Although the Los Angeles Lakers stood pat at the trade deadline, they did end up making an impact move as the team signed Andre Drummond after he cleared waivers.
The writing was on the wall for Drummond to join the Lakers as he will immediately step in and start for a roster that has sorely lacked a true inside presence. At 6’10” and 279 pounds, the center is a load down in the paint and should greatly bolster Los Angeles’ rebounding and increase their second chance opportunities. He should also complement Anthony Davis in the frontcourt as a rim roller and another big body to guard traditional fives.
While adding Drummond is a massive boost for the Purple and Gold, they still have an opportunity to add another piece with their last roster spot. According to Jovan Buha and Jared Weiss of The Athletic, the Lakers appear set to chase after another wing player:
The Lakers are currently at $137.53 million in total salary with about $1.39 million to spare under the hard cap. With the Lakers roster at 14, it meets the league minimum number of players on board. The Lakers are expected to pursue a 3-and-D wing with their final roster spot, per sources.
Wings that can shoot and defend are arguably the most important archetype of player in today’s NBA given how teams like to operate on the offensive end. Knocking down open threes and being able to check an opposing team’s best perimeter threat is crucial to a team’s success, and right now the Lakers are sorely lacking in that department.
Aside from LeBron James, and maybe Kyle Kuzma, L.A. lacks a wing who is comfortable guarding the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and several others the team could see in the postseason. While no one is expected to completely shut down those types of players, the Lakers — like everyone else — could use a player to help ease the defensive load off James and Davis.
As teams continue to have conversations with players on potential buyout opportunities, it will be interesting to see who else becomes available and whether or not they land in Los Angeles.
Otto Porter Jr. the next prized buyout candidate
One name to watch out for is Otto Porter Jr., who landed with the Orlando Magic in a deal that sent Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls. The Magic finally decided to blow up their roster and rebuild from scratch, which means Porter could be bought out in the following weeks.
While there have been no indications that a buyout is on the horizon, teams like the Lakers will definitely be monitoring the situation.
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