The Los Angeles Lakers are set to sign DeAndre Jordan once he clears waivers, which should solidify the team’s center position. However, they almost went in a very different direction. During the season, the Lakers brought in Damian Jones on a couple of 10-day contracts but he didn’t stick around for long.
He ended up joining the Sacramento Kings and appears to have made a home there. Had they declined the team option on his contract, then Jones could’ve possibly rejoined the Lakers this offseason. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, Los Angeles was gunning to bring him back had he not stayed with the Kings:
The recent report from my Bleacher Report colleague Jake Fischer that the Lakers will have interest in DeAndre Jordan when the former All-Star center secures his expected buyout from the Nets was the latest signal that Los Angeles and Marc Gasol could be headed for a separation even though Gasol still has one season left on his contract with L.A. League sources say that the Lakers had strong interest earlier in the summer in trying to reacquire Damian Jones, but Sacramento elected to retain Jones and make his contract guaranteed for the coming season even though the Kings already have Richaun Holmes, Tristan Thompson, Alex Len and (yes, still) Marvin Bagley III.
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Jones Played Well With Lakers
When Jones was with the Lakers, he averaged 5.4 points with 3.3 rebounds. What stuck out about him was how efficient he was from the field as he hit 16 of 17 shots. It eventually became apparent that the team would be able to sign Andre Drummond during the season so there was no room to keep Jones around.
Age has been a major talking point about the Lakers this offseason. They’re an already old team and signing Jordan just makes them older. Jones is only 26-years-old so would’ve brought the team some youth. At this point, it doesn’t appear that Los Angeles cares very much about getting younger. They’ve embraced experience on their roster and that’s not going to change now.
Are Lakers Happy With the Center Position?
Jordan’s signing pretty much spells the end for Marc Gasol. He did some good things with the Lakers last season but his age and athletic decline were clearly an issue for the team last season. They spent much of the season looking for another center and did when they signed Drummond.
Gasol eventually made his way back into the rotation but his role was limited. He said he’d like to return this season but the feeling doesn’t appear to be mutual with the Lakers. Though Gasol hasn’t been let go yet, the team will most likely head into the season with Dwight Howard and Jordan as their centers. That would’ve been a great duo five years ago but both are past their prime. The Lakers don’t need their centers to be huge impact players. It’s possible they make a move to address the position later in the season but they’ll roll with Jordan and Howard for now.