Shortly after breaking the news of the Waiters signing, Shams Charania of The Athletic offered some insight on the move, including a key note that the Lakers “reserve the option to release” Waiters if things aren’t going how they desire. Waiters is signed to a prorated minimum deal, so it wouldn’t break the bank if they did choose to part ways before the end of the season.
“In Dion Waiters, the Lakers are adding the playmaker and scorer that they have coveted this season coming off the bench. Waiters, his agent Rich Paul, the Lakers’ officials Rob Pelinka, Kurt Rambis, they all had positive conversations throughout the week from his workout and his meeting with the organization on Monday, and they all understood this must work out for Waiters, otherwise the Lakers reserve the option to release him, I’m told. This could be Waiters’ final opportunity here, and this is a great one for him to establish himself back with a contending, winning franchise.”
That’s an important point that Charania hammered home because Waiters has had his issues of late. He was suspended three separate times by the Miami Heat this season before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, who quickly bought him out. The most notable bit of news involving Waiters this year was that he experienced a “panic attack” after eating a THC-infused edible on a flight, according to ESPN.
Report: Lakers ‘Holding Out the Option’ To Add Shooter
Whether or not the Waiters experiment goes as planned, there’s still a chance the Lakers make an additional move to add more shooting and experience to their bench, per Charania.
“The Lakers are still holding out the option of potentially adding a shooter down the line. They worked out J.R. Smith as well on Monday.”
Smith only played in 11 games as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2018-19 season, but hasn’t played in the NBA this year. He is shooting 37.3 percent from 3-point range for his career and averages 12.5 points per game. He won the NBA title with LeBron James in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The roster spot for Waiters was made available by the Lakers waiving Troy Daniels. The team would have to get rid of another player to add another piece.
Lakers Have Strong Core to Lean on in LeBron James, Anthony Davis
The role players have come through big for the Lakers this year — from Dwight Howard to Alex Caruso. However, it’s the superstar duo of James and Anthony Davis that has carried the squad to a 47-13 record and top spot in the West.
James has been especially dominant in his 17th NBA season, averaging 25.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and a league-leading 10.7 assists. There is a lot of talk that he’s worthy of the MVP, but he has said that award — which he’s won four times — doesn’t motivate him. Instead, he has bigger goals.
“It’s never motivated me,” James told reporters on Thursday. “Regular-season MVP has never motivated me. To be the best — to be the best to ever play the game has motivated me and has resulted in me being able to be league MVP a couple times.
“But I’ve never gone into the season saying, ‘OK, league MVP is what I want to be.’ I’ve gone into the season saying, ‘OK, I want to be the MVP of this team; I want to be the best player in the world,’ and how I approach my game every day, how I take care of my body every day has resulted in that [award].”