One of the biggest questions that will surround the Lakers once the lockout ends is what the roster will look like. Like the beginning of any NBA season, a team’s roster will most likely have a couple changes due to free agency or trades. However, this year teams may have to make changes to their rosters in order to adhere to new collective bargaining agreements such as a hard salary cap limitation.
Reserve guard and fan favorite, Shannon Brown, has been an important piece of the puzzle that helped the Lakers capture back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. Along with Lamar Odom, the spark and athleticism that he provided off the bench quickly made this former D-League player a household name to Lakers fans.
However, Brown seemed to have taken a step back this past season. Brown did too much with the ball and deserted his style of play, which was noticeable to Lakers fans. On top of that, Brown was nowhere to be seen during the first and second round of the 2011 playoffs. Especially in the second round against Dallas’ dominating bench, Brown’s spark and athleticism was surely missed.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Brown signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the Lakers in 2010, even though he was offered more money and a longer deal by several teams. He was due to make about $2.37 million next season.”* However, that amount of money didn’t stop him from exercising his option this past summer.
Brown told the Los Angeles Times, “‘All I want to be able to do is have options. I’m excited about this [free agency] and what the future holds. I still love the Lakers because they gave me an opportunity. But I’m going to test the market and see what happens’.”*
Yet, this may be questionable timing for Brown to opt out of a contract that would guarantee him almost two and a half million dollars and a job for another year. The lockout is getting more heated every day and no one really knows what sort of specifics or numbers are going to come out of final negotiations.
There is no question that Brown is taking quite a chance in testing free agency during a lockout. He has stated that he will absolutely consider the Lakers if they make him an offer once the lockout is lifted. However, Brown’s reason for exercising his option is because he wants a long-term contract.
However, with expected cuts to salaries that the Lakers will have to make because of a reconstructed salary cap, the Lakers will most likely not re-sign Brown. The Lakers had a payroll of over $91 million last year, which was highest among any other team in the league. Therefore, the Lakers may not be able to afford him.
Additionally, the Lakers may have already turned a page on Brown this summer. The Lakers selected two guards in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft: Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock. Drafting players and developing them will most likely be a solution for the Lakers if they indeed need to make financial cuts.
Lakers fans may have seen the last of Shannon Brown in a Lakers uniform. It is definitely up in the air where he will end up and when we will see him and the other players play again, thanks to the lockout. However, regardless of what uniform he is in, his athleticism and spirit will always be remembered by Lakers fans.