The Los Angeles Lakers have mostly struck out in free agency thus far, for essentially the third offseason in row (if you count Dwight Howard leaving two summers ago). They reportedly blew their chance with free agent white whale LaMarcus Aldridge during their initial presentation, then once again failed to impress during their do-over meeting with the coveted big man.
It was probably a long-shot to begin with, given that Aldridge ultimately signed with the San Antonio Spurs, who had been his rumored destination all along. But it was also another indictment of the franchise’s ongoing inability to draw quality players to town. Just how much of that has to do with the purportedly divisive nature of playing alongside Kobe Bryant is up for debate, but the Lakers’ brass undoubtedly shoulders the lion’s share of the responsibility.
At this point, they’re reluctantly settling for Roy Hibbert, whose stock has plummeted in the past year-plus since his glaring deficiencies on both ends of the floor have been so categorically exposed. To be fair, Hibbert was an All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year candidate two seasons ago, but his productivity has been on sharp decline ever since.
However, according Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers won’t finish free agency completely empty-handed. They’ve apparently agreed to terms on a three-year, $21 million contract with 2015 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams.
“The Los Angeles Lakers have reached agreement to sign free-agent guard Lou Williams to a three-year, $21 million contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Williams, 28, was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year last season after averaging a career-high 15.5 points with 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 80 games for the Toronto Raptors. In 10 NBA seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks and Raptors, Williams has averaged 11.9 points while making 34.1 percent of his 3-point attempts.”
Williams provides instant offense off the bench, but the Lakers have a veritable logjam in the backcourt with rookie D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Nick Young, and last but not least, a returning Kobe. The 36-year-old Mamba notwithstanding, if the Lakers are looking toward the future and planning on developing their young talent, it appears Swaggy P might be the odd man out in this equation, or at the very least, he and Williams will be battling for minutes.
Regardless of how things pan out, the Lakers once again won’t be competing for a championship next year in what could very well be Kobe’s last hurrah.
(via Yahoo Sports)