The basketball world is still abuzz after former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook traded to the Los Angeles Lakers to join forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Reports came out that Russell Westbrook was traded to the Lakers for Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the 22nd overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Along with Westbrook, the Lakers will get 2 future 2nd round picks from the Wizards.
After the trade went through, the Lakers now have some work to do to fill up the roster around their new Big 3.
The Lakers won’t have much flexibility money-wise as much of the payroll will go to the 3 superstars.
With that being said, let’s look at possible veterans the Lakers can target, given they agree to a veteran minimum deal.
DeMar DeRozan would be another huge addition to the Lakers. The 4-time all-star is still on the top of his game after averaging 21.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and a career-high 6.9 assists per game last season. DeRozan, turning 32, is a free agent looking for a new destination since the Spurs are looking like they’re in full rebuild mode. Reports came up that he is considering taking a pay cut to join the Lakers and contend for a championship.
DeRozan would bring a lot of help to the Lakers as he is a proven scorer, ball handler, and defender. And he is perfect for the Lakers as he can go back to playing the shooting guard position, where he has excelled the most. Being a wing player, he would go hand-in-hand with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook as well. Just imagine those three running a fastbreak. Good luck to the opponents trying to stop those three on the open floor.
Carmelo Anthony has revitalized his career with the Portland Trailblazers, and he has really learned how to be a solid role player. The former scoring champ averaged 13.4 points off the bench for the Trailblazers last season. If he joins the Lakers, he would mainly be playing off the bench behind LeBron and AD. Reports have been in the air as well that the Lakers are looking to sign him, which would unite him with one of his best friends, LeBron James.
Melo has had a hall of fame career already, but the one thing still missing? A championship. That’s what he will be looking to accomplish if he signs with the Lakers. He may not be the superstar and MVP caliber player he once was, but he can provide something the Lakers will certainly need – shooting. He averaged a career-high 40.9% from the 3-point arc last season. With two of the best playmakers in history on the team, Carmelo Anthony would be a great spot-up shooting threat, and he would surely thrive with the Purple & Gold.
Again, with Westbrook, James, and Davis being the offense’s focal point, there is something you will need on the floor to compliment them: shooting. And that is exactly what JJ Redick is known for. JJ Redick is a career 41.5% 3-point shooter and is 15th on the all-time career 3-pointers list.
JJ Redick can easily space the floor for Westbrook, LeBron, and AD to facilitate in the paint. And he will always be ready to knock down outside shots when given a chance. The 15-year NBA veteran would be perfect for the Lakers as they are looking to add more shooting and signing free agents for a minimum.
Rudy Gay is another free agent rumored to be on the radar of the Lakers. The 15-year NBA veteran is willing to take a pay cut to join the Lakers and contend for a title. He is coming off a solid season with the Spurs, where he averaged 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds off the bench.
With Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell leaving in the Westbrook trade, the Lakers will be looking to add players to fill their bench, and Rudy Gay would be perfect. He has relished in his role off the bench for the Spurs, and he can definitely provide scoring and defense off the bench for the Lakers. He can also play the four alongside LeBron and AD in a small lineup, and his veteran leadership can prove key at the end of games.
Hassan Whiteside could answer a lot of the problems that the Lakers currently have. The Lakers need another big man, the Lakers need to boost their interior defense, and they need to sign veterans at a minimum. Whiteside checks all those boxes. Compared to Marc Gasol, the 7-foot center can give Frank Vogel different options at the 5 position as his game is on the other end of the spectrum.
The former 2-time blocks leader in the NBA had a rather disappointing season with the Sacramento Kings, where he did not get as many minutes, and he was sidelined quite a bit with injuries. He will be looking to join a contender where he knows he can contribute and have a shot at winning the title.
The Lakers are certainly favorites to win the title with the new big 3, but basketball is a team sport, and they will need a good support cast that can do their part to fight for the championship.
This will be a fun offseason in the NBA, and the Lakers will surely be looking to sign key free agents this summer.
Featured Image: Kevin C. Cox/AP