Ever since the NBA trade deadline passed without the Los Angeles Lakers making a move, speculation has been running wild as to what the Lakers’ next move is. As the free-agency, buyout market is now in full flow.
Cross-city and conference rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, struck a 3-team deal with hours of the trade window to go, to acquire sharpshooter Marcus Morris. A name that was regularly rumoured to be on the wish list of the purple and gold. Furthermore, the Clippers added further firepower by acquiring guard Reggie Jackson. Following his buyout from the Detroit Pistons.
Where does this leave the Lakers? Well, fans are pulling their hair out as the need for a strong wing presence, and a ball-handling guard, is high. Panic has set in, it seems. Stay calm though Laker fans, there are still a few options available for Rob Pelinka and Co to pursue.
Maurice Harkless was a casualty in the trade which sent Marcus Morris to the Clippers. As Harkless found himself going the other way to his lowly hometown Knicks.
Marc Berman of the New York Times suggested at the time of the trade that the Knicks would grant Harkless a buyout if requested. This is what many expect to happen. Well, consequently, the Lakers are monitoring the situation closely, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.
The 26-year-old is a 6-foot-7 Small Forward. Therefore, he’s certainly an option for the Lakers to pursue. He is only averaging 5.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist, with 35.5% 3-point shooting. However, he’s a defensive-minded wing presence. That’s top of Rob Pelinka’s wish list, right?
Well, it appears so. Watch this space.
As the trade deadline struck, reports led by the New York Times’ Marc Stein suggested that JR Smith had been granted a workout by the Lakers. The purple and gold were apparently keen on what the 34-year-old guard still has in the tank.
It’s gone quiet since. Has Smith had the workout, has he not? We’re not sure, but it seems that he’s definitely on the radar. He doesn’t fit the ball-handling guard mold but he could be a useful addition. Throughout his NBA career Smith has been renowned for proving that scoring punch. Both in the starting line-up and off the bench. The Lakers would require the latter.
JR Smith has been inactive in the NBA since November 2018 and was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers in July of last year. That’s a concern. But could it be another Dwight Howard redemption story? Possibly so, with Smith joining an already contending Western Conference powerhouse. It could be his last shot at glory. Plus recent footage of him working out in the gym is impressive. He looks to be prepared for an NBA return.
He’s already had success alongside LeBron James. Has James forgiven Smith for that hilarious blunder in game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals? The jury is out on that one. But a James-Smith reunion could very much be on the cards.
Another name present in Lakers rumours, is Dion Waiters. Following his trade from the Miami Heat, to the Memphis Grizzlies, in the Andre Iguodala trade, Waiters was quick to receive a buyout. Still only 28-years-old, his talent is unquestionable. What’s questionable is his conduct off-the-court.
Waiters has only played in 3 games this season and just 47 in the past 2 seasons. He would certainly be a risk for the Lakers, but let’s bring back that redemption story talk. Like JR Smith, a move to Los Angeles could reignite his career.
He does have trouble staying on the court though. In the past 3 seasons, he has only played in 46, 30, and 43 games, respectively. The last time Waiters played a significant amount of games was back in the 2015-16 season, whilst in Oklahoma. Where he featured in 78 contests, plus 18 playoff appearances.
Dion Waiters can be a lights out scorer on his day. He could very well be a valuable bench piece for the purple and gold to round out the regular season going into the post-season. Plus, he is capable of handling the ball from time-to-time. As well as converting broken plays, creating his own shot.
Although, not every risk will end up in success, like Dwight Howard. That’s the difficult part for the Lakers. Do they chance it and pick-up Waiters or Smith. Or do they hold out and hope for a Harkless buyout. It appears that the latter is what the Lakers are leaning towards, and understandably so.