The NBA offseason that the Los Angeles Lakers had will go down in history. What Rob Pelinka was able to pull off will be remembered forever as a masterclass in negotiations.
Pitching the chance to win an NBA Championship is not something that every team in the league has. Contending teams usually have an edge when it comes to signing free agents under market value. But the Lakers used that to their full advantage this offseason.
After acquiring Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards, the Lakers had four players signed contracts for the 2021-22 season. Westbrook, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Marc Gasol. Armed with only one exception and veteran’s minimums, Pelinka went to work filling out the roster.
Talen Horton-Tucker, who was a restricted free agent, re-signed. Kendrick Nunn signed a two-year, $10.3 million deal. Maybe expected him to sign a deal worth at least that annually in free agency. After that, it was all minimum deals.
Kent Bazemore was offered more money by the Golden State Warriors but came to Los Angeles. Malik Monk is 23 but opted for a minimum and the chance to learn from a veteran squad than taking more money.
Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza also signed for the minimum. Rajon Rondo agreed to a buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies and joined as well.
That leaves the Lakers with 13 players on their roster currently. They are looking to have 14 going into the season, leaving one spot open if another move has to be made.
DeAndre Jordan is expected to sign after he clears waivers, so the extra roster spot could go toward another player to fill another need.
There is a possibility that Marc Gasol could be on his way out of town, too, which would create a 14th roster spot to fill while leaving open another.
Who could Los Angeles look to sign with one of their remaining roster spots? Here are three late-offseason targets for them to consider.
Wesley Matthews played with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2020-21 season. He didn’t have a great year, as he saw his offensive production drop off, scoring only 4.8 points per game. But, there were a lot of factors that played a part.
Los Angeles was never really able to find a rhythm as a whole, as injuries derailed their season. Matthews saw his role change rather constantly, which played a part in his lack of production. But he is still someone that can help the Lakers during the 2021-22 season.
Turning 35 in October, Wesley Matthews can still provide a solid on-ball defender to a team. While he struggled with his jump shot last season, making only 33.5 percent of his 3-pointers, he has proven to be a good 3-point shooter throughout his career, knocking down 37.9 percent of his attempts.