Free agency hasn’t exactly been very kind to the Los Angeles Lakers as they attempted to entice some of the biggest stars to LA. Losing out on Carmelo is unfortunate, but the team swung for the fences and fell just a bit short.
At this juncture, the best move for the team was somehow convincing the Rockets to give up Jeremy Lin, a future first round pick and a 2015 second rounder in exchange for cash considerations and a foreign player no one has ever heard of.
The addition of Jeremy Lin (12.5PPG, 4.1AST) is actually a great pickup as the Lakers were looking to upgrade the point guard position. Lin is a young player that brings an uptempo shoot-first style that will help space the floor to create more open shots for Kobe Bryant and Julius Randle.
Linsanity belongs in Hollywood and he will help create excitement, energy and, if he can keep his turnover ratio down, will get Jack Nicholson off his courtside seat. Additionally, this is a huge steal because the Lakers maintain financial flexibility for the 2015 Free Agent period with Lin only counting for $8 million towards the salary cap in his final year. The Lakers can view this as a stopgap for the short term until they make a run at next year’s big free agent players for whom the Lakers will need cap space to sign. Plus, the Lakers added another future first round pick that is critical, as the team will need to rebuild with the draft when Kobe retires.
The Lakers managed to re-sign Nick Young to a four-year deal worth $21.5 million. Young was one of the few bright spots on this season’s team as he averaged a career high 17.9PPG while shooting 43.5% from the field. The Lakers will have him come off the bench as the sixth man for the team and will groom him to become a Jamal Crawford-type offensive weapon. Young will take the pressure off of Kobe, who really shouldn’t be playing 38 minutes per game anymore. With Young, the Lakers won’t have to sacrifice scoring while Kobe is on the bench.
At the same time, the team re-signed Jordan Hill as well to a two-year deal worth $18 million. Hill averaged 9.7 PPG and 7.4 REB for the team as backup to Pau Gasol. He struggled in D’Antonio’s system and will benefit from a new coach who will know how to utilize his skills in the paint and will be a good complement to Julius Randle.
Moving forward, the team is mulling over their many “Plan B” free agent options to round out the team. Mitch Kupchak has to decide if he wants to make a run at a second tier player or go hunting for some bargain players they can sign to one-year deals. Looking at the guys left on the market, the biggest need for the team is a new small forward.
So far, the new additions to the team are a good start and the team is definitely taking a step in the right direction. It will be interesting to see what Kupchak decides to do from here on out and when they hire a coach.