After completing their blockbuster trade to acquire Russell Westbrook, the Los Angeles Lakers will only have five players under contract at the start of free agency.
With the Lakers being over the salary cap though, they will only have one mid-level exception to use and then minimum contracts to fill out the roster in addition to having bird rights on Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker.
While it remains to be seen how they will handle the free agency of those three players, one thing that is for sure is that the Lakers will have to find talent on minimum deals to put together a championship-caliber roster.
One player that they have been linked to in the past is Victor Oladipo, although there was never a trade that made sense when he was at his peak as an All-Star.
Oladipo has since dealt with a multitude of injuries though and Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported that he could now be an option for the Lakers on a minimum deal in free agency, via The Laker Files:
Victor Oladipo could possibly be a 1 year, minimum deal option for the Lakers as the market could be drying up for him. ????
— The Laker Files (@LakerFiles) August 1, 2021
Oladipo going from a potential max player to signing a veteran’s minimum seems a bit far-fetched, although it was clear at this past year’s trade deadline that his value around the league is not very strong. And that was before he suffered another season-ending quad injury.
Even though Oladipo is still just 29 years of age, his injury history seems to have scared teams away. That could be a benefit for the Lakers though as he has a close relationship with LeBron James and there’s no better place to go for a year to prove he can stay healthy and rebuild his value while competing for a championship.
In 33 games with the Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets and Miami Heat last season, Oladipo averaged 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.6 assists, so the production is still there if he is healthy.
Ellington interest in reuniting with Lakers
One other potential guard/wing option for the Lakers is Wayne Ellington as he has reported interest in returning to the team for a second time.
Ellington would be another no-brainer for the Lakers on a minimum deal considering they greatly lack shooting and he shot 42.2% from deep last season with the Detroit Pistons.
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