The Los Angeles Lakers stayed relatively quiet at the start of free agency but were finally able to make a signing. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team has struck a one-year deal with Trevor Ariza. The veteran forward spent last year with the Miami Heat.
Most notably, Ariza spent two seasons with the Lakers from 2007 to 2009 and was part of the 2009 championship team. He’s noted for being a very good wing defender. His 35.2% career 3-point shooting isn’t elite but it could certainly be worse. Ariza has been linked to the Lakers over the last year but nothing came to fruition.
He’ll now get to come back to the team he won a championship with over a decade ago. Ariza won’t bring the shooting burst that the Lakers need but he’ll be a reliable defender. With money limited after the Russell Westbrook trade, the team could certainly do worse than adding a guy like Ariza.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Lakers Bringing Back Familiar Faces
The Lakers have limited options this offseason due to cap constraints so it looks like they’re relying on familiar faces. They already brought back Ariza but they didn’t stop there. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Dwight Howard is also coming back.
Howard has had two stints with the team and won a championship with them just a year ago. The Lakers almost re-signed him last offseason but that deal fell apart and he bolted to Philadelphia. It’s clear that he feels like he’s a better fit in Los Angeles.
That wasn’t the last move the Lakers made on Monday. The team is signing guard Wayne Ellington, who played in Los Angeles during the 2014-2015 season, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Ellington knocked down 42.2% of his threes last season so he’s a very good shooter. After the Westbrook trade, the Lakers needed shooting more than anything and now they got it. Depending on what happens the rest of free agency, Ellington may end up being the team’s best shooter.
What’s Next for Lakers?
While the Ellington signing is a nice addition, the Lakers still need more shooting. They should continue to look for shooters throughout the duration of free agency. Patty Mills is certainly a player to watch.
With the Howard signing, the Lakers may be set at center. Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that Anthony Davis could be willing to play more center. If that’s the case, a trio of Davis, Howard and Marc Gasol should be more than enough.
Los Angeles also still has several key free agents they could look to bring back. The Lakers should be doing whatever they can to keep Alex Caruso. He’s been one of their best defenders and hit 40.1% of his threes last season. He’ll get a lot of interest around the NBA but the Lakers would be wise to keep. Talen Horton-Tucker will also be a priority for the team. The young guard is oozing with potential and the team needs more young talent.