2022-23 Los Angeles Lakers Player Review: Mo Bamba
Mo Bamba, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

At the trade deadline this year, the Los Angeles Lakers sent Patrick Beverley and a second-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for center Mo Bamba. The deal gave the Lakers a much-needed backup big man behind Anthony Davis with real size who has shown some potential as both a rim protector defensively and a floor spacer on offense.

Unfortunately, Bamba was never even able to get out of the blocks for the Lakers as his time in purple and gold seemed cursed from the beginning. Upon being acquired, Bamba actually had to finish serving a suspension from an altercation while still with the Magic.

When he was able to suit up, Bamba showed some flashes of what he is capable of, providing some solid scoring, rebounding and rim protection. But right when he seemed to be catching his stride, a severe ankle sprain kept him out for a month, with him returning to action for the final two games of the regular season. Overall, Bamba averaged 3.7 points and 4.6 rebounds in nine games with the Lakers during the season.

But the ankle continued to bother Bamba during the postseason as he was forced to sit out a handful of playoff games. Even had he been healthy, it seems unlikely that Darvin Ham would have turned to him as he looked to have fallen completely out of the rotation and Ham turned to veteran Tristan Thompson over Bamba for backup big man minutes in the Lakers final postseason game.

2022-23 Highlight

There were certainly a couple of games in which Bamba can point to as showing why the Lakers traded for him. In his second game in a Lakers uniform, Bamba posted a double-double off the bench with 10 points and 13 rebounds while knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in a win over the Golden State Warriors.

His best game, however, came in his lone start in purple and gold. With LeBron James, Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell all sitting out, Bamba was one of many players to step up and answer the call. The big man shot 4-of-6 from the field including 3-of-4 from deep to finish with 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists while also chipping in a steal and block in the Lakers six point road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

2023-24 Outlook

The future of Bamba with the Lakers is one of the biggest question marks heading into this offseason. His $10.3 million salary for next year is non-guaranteed, but the Lakers must make a decision on it by June 29 before free agency begins.

Bamba is not worth that type of money, but the Lakers could still see some potential in him worth developing. Perhaps more importantly, that type of contract can come in handy in a future trade and if the Lakers have something in the works, could need that money in the deal.

With multiple players set to see an increase in salary, there is no way the Lakers could justify bringing Bamba back at that high of a number. If there is a trade to be had that is likely the only way his contract is picked up, otherwise he will almost surely be let go and hit free agency this summer.

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