The search for answers to the bench problems for the Los Angeles Lakers hasn’t been easy during the off-season with GM Mitch Kupchak and company extremely limited in terms of the amount and lengths of contracts.
As of right now, the Lakers can only offer the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million or $3 million per season contract using the mini-midlevel exception to sign free agents. With that being the case, the Lakers are basically hoping that players will want to sign with Los Angeles solely on the prospect of winning an NBA title next season.
One player that currently falls into this category is veteran forward Elton Brand. Unfortunately, the Lakers are at a disadvantage at this point in time with Brand recently being amnestied by the Philadelphia 76ers.
As part of the amnesty process, Brand must clear waivers before signing a free agent contract with a team over the cap. This means the only way the Lakers will be able to sign the veteran is if every team in the league currently under the cap passes on the opportunity to sign him. The Dallas Mavericks are reportedly the frontrunner to land Brand with the ability to sign him off waivers and serious interest in doing so.
If Brand does clear waivers, the Lakers might have interest in signing him with the veteran’s minimum according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com:
“If Brand clears waivers, he will be free to sign as a free agent wherever he chooses and could decide a return to L.A., where he played for the Clippers for seven seasons, would be in order.”
The addition of Brand would definitely be a step in the right direction for the Lakers if they can convince him to sign for the veteran’s minimum. Last season, Brand averaged 11.0 points and 7.2 rebounds for the 76ers.
Obviously, Brand is no longer a perennial All-Star or dominant force in the paint like he once was, but he’d be a welcome addition to the team and might help the bench become a force to be reckoned with once again.
The free agent priority for the Lakers as of right now is getting a deal done with up-and-comer Jordan Hill, but if Los Angeles can’t come to terms with Hill, Brand is a solid candidate if available.
Two other possibilities for the Lakers at forward in free agency are Antawn Jamison and Jermaine O’Neal. There’s a good chance that the Lakers will sign one of these three veterans if an agreement can’t be made with Hill.