After striking out on a number of targets, the Los Angeles Lakers finally scored by adding Markieff Morris. While the big man should be an upgrade at backup power forward, the team still could use more help. One name to keep an eye on is Dion Waiters, who was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies earlier in the month. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers are taking a hard look at him.
“I don’t know if Dion Waiters is an answer,” Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast. “They’re going to give Dion a look. They had a meeting with him last week. I expect they will have a workout with him in the short-term and see what kind of condition he’s in. They’re mulling it over and it’s because they need some sort of perimeter player who can score a little bit.”
Waiters won’t be the Kawhi Leonard stopper the Lakers would like, but he does help in the scoring department off the bench. He’s got playmaking ability and could put up some points while LeBron James is on the bench.
Waiters Had Issues With the Miami Heat
If it’s just about stats and scoring ability, then the Lakers should probably give Waiters a chance. However, he comes with a level of baggage. Before he was traded to the Grizzlies, he spent most of the season with the Miami Heat. He was suspended at the beginning of the season for conduct detrimental to the team. Here’s what team president Pat Riley had to say about the suspension:
There were a number of unacceptable incidents this week, culminating with his unprofessional conduct on the bench last night. As a consequence, I feel we had to suspend him.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Waiters was suspended for causing a scene while on the team’s bench. He’s also had a number of issues with respecting authority and has been suspended for THC use in the past, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
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Waiters Has to Convince LeBron
Waiters’ past issues will certainly be a big red flag for the Lakers. He definitely has the skill to help the team, but he could turn into a distraction very quickly. Much has been made about Los Angeles’s excellent chemistry. Throwing one bad egg into the mix could seriously mess things up. Because of that, adding Waiters may not be so simple.
“Dion doesn’t just have to convince the Lakers,” Windhorst said. “He has to convince LeBron.”
LeBron is the unquestioned leader of the team and it would make sense why he would have some trepidation about a Waiters acquisition. He can clearly become a distraction very quickly and that would be bad news for Los Angeles. Waiters isn’t going to score 30 points a game, so it’s a lot more difficult to put up with some of his shortcomings. That’s why the Lakers are taking their time making a decision. They’re going to do their due diligence before they make a final call.