The Los Angeles Lakers may not have opened the 2019-20 NBA season with a win like fans were hoping, but taking a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers did show what areas head coach Frank Vogel and the front office need to address.
Perhaps most pressing is the need to find another wing defender, as evidenced by Kantavious Caldwell-Pope’s struggles to stick with Kawhi Leonard.
At 6’5″, it’s no surprise that Caldwell-Pope defending Leonard would be problematic, but the Lakers don’t have many other options at the moment. When Kyle Kuzma returns from a stress reaction, he could conceivably provide some length defending on the perimeter, but he isn’t known for his lockdown defensive prowess.
Instead, all eyes have been on the Memphis Grizzlies, who absorbed the contract of Andre Iguodala for the Golden State Warriors (and received a first-round pick for their trouble). The Grizzlies would like to flip Iguodala in another trade and pick up an asset, which would see them get paid both for taking on the player and for sending him elsewhere just a few months later.
It will be impressive if they can pull that feat off, but most teams around the league believe that Iguodala will ultimately get bought out at some point. According to Jackie MacMullan on Brian Windhost’s Hoop Collective podcast, Iguodala will join the Lakers if he is indeed bought out. MacMullan says she spoke to four different players about the possibility and each of them said Iguodala would become a Laker.
For now, take the rumor with a grain of salt, but it would be a nice fit for the Lakers.
Vogel also made an interesting statement after practice when he mentioned that Rajon Rondo would be a major player and would see 25-30 minutes per game. While the Lakers certainly could have used Rondo’s playmaking against the Clippers when LeBron James was not on the floor, it’s debatable whether he should see as many minutes as Vogel appears to be set on.
At 33-years-old, Rondo is no longer the defensive force he once was, and defenses don’t respect his outside shot just yet. On paper, one would think that staggering Rondo’s minutes with those of James would make sense so that there is a natural ball-handler on the floor at all times, but if Rondo really hits 25 or 30 minutes a night, there will be plenty of overlap.