With the Lakers not expected to make a splash in free agency, they’ll have to rely on their young core and veteran signings. Here are 10 veterans who could help Los Angeles become title contenders.
The nba rumors: lakers is a list of 10 veterans the Lakers can land to become title contenders.
Following the deal for 9-time All-Star Russell Westbrook, the Lakers are once again considered championship contenders. For the fourth time in his career, the point guard averaged a triple-double and is clearly one of the top five point guards in the NBA. For the first time since 2012, Westbrook joins LeBron James and Anthony Davis to form a Big Three in Los Angeles.
However, the roster still needs to be improved. To get Westbrook, the Lakers had to give away three rotation players (Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope), and the club lacks depth at several spots. Since Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, and Andre Drummond will test free agency, only Talen Horton-Tucker and Marc Gasol can be counted on to contribute minutes. Because Westbrook is bringing over a deal worth more than $40 million per year, the Lakers are in win-now mode, which means they must locate veterans on cap-friendly contracts. Here are ten veterans the Lakers may sign this summer to help them win a championship.
Taj Gibson is number ten.
Taj Gibson’s defensive presence was one of the main reasons the Knicks reached the playoffs this season. Gibson isn’t the same player he was in his heyday, but he’s still a vital presence in the paint. Thompson averaged 5.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game with the Celtics this season.
In bigger lineups, Gibson may start alongside Davis or come off the bench to perform the dirty work around the rim. Gibson has excellent hands and will be able to finish for easy baskets when Westbrook or LeBron drive to the rim. Gibson, 36, is one of the finest veterans the Lakers can get for the very minimum in terms of big guys.
Patty Mills (nine)
Source: USA Today
Mills can still play at a high level, as shown by his participation in the Olympics with the Australian National Team. Mills averaged 10.8 points per game on 37.5 percent three-point shooting while playing 24.8 minutes per game for the Spurs.
Mills is an excellent backup point guard for Russell Westbrook. With his lone ring coming in 2014, he can come in and get shots up while giving important championship experience. Patty Mills can average 20 miles per gallon and would welcome the chance to play in Los Angeles.
J.J. Redick (#8)
courtesy of Dallas News
Redick, one of the greatest shooters in NBA history, had a disappointing season this past season. He struggled to get minutes in the Pelicans’ rotation, averaging just 18.6 MPG in 31 games with the club. He was dealt to the Mavericks, where he only appeared in 13 games while averaging 11.3 points per game.
While LeBron James and Russell Westbrook find him in the corner, Redick doesn’t have to do much other than get open for threes. As long as Redick stays in NBA condition, he’ll be a capable shooter who can bring his career 41.5 percent three-point shooting to Los Angeles.
Jeff Green, no. 7
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Jeff Green is one of the finest veterans on the market, having significant experience with teams like the Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets. Green is a valuable asset to any team because of his stature, shooting ability, and flexibility.
Green started 38 games for the Nets this season, averaging 11.0 points per game and 3.9 rebounds per game while playing power forward and center. Green fits in well in small-ball lineups and even reconnect with his former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook for a chip shot.
Hassan Whiteside, No. 6
Few veterans can have an instant impact at the center position like Hassan Whiteside. Because of his uneven effort, he constantly seems to be on the move, yet he still rebounds the ball well. Whiteside averaged 8.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game with the Kings in 36 games. Whiteside might be useful as a backup center for the Lakers.
Whiteside may benefit from playing among superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, while also gaining inspiration from the championship culture. When required, Whiteside can start games, and at 7’0″ tall, he will always be a paint protector.
Danny Green, No. 5
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In 2020, the Lakers received a lot of assistance from Danny Green, a player who has won three NBA championships with the Spurs, Raptors, and Lakers. Green is often chastised for missing jump shots, but there is no disputing that he is a championship-caliber role player.
He was a strong defender for the 76ers this season, averaging 9.5 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 40.5 percent from three-point range. The Lakers may come to regret letting him leave since shooting and perimeter defense are so important in today’s game, but they still have a chance to lure him back and help him win his fourth title.
Dwight Howard (#4)
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Dwight Howard, like Danny Green, was instrumental in the Lakers’ championship run in 2020. He was mostly a backup center, but he showed he could start games during the team’s playoff run. Howard has been a solid backup to Joel Embiid this season, averaging 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.
As he approaches 36 years old, Howard still has a lot to give and can fill in well for Montrezl Harrell in the paint. Due to his stature, Harrell did not see much action in this year’s playoffs, but Howard will not have that issue. His ability to get to the basket and rebound makes his rematch with LeBron James and Anthony Davis all the more intriguing.
Paul Millsap is number three on the list.
Paul Millsap is 36 years old this season and will be 37 the next season. The former 4-time All-Star had a 15-year career with three different teams. His experience as a power forward or center for playoff teams makes him one of the better choices. Millsap averaged 9.0 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game for the Nuggets in 56 games this season.
This season, Anthony Davis will play power forward, although he may also be useful at the center position. This frees up minutes for Millsap to play his preferred position, allowing him to contribute rebounding and shooting to the Lakers’ squad. Milsap shot 34.3 percent from beyond the arc this season, so he’ll be helpful when the opportunity arises.
Rudy Gay is number two.
In today’s NBA, the 6’8″ versatile forward is a great fit. He has the ability to rebound, spread the floor, and attack the basket with vigor. Gay averaged 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while covering the power position for the Spurs.
With Westbrook, LeBron, Gay, and Davis rushing the court, the Lakers can be the greatest team on the fast break. When he has room to attack the hoop, Gay is at his finest, generating easy baskets with his size and agility. Gay will be 35 years old next season, so joining a contender like the Lakers might be on his wish list.
Carmelo Anthony is number one.
(Image courtesy of Blazer’s Edge)
Since the 2010 offseason, Carmelo Anthony has been connected to LeBron James. Carmelo Anthony squandered an opportunity to play with LeBron James in Miami by joining the Knicks. Since then, Anthony’s career has been a roller coaster, but he has rediscovered his passion for the game while playing with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Anthony averaged 13.4 points per game last season and can still start games or serve as the sixth player off the bench. Above all, Anthony has a chance to team up with LeBron James for a championship run since the 10-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer has yet to participate in an NBA Finals. Carmelo Anthony, who is 37 years old, has the greatest opportunity to win a championship before calling it a career.
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