Wherever LeBron James goes, typically a certain style of role player seems to follow close behind. James has a penchant to play alongside spot up three point shooter – enabling him to have the most possible room to operate when driving to the hoop.
While there are a number of quality shooters from deep on the free agent market, the Lakers are (hopefully) expecting to bring on another max salary free agent. This severely limits their ability to pay up and chase top free agents, instead, forcing them to hunt for players willing to take a veteran minimum.
J.R. Smith & Kyle Korver Among Shooters Lakers May Target, Says Analyst
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported that the pair of LeBron’s former teammates might be a perfect fit. Despite both carrying heftier deals, both could possibly be waived in the near future – allowing the Lakers to swoop in and sign them on the cheap.
The Lakers are desperate for shooting and the duo of Korver and Smith can certainly still shoot despite their old age. Smith isn’t the same defender he was in his younger years and Korver is less mobile than ever, yet both can still give competent minutes as floor spacing options playing alongside LeBron.
While most remember Smith for his boneheaded play in the 2018 NBA finals, the fact remains that his play was crucial to the 2016 Cleveland title run and he fits into a role alongside LeBron James extremely well. Don’t be surprised to see a reunion of former Cavs role players make an appearance in LA – having his people around is a trademark quality of a LeBron James title contender.
Latest Lakers Free Agency Updates
The latest reports coming out are showing that the Lakers are somehow having a meeting with former #2 pick moved in a salary dump – D’Angelo Russell. While at one point linked to Kyrie Irving, Irving going to the Nets forces Russell out of his natural position and almost certainly forces the Nets to renounce the rights to Russell, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Expected to get something in the ballpark of a mid to low $20 million AAV, Russell offers the Lakers a near max option who has the potential to get a whole lot better. While it seems insane that Russell would consider meeting with the team that traded him, the situation in Los Angeles is different now and Russell would become a crucial 3rd scoring option on an immediate title contender.
In addition to Russell, the Lakers have also been increasingly linked to Kawhi Leonard, though conflicting reports are flying all over the place and chances are that Leonard himself hasn’t even made up his mind yet. That said, it seems the Lakers are at least being considered in SOME capacity for the NBA Finals MVP.