The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to terms with former Detroit Pistons starting shooting guard Wayne Ellington, per Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes. Ellington addresses the Lakers’ biggest need, three-point shooting, as the guard went 42.2% from long distance which put him in the top-20 for the 2020-21 season.
The sharpshooter averaged 9.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 46 games last season, including 31 starts. The Lakers do not have any cap space, and Ellington is believed to have signed for the veteran minimum.
The move brings back Ellington to Los Angeles where he played during the 2014-15 season. Ellington was one of the players widely associated with the Lakers in trade proposals prior to last season’s deadline. Pistons head coach Dwane Casey complimented Ellington’s approach to the game last season.
“You can’t get too many Wayne Ellington’s on your team,” Casey said, per 247Sports. “He is the NBA. His leadership, his approach to the game, his professionalism — he’s a great example for all of our young guys to see, each and every day. He doesn’t have an off day. He’s the same each and every day with his approach and that’s what you’ve got to have when you’re building a team.”
The Lakers Are in Desperate Need of Shooters
It is the first shooter the Lakers signed this offseason, but it is unlikely to be the last player with this skill set that the team adds in free agency. The Lakers are expected to prioritize shooting to fill out their roster, especially after the acquisition of Russell Westbrook. The newest Lakers guard is a career 30.5% three-point shooter.
Los Angeles also lost two of their best three-point shooters by trading Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and losing Alex Caruso to the Bulls in free agency. During his exit interview, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka admitted the team would be placing a strong emphasis on shooting this offseason.
“You can never have enough shooting so it’s something that’s always at the top of our mind when we’re building and constructing a roster,” Pelinka noted, per Lakers Nation. “I think it’s important too, part of successful shooting is having special players that create the shooting space and for us, that comes primarily from LeBron and Anthony.”
The Lakers Are Still Pursuing a Trade for Buddy Hield: Report
Both Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported the Lakers have not given up hope on potentially landing Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield in a trade. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Lakers were closing in on a draft-day deal for Hield before the Wizards decided to part ways with Westbrook.
“The Los Angeles Lakers hope to net returning talent in a sign-and-trade involving the 27-year-old, and they have not ended their search for ways to land Buddy Hield,” Fischer detailed. “However, it appears the Lakers have not been in extensive contact with Schroder and his representatives, sources told Bleacher Report, and the two sides do not seem to be working in tandem ahead of the new league year beginning at 6 p.m. ET Monday. A sign-and-trade requires agreement from both teams and the free agents involved.”
This is a longshot for the Lakers given they already traded their top assets to the Wizards. The Lakers would need to pull off a sign-and-trade with either Talen Horton-Tucker or Dennis Schroder to make a deal for Hield viable. Schroder is an unrestricted free agent giving him total control of his future.