The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the few teams in the NBA that have been able to vastly improve their rosters over the summer. With the addition of Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison, the Lakers have drastically improved their chances of competing with the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference next season.
Although the Lakers will be legitimate NBA title contenders at the start of the 2012-13 NBA season with the current roster, another addition or two through free agency would be wise. With no viable backup for Kobe Bryant at shooting guard, Lakers coach Mike Brown has no one to turn to off the bench outside of Jamison in terms of providing some offense.
Fortunately, there are a few options that the team has been exploring in free agency to help improve the second unit offensively. Jodie Meeks, Leandro Barbosa and C.J. Miles were at the top of the list, but now it appears the top candidates are narrowed down to two.
Reportedly, Miles has decided to sign a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers according to Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake City Tribune via Twitter:
Multiple teams — Lakers, Rockets, Bucks, Mavericks — showed interest in Miles. He chose Cavaliers not because of money, but opportunity.
— Brian T. Smith (@tribjazz) August 3, 2012
Apparently, playing time was the deciding factor for Miles and the Cavs were able to provide an opportunity to become a starter.
There’s no question that Miles would’ve been in a potentially better situation in terms of winning with the Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, but the 25 year-old wants to make a name for himself in Cleveland playing alongside reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.
This was an admirable move to say the least for Miles as he’ll have the opportunity to compete for starting role with the Cavs. Most players at his age go for the biggest paycheck rather than opportunity for playing time. Miles has reportedly struck up relationship with head coach Byron Scott and believes in a future with a big role in Cleveland.
With Miles off the list of candidates for the Lakers, GM Mitch Kupchak may have locked in on Barbosa and Meeks for the backup role behind Kobe. There’s no question that the Lakers are waiting to see how the Dwight Howard trade saga pans out, but if they wait any longer they may end up on losing out on both of these viable options in free agency.