Has Jordan Farmar Earned His Place?

Derek Fisher, who is obviously a Laker legend, simply isn’t getting any younger. His contract expires after this season, and if the Lakers acquire their 16th NBA Championship this June–wouldn’t that be a perfect end to a career for the likes of Derek Fisher? If he does return next year—the fact remains: he will be 36. Despite probably being the most in-shape 36 year-old in America, Fisher’s game (most notably his defense and his shooting) have declined recently. The Lakers clearly need a point guard for the future.

The Lakers, to put it bluntly, aren’t exactly flush with options in that regard.

For example, the Lakers do not own their 2010 first round draft pick. (It was sent to Memphis in the Pau Gasol “trade”). Even if they did, it’s almost guaranteed to be 28 to 30th. Experts also seem to agree that this draft is almost devoid of point guard talent (outside of phenom John Wall and Ohio State’s Evan Turner). The draft wouldn’t have been the answer even if the Lakers did own their meager first rounder.

As for Free Agency, here is a list of notable point guards that could be had during the 2010 Free Agency Bonanza: Chris Duhon (unrestricted), Rafer Alston (unrestricted), JJ Barea (Team option of 1.8 million, will be picked up by the Mavericks), and T.J. Ford (Player option for 8.5 million, may or may not be picked up). When Rafer Alston and T.J. Ford are the the two most enticing names on a list—it means it’s not a very good list. Also, the Lakers already have $83.9 million committed to the 2010-2011 payroll (And the League has already warned teams that the luxury tax line could fall to around $50-53 million next season. Meaning, the Lakers would have to pay double contracted price on any free agent they acquire. I doubt Mitch Kupchak has the skills to convince Jerry Buss, who is footing a league high $21 million luxury tax bill this season, to pay twice the market price for a guy like Rafer Alston or T.J. Ford.

Next: In-House Options

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