Lakers Free Agency: Monta Ellis, Trey Burke Headline Most Intriguing Fits

Lakers Monta Ellis Free Agency

Getty Monta Ellis

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to fill out their roster through free agency, and the failed attempt to sign Kawhi Leonard hasn’t slowed them down. While the team has added a number of new faces and also brought back a few old ones, they’ll remain as a team to watch in free agency prior to the upcoming season.

The Lakers may not make any huge additional splashes this offseason, but there are a few intriguing fits still available, including the likes of Monta Ellis and Trey Burke. At this point in free agency, most players are unlikely to receive lucrative contracts, but there are still plenty of talented options looking for a new home.

Ellis and Burke are among the names to watch as intriguing fits for the Lakers, and we’re going to evaluate their outlook along with a few other players worth monitoring.

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Lakers Free Agency: Monta Ellis a Strong Fit

If the Lakers want in on Ellis’ attempted comeback, they may need to make a move fairly quickly. As Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported, there were 14 NBA teams, including the Lakers, in attendance for a workout Monday night which included Ellis, Amar’e Stoudemire and a number of others. Beyond that, Haynes reports that 15 European and Asian teams were also on hand to watch the workout.

Ellis averaged 17.8 points, 4.6 assists and 3.7 rebounds over 713 career games. While he’s been out of the league for two years, the 33-year-old is a respected scorer and could provide a nice boost to a team’s second unit this season. He shot 44.3 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from beyond the arc during his last season which came in 2016-17 with the Indiana Pacers but averaged just 8.5 points per game.

The Lakers appear to at least be open to the idea of seeing what Ellis has left in the tank, and it’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of his recent workout.

Could Lakers Add Trey Burke to New-Look Backcourt?

Lakers free agency Trey Burke

GettyTrey Burke

Although the Lakers’ backcourt in 2019-20 will feature a few familiar faces in Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso, the big change comes at point guard. As Haynes and Yahoo Sports also reported recently, it’s expected that LeBron James will start the upcoming season at point guard, which could bolster their starting lineup.

This makes the idea of potentially signing former New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks guard Trey Burke a bit more complicated. But as Marc Berman of the New York Post reported in early July, the Lakers are in the mix for Burke and the 26-year-old has hinted at interest in joining the team previously.

Burke was traded from the Knicks to the Mavericks in the Kristaps Porzingis deal last season. Over 33 games with New York, Burke averaged 11.8 points, 2.8 assists and 1.9 rebounds while shooting 34.9 percent from beyond the arc. During the span of 25 games with Dallas, he posted marks of 9.7 points, 2.6 assists and 1.5 rebounds. He increased his shooting percentage overall to 46.3 percent in that stretch while making 35.6 percent of his 3-point attempts.

One key issue with a potential Burke signing is that the Lakers backcourt now has James, Rondo, Caldwell-Pope, Caruso and free-agent signings Danny Green, Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels. It may be a bit overcrowded there, but it’s hard to argue that Burke wouldn’t provide a nice scoring option off the bench.

Additional Lakers Free Agency Fits: Kenneth Faried, Jeremy Lin

Both Kenneth Faried and Jeremy Lin played on one-year deals after being bought out by their previous teams in 2018-19. While Faried provided some frontcourt depth and a nice added boost for the Houston Rockets while Clint Capela was out due to injury, the 29-year-old remains a free agent.

He averaged 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds while shooting 58.7 percent from the field over 25 regular-season games with the Rockets. This came after the Brooklyn Nets opted to let him leave town following an early-season stretch in which Faried logged just 9.8 minutes per game. The 6-foot-8 forward played the first seven years of his NBA career with the Denver Nuggets, averaging more than 11.5 points and 8.6 rebounds in four-straight seasons from 2012-13 to 2015-16.

Lin was unable to find much success after signing with the Toronto Raptors after his buyout from the Atlanta Hawks. With that said, he did win an NBA championship, so it was surely worth taking a lesser role for the 30-year-old. Lin played 51 games with the Hawks and averaged 10.7 points, 3.5 assists and 2.3 rebounds over 19.7 minutes per game to start the year.

During his 23-game regular-season stretch with the Raptors, Lin posted marks of 7.0 points and 2.2 assists while adding 2.6 rebounds over 18.8 minutes per game.

Obviously, the Lakers need in the frontcourt could point to Faried making more sense, but Lin would provide another strong reserve guard option. Realistically, Faried should be the top target between the two, but it’s unknown if the Lakers have any interest in either player currently.

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