Not every signing in free agency is a massive splash. Especially in the case of the Los Angeles Lakers, who are planning to bring on a max contract free agent, they need to find impact players who can be brought on board for extremely cheap (mostly minimum) contracts. With so much of the roster left to fill out, the Lakers have some important choices to make in terms of how they plan to surround LeBron James and their young core.
Lakers Free Agency Under the Radar Targets: Nik Stauskas
Nik Stauskas is a player who always seems to step up against the Lakers. Despite his limited role, Stauskas was extremely effective in Portland where he played in an offense suited to the strengths of an outside shooter. He struggled a bit with his shot when dealt midseason to the Cavaliers, however, that can be written off as either a slump or a product of a terrible work environment.
Stauskas is a career 35% three point shooter, yet in recent years has shown the ability to knock down the deep ball at over a 40% clip. In his current state, Stauskas is a bit of a buy low candidate and while given his age he may be looking for a bit more money than the minimum, his track record and production peg him solidly as a candidate to once again play for the league minimum.
Lakers Free Agency Under the Radar Targets: Thabo Sefolosha
Without any real spot to crack into on the Utah Jazz, Sefolosha went underutilized this past season despite hitting over 43% of his shots from deep. The Lakers could use that sort of reliable shooting and would be able to keep the 34-year-old fresh in a 15-20 minute per game role off the bench. Known for his suffocating defense, Sefolosha actually checks two boxes that the Lakers need to address this offseason.
Able to slot in at either the shooting guard or small forward position, Sefolosha could help to offer a bit of lineup versatility as well. Given his age and usage last season, it is almost a certainty that he will be playing for a minimum contract, making him a prime target for the Lakers to fill out their roster.
Lakers Free Agency Under the Radar Targets: Jamal Crawford
Once known as a walking bucket, father time has started to catch up to Jamal Crawford, who is coming off his worst season since his rookie year in 2000-2001. Heading into his age-40 season, Crawford has no plans to retire just yet. While he has struggled recently, a change of scenery might be nice for Crawford and the crafty vet might be able to provide some much-needed scoring and leadership off the bench.
While Crawford won’t be expected to play more than 15-20 minutes per game, that’s really all the Lakers would need out of him on a minimum contract. For the price, he might be worth the gamble and could be brought on board even after the Lakers potentially exceed the salary cap due to the fact he would be playing for the league minimum.
At his best, Crawford is an effective scorer from all three levels on offense and is adept at creating space to get himself excellent looks. He doesn’t have the same level of athleticism that made him so effective in his prime but could be the type of player on the second unit they can rely on to go get them a basket when things slow down.
Follow the Heavy Los Angeles Lakers page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!