The Los Angeles Lakers have spent the offseason retooling the roster in hopes of embarking on another NBA title push. The Lakers rebuilt the team behind a methodical approach. The path may lead the franchise toward bringing back one of LeBron James’ most respected former teammates to stabilize the backcourt further.
Lakers revamp the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis
After the Lakers stumbled to an early playoff exit, the front office quickly revamped the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
It began with acquiring star point guard Russell Westbrook through a blockbuster trade. Despite being limited financially, the team signed several players to veteran minimum contracts to fill the roster around its star talent.
The Lakers balanced the supporting cast with shooting and versatile defenders through free agency. Los Angeles added Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, and Wayne Ellington.
The front office may now be moving toward adding another familiar face to strengthen the backcourt.
Lakers may bring back one of Lebron James’ most trusted teammates
As the Lakers round out the remainder of the roster, several options have emerged.
One of them could see Los Angeles bring back a familiar face to help guide the franchise to earn an 18th NBA title. According to Drew Hill of the Daily Memphian, the Memphis Grizzlies are expected to move toward a buyout with veteran point guard Rajon Rondo after acquiring him as part of their Eric Bledsoe trade.
The Grizzlies have 19 players under contract and need to cut the roster to 15 by the 2021-22 season opener. It likely means that the team will either look to unload his $8 million salary in a trade or buy him out of his deal. The latter is the more feasible option as teams may see his salary as too high.
If Rondo is bought out, it will put the Lakers on the table as an option as the team is still looking to add another ball-handling guard to the roster. Rondo fits the bill and holds the advantage of previous experience playing with the Lakers for two seasons, including being a crucial factor in pushing the team to the 2020 NBA title.
Los Angeles would present Rondo with a chance to compete for another championship, while his playoff experience and steady play could provide a stable presence off the bench. It may all be a matter of Rondo hitting the open market as the Lakers would then likely push to land him.
Los Angeles poesses other viable backcourt options
If a Rondo signing doesn’t happen, the Lakers possess other backcourt options.
Los Angeles recently held workouts with former two-time All-Star Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison, and Mike James. The team could bring any of these players aboard as each is a ball-handling guard who can impact the game through scoring or passing.
Thomas may possess a slight advantage in that group given his previous experience with the Lakers. He played with the team during the 2017-18 campaign and averaged 15.6 points and 5.0 assists in 26.8 minutes per contest over 17 games, including one start in his brief stint.
Collison stepped into retirement after the 2018-19 season and considered returning during the 2019-20 campaign. He heavily weighed playing for the Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers before choosing to stay in retirement.
Meanwhile, James played the second half of last season with the Brooklyn Nets, where he averaged 7.7 points and 4.2 assists on 37% shooting from the floor in 13 games.
With the start of training camp several weeks away, expect the Lakers to fill the backcourt need soon.