The Lakers are once again considered title favorites after the trade for 9-time All-Star Russell Westbrook. The point guard averaged a triple-double for the 4th time in his career and is easily one of the top-5 point guards in the NBA. Westbrook joining LeBron James and Anthony Davis creates a Big Three in Los Angeles for the first time since 2012.
But the roster still needs some work. The Lakers gave up 3 rotation pieces to acquire Westbrook (Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope), and the team needs better depth in multiple positions. So far, only Talen Horton-Tucker and Marc Gasol can be relied upon to provide minutes since Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, and Andre Drummond will test free agency. The Lakers are in win-now mode, meaning they must find veterans at cap space-friendly contracts because Westbrook is bringing over a contract that exceeds $40 million per year. Here are the 10 veterans the Lakers can sign this offseason to boost the Lakers’ title chances.
10. Taj Gibson
Taj Gibson made the playoffs with the Knicks this season, and his defensive presence was one of the key reasons why. Gibson is not the same player as he was when he was in his prime, but he is still valuable as a paint presence. In 45 games with the Celtics this season, Thompson averaged 5.4 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 20.8 MPG.
Gibson can start alongside Davis in larger lineups or come off the bench to do the dirty work around the rim. When Westbrook or LeBron drive to the rim, Gibson has great hands and will be able to finish for easy buckets as well. In terms of big men, 36-year old Gibson is one of the best veterans the Lakers can sign for the minimum.
9. Patty Mills
Mills can still play at a high level, proving his worth as a member of the Australian National Team in the Olympics. Mills averaged 10.8 PPG on 37.5% shooting from three and was valuable for the Spurs playing 24.8 MPG.
As a backup point guard for Russell Westbrook, Mills is a perfect option. He can come in and get shots up while providing valuable championship experience with his only ring coming in 2014. Patty Mills is good for 20 MPG at a minimum and might relish the opportunity to play in Los Angeles.
8. J.J. Redick
One of the best shooters in NBA history, Redick had a very frustrating season this past year. He could not find minutes in the Pelicans’ rotation and only played 18.6 MPG while playing 31 total games with the team. He was traded to the Mavericks, where he only played 13 games on only 11.3 MPG.
Redick does not have to do much besides getting open for threes while LeBron James and Russell Westbrook find him in the corner. As long as Redick can remain in NBA shape, he will be effective as a shooter to bring his career 41.5% shooting from three to Los Angeles.
7. Jeff Green
Jeff Green is one of the best veterans available in the market and has extensive experience playing with contenders such as the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets. Green is a player that teams love to have because he brings size, shooting, and versatility.
Green started 38 games for the Nets this season, averaging 11.0 PPG and 3.9 RPG while covering the power forward and center position. In small-ball lineups, Green works perfectly and can reunite with his old Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook to have a run at the chip.