Though the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to a number of high-profile players, there’s no guarantee they’re going to land any of them. Last year, the team had to settle for some solid veterans in the buyout market but didn’t add a big name. Things could be different this year but they could have to settle.
If the Lakers miss out on Andre Drummond or LaMarcus Aldridge, they could like to some veterans who haven’t played this season quite yet. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, there are three specific names that would like to play in Los Angeles.
“There are several available free agents who will happily take shots for the champs: Isaiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford, old buddy J.R. Smith,” Lowe wrote.
Thomas and Smith have both played for the Lakers while Crawford spent years in Los Angeles with the Clippers. Smith was the most recent Lakers as he was with the team during the bubble last season and won a championship with the team. It was also recently reported that the team could have an interest in Thomas.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Will Lakers Target Any of These 3?
While all three of the previously mentioned players have had success in the past, none of them have been an impact player for years. Thomas is the youngest of the three at 32-years-old. There was a time when he was a legit MVP candidate and one of the best guards in basketball. His career was derailed by a bad hip injury and he hasn’t been the same since. Last season, he averaged 12.2 points a game with the Washington Wizards. Perhaps the Lakers could want to bring him in to provide a scoring boost.
Los Angeles already went down the Smith route. He pretty much had no role with the team last season. He brings a solid veteran presence on the bench but can’t really do much on the court anymore. He averaged 2.8 points in six games with the Lakers last season.
Crawford was once one of the NBA’s best bench players. He’s won the Sixth Man of the Year award three times. However, he just turned 41. It’s hard to see a player of his age being an impact player at this stage in his career. Crawford only played one game with the Brooklyn Nets last season. He could make sense as a veteran leader on the bench but not much more.
Lakers Should Be Able to Find Impact Player
All three of the players Lowe mentioned should be worst-case scenario targets. That’s not to say that they’re bad players, but it is to say that they’re all past their prime. Luckily, the Lakers shouldn’t have to worry about their worst-case scenario.
There’s a strong chance the team lands Andre Drummond on the buyout market. He’d immediately be the team’s starting center and should give them a sizable boost. If they miss out on him, they could go after Wayne Ellington, George Hill or JJ Redick. There are options for Los Angeles and there’s no need to go into panic mode quite yet.