While the Los Angeles Lakers have been tied to a number of notable free agents throughout the 2019-20 NBA season, they were finally able to make a splash with the addition of Dion Waiters via the buyout market, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
With Darren Collison opting to stay retired, the Lakers turned their attention to other options on the market such as Waiters, JR Smith, and Tyler Johnson. The aforementioned names made it clear the Lakers were looking for someone that could provide some quality depth in the backcourt on both ends of the floor.
Los Angeles opted to waive Troy Daniels in order to clear up room for another spot on the roster. It soon became evident the last spot would come down to a two-man race after hosting workouts for both Waiters and Smith at the facility recently.
Smith had initially been pegged as one of the frontrunners to sign with the Lakers given his history as teammates with LeBron James. The 34 year old played an integral role in helping James bring a championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers and his skill set as a two-way player spurred the team to give him an audition for a spot on the roster.
Waiters was another one of James’ former teammates, but the pair hardly enjoyed the same level of success before he was eventually shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that brought Smith and Iman Shumpert to Cleveland. Although Waiters has endured a tumultuous season after being released by the Memphis Grizzlies following the trade from the Miami Heat, his close ties to both general manager Rob Pelinka and Klutch Sports agent Rich Paul could serve as the basis for a potential resurgence down the stretch.
There has clearly been an arms race formed against the Los Angeles Clippers and both teams are making efforts to ensure they gain the edge by the time the 2020 NBA playoffs roll around. Although the Lakers are still far from a finished product, it will be interesting to see if Waiters proves to be the final piece they need to put them over the top.