The Los Angeles Lakers have been able to vastly improve their roster during the NBA off-season. With the addition of Steve Nash to the backcourt and Antawn Jamison off the bench, the Lakers will be a force to be reckoned with once again in the Western Conference next season and beyond.
Even though the addition of Nash and Jamison seriously upgraded needs in different areas for the Lakers, Los Angeles still needs a viable option to backup Kobe Bryant at shooting guard.
Unfortunately, the Lakers are limited in their pursuit of a free agent guard and will most likely only use the veteran’s minimum to bring in a backup for Kobe. With that being said, there are only a handful of options for the team to explore. Even with limited options, the Lakers still have the opportunity to improve the position with the veteran’s minimum.
Arguably the best free agent option left at their disposal is Leandro Barbosa. The Brazilian Blur may not be the player he once was alongside Nash with the Phoenix Suns, but he’d be an ideal fit for the Lakers off the bench.
According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Times, Barbosa would be a great addition at the veteran’s minimum:
“If the Lakers can convince him to take the veteran’s minimum ($1.4 million), Barbosa is worth the pursuit.”
Last season, Barbosa averaged 11.1 points per game for the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers. Barbosa played in 64 games last year while shooting 42 percent from the floor and 38 percent from beyond the arc.
At 29 years-old, Barbosa is still one of the quickest players in the league and will be a vital piece to the puzzle if the Lakers are able to convince him to sign for the veteran’s minimum. Barbosa made a name for himself with the Suns during Nash’s MVP seasons.
Along with being a solid scoring option off the bench for Lakers Coach Mike Brown, Barbosa can also be a threat from three-point range. As a 39 percent career shooter from distance, Barbosa will help stretch the defense and give Nash another option in the offense.
Another benefit of bringing in Barbosa is his ability to play both backcourt positions. Although not a traditionally point guard, Barbosa can bring the ball up the floor and become another option at point guard.
A solid free agent signing to say the least, but whether or not he’s willing to take a pay cut to play in Los Angeles remains to be seen.