Lakers Add 2 New Faces for Playoffs, Including Former LeBron James Teammate

Rob Pelinka, Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Rob Pelinka, Darvin Ham, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have moved to strengthen their roster ahead of the playoffs, adding two new faces to their rotation in a bid to bolster their defense and give Darvin Ham some additional options.

According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, the Lakers have acquired Shaq Harrison along with veteran big man Tristan Thompson, who won a championship alongside LeBron James during their tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“The Lakers are signing two players today to add depth for the postseason, sources told ESPN. L.A. will sign guard Shaq Harrison, a defensive-minded point guard, and Tristan Thompson, a veteran center with playoff experience on LeBron James’ teams in Cleveland. Both players provide insurance at their positions for the roster, with L.A. having players out with injuries late in the season. The Lakers will waive Davon Reed in order to create a roster spot to add a second player,” McMenamin Tweeted. 
The Lakers currently sit 7th in the Western Conference and will likely need to navigate the play-in tournament to qualify for the first round of the playoffs after a slow start to the season hurt their chances of automatic qualification.

Lakers Previously Worked Out Tristan Thompson

In mid-March, the Lakers were reported to be working out Thompson with the view to potentially adding him to their roster. When speaking to Golden State Warriors champion Draymond Green on The Draymond Green Show, Thompson revealed that he thought the workouts went well.

“When I came to the Lakers workout, I wanted to make sure I was in better shape than I’ve ever been,” Thompson said. “And I made sure I had my shirt off on purpose. I had my shirt off the whole workout. … So when it came to that Lakers workout, I made sure I was in great shape. Dunking the ball, windmilling. I was doing stuff where Bron was telling like, ‘Man Double T, I ain’t see this since Cleveland.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah cuz I’m ready. Like f***ing ready bro. Like I’m ready. Like I’m ready to make this happen. I’m ready to help you guys make this push.’ And I feel like what I can bring to the table to help that team is an area that I think they don’t have right now.”

Thompson has been a free agent since his leaving the Chicago Bulls at the end of the 2021-22 season, after spending time on three teams throughout that season, including the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers. Still, there’s no doubt that Thompson brings an added toughness to the Lakers rotation while also providing a presence on the glass.
Throughout his career, Thompson has averaged 9 points, 8.4 rebounds, and an assist per game while shooting 51.9% from the field.

Some Additional Details on Shaq Harrison

While Thompson will be the more notable addition to the Lakers roster, Harrison will provide Los Angeles with a stern defensive presence on the perimeter and comes into the team with a significant amount of experience across multiple rosters and coaching styles.

Harrison has participated in 180 regular season games since joining the Phoenix Suns in 2017, and has averaged 5.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game for his career while converting 43.5% of his looks from the field.

It remains to be seen whether Harrison or Thompson will crack Ham’s playoff roster, but their presence will ensure the Lakers have enough strength in depth to give them a fighting chance of challenging for the NBA Championship.

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