It’s no secret at this point in time in the NBA off-season that the Los Angeles Lakers options in free agency are extremely limited. With the new CBA starting to take its toll on the Lakers’ front office, GM Mitch Kupchak must find other ways to bring in new faces in order to upgrade the roster.
As options continue to emerge for the Lakers, the plot begins to thicken on which direction the storied franchise might go in, with some serious upgrading needed for the bench heading into next season.
Another potential sign-and-trade opportunity may have surfaced in the form of shooting guard Courtney Lee according to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld.com:
“The Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns are interested in signing Lee outright while the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have explored potential sign-and-trade scenarios for the shooting guard.”
Obviously, Lee is an intriguing acquisition for the Lakers as it gives them a promising young talent that can come off the bench to give Kobe Bryant some much needed rest. At 26 years-old, Lee has a bright future ahead of him in the NBA, and with the right situation he might be able to make a name for himself next season.
Another free agent option that the Lakers may also be exploring in terms of a sign-and-trade is O.J. Mayo. Players that may be involved in such a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies or Houston Rockets are Steve Blake and Josh McRoberts. The expiring contract of McRoberts is reportedly getting some of interest. With both of these players bringing youth to an aging Lakers squad, they’ve definitely perked the interest of Kupchak and company.
Last season, Lee averaged 11.4 points per game while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. Lee is strictly a scorer without much skill to distribute the basketball. Lee’s defense is another perk to a potential deal, but the Lakers are focusing on the fact that he can become a scoring threat off the bench that has been sorely missed after the departure of Lamar Odom.
In comparison to Mayo, Lee may be considered the lesser of the two candidates, but that might not be the case. Despite Mayo being the bigger name, Lee had the better shooting percentage from the floor (43 percent), charity stripe (82 percent) and from three-point range (40 percent). In terms of scoring average, Lee and Mayo are fairly close in comparison at 11.4 to 12.6 points per game.
Acquiring Lee via sign-and-trade may also be a much more realistic option with so many teams in the running to land Mayo in free agency.
Another option the Lakers are also considering as a backup for Kobe that can provide some offense off the bench is veteran Grant Hill. Even at 39 years-old, Hill is getting a lot of interest around the league with the New York Knicks and Miami Heat also showing interest. The Lakers are currently the frontrunners to sign Hill at the veteran’s minimum, but the Knicks are said to be emerging as legitimate candidates as well.