LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers hope to get back to the mountaintop in 2021-22, but before doing so, they’ll need to improve their roster a bit. While the Lakers can go many directions to do that this offseason, one type of player they are reportedly hoping to add is a playmaker who will allow James and Anthony Davis to play off the ball.
Sure, a few guards can fill that role, but one of James’ former Miami Heat teammates thinks he can be the one to do it: two-time NBA champion Mario Chalmers.
The LA Lakers want to add a playmaker to help LeBron James
LeBron James has done a lot of facilitating for the Lakers throughout each of the last two seasons. James averaged a career-high and NBA-leading 10.2 assists per game during the 2019-20 campaign, and he has recorded 8.9 assists per game overall in his three years with the Lakers. He also averaged 8.6 assists during their two playoff trips.
However, the Lake Show could be taking the ball out of James’ hands a bit in the coming seasons. According to Bleacher Report, Marc Stein recently reported that LA wants to play James and Davis at the 4 and 5 more in 2021-22.
They can do that by adding a playmaker.
The first names that come to mind are Lonzo Ball, a restricted free agent, and Kyle Lowry, an unrestricted free agent. But Chalmers apparently believes he can fill that role.
Mario Chalmers wants the Lakers to give him a chance
Chalmers’ most recent NBA season was in 2017-18. He has since played overseas and in the BIG3. He will also play in the BIG3 in 2021 as he’s on 3’s Company with DerMarr Johnson, Drew Gooden (another former LeBron James teammate), Jeremy Pargo, and Ryan Hollins.
Many BIG3 players hope to use it as an opportunity to get back into the league, and it appears that’s exactly what Chalmers wants to do.
The former Kansas Jayhawks star shared an article about the Lakers wanting to add a playmaker, and he had a message for LA.
“Let me get a shot at this,” Chalmers tweeted, “just a workout or let me come play pick up.”
If the Lakers add Chalmers, it’s hard to imagine him being their main playmaker. He would most likely just be a role player or bench guy. But given his success in the past with James, maybe the Lakers will give him a shot.
LeBron James and Mario Chalmers won championships together on the Heat
Chalmers started his career with the Miami Heat in 2008 and even earned All-Rookie honors, averaging 10.0 points, 4.9 assists, and 2.0 steals.
In 2010-11, though, LeBron James joined the Heat to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Because of this, Chalmers didn’t have as significant of a role that year as he did the previous two but was still an important player on that NBA Finals team that lost to the Dallas Mavericks.
However, from 2011-12 through 2013-14, Chalmers was Miami’s starting point guard. He averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 assists during those three seasons in the Big Three era. He also played a significant role in James and the Heat winning back-to-back championships in 2011-12 and 2012-13, averaging 10.3 points during those two playoff runs.
James then left the Heat and went back to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014-15, and Chalmers played for Miami in parts of the next two seasons. He then played for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2015-16 and 2017-18.
In four seasons with James, Chalmers averaged 8.6 points and shot 38.7% from 3-point range. So, if he can bring back some of that magic, he might be a decent role player for the Lakers. But in his final season with the Grizzlies, Chalmers only shot 27.7% from long range and a career-low 37.9% from the field.
In all honesty, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers even considering Chalmers as a real option; he’s 35 years old and was just a role player during his prime. If Chalmers balls in the BIG3, though, maybe he can turn some heads and get a shot with a team needing leadership, especially since he has that championship pedigree.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.