In a move to bolster their rather thin frontcourt, the Lakers signed Troy Murphy today to a one year deal for the veterans' minimum. We were aware that this was a possibility since Wednesday, as Murphy had a workout in front of the Lakers' coaches and officials then, and apparently showed enough to get a contract. As we noted in my article two days ago, Murphy is a bit of a reclamation project, as he had a terrible season last year for the Nets and Celtics, but is only one year removed from being a significant contributor for the Pacers. Regardless, his shooting should add a useful element to a roster seriously lacking in that aspect last year, and he is a good complement to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, as his ability to space the floor will give them greater freedom to operate in the post. Moreover, Murphy is yet another in a litany of bigs capable of running the pick-and-pop, a key part of the San Antonio offense Mike Brown will likely incorporate.
As far as the Lakers' rotation goes, Josh McRoberts might see more time at center so Murphy can play at the four, but given that hard positional lineups matter less for backups, it should be somewhat immaterial. Murphy is a fairly brutal defender at either spot, but he does clean up the defensive boards well, a weakness of the Lakers last season, and both Gasol and Bynum should be able to compensate for some of his deficiencies. Seeing as the Lakers will begin the season on a back-to-back-to-back and will have only three true frontcourt players in Gasol, McRoberts, and Murphy due to Bynum's suspension and Derrick Caracter's injury, it is likely that a fifth big is signed sometime before the start of the season to provide spot minutes unless Brown and the front office are comfortable with playing Metta World Peace or Matt Barnes as smallball fours.
Finally, the Lakers, according to ESPNLA's Dave McMenamin, are continuing to monitor free agent point guard Baron Davis, who cleared secondary waivers yesterday, and is looking to sign with either the Lakers, Knicks, or Heat. Although Baron is currently injured and will require some time to recover -- the time of which has been inconsistent between multiple sources; it ranges anywhere from four weeks to ten -- the Lakers have precious other opportunities to improve the situation at point guard, especially with the Sasha Vujacic TPE expiring yesterday. Even with all the concerns about his work ethic and similar, the bottom line is that Baron is a better option than Derek Fisher or Steve Blake, can run Mike Brown's more traditional offense, and as a through-and-through L.A. native, would no doubt relish the opportunity to play for his hometown team. We will keep you updated on any relevant developments.
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