The Los Angeles Lakers are nearly done assembling their roster for the 2013-2014 season and while they won’t be sending out a “super team”, Lakers fans should be encouraged and thankful for the players who will be suiting up in purple and gold.
With only the mini-mid level and minimum contracts available for use, the new signees could have been worse. Rather than sit and sulk when Dwight Howard bolted to Houston, the Lakers rounded out the roster with the additions of Chris Kaman, Jordan Farmar, Nick Young, and Wesley Johnson.
For Farmar and Young, it’s a homecoming as they are both Los Angeles natives; with Farmar having previously played for the Lakers from 2006-2010, winning two championships in 2009 and 2010.
Farmar’s arrival comes a bit of a surprise since just last year he signed a three-year deal for $10.5 million with Anadolu Efes Instanbul in Turkey. In order to acquire Farmar, the Lakers had to reach an agreement to buy him out of that contract.
By being bought out, Farmar is believed to have left behind $5-10 million. His desire to return to the Lakers was so strong, general manager Mitch Kupchak credited him for his involvement in orchestrating the buyout.
Though Young didn’t walk away from guaranteed money on a contract as Farmar did, he did sign with the Lakers for less than what he could have gotten from another team. The opportunity to play for the Lakers proved to be more than enough for Young and “a dream come true”.
Farmar and Young should both be applauded and respected for deciding to sign with the Lakers, as each could have easily earned more money elsewhere.
As the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft, Johnson has yet to live up to the expectations that have surrounded him. However, with the losses of Earl Clark, Metta World Peace, and Antawn Jamison, Johnson is a vital signing at the small forward position, which was extremely thin on depth.
Johnson should couple with Farmar to bring some youth and athleticism off the bench. Also like Farmar and Young, Johnson is looking forward to being a member of the Lakers. “Since I was younger at eight or nine years old, I always wanted to be a Laker”, he said at his introductory press conference.
With Kaman, the Lakers are getting a veteran big man who last season averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, Kaman should be coming in off the bench and prove to be an adequate reserve.
While he wasn’t quite as expressive with his entusiasm as the other signees, Kaman has indicated on Twitter and at his introductory press conference that he too is happy to be back in Los Angeles and looks forward to watching Kobe Bryant and his notorious work ethic.
At the very least, two things must be taken from the newest additions to the team. First, is they have not cut into the financial flexibility that management has been so careful to preserve for the 2014 offseason. And second, is the four new acquisitions have all expressed their happiness and appreciation with joining the Lakers.
This Lakers team may not be the championship favorite like years past, but the camaraderie is sure to be better than last season and to believe they can also improve on last season’s 45 wins is not unrealistic.