As Mike Bresnahan of The L.A. Times reports, the Lakers may be interested in free agent power forward, Antawn Jamison. Although the 36-year-old Jamison could sign with another team for more money, the Lakers are the only serious option that would provide him a chance at an NBA title. The Lakers would hope to use the veteran’s minimum contract, which would be approximately $1.35 million next season.
So, that begs the question: Should the Lakers pursue Jamison? We’ll break it down right here.
Jamison has career averages of 19.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game over 14 seasons. Most recently, Jamison averaged 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds for the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers last season. At 36 years-old, however, is more age what the Lakers need at this point? Probably not, but at the same time, Jamison remained healthy last season and played in all but one game. As we can all see from the stats, he can still play at a very high level and put some serious points on the board despite his advanced age.
Personally, I like the prospects of free agent Jordan Hill, and think he did an exceptional job last season given the fact that he was thrown into the lineup late in the year. Additionally, his rebounding ability and athleticism are huge positives for the Lakers. If the Lakers can somehow hold onto him and sign Jamison, that would be a huge plus.
However, the Lakers need to focus on finding a solid backup for Kobe Bryant that can guard both guard positions first, before stacking up on power forwards.
That being said, the Lakers sorely need a scoring punch off the bench as they had virtually no consistent bench play last season after losing the Sixth Man of the Year from the previous season, Lamar Odom.
Although the Lakers may look crazy for adding yet another player over the age of 35 to their already aging roster, it might be their best option. They currently have youthful reserves in the form of Devin Ebanks, Andrew Goudelock, and Darius Morris, and could use a veteran player who knows how to play the game at a high level to lead that group.
Additionally, the Lakers definitely need a player who can play backup to Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Although Jamison doesn’t play the center position, should Andrew Bynum get injured, Pau Gasol would seamlessly slide over to the center position as he’s done so many times in years past, and Jamison would slide into Gasol’s post. And, of course, should Pau Gasol get injured, Jamison would give the Lakers a different look at the power forward position as well.
Final Verdict: If the Lakers can somehow lure Antawn Jamison to the Lakers for less money, but a chance at a championship ring, they should do it. Jamison is a proven vet who’s likely hungry for a ring and would provide a huge scoring boost off the bench for the Lakers.
There’s little question of whether he would fit or not because of one reason: Steve Nash. Nash is such a brilliant player that he can literally play with anyone and make them look good. His unselfishness should be able to satisfy everyone on the floor with him. Additionally, at Jamison’s age, he is likely not as concerned about his numbers as he is winning; as he’s been on bad teams for most of his career.
So, Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, if you’re reading this, here’s what I say to you:
You’ve done a great job this off-season and made a huge upgrade in the form of Steve Nash. You now have an opportunity to significantly improve the bench of the Lakers for minimal money that would leave you with only one real hole to fill–Kobe’s backup. If there’s a way do get this deal done, do it