In a report that should be a surprise to one, NBA insider Marc Stein revealed that the Los Angeles Lakers are looking for a “difference-making playmaker” to pair with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That could end up being any number of players but it’s hard to imagine they are able to land a superstar. That could lead to them targeting somebody less expensive.
Mario Chalmers was a key member of the Miami Heat team that won two championships with LeBron at the helm. He’s been out of the NBA since 2018 and was most recently playing in Greece. He took note of Stein’s report and campaigned for a workout with the Lakers.
Chalmers is 35-years-old now but was a solid player back in the day. However, he only averaged 8.9 points a game with 35.1% shooting from three over his career. That wouldn’t qualify as a “difference-making playmaker.” Perhaps he could be a solid role player for the if the Lakers were interested and did play well with LeBron.
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Who Is a Difference-Maker the Lakers Could Target?
Unfortunately, a Chalmers addition wouldn’t move the needle for Los Angeles. They need to find a strong scorer who can put up points when LeBron and Davis aren’t on the court. The simplest move would be to re-sign Dennis Schroder and hope that he plays better with a year on the team under his belt. However, it remains to be seen if the Lakers have any interest in making that happen.
DeMar DeRozan is a name to watch. He’s from Los Angeles, California, and averages 20.1 points a game over his career. He’d certainly add a lot of offense to the Lakers despite not bringing much to the defense. He’d be the most reliable third scorer the team has had since they added LeBron and Davis.
Kyle Lowry would be an excellent addition. The Lakers attempted to trade for him during the season but that fell through. He’d be a major upgrade over Schroder. The six-time All-Star is one of the better point guards in the NBA and could run the offense while LeBron focuses on making plays.
Lonzo Ball Could Be an Option
If none of the above names mentioned work out, the Lakers could look to reunite with a familiar face. Per Stein, Lonzo Ball could be on the team’s radar this offseason.
“Expect to eventually hear of them searching for potential pathways, however obstacle-strewn they would be, to reacquiring restricted free agent-to-be Lonzo Ball for that reason,” Stein wrote.
Ball will be a restricted free agent so signing him won’t be particularly easy. That said, he’d be a much better fit with the Lakers now than he was a few years ago. He went from being a 31.5% 3-point shooter in Los Angeles to a 37.6% 3-point shooter in New Orleans. He’s clearly put in a lot of work to become a better shooter and should only improve from here. He’s also still a great passer. It would be very interesting if the Lakers decided to bring him back.