Ben McLemore will not be returning to the Los Angeles Lakers next season, instead agreeing to a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers decided to sign McLemore late season, adding another 3-point shooter to their arsenal. The former first-round pick didn’t blow away expectations but was able to step up when the team dealt with injury troubles, scoring 8.0 points in just over 17 minutes per game, shooting nearly 37% from beyond the arc.
McLemore’s deal with Portland was announced by his agency, Klutch Sports. The terms were for one year and $2.4 million.
McLemore said his official goodbye on social media shortly after the news went out.
“LAKER NATION!!! I loved every single minute with you all,” he wrote. “I leave having only amazing things to say about my experience here. I’ll miss the staff, my teammates and the fans, but I’m over the moon excited for the next stop in my journey.”
McLemore Embraced Playing With LeBron James, Anthony Davis
He played for the Rockets prior to landing with the Lakers. He appeared in 32 games for Houston, averaging 7.4 points in 16.8 minutes per game. In 471 career games — 260 of those starts for Houston, Sacramento, and Memphis — he’s averaged 8.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 23.1 minutes per game.
McLemore was happy to get the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
“It was a great opportunity to play with LeBron and AD,” McLemore said when approached by a TMZ cameraman. “Two of the top players in the league. Great group of guys playing here in LA.”
McLemore will now get another All-NBA teammate in Damian Lillard as the Blazers look to start over under first-year head coach Chauncey Billups.
Markieff Morris Signs With Heat
Markieff Morris is another former Laker who found a new home in free agency, heading to the Miami Heat. With the Lakers bringing on a slew of new faces — like Kendrick Nunn, Carmelo Anthony and others — the team simply didn’t have room to bring Morris back for a third season.
After playing a key role during the Lakers title run, Morris fell out of the rotation at times last season. He averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in 2020-21. Morris did day he wanted to run it back in Los Angeles, but will be heading across the country to play in Miami alongside Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler. His brother, Marcus, plays for the Clippers and the twins are very close.
“There’s nowhere else I would rather be,” Morris said. “I feel like this is home for me … This is definitely where I want to be, man. I think we’ve got a good shot of running it back next year. I think I will be here man. If everything is lined up the way it’s supposed to, I’ll be back next year.”
The Lakers retooled the roster, building further around Davis and James with the blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook. It’ll be interesting to see how the roster meshes with so few holdovers, although the squad will be the season firmly in the title conversation from the get-go.