NBA insider pegs multitude of veteran free agents who would be ‘perfect’ fits on Lakers

Justin Benjamin
6 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers just won the 2020 championship.

However, that doesn’t mean they can’t look to bolster their roster this offseason. Sam Quinn of CBS Sports recently looked at some free agents who would be great fits on the Lakers.

“Goran Dragic is about as perfect an offensive fit as the Lakers could find,” Quinn wrote. “He could lead bench units, but as he’s proven with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, he knows how to play off of a better ball-handler as well. Miami is not going to be willing to offer him more than one year, as the Heat are preserving space for 2021. A Lakers offer could top $40 million over four years, but the Heat, with Bird Rights, could pay him something in the neighborhood of $20 million for one. His appetite for such a deal depends on his confidence in himself at the age of 34. There aren’t many other worthwhile ball-handlers, available, though. D.J. Augustin is a sensible if not particularly exciting target on the taxpayer mid-level, but otherwise, the Lakers would be looking at players like Jeff Teague, low-risk, high-reward options with starting experience. That worked out on a number of fronts last season, but the Lakers can afford to be pickier. This role will probably be filled through trade.”

Dragic, 34, is coming off an incredible playoff run with the Heat.

The Heat cruised through the postseason before getting thwarted by the Lakers in six games in the 2020 NBA Finals. Dragic suffered an injury in Game 1 of the Finals, which forced him to miss the majority of the rest of the series.

During the 2020 playoffs, the international standout averaged 19.1 points, 4.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Augustin, 32, collected 10.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.1 rebounds per contest last season. He’s been a pivotal role player for the Magic in the postseason over the last couple of years.

As for Teague, he’s a proven veteran in the league. The point guard has career averages of 12.6 points, 5.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game.

The report also named a number of wing players who the Lakers could target to bolster their already strong 3-point shooting.

“Danilo Gallinari wants to play for a winner,” he wrote. “His perimeter shooting would be transformative alongside James and Davis. If the Lakers go down the non-taxpayer mid-level exception route, Gallinari is probably the best single player likely to be on their radar. [Davis] Bertans would interest the Lakers for the same reason, but by sitting out the bubble, he indicated that money is likely his biggest priority. Fortunately, shooting is usually available for the minimum if you’re willing to overlook other defects. Kyle Korver is a perfect example of that.”

Gallinari averaged 18.7 points per game last season on 40.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Bertans averaged 15.4 points per game last year.

Finally, Quinn named a number of veteran bigs who could replace any Lakers big men who might end up departing this offseason.

“This is the perfect offseason to seek out a shooting big man,” he wrote. “Aron Baynes, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are all perfect fits for the Lakers as bigs that can preserve Davis’ body defensively without cramping the floor on offense. Adding a center like this would clear space for both James and Davis to attack the basket and to run more pick-and-roll together early in games, a move they typically reserve for crunch-time. Meyers Leonard could achieve the same goal, but offers none of the same benefits on defense. The other name you’re almost certain to hear: DeMarcus Cousins. He and Davis remain close, and most reviews within the team were positive. If he’s healthy enough to play, don’t be surprised if the Lakers take a minimum-salary swing on him. It may not be advisable. He was defensively limited even before the injuries started piling up, and former stars create sticky locker room situations. Benching them is hard even when the necessity is obvious. But the upside on a minimum deal would be enormous.”

Ibaka and Gasol are surely the most attractive options on this list. Both big men can stretch the floor and have won championships. An added bonus would be having a member of the Gasol family back in L.A.

Lakers fans know just how successful the Lakers were when Gasol’s older brother, Pau, donned the purple and gold.

Without a doubt, there are some incredibly talented names on this list. Perhaps the biggest question is which of these players would be willing to accept less money to play for a clear title contender in the City of Angels. Only time will tell.

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Justin’s enormous respect for LeBron James has ignited him to write for the King and Lakers. His all-around analysis and heart for the game has made him a stellar NBA writer and proud staff writer for Lakers Daily.