The Lakers Have Added Another Former NBA Champion
The LA Lakers are coming off their 17th NBA title, but they haven’t taken their foot off the pedal this offseason. The Lakers have been one of the league’s most active teams in free agency. General manager Rob Pelinka worked his magic again by adding another former NBA champion to the fold.
The Lakers are staying quite busy in the offseason
The Lakers are coming off their first NBA title in a decade and haven’t remained complacent by any means this offseason.
General manager Rob Pelinka has stayed active in reshaping the roster for another potential championship push. LA has added more depth to their bench with the reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell and runner-up Dennis Schroder.
The Lakers also brought back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on a well-deserved pay raise of a three-year, $40 million deal. The front office hasn’t had much to work with financially but has made the most of it to bring in more talent to their roster.
Although the Lakers lost a few key role players in Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, and Dwight Howard, the organization has continued to move forward in free agency. With that in mind, LA made another power move over the weekend by adding a proven frontcourt asset and former NBA champion to the mix.
LA adds former star big man Marc Gasol
The departure of Dwight Howard forced the Lakers to alter their offseason plans a bit with the need to acquire another center.
LA didn’t waste much time in free agency locating their possible replacement after working out a two-year deal with former All-Star big man Marc Gasol, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Lakers circled the wagons around Gasol on Sunday that saw them make moves to free up the required salary-cap space. The team traded center JaVale McGee and a future second-round selection to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Jordan Bell and Alfonzo McKennie.
The 35-year-old agreed to a $2.56 million salary per year, nearly identical to the veteran’s minimum salary for 10-plus years of service. Gasol had interest from the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors but elected to play with the Lakers.
He isn’t the player he once was, but he can provide much-needed stability in the frontcourt. He’s still a viable defender, which he may not have the physical presence that Howard possesses, but he has a reputation as one of the league’s smartest players.
Some will point to his struggles in the playoffs in the Orlando Bubble, but the former Defensive Player of the Year was a defensive factor last year with the Raptors. Toronto allowed 98.9 points per 100 possessions with him on the court. His production dropped due to playing 26.4 minutes per game, but averaged 3.3 assists and shot an efficient 38.5% from 3-point range.
Well-positioned for another NBA title run
Despite the Lakers nearly being out of salary-cap space to add to their roster, the team is eyeing a few more moves.
LA is hoping to bring in more frontcourt presence with another big man and possibly another forward. The team may add another center as Marc Gasol is only the true center on the roster.
Beyond that, the Lakers have put together another veteran-laden roster that should see them well in the title picture. They are returning much of their core while adding more scoring off the bench that should help them make that extra push in the stacked Western Conference.
Things look quite appealing on paper, but it will have to be proven on the court in the coming weeks. All in all, the excitement level in LA is booming.