The Los Angeles Lakers are gearing up for another season with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way. This offseason, the Lakers added star player, Russell Westbrook with his desire to come back home. Westbrook will be making $44.2 million, so the team had to look for cheap veterans to fill out their roster.
The fan-favorite Alex Caruso wanted to return to the Lakers but the team as he went back to GM Rob Pelikinka but was told that the team’s offer was nowhere near the offer the Chicago Bulls on the table. It was certainly a head-scratcher as he averaged 40.1 percent from the three-point line and was a great defender for the team.
According to “Fivethirtyeight’s overall defensive RAPTOR rates Caruso as the best guard defender in the NBA and the sixth-best defender in all of basketball. He has the NBA’s fourth-best defensive rating, trailing only three members of the Utah Jazz: Mike Conley, Georges Niang, and Rudy Gobert. His defense on the biggest stage last season speaks for itself. The Lakers played Damian Lillard, James Harden, and Jamal Murray in the Western Conference playoffs”.
The only glaring statistic was Caruso only averaged about 21 minutes per game.
LAKERS GRAB MELO, NUNN, AND THT RETURNS
The Lakers agreed to a one-year deal with LeBron James agreed to a one-year deal in hopes to bring a championship as it is the only one missing on his resume. Melo is one of the Banana Boat members as Chris Paul was rumored to be in talks with the Lakers before the organization landed Westbrook.
Melo is certainly not the scorer he once was but throughout the season with the Portland Trail Blazers, he showed signs that he could play at a high level. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwayne Wade talked about teaming up; however, Melo signed a five-year extension worth 80 million dollars back in 2006. The dream of playing together in Miami or any other team in the 2010 season wasn’t possible as the Heat created a Big 3 with LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh in 2010.
The veteran revived his career after being cut by the Houston Rockets back in 2018. Melo thrived coming off the bench with the Blazers last season, averaging 13.4 points in 24.5 minutes per game while shooting a career-best 40.9% from three. He can certainly help the Lakers space the floor as the team desperately needed some shooters this offseason.
The Lakers also signed Kendrick Nunn to a two-year deal worth $!0 million as the Miami Heat pulled their qualifying offer. The Lakers will most likely be using the taxpayer mid-level exception. Nunn turned down more money from the New York Knicks, and other suitors to join the Lakers.
Nunn’s minutes fluctuated throughout the season with the Heat but played well when he had regular playing time. In 56 games this season, he averaged 14.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.6 APG on 38.1 percent from three-point range in 29.5 MPG.
Talen Horton-Tucker was a restricted free agent who returned to purple and gold on a three-year 32 million dollar deal. Tucker averaged 9.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 2.8 APG in 65 games on 45.8 percent shooting from the field.
The Lakers refused to part ways with the 20-year-old shoot guard as he was involved in a lot of trade discussions throughout the year and offseason. Tucker might not have the most exciting numbers but he did well when both James and Davis had numerous stints on the injury list.
This was a risk-based on potential as the Lakers expected him to take a leap as it was most likely that the organization picked Tucker and decided to move on from 27-year-old Caruso. The Lakers may need to add other big as they brought back a few familiar faces.
3P% last season
- Ellington – 42.2% on 6.0 3PA
- Anthony – 40.9% on 4.7 3PA
- Bazemore – 40.8% on 2.7 3PA
- Monk – 40.1% on 5.0 3PA
- Ariza – 35% on 4.8 3PA
OTHER LAKER SIGNINGS & RUMORS
The Lakers created a roster spot by waiving Alfonzo McKinnie who had a non-guaranteed contract.
Lakers signed a pair of former players in Dwight Howard (2012-2013 & 2019-2020), Trevor Ariza (2007-2009) Kent Bazemore (2013-2014), and Wayne Ellington (2014-2015) on veteran minimum contracts.
The Lakers signed former Charlotte Hornets guard, Malik Monk to a minimum salary contract.
Lakers may be patiently monitoring Kevin Love’s situation as Love and the Cleveland Cavaliers could work out a potential buyout.