rondo and supposedly are giving “strong consideration” to signing him. I would pass on both Waiters and Rondo, although if either hypothetical deal were only one year it would not be damaging.
Curious as to why you don’t like Waiters??
Waiters would provide two structural advantages, in that they might be able to move him as noted, and that they might be able to move Clarkson if they had Waiters. Waiters also makes more sense in a non-tank situation than Young and Williams did the last couple of years. But I would just as soon that they give Clarkson and Hart more reps, and pick up a lower usage guy to fill out the backcourt rotation, as sign a guy with Waiters’ overall track record.
I understand why you say that about rondo but Dion would be a solid pick up.
Would be a smart move for Dion Too, inflate his number like swaggy P did this year, look for a multi year deal next year
Even trading him for a pick at the deadline too potentially
I like waiters can score the rock ,something this squad desperately needs. No slouch on d either.
I also like that Waiters has dog in him and the Lakers could use some of that
I would be shocked if Waiters signed a 1 year deal. Betting on him long term would be riskier than I would like.
Rondo I would believe would take a 1 year deal. He has a bad rep but, notably the younger players on the Bulls said he was a great locker room guy. I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled to get Rondo but, when offering a 1 year deal, this is the kind of guy I would expect to get.
Travis Y. says
Agree that Waiters is one of the best options remaining. However, since he just signed a 1 yr minimum contract and bet on himself in Miami. My guess is that he will not settle until he gets a multi year contract since he proved his talent last year.
The only way he comes to us is if the rest of the teams question his attitude and decide his attitude is not worth the risk.
Give his players tribune letter a read and you’ll understand him a little more.
If we don’t sign him I’d prioritize JaMychal Green and then Jonathan Simmons for 1 yr $17 M. Then resign Ennis for $1M and call it an off-season.
Love Dion Waiters and I think it will work provided he knows it’s only a 1 yr. deal.
Jonathan Simmons intrigues me! Long (6’6) plays with a swagger, good defensive addition.
If the two though – I’d go with Waiters.Come on Rob – earn your $$$!
He turned down $3.2 million. How much would he cost?
If we can steal him–of course. Miami might be preoccupied with Hayward.
Otherwise, let’s keep our powder dry.
He just came off a career year that compares to what Wade did this year. It would not surprise me if he demanded the Lakers 17 million cap this year on a 4 year contract. If he continued to play over those 4 years like he did last year then it would money well spent. However, he doesn’t have a large body of work with that kind of success making such a deal risky.
Clay Bertrand says
He can DEMAND all he wants. This market is dictating A LOT and as the money further dries up, these guys will sign for BARGAIN RATES compared to last Summer. Its MUSICAL MONEY CHAIRS and when the Music stops, you grab whatever seat you can.
MARK MY WORDS there will be some real bargains as free agency goes on. EVERYBODY doesn’t have money anymore. Once the Haywards, Porters, KCPs, etc. are signed, things will loosen up some but there isn’t the money or the appetite to spend that there was last Summer.
Next Summer will be EVEN WORSE!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Except for SOME teams…..like the Lakers). The NBA Players Association REFUSED to allow a smoothing of the Cap hike over a period of years. They acted like spoiled brats wanting ALL THEY’RE CANDY NOW (Last Season). This season and especially next year, the money will be already SUNK into overpaid contracts and perhaps even STRETCHED into dead money for some teams.
Last Summer shall forever be remembered as the SUMMER OF DENGOV—-a period of frenzied excessive spending on the barely mediocre. Its was not the NEW NORMAL as we can now see.
Rick in Seattle says
Yes Hill is a more logical choice than Rondo (IMO) for a lot of reasons. Plays two positions, more trade value, etc. etc.
Not sure what Waiters brings, or his price. Maybe keep looking. Perhaps there are better alternatives as free agency moves along. Lakers FO is clear about 1-year contracts.
Renato Afonso says
There’s no need to pair an iso ball player next to Lonzo, Ingram and Randle, who all seem to enjoy passing the ball. I’m not sure if the Lakers need that player at what his cost would be (multiple years, not the amount). Nick Young’s game last season was really good (a lot less iso and some D) and if the Lakers could have a player replicate his on court performance it would be great for the team.
Randle is notably ISO heavy. Sometimes you need a shot creator. Though as things stand now I would say that is Lopez.
You think Bill Simmons will sell his condo on Waiters Island if he signs with the Lakers?
Old Timer says
I think Lakers FO are looking for mentors for our youthful roster that if things becomes rough and tough in 82 bruised and tumble season, there are back up veterans who will guide them out of the quagmire. Rondo may have matured since Celtic time and being a good friend of Kobe I think he could manage his tantrums this time around. The future is bright for our young team but it also needs infusion of veteran’s insight with Championship pedigree.
If the Wizards are forced to match the max offer for Otto Porter the Lakers could do much worse than make a play for Kelly Oubre. The Wizards would have a lot of money tied up in Wall/Beal/Porter and may not want to spend on Oubre’s 2nd contract next summer.
Many of you know that I am a big Oubre fan and see his elite length and athleticism as the makings of an outstanding SG. Oubre is long (with a wingspan that compares with Ingram). He’s a great defensive stopper who with Ingram would cause nightmares on perimeter jump shooters and in passing lanes.
The other thing about Oubre is that he’s tough — you may recall that he didn’t back down when the Celtic’s Olynyck made a dirty play on him in the playoffs. Oubre is also young and hasn’t had an opportunity to break out yet (limited playing time behind the afore mentioned players).
In my mind he would be a better ‘get’ than Dione Waiters who has a ceiling, is expensive and has proven (with lots of playing time) to be nothing more than average.
Clay Bertrand says
Who/What would you trade to “Get” your boy Oubre???
Also, I will say that Oubre and Waiters are Apples and Oranges IMO. Oubre is a fringe contributor with youth and upside that is still uncertain he will reach. Waiters is much more of a known quantity and at 25, is 4 years older and more established than Oubre.
Waiters is a free agent in line for a payday and Oubre is still playing on a rookie deal with a Team looking to Max out their salaries to load up and go Lebron Hunting.
This isn’t an EITHER OR type of thing. The FO isn’t signing anyone, including Waiters to a multi year deal anyway.
To ME, either they sign a couple of middling, developing younger players which won’t really move our competitive needle. OR more than likely, they sign ONE decent quality vet on a One Year Overpay deal. I don’t see the FO searching for more young pieces to add to a roster with potentially 4 rookies, Ingram (who is YOUNGER than all 4 rooks), Randall, Clarkson, Nance, Zubac (younger than most Rooks) etc.
Clay Bertrand says
Rondo??? George Hill??? For a team that has professed a desire to pursue defense and shooting it seems the Lakers are also interested in making sure they can let Lonzo Ball ease into the PG role by having a seasoned vet on the roster as well.
Rondo or George Hill??? Not even close. Hill was supposed to garner strong interest from teams. However, the PG market has been soft and therefore, maybe Hill somehow could consider a 1 yr deal.
He hasn’t always been the healthiest guy. He can allow Lonzo to play off the ball some. He HAS shot 40% from three with a moderate shot rate.
Could be an interesting addition. MUCH better than Rondo IMO.
The Lakers’ FO is meeting with George Hill. Sign him to whatever one-year deal he wants. We need a mentor at point who can play the two, keep Clarkson where he is best suited, and yes go after Oubre if we strike out on George. If we get PG13, where are the minutes for him?
Clay Bertrand says
The GREAT thing about the upcoming season is, not only is the Need/Desire/Potential Benefit to Tanking no longer there, but it has been replaced by the OPPOSITE: DON’T GIVE THE CELTICS A TOP LAKER DRAFT PICK (via Philly Trade).
This year, its not a–JUST LET THE KIDS PLAY AND STRUGGLE. WE NEED TO SUCK TO KEEP OUR DRAFT PICK sort of agenda. This year its, MIGHT AS WELL PLAY TO WIN and allow the development to occur in a WINNING environment as opposed to a TRYING TO LOSE environment.
Really, there is nothing wrong with that at this stage. This agenda re-inserts ACCOUNTABILITY into the mentality of the young players that was muted last year under the KEEPING THE PICK agenda. Plus, we are trying to prepare to attract high level FAs next Summer so we want to at least appear to be as competitive as possible even if some of our guys are on One Year Deals.
Ultimately, if we are going to rely on them down the road, we need the young players to develop THE RIGHT WAY and be held accountable for their on court actions. No one is being held accountable by Deng. Maybe vets who produce more can demand more.
The 2 Lead Guard back court is interesting……Hill/Ball???
LT Mitchell says
It’s a good idea to find a smaller guard to pair with Lonzo, not only for defensive reasons, but to share some ball handling duties as well. It would allow Lonzo to move to SG, similar to his role at UCLA. Waiters would be nice, but I would prefer George Hill, assuming either of them would sign for one year.
I would be good with the Lakers paying Hill $12M-$15M for one year. That may be his true value to the Lakers for one year of production and mentoring. It would also vault him into that salary area where he could be evaluated at that value and perhaps sign a long-term contract next summer at that level.
Waiters, Hill and Rondo…Oh, my!
Waiters: I agree with mattal. He just had a career year and it was just average. I don’t see the attraction.
Hill: He’s a starting PG and would be looking for starting PG money. Didn’t we just draft our PG of the future in Ball. Hill seems like a Mitch move, draft a youngster then overspend to put a declining veteran in his way.
Rondo: He’s a PG who has a habit of destroying team chemistry. He was only successful in Boston with a solid coach (Rivers) and three hall of famers (Pierce, Garnett and Allen) on the roster to keep him in check. Pass.
I don’t always agree with mattal but I like his thought of at least kicking the tires on buying low on Oubre. If they match on Porter the Wizards would have spent a lot of $ on their PG/SG/SF. They likely wouldn’t see Oubre as a starter anymore.
Plus, didn’t the Celtics’ Horford and Olynyck kick the front court of the Wizard’s in the behind in their playoff series? So the Wizards have needs. Maybe we can work something out?
Almost any deal that brings George Hill to the Lakers this year is a game changer. Just having him would send a message far more powerful than anything Magic or Pelinka could say to Paul George.
Clay Bertrand says
I Agree. An underrated sub plot type of point you make—and its very true. The SPURS love Hill and they have had interest in bringing him back. He’s a high character guy and he was a real difference maker for Utah.
We need to close deals with good players to open some eyes and to get a leg up on building the winning culture. Not to say George Hill is the end all be all of NBA talent or that another guy couldn’t also fit this role. But GH is well regarded league wide and would be more so if injuries over the years didn’t limit his production.
Rick in Seattle says
For what it’s worth, Zach Buckley (at Bleacher Report) currently rates Hill as the #4 free agent;
while rating Waiters as the #16 F/A. It appears most are in agreement that (other things being equal) Hill is the better F/A prospect than Waiters…
Rick in Seattle says
Why aren’t the Lakers interviewing Shabazz Muhammad, recently released by Minnesota?
Hill makes the most sense on a one year deal.A vet with some shooting and defense and along with Lopez would add some leadership.
I like the idea of George hill and or enticing Nick Back. I wonder if 1yr deals could become 2s with team options for insurance in case next summer plans don’t come true?
Get Hill, period. People are crazy saying he’s “declining”. Some people are just so dense for real. What’s being discused is a ONE year deal. He avg 17 ppg shoot 47%fg and 40% from 3 and guess what? He can actually play DEFENSE. He can share pg duties with Lonzo and ease up his transition to the pros. I stick him as a starter with Ball from day one as a sg. This aint gonna be a Deng/Mozgov situation. We need an established veteran im the backcourt and Hill at this stage fot like a glove for what this team needs. A veteran guard that can score and DEFEND…
The key to any of these possible deals is the duration.
One year deals, even if they are overpriced, are sins that can be forgiven.
Four year deals – if given to wrong players are either the gift that keeps giving, or a major hit to get out fromn under.
Deng is still giving. Mosgov was a major hit..
If we overpay for a couple of one year deals, not a big issue cause it does not impact 2018.
The hole was deep.
I agree that George Hill would be a very good get…IF they can entice him to come to the Lakers on a one-year deal. I expect him to be in some demand, however. His career also refutes the customary wisdom that players are in decline when they hit their 30s. (If you recall, Kobe didn’t go into decline until he got seriously injured at the age of 34.) Hill, who turned 31 on May 4, has averaged 14.2, 10.3, 16.1, 12.1, and 16.9 ppg over the last 5 years. And…he plays defense.
When it comes to making assists, he’s not a savant. But he is rock solid. Last year, e.g., he averaged 4.2 assists against 1.7 TOs per game. Overall, he’s consistent, unspectacular, yet reliable. He’s a veteran. He’ll rarely hurt the team.
One final note. I hate to throw the cold water of reality into the faces of several of the commenters on this (and other similar) sites, but if the Lakers do manage to sign George Hill, then there’s a very good chance that Lonzo Ball will NOT start for the Lakers during at least the first half of the year.
The starting lineup would probably look something like this: PG — George Hill; SG — Jordan Clarkson. Backup PG — Lonzo Ball; Backup SGs — Corey Brewer; Josh Hart; Dave Nwaba. Bear in mind that Clarkson can also fill in at the PG slot although shooting guard would be his natural spot.
If this is the case, then this could be a solid unit. Defensively, it would be sturdier than last year’s group. And the 3-point shooting could also be improved. Also, there could be fewer TOs which often lead to breakaways by the other team. And the Lakers’ rookies would be given a fair chance to learn and grow as the season progresses.
We’ll see what happens, of course. But so far, I like what the Lakers’ FO is up to.
Mid-Wilshire, there’s no way Luke starts Clarkson over Ball. Magic and Pelinka won’t appreciate Luke benching the ‘transcendent’ new face of the Lakers. If Lakers sign George Hill, Lonzo and Hill will start, with Lonzo running the offense on most plays and handing it off to Hill whenever he feels it necessary. And on defense, Hill will be tasked with guarding the quicker, smaller point guards, with Ball switching on to the opponent’s two guard.
LT Mitchell says
Umm, sorry Mid, but the face of the Lakers and it’s future is not getting benched for Clarkson under any circumstances.
LT and Artemis,
I respect your views. Let’s see what happens. But I believe that Luke will protect Lonzo early in the season and bring him on when he’s fully ready. It would be a horrible mistake to throw Lonzo to the wolves too early and, in the process, potentially devastate his confidence. He is, after all, only 19 years old. (He turns 20 in October.)
If Lonzo is the future of the Lakers, they’ll probably handle him with kid gloves. That’s the way I see it. Lonzo Ball’s starting on Day 1 is not a given.
LT Mitchell says
One of Lonzo’s biggest strengths is his ability to maximize the talent around him, but it works both ways with his skill set. The better the talent around Lonzo, the more he will shine. If the team wants to manage the pressure on him and nurture his confidence, than he needs to play alongside Lopez, Ingram and hopefully Hill from the get go.
Hill was tight with Paul George in Indiana, so that is obviously in play here.
Rick in Seattle says
Another interesting point to consider: Utah has a cap hold of $15.2 mil on George Hill. For comparison sake, Lakers have a cap hold of $10.3 mil on Nick Young. If the Lakers offer Hill anything close to his cap hold (on a 1 year contract), it will use up most of the Lakers available cap space (estimated at $16 mil by one cap authority). Doesn’t leave much left to fill out the roster.
Please please please no Waiters. He is a ball hog, isolation scorer, and bad teamate. NO NO NO
When Magic first came aboard he was reported to be leaving the door open for Nick to think about a return,I am not sure what the cap hold is on him now that he opted out, but if George hill doesn’t come here, I think Nick plus space for another guy might help us get some wins more often, especially at home.Wins and competition for PT will push our juniors and seniors to improve in competitive games
Rick in Seattle says
Some time ago Eric Pincus (formerly with Basketball Insiders, now with Bleacher Report) stated that cap holds remain until #1) the players rights are rescinded (including his Bird rights) by the team who most recently employed him, or #2) the player is signed by another team..
Every year we get a batch of new talent into the NBA. Every team hopes they’ve added a difference maker, the higher the draft pick, the bigger the hope. Once in a while, hopes do come true. More rarely, hopes come true earlier than expected. I was too young to remember if the Lakers had a “plan” for bringing along Earvin slowly, but they didn’t need it. Sometimes you get a Latrell Spreewell with the #24 pick, which is even more fun. But few boys are ready to play like men when season starts. It’s more common to wilt and regress from the NBA realness and pressure.
Lonzo might, just might, be that special person who comes in guns blazing, a young man to be measured by the historic turnaround he effects, not a rookie getting typical coddled, subsidized minutes. Very few ever get this Royal Flush type of start. That we even have a candidate in LB is a rare privilege. Heck, if you are lucky enough to have one youngster have a breakout season, that’s a nice pair of Aces to build upon. And yes, we got a couple of prospects in that category as well (BI, JR).
Which is why this Friday is the most significant date on the Lakers calendar in many years. Typically SL is notorious for false hope, but in Lonzo’s case it might start to tell us if his style will become the new Lakers. After two weeks of play, there will be four months of prep before the season opener. That’s when it counts. But July will tell us some things.