Lakers Nation Roundtable: Grading The Lakers’ Offseason Signings Reviewed by Momizat on . The Los Angeles Lakers' main priority going into the 2013 offseason was to re-sign free agent Dwight Howard. After weeks of rumors and speculation, the Lakers l The Los Angeles Lakers' main priority going into the 2013 offseason was to re-sign free agent Dwight Howard. After weeks of rumors and speculation, the Lakers l Rating:
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Lakers Nation Roundtable: Grading The Lakers’ Offseason Signings

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swaggymedia_ts1The Los Angeles Lakers’ main priority going into the 2013 offseason was to re-sign free agent Dwight Howard. After weeks of rumors and speculation, the Lakers lost their top target as Howard chose to sign with the Houston Rockets. While the fans and the basketball community took time to reflect on that decision, the Lakers’ front office turned to their “Plan B.”

Regardless of whether Dwight re-signed with the Lakers or not, the franchise is very financially limited with what they can offer free agents due to new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) rules and regulations. The Lakers only had the mini mid-level and veteran minimum contracts to offer free agents to create a roster. Further, the Lakers cannot get a free agent via a sign-and-trade due to the fact that they are above the tax apron.

However, the Lakers were still able to make solid signings thus far in the 2013 offseason. They used their mini-MLE on Chris Kaman and signed Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson and Nick Young on minimum deals. Therefore, the Lakers still have the cap freedom they need in order to make a splash in the 2014 offseason.

We asked some of our Lakers Nation writers to grade the Lakers’ offseason signings so far, and here is what they had to say:

Daniel Buerge (@danielbuergeLA): It’s hard to give the Lakers a strong grade since they lost their one major free agent (Dwight Howard). Plus, they also lost Earl Clark, who may not be a major player or factor in the team’s success, but those were two key players to last season’s team that have now left.

So for that, I have to give the Lakers a C-. And, in reality, the only reason I’m not giving them a failing grade is because I wasn’t expecting Howard to return in the first place. Still, when you’re the Lakers and you’re unable to bring back your own free agents, it’s time to do a little soul searching and see if you can fix the problems.

Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): I’d have to give the Lakers’ front office a B. Why? Well, they didn’t accomplish their “number one priority” of re-signing Dwight Howard, so they take a hit there. That automatically shifted them into their “Plan B” strategy. Since then, the new goal was to put the best possible team on the court for the least possible amount of money, in anticipation of a huge 2014 offseason.

Many aren’t happy with the Lakers’ choice to amnesty Metta World Peace, but it leaves the team with approximately just $7 million in salary over the cap and saves them significantly in luxury taxes. Now, if they can somehow dump that excess $7 million soon and get under the salary cap (perhaps by trading a couple players in favor of upcoming draft picks), they’ll avoid the “repeat offender” tax in forthcoming years, which would further improve their future financial flexibility. In this sense, the move would be completely justified.

That’s all speculation until they indeed do get under the cap, so that move is a wash for now and can’t be judged either way. However, Lakers’ management has managed to sign four possibly key pieces for next season for cheap, in the forms of Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, and Wesley Johnson. Essentially, they’ve added solid pieces in a variety of areas, while managing to infuse some youth into the roster as well.

All things considered, management has done quite an impressive job in terms of luring some decent pickups to the Lakers at a discount rate, at a time where many thought the lure of being a Laker had finally faded.

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Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): After being unable to re-sign Dwight Howard to a long-term deal, the Los Angeles Lakers have had to explore other options in NBA free agency.

In my opinion, the options have been limited at best with what the team could offer, but the Lakers have done much better than expected.

Although no big names are heading to Los Angeles, the team gets a B- grade with the signings of Nick Young, Chris Kaman, Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson.

The team was able to bring in Kaman, Farmar and Johnson on one-year deals while locking up arguably the most talented player, Young, for one-year with a second-year option. Only time will tell if the Lakers will be able to hold onto Young after next season, but the acquisition was promising in terms potentially turning into a long-term situation.

So far, the additions to the squad have been decent. The team isn’t done wheeling and dealing with another player or two potentially headed to Los Angeles. Lamar Odom is rumored to still be on the short list of players the team is considering signing, but little news has surfaced over the past week or so about the two-time NBA champion and his intentions.

Elizabeth Benson (@gobibs): This offseason is turning out to be just as crucial as the 2014 offseason is going to be for the Lakers and the future success of their franchise. Yes, they failed to re-sign their top target in free agency, but the Lakers managed to make very solid signings that are valuable for the cost and won’t interfere with the cap flexibility they want in the 2014 offseason, when the free agent market could potentially be filled with superstars.

Losing Howard, Earl Clark and Metta World Peace (via amnesty), the Lakers seemed as though they would be down for the count, (at least for a season). However, signing Chris Kaman, Jordan Farmar, Wes Johnson and Nick Young gave the Lakers a bit of life for the upcoming season.

Do these additions mean a date in the NBA Finals? No, most likely not. However, it is going to be refreshing to watch a team consisted of players who all WANT to be there in a purple and gold uniform. The Lakers did acquire some youth, speed and athleticism in the majority of these signings. I think the offense will be more fluid, but team defense will still be a must.

All in all, I give the Lakers’ offseason signings so far a B-.


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About The Author

Elizabeth is a graduate from Arizona State University and has her master's from Duquesne University. She is currently an associate editor at Lakers Nation. To read more of Elizabeth's articles click here. You can also follow Elizabeth on Twitter @Gobibs

Number of Entries : 381
  • Jim213

    I’d go with a B- so far… now that management has enacted plan C, b/c plan A & B = DH for management we’ve acquired and reacquired solid players that will help the franchise to build for the future. Although, still missing a few pieces but this team should definitely be better than the last.

  • Marty Susman

    I think they never really wanted Dwight back & were going through the motions. If you subtract the Coach from staying (He should be gone) & add the players so far signed & their ability to still trade players for picks they have done a good job.

  • 3339

    Lakers really do have some nice players. In all honesty, I think the Lakers are still better than houston. look at their team. it’s seriously like a worse version of us.
    Nash> Lin
    Kobe> Harden
    our role players are so much better. i swear chandler parsons is a good player, but not as good as everyone is making him.
    Only thing Houston has on us is coaching.

  • jody chappell

    I would give the moves a (D-). This season there may be a small chance that the team makes the play-off’s (won’t be convinced until I see them play some defense though) but I get the feeling that long term this could really hurt us. These players may be more suitable for Mike D’Antoni’s system but this is the same system that wouldn’t win him a title with a 2 time MVP in Phoenix and a system that made him struggle to make the play-off’s with a superstar in ‘Melo in NYC. Kobe does not fit into this system so it will never succeed and D’Antoni only does well with this system. Decisions, decisions.

    Losing Dwight may be a blow, it may not. Nobody knows yet. But we are approaching the exchange from the Kobe era to the next one and we have nobody to take the mantle yet. I’m not saying a full rebuild, but in a draft class this loaded when the Lakers are this susceptible to be a low seed with their franchise player recovering from an achilles rupture in his 18th season I do NOT want to see people giving their all for an 8th seed and a first round exit. What is the point?

    Regarding free agency; Lebron James will not be a Laker next season. He is intent on carving his own legacy so will go back to Cleveland or stay in Miami where they can build around him. ‘Melo may be possible but the guy will be 30 next year. He is not going to be the future face of the franchise for the next decade is he?! Maybe 5 years at a push but more knee problems quite put that number as questionable. As for the younger free agents I have heard people say… Lillard & Irving have team options so they are locked up where they are. Paul George is with the Pacers so is off limits too, they are not going to let him walk for nothing. They would rather lose Danny Granger and match whatever offer. Who else does that leave? This loaded free agency could become quite bare all of a sudden and then what? Besides, will ‘Melo come to LA with Mike D’Antoni in charge? I highly doubt it as these two did not work well in NY. Going from 18-24 with D’Antoni to 18-6 with Woodson by the way.

    The better choice for LA long term in my opinion, try to acquire any trade picks for any of the players on the roster not named Kobe (and maybe Pau) but keep flexibility for 2014. Definitely trade away Steve Nash so you can play a younger point guard who is athletic and can match the likes of Rose, Rondo, Westbrook, etc defensively. There will be players out there. Isaiah Thomas of the Kings was pick number 60 in the 2012 draft remember. They should have kept Earl Clark who showed tremendous upside at certain points through the season once he got the chance. Get rid of Mike D’Antoni for a younger more promising head coach like Brian Shaw, Mike Budenholzer, Brad Stevens at the time. Someone that can take the franchise forward for the longer future of the organization and someone who can work with Phil Jackson as a mentor of sorts should they need it. Pick up a Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins or someone who can be the face of the franchise for the next 15 years while you also add the better players from 2014. Any of the younger players that have shown they can contribute in the NBA this season will also be re-signed. So give some of the summer league players a chance at NBA level. Worst case scenario and they do not have the ability, they get released and you bring in another player. These contracts are all non-guaranteed so are paid on a game by game basis. Why not try a James Southerland who went undrafted? Or a Michael Snaer that has performed relatively well at Summer League? Again you lose games, you get closer to Andrew Wiggins. Is that really that bad??? I’m sure some of the other players would be looking at this guy thinking if he really is the next Lebron or the next Kobe, I want to play with him and we can win some rings!

    The Lakers are not the superpower they once were and with this CBA we have to be smarter about progressing our own talent instead of paying more to pry it away from other franchises. Why gamble on a coach who hasn’t won a championship in 11 seasons with some very reputable franchises? That is why I only give them a D-. If they come out and make Conference Finals or more then I will apologise to every single Laker fan publicly, but for anything less than that is it really worth it?

  • vdogg

    i’ll give the front office a solid B. screw howard. there are plenty of guys out there dying to be lakers… and mitch found a few. kaman will be solid if unspectacular. farmar, johnson and young bring much needed youth and energy to the bench. the best part is that these guys will want to be on the team next season, so they will likely work their butts of this year. oh, and i’d love lamar back if he can get mentally right on the court — and kobe is the guy to help him do that. if the lakers stay healthy and kobe comes back strong, they will be far better than people think. championship? probably not, but time will tell.

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