With the offseason coming to an end and training camp starting in less than a month, the Los Angeles Lakers roster looks complete for the most part.
The Lakers recently announced the signing of Rajon Rondo, which brought the roster up to 13 players under contract with two open spots left to fill. Los Angeles will reportedly only bring in 14 players in order to keep flexibility, but this looks to be the squad heading into the 2021-22 season.
However, there are rumblings that the Lakers are still exploring options in the middle of the paint as a replacement for Marc Gasol, via NBA insider Marc Stein:
When he formally re-signs with the Los Angeles Lakers after negotiating a buyout with Memphis, Rajon Rondo (35) will become the ninth Laker in his 30s on a roster expected to feature 14 players (and two more on two-way contracts). He’ll join Carmelo Anthony (37), LeBron James (36), Marc Gasol (36), Trevor Ariza (36), Dwight Howard (35), Wayne Ellington (33), Russell Westbrook (32) and Kent Bazemore (32). It’s a number, though, that could still be adjusted if the Lakers and Gasol ultimately part ways. As discussed in a recent This Week In Basketball column, league sources say that L.A. has explored the pursuit of other centers even though Gasol has one year left on his original two-year deal.
There seems to be a lot of smoke to these rumors as there were reports earlier in free agency that Los Angeles considered salary dumping Gasol to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which could be due to his ineffectiveness down the stretch last season. Gasol offers spacing from beyond the arc and playmaking at the top of the key, but with more shooters and ballhandlers he could be rendered to an even more marginal role.
Head coach Frank Vogel prefers to protect the rim with shot blockers and while Gasol is still an above-average defender he does not possess the same athleticism or physicality that someone like Dwight Howard does. It remains to be seen whether or not the Lakers will bring in another center alongside Gasol or trade the veteran but it does seem likely that another big man will be on the roster before training camp begins.
Lakers interested in DeAndre Jordan
One potential replacement for Gasol that has been floating around is DeAndre Jordan if he’s bought out by the Brooklyn Nets.
That report was interesting though considering Jordan would fill a similar role as Howard and also isn’t much younger than Gasol. It’s clear the Lakers are leaving no stones unturned though, so it will be interesting to see which direction they ultimately go.
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