As the NBA world and more specifically the Los Angeles Lakers await word on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency decision, Rob Pelinka and company are still trying to round out their roster. Although many of the team’s signings will likely come after Leonard’s decision, they’re still keeping a number of names on the radar, according to various reports.
The latest chatter that’s come out on the Lakers’ offseason points to an interest in former Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies guard Justin Holiday. While Holiday was moved from the Bulls to the Grizzlies last season, The Athletic’s Michael Scotto reported that the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers are among the many teams with interest in him.
It’s interesting to see the sign-and-trade scenario on the table also, as it seems the Grizzlies are locked in on continuing to add assets, potentially in the form of draft picks. Holiday is an unrestricted free agent currently, according to Spotrac, so he could simply choose to sign elsewhere if he wanted to.
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Justin Holiday’s Stats & Recent Impact
After Holiday went undrafted in 2011, he played in Belgium with Okapi Aalstar before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2012 NBA Summer League. He went on to bounce back-and-forth a bit between the NBA G League and playing overseas while making stops with Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks.
Holiday posted modest stat lines throughout the start of his career, before increasing his scoring average to 6.5 points while shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range in 2015-16 with the Chicago Bulls. He continued the upward trend by averaging 7.7 points in 2016-17 with the New York Knicks and proceeded to head back to Chicago where he played in 2017-18 and the start of the 2018-19 season.
The 30-year-old guard had a strong start to his second stint with the Bulls, averaging 12.2 points with 4.0 rebounds while shooting 35.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. His numbers were similar through 38 games last season in Chicago, as Holiday posted marks of 11.6 points and 4.4 rebounds on 35.9 percent shooting from deep.
Although Holiday struggled after being moved to the Grizzlies, his outside shooting and ability as a defender would be a solid addition to any free agent suitor. He averaged 1.2 steals over three seasons with the Bulls and 1.3 during 44 games in Memphis.
Lakers’ Roster With Kawhi Leonard Decision Pending
As the Lakers await word on Leonard’s free agency decision, their roster remains incredibly thin. This is largely due to the fact that the team can’t add any players above the minimum because it would impact their ability to offer Leonard a max-level contract. With that said, any player interested in joining the Lakers will either need to remain patient or be willing to play on a team-friendly deal.
Currently, the team’s roster will include just LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and recently-signed free agents in Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels. Obviously, Holiday’s ability to knock down shots from outside along with his upside as a defender would be a nice addition for the Lakers.
Regardless, much of that decision could come down to what type of deal Holiday is willing to sign, and the Lakers will be forced to play the waiting game on that front.