Earlier this week, the Lakers signed second-round pick Jordan Clarkson to a contract, bringing the Lakers roster to 13 players. The maximum the Lakers can carry is 15, and the Lakers remain about $2 million below the luxury tax giving them the capability to add one or two more minimum contracts if they see fit.
The Lakers definitely have some holes on the roster. The small forward position is pretty thin and the Lakers lack a true center and rim protector. As much as head coach Byron Scott has been preaching defense this off-season, the Lakers seem to have a lot of players who are below-average on that end of the floor.
The team, for their part, has been looking into possibilities. They have worked out unrestricted free agent Michael Beasley twice. The second time was part of a group featuring seven other free agents such as guard Bobby Brown and center Greg Stiemsma.
With training camp set to begin soon, the Lakers would be wise to add someone before then if that is their intention. But would any free agent addition make that much of a difference in the Lakers season?
We asked our panel of experts, should the Lakers add any new players in free agency before the season starts? This is what they had to say:
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): It wouldn’t hurt the Lakers to add more players to their roster. There is a glaring hole at the small forward position with just Xavier Henry and Wesley Johnson as the primary three men. Kobe Bryant and Nick Young can also move over, but adding depth would be nice.
Since the Lakers worked out Michael Beasley for a second time Wednesday, it appears the team is somewhat interested in bringing him along for a camp invite.
When Beasley’s head is in the game and focused, he is still one of the better talents in the league. In limited minutes and outings with the Miami Heat last year, he shot a career high 50 percent from the field.
Signing Beasley or anyone else would be a low risk move as they would be brought on cheaply and possibly on non-guaranteed money. At the very least, the addition will push everyone else on the roster to try harder in training camp given the extra competition.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): The biggest concern for the Los Angeles Lakers heading into next season will be the small forward position. Wesley Johnson is the only true small forward on the roster and he’s coming off a disappointing season which convinced many that he wouldn’t be re-signed this summer.
With no one seemingly sold on Wes becoming a force to be reckoned with, small forward will be a weakness for the Lakers once again unless a move is made. Kobe Bryant, Xavier Henry and Nick Young can play the position, but Henry might be the only one to get considerable time at the three spot.
One player that could provide some depth and insurance at small forward is free agent Michael Beasley. The former second overall pick worked out with the team recently, but wasn’t signed.
Although Beasley didn’t leave the Lakers practice facility with a contract, the team is interested in speaking with him again. It is uncertain if the team is truly considering Beasley as a viable option, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that he lands in Los Angeles before next season.
Beasley would help provide insurance at the small forward position if Johnson is unable to make an impact. Johnson will likely be the starter at the three spot at the beginning of next season unless Henry is deemed the better option by head coach Byron Scott.
Outside of Beasley, I really don’t see any other free agents worth rolling the dice on.
Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): The Lakers recently worked out 8 players. The pool of players was quite underwhelming and none of them really stood out.
The only player that is really recognizable from the list players that worked out is Michael Beasley. Beasley had his worst statistical season last year with the Miami Heat and his stats have declined in each of the last three seasons.
He was ultimately unable to contribute to the team throughout the season and has yet to prove his potential as the former 2nd overall draft pick. However, the Lakers have recently been a platform where struggling players have been able to play up to their potential. Perhaps a gamble on Beasley would reap dividends for the Lakers.
I however, believe that the Lakers are currently looking for a legitimate center to add to their roster. They worked out three big men in Dexter Pittman, Greg Stiemsma, and Daniel Orton.
Orton is a bit undersized, while Pittman has had played in the league for 5 years with little to show for it. If the Lakers are to add a player to their front court out, I would choose Greg Stiemsma. Stiemsma is a pretty good rim protector and the Lakers may need another center with size to support Robert Sacre.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): With 13 players, the Lakers roster is pretty much set. However, there are still needs on this roster and they should be filled if possible.
The small forward position is definitely a weak position, and Michael Beaasley has been worked out, but I don’t think he provides what the Lakers need from that position. He’s a minus defender, and an average shooter.
In my opinion, anyone the Lakers bring in should either be a lockdown defender, three-point shooter, or a rim protector. Of the people the Lakers worked out, Greg Stiemsma or Toney Douglas would make the most sense.
Douglas would provide an extra ball-handler and a feisty perimeter defender. He is also capable of lighting it up from deep. But ultimately I would choose Stiemsma if the Lakers had to add one more player. He is relatively athletic and is a great shot blocker. The Lakers don’t have a single great rim protector on the roster. He would bring something the Lakers don’t have, making him an ideal addition.
Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): The Lakers are a bit thin at small forward – Wesley Johnson is the only true player at the position. Nick Young and Kobe may play some small forward as well if the Lakers decide to go small. The front office is aware of this depth issue and has worked out a few players including Michael Beasley in the past few weeks.
I’m not a huge fan of Beasley and don’t really think he has much upside. Reportedly the Heat had no interest in resigning Beasley after the season due to his inconsistencies and deficiencies on defense. Beasley is known to be a minus defender and it’s mainly due to lack of effort rather than lack of ability.
Instead I’d like the Lakers to pursue Chris Douglas-Roberts, who is still a free agent. They should be able to sign him for the veteran’s minimum which is all the Lakers have left to sign additional players.
CDR attended training camp with the Lakers two years ago and actually earned some respect from Kobe for his tenacity and fire. According to CDR, he dueled Kobe in one-on-one and refused to back down.
Douglas-Roberts is a hard working player who has bounced around the league. He’s a jack of all trades and is not afraid to do the dirty work. I like to think of him as a poor man’s Shawn Marion. Hopefully the Lakers front office can give CDR a chance at small forward.
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