With both JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler heading into free agency this offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers desperately need a starting-caliber big man. With only Moritz Wagner on the roster as a true big man, the Lakers luckily have a loaded free agent class to find a replacement.
Derrick Favors Among Lakers’ Top Free Agent Big Man Targets
Favors, while not technically a free agent yet, Favors could become one should the Jazz decide to waive his $16 million salary next year before July 5th. The Jazz are already pushing up against the salary cap and seem intent on making a splash in free agency rather than simply signing veteran minimum players to fill out their roster. Waiving Favors would free up considerable cap space and considering he’s mostly used in a reserve role these days, might be better suited allocating that money elsewhere.
If the Lakers wind up landing a Kawhi Leonard in free agency, they likely won’t have the cap flexibility to go after someone like Favors and instead will have to mostly pick up players on minimum contracts or those willing to accept cap exceptions. However, if the Lakers wind up striking out and building the remainder of the roster from the free agent market, they could do a lot worse than bringing in the multi-talented Favors. The Lakers also have some reported interest in Favors, meaning this is likely more than just a pipe dream.
How Does Derrick Favors Fit On the Lakers?
While mostly playing power forward throughout his career, Favors has started to make a recent move to play more center as the NBA goes smaller. Able to help fill in while Gobert is off the court or play alongside him when they want to go big, Favors is a versatile big man capable of doing a little bit of everything. While not the best scorer, rebounder or passer, Favors is more than capable in all three areas while providing solid defense down low.
That lineup flexibility and all-around game of Favors would be an interesting mix for the Lakers, who typically used their bigs in the screen and roll game for easy buckets. Favors would offer a bit of a different look as while he CAN do that, his skill set is much more diversified than simply being a “roll” guy. The biggest knock on Favors to the Lakers is his three-point shooting, which is inconsistent at best. However, if the Lakers plan to run him out more frequently at center instead of power forward, the shot becomes MUCH less of an issue.