The Los Angeles Lakers have a need for a playmaker off their bench and Dion Waiters may be the best option who is available. However, the Lakers don’t seem completely sold on him just yet. They’ve already had a meeting with him, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and now Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes is reporting that they have another meeting set for March 2nd.
If the Lakers were sold him, they wouldn’t need to have so many meetings with him. The problem is that Waiters has some serious baggage. Much has been made of Los Angeles’s chemistry and how well every player gets along with each other. Waiters won’t ruin that, but he could hurt it. The Lakers are going to do their due diligence on him before they make a final call.
Playoff Eligibility Is Not an Issue
Fortunately for the Lakers, they can take their time evaluating Waiters without it affecting his potential playoff eligibility as Marc Stein points out.
Regular season reps won’t be too important for a veteran like Waiters, but the team would definitely like to get him in at some point to see how he gels with the team. There’s still plenty of time in the regular season for the Lakers to acclimate Waiters to the roster.
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LeBron James & Dion Waiters Have a History
One thing that could be holding a potential signing of Waiters is his past relationship with LeBron James. While accusations of LeBron being the team’s “GM” are most likely untrue, there’s no doubt the Lakers wouldn’t do anything that would make him unhappy. Waiters was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012 and played with LeBron for a couple of seasons. Unfortunately, the two didn’t have the best relationship.
According to Windhorst, Waiters is going to have to convince LeBron. That may not be so easy considering how they played together in Cleveland. Waiters went from being one of the tops guys on the team while LeBron was with the Miami Heat. Once he returned, Waiters’ role changed and he wasn’t too happy about it.
“I went from having the ball in my hands a lot last year to really not having it,” Waiters said in 2014, per Will Burge of CleveScene.com. “So when I do get it I just have to be efficient when I do get those opportunities. I’m an aggressive player; I’m always in attack mode but sometimes it’s kind of hard when you’re really not in a rhythm.
There are examples of LeBron completely ignoring Waiters when he’s called for the ball, which isn’t a good sign. Obviously, Waiters has probably been humbled over the last several years as he hasn’t lived up to his status as a very high draft pick. Much of that has to do with some off the court issues, but he’s also had issues on the court. He’s still an effective offensive player and if he can keep his head straight, he could be an asset to the Lakers. That said, he’s going to have to do a lot to prove that to the team.