If the theme for the Los Angeles Lakers’ free company path final summer time was established and acquainted, then the profile of L.A.’s signing haul this offseason can greatest be described as recent and rising.
“I feel we have gotten youthful, I feel we have gotten quicker, I feel we have gotten hungrier,” new Lakers coach Darvin Ham stated of his staff’s free company class headlined by Lonnie Walker IV (23), Troy Brown Jr. (23), Thomas Bryant (25), Damian Jones (27) and Juan Toscano-Anderson (29).
Distinction that to 2021, when 9 gamers the Lakers signed had been age 30 or older on veteran-minimum contracts — with six of them having prior expertise with the franchise. To not point out the 2 further gamers of their 30s that L.A. signed to 10-day contracts when COVID-19 compromised the staff midseason, one in every of whom — Isaiah Thomas — was additionally coming again for a second stint with the purple and gold. It was a flawed strategy and a significant contributing issue to the Lakers’ struggles, together with Russell Westbrook’s decline, LeBron James and Anthony Davis combining to overlook 68 video games as a consequence of accidents and former coach Frank Vogel’s incapability to make the items match.
Outdoors of Carmelo Anthony’s efficiency, which ought to be thought of impressed for a 19-year veteran at greatest and get-what-you-pay-for at worst, the gathering of thirty-somethings proved to be unreliable, underwhelming and damage inclined.
Now, greater than a month into 2022 free company and with groups across the league all however completed filling out their rosters for the upcoming season, 10 of these 11 veteran gamers as soon as hand-picked to be the function gamers to fortify the Lakers’ championship chase are nonetheless on the lookout for work.
And the lone participant out of that group to latch onto a brand new staff this summer time — DeAndre Jordan, who signed for the veteran minimal with the Denver Nuggets — completed final season in Philadelphia after L.A. waived him in March.
This is a have a look at the previous Lakers standing within the unemployment line and our entrance workplace insider Bobby Marks offers his predictions on the place every participant may land subsequent season.
Stats: 13.3 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.0 APG
What went proper in 2021-22: Anthony and James turned the primary pair of 19-year veterans to be teammates in NBA historical past. The Lakers went 10-6 when Anthony made 4 or extra 3s in a sport. Vogel even credited Anthony for successful L.A. some video games on the defensive facet of the ball early within the season, when he had two blocks and a steal towards Memphis in late October, and 4 blocks and two steals towards Houston every week later. Anthony was additionally named to the NBA’s seventy fifth Anniversary Workforce and climbed previous Moses Malone from No. 10 to No. 9 on the all-time scoring checklist.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: Anthony’s scorching begin to the season (16.7 factors per sport on 50% from the sphere and 52.2% from 3 in October) steadily cooled off (13.3 ppg on 40.6%/37.4% in November and 11.8 PPG on 40%/34.1% in December) as he was relied upon to play a bigger function with accidents taking their toll on the remainder of the roster.
Greatest match this offseason: Anthony can nonetheless assist the Lakers however there’s a clear emphasis on youthful gamers off the bench. New York has two open roster spots and probably extra if a Donovan Mitchell commerce happens. A return to his former staff is Anthony’s most suitable choice. — Bobby Marks
Stats: 6.2 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 0.6 APG
What went proper in 2021-22: There was a late November sport in Sacramento when the Lakers, who trailed by double-digits within the first half, got here again to win thanks largely to Howard’s effort after the break, as he completed with 12 factors, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks and a pair of steals. Typically, when known as upon and given extra than simply spot minutes, Howard put up productive numbers for an 18-year veteran.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: From getting in a shoving match throughout a timeout with Anthony Davis within the second sport of the season to being snubbed from the NBA’s seventy fifth Anniversary Workforce, it by no means got here collectively in Howard’s third stint with the Lakers. And with Jordan, Davis and James getting the lion’s share of the minutes at middle, he by no means discovered a constant function.
Greatest match this offseason: On paper, the reply is Brooklyn, however the chances are we see Ben Simmons enjoying nearly all of minutes at middle. The Nets even have Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe in a backup function. Golden State may use Howard however provided that James Wiseman happens a setback and Andre Iguodala retires. The Clippers want measurement, however due to tax implications, they may doubtless not carry 15 assured contracts to start out the season. — Marks
Stats: 6.4 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.8 APG
What went proper in 2021-22: Bradley was minimize by the Golden State Warriors in coaching camp and located himself again with the Lakers not lengthy after, getting an opportunity to reunite with the staff after opting out of becoming a member of them for the championship run within the 2020 bubble. He turned his non-guaranteed deal right into a full-season contract and made 45 begins for L.A.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: Bradley was one in every of a number of Lakers that entered well being and security protocols in mid-December and L.A. sputtered, going 0-5 in that stretch. The Lakers went 5-1 within the first six video games after he was cleared — a testomony to his worth — however his success was partially a results of being a favourite of Vogel’s, who caught by him on nights the place he struggled offensively when different function gamers had been fast to get the hook.
Greatest match this offseason: The chances are Bradley should signal a non-guaranteed contract and earn a roster spot throughout coaching camp. A staff such because the Phoenix Suns may use him in case Cameron Payne struggles however due to their luxurious tax scenario, it’s unlikely they carry 15 gamers to start out the season. His former staff, the Boston Celtics, have two open roster spots however are additionally a tax staff. — Marks
Stats: 3.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.9 APG
What went proper in 2021-22: Bazemore began the primary 13 video games of the Lakers’ season, distinguishing himself in coaching camp together with his two-way instincts, however was out of the rotation fully after shedding his beginning function.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: Not solely did Bazemore change into a goal for annoyed Lakers followers — in November he went 0-for-15 from 3 over a 10-game stretch they usually let him hear about it — he turned down more cash from the eventual champion Golden State Warriors to take action.
Greatest match this offseason: The Sacramento Kings, however solely as a coaching camp invite. The times of assured contracts are doubtless over for Bazemore. — Marks
Stats: 5.3 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 1.9 APG
What went proper in 2021-22: Augustin signed with L.A. on March 1 after he was waived by Houston and made a right away impression together with his taking pictures — going 8-for-17 from 3 in his first 4 video games. He additionally went 7-for-7 (6-for-6 from 3) on March 21 in Cleveland, serving to James to a win in his previous stomping grounds.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: By the point Augustin obtained to the Lakers, the wheels had been already falling off for the staff. Whereas he offered outdoors taking pictures the staff was sorely missing, he was one other participant that excelled on one facet of the court docket whereas struggling defensively. The truth that he was enjoying catchup on a staff that infrequently practiced did not assist issues both.
Greatest match this offseason: Augustin proved in his quick stint with the Lakers that he can nonetheless present bench scoring. The staff that drafted him, Charlotte, has two open roster spots and nobody to backup LaMelo Ball. — Marks
Stats: 6.7 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.7 APG
What went proper in 2021-22: As marketed, Ellington shot near 40% from downtown. He completed the season with a flourish, scoring 28 factors on a mixed 10-for-19 taking pictures in L.A.’s last two video games — each wins — to finish on a excessive word.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: Ellington was introduced in to be a ground spacer offering a selected offensive function, however with L.A. sinking in direction of the underside of the staff defensive rankings, Vogel could not preserve enjoying him.
Greatest match this offseason: Ellington’s greatest hope is for New York, Boston or Toronto to have a diminished roster due to a Donovan Mitchell or Kevin Durant commerce. If both All-Star are with their present staff initially of camp, it’s greater than doubtless that Ellington begins the season out of the NBA. Ellington nonetheless has a task within the league due to his taking pictures however is extra more likely to come on a 10-day contract or when extra roster spots open up near February’s commerce deadline. — Marks
Stats: 4.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.4 PPG
What went proper in 2021-22: Nothing in Los Angeles. As soon as Rondo was traded to Cleveland, he helped a younger group make the play-in event after Ricky Rubio went down with a season-ending damage.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: The Lakers went simply 5-13 within the video games that Rondo appeared in earlier than he was traded to the Cavs. In that quick time, his most notable second was pointing at a courtside fan who was heckling him whereas making what seemed to be a gun gesture together with his hand. Rondo was concerned in a home dispute this offseason with a lady with an emergency protecting order being issued and later dismissed.
Greatest match this offseason: Groups will definitely examine the alleged home violence incident and a suspension is definitely attainable regardless of the costs being dismissed. It’s exhausting seeing Rondo latching on to a staff earlier than the common season, and he’s more likely to change into an emergency level guard if an damage happens in the course of the season. — Marks
Stats: 4.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.1 APG
What went proper in 2021-22: The primary 5 photographs Ariza took in his first two video games in mid-December all related. There wasn’t a lot to write down house about after that.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: Ariza missed the primary 30 video games of the season after present process proper ankle surgical procedure throughout coaching camp. He spent the remainder of the season making an attempt to get into sport form with little follow time to take action. He performed in simply 24 video games and was waived with three days remaining within the common season.
Greatest match this offseason: The Miami Warmth or Golden State Warriors, however provided that Udonis Haslem and Andre Iguodala retire. Each groups are holding a roster spot open for every participant. Even when there’s curiosity, it’s greater than doubtless that Ariza must signal a non-guaranteed contract and earn a spot throughout coaching camp. — Marks
Stats: 1.3 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 1.3 RPG
What went proper in 2021-22: After flirting with popping out of retirement to hitch the Lakers a pair years in the past, Collison made it occur final season, signing a 10-day contract after Isaiah Thomas’ expired.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: He performed simply three video games with the Lakers and his most memorable second might need come when he suffered a jersey malfunction: the nameplate on the again of his uniform started to peel off in the course of the sport.
Greatest match this offseason: Collison is in the identical scenario as Rondo, an emergency level guard that’s signed in the midst of the season. — Marks
Stats: 8.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 1.5 APG
What went proper in 2021-22: Thomas scored 19 factors in his season debut, a real feel-good second throughout an in any other case depressing Lakers season. His time with the Lakers led to follow-up offers with Dallas and Charlotte final season.
What went unsuitable in 2021-22: He lasted 4 video games in L.A. and the Lakers misplaced all 4, together with a 1-for-11 exhibiting in a blowout defeat to Phoenix.
Greatest match this offseason: How a few reunion together with his former staff, the Celtics? Boston has two open roster spots however does the addition of Malcolm Brogdon make Thomas expandable? — Marks