Since the Los Angeles Lakers‘ early playoff exit, the franchise shifted its attention toward restructuring the roster. The Lakers ramped up its efforts with the acquisition of star point guard Russell Westbrook. The front office quickly followed that in free agency by bringing back a familiar face with Dwight Howard.
Lakers start offseason with a blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook
The Lakers began its offseason with the big-splash move to acquire Westbrook.
Los Angeles moved Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and the 22nd overall pick in this year’s draft to acquire the former league MVP. Westbrook’s addition brings aboard a much-needed ball-handler and playmaker that the Lakers wanted to pair alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Westbrook remains one of the game’s point guards, let alone of the league’s best players. He’s coming off his fourth campaign averaging a triple-double.
Beyond that, it creates a Big 3 for the team to construct a strong supporting cast of talent. The front office has moved quickly to bring back a familiar face.
Lakers fortify the frontcourt by bringing back Dwight Howard
With Westbrook in place, the Lakers have moved quickly to fill out the roster around its newly formed Big 3.
Within the first two hours of free agency, Los Angeles committed to a free agency signings that includes bringing back former star big man Dwight Howard, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The 35-year-old played last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, where served as the primary backup to Joel Embiid. Howard excelled in the defined bench role by providing dependable rim protection and a strong option near the basket.
His previous experience playing with Los Angeles two seasons ago should allow him to quickly fit into the fold as a reliable rotational piece. Howard also holds familiarity with head coach Frank Vogel’s system that will allow him to find a role that may see him inch into the starting spot.
His ability to run the floor could make him a strong asset in transition while working well with Westbrook in pick-and-roll situations as he did with James. His return will only help strengthen the Lakers’ frontcourt while providing much-needed depth at the center position alongside Davis and Marc Gasol.
Los Angeles adds other proven talent through free agency
Although the Lakers are limited financially, it hasn’t stopped the front office from adding veteran talent.
Los Angeles brought back two other familiar faces in Wayne Ellington and Trevor Ariza to provide much-needed roster depth and dependable play. Ariza is entering his 18th season, but he’s continued to be a strong factor from beyond the arc, hitting at a 41.1% clip last season with the Miami Heat.
Meanwhile, Ellington is a proven 3-point marksman that is coming off hitting 42.2% from distance, which is the second-best mark of his career. The two veterans can help improve a critical area for the Lakers after ranking 21st last season on 35.4% shooting from beyond the arc and 25th with 11.1 made 3-pointers per contest.
Los Angeles will continue to target shooting to supplement around its star talent. The team remains heavily linked to players such as Carmelo Anthony and Patty Mills. Anthony moved to a bench role last season with the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 13.4 points on 40.9% shooting from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Mills has proven throughout his career to be one of the most dependable bench backcourt options. He’s coming off averaging 10.8 points while shooting 37.5 from 3-point range.
Los Angeles will add more players on veteran’s minimum contracts as the free agency pool thins.