NBA Free Agent Market: Pacific Division Pt 1
With the recent draft, holes on teams rosters are starting to be filled.
While the draft certainly helps, the job is no where near finished as we have a long free agency ahead of us.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers managed to take the 3rd seed to the playoffs by just out muscling the Memphis Grizzlies and the Clippers. Their dominant days are clearly behind them as they have proven to be a middle of the pack Western Conference team.
With everyone except Kobe Bryant and possibly Andrew Bynum available for a trade it really shows the front office don’t believe in their hopes for a championship anymore with this current crop of players.
Their season had a lot of ups and downs which to the fans of L.A is unacceptable.
Salary Cap Situation:
It comes as no suprise that the Lakers are over the luxury tax and have the third highest payroll in the league. Kobe is slated to make $27.8 Million, Pau Gasol $19 Million and Andrew Bynum $16 Million this coming season.
There is simply no room to move for the Lakers. Their only real option to bring new players in is to trade for players that have a similar salary.
Is there anyone willing to pick up Gasol’s, Bynum’s, World Peace’s or Steve Blake’s contract?
Ramon Sessions: 2011-2012 Salary $4.2 Million, unrestricted free agent.
Sessions has declined his player option for a shot at grabbing more money off the free agent market. I guess not everyone likes the bright lights of L.A or playing the back court with Kobe Bryant.
Matt Barnes: 2011-2012 Salary $1.9 Million, unrestricted free agent.
He’s an NBA journeyman that usually only lasts 1 season per team. But he has managed to play a meaningful role with the Lakers over the past 2 seasons. The Lakers might want him back.
Still the saga lives on and there is the potential that it ends before the 2012-13 season.
Talk around the league is that Houston want a shot at him with all the draft picks they are accumulating. The Brooklyn Nets and Lakers are still viable options.
This off season it is all up to the Orlando Magic management.
A 23 year old point guard that’s done a fair bit of travelling.
He would require similar money to what Ramon Sessions was receiving, which we have no idea if the Lakers can afford. But he would share minutes with Steve Blake and perhaps be the starter to develop into a better player.
The outlook is dodgy and uncertain. If there is a team that spends money to become great or makes a big trade its the Lakers. With limited options can the front office still pull something off?
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Los Angeles Clippers
Finished 5th in the West – 1 game behind the 3rd placed Lakers.
Ousted the Memphis Grizzlies in 7 games during the playoffs but fell to a sweep from the San Antonio Spurs. People forget that this might have been their best season in franchise history.
They kept breaking old records and looked like a professional team that weren’t absolutely dreadful like in past decades.
The future looks bright for once in Clipper town.
Salary Cap Situation:
The Clippers have their core guys signed for at least 1 more season which has taken up most of the salary cap. With DeAndre Jordan having the only bad contract it does leave space to sign most of their free agents back.
Although they will have their hands full keeping the team together but they still have plenty of potential to get better next year.
Randy Foye: 2011-2012 Salary $4.2 Million, unrestricted free agent.
A valued back up in L.A and can catch fire in an instant. A team desperate for a shooter might overpay him and that would be the only way except via a trade he would leave the Clippers.
Nick Young: 2011-2012 Salary $3.7 Million, unrestricted free agent.
Acquired from the Washington Wizards mid season has an uncertain future. With all the combo guard shooting the Clippers have Young may be considered excess and not depth?
Chauncey Billups: 2011-2012 Salary $3.5 Million, unrestricted free agent.
Chauncey has been around the block a few times and retirement at age 35 could be on his mind.
After not wanting to leave Denver or New York I don’t think Billups wants a change of scenery again if he stays in the game.
Has been rumoured recently on espn.com to have a done deal to the Clippers if Mo Williams picks up his player option.
The Lamar we saw in Dallas would be a waste of space but the Lakers version would be a valuable addition to the roster. A risk/reward situation.
Ian Mahinmi (Dallas Mavericks):
Ian would be a cheap defensive minded back up power forward for the team. Because he can easily get into foul trouble small minutes will suit and will lock the paint down.
The Clippers will be chasing some quality role players that will become most valuable in the playoffs.
The role players are often the ones that can decide games in a 7 game series and to pick up a couple of tried and tested players will be just what they’re looking to do.
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More free agency evaluations can be found in part 2 of the Pacific Division which will include the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.
Is there any other Los Angeles action that might happen?
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