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Drew Garrison | June 9, 2014

Lakers discussion

Is Jodie Meeks worth re-signing this summer?

Last week we discussed the merits of bringing back Nick Young. This week, we'll debate on arguably the Lakers' most improved, and valuable, player: Jodie Meeks

Last week we discussed the merits of bringing back Nick Young in a purple and gold uniform. This week, we'll debate on arguably the Los Angeles Lakers' most improved, and valuable, player: Jodie Meeks
The Discussion

    Jodie Meeks put together a career season, bouncing back from a disappointing 2012-2013 campaign and providing the type of wing production many had hoped for when he signed with the team. The Lakers desperately needed their backup guards, Nick Young and Meeks, to give them life. Both players delivered.

    The Lakers have many tough decisions to make with their roster this summer, and none could be more grueling than deciding if paying free agent market value for one of their productive wings is worth it.

    If you were the Lakers front office, would you re-sign Jodie Meeks? If so, what's a fair contract for him?

  • The Great Mambino

    I’ve been highly critical of Meeks in past seasons, mostly focusing on his complete inability to finish at the rack, whether in transition or crashing the lane (last season, he finished in the league’s bottom 5% at shots at the rim). He’s been a streak shooter and a binge scorer—borderline bench material, but nothing more. And then, Jodie Meeks shoved all of that in my face.

    Meeksside_medium

    In my estimation, Meeks was far and away the team’s most improved player this season, which is saying a lot considering how many young guys brought themselves back from the brink of the Chinese Basketball Association. Jodie became a reliable offensive player for the first time in his career, shooting .463/.401/.857 from the floor and, more importantly, finally finishing at the rim in transition. He provided steady production when given the opportunity to shoot at high volumes, but also remained a fantastic option when playing second fiddle to other scoring weapons like Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant.

    That being said, if I were with the Lakers front office, I would only offer Jodie Meeks a contract if he accepted a deal worth less than his actual skills. If nothing else, the former Wildcat proved himself to be a Kyle Korver-type difference maker off of the bench. Meeks can be a dead eye shooter and an instant energizer, who, with an improved skillset around the basket, can really change the complexion of a team with a sluggish starting five.

    He’s well worth a three year, $12 million dollar deal in my opinion, but I’m not sure the Lakers can pay him that much. If that’s the case, I don’t believe LA will re-sign him. But below that value, I would absolutely nab him for another go-around in purple and gold.

  • Drew Garrison

    Jodie Meeks may have earned the Most Improved Player award if the Lakers weren't one of the worst teams in the NBA. Instead, he'll likely earn something more valuable: A contract worth his production. What does that mean for the Lakers? He's likely out of their bargain range, though they could certainly use an established sixth man off the bench.

    1

    Yes, the Lakers have Kobe Bryant to run the show for their wings, but they'll need at least one more starter quality player to fill out the rotation. Los Angeles already has two known quantities in Nick Young and Meeks to sort through, which is a tight argument one way or the other. On one hand, Young is a bit more dynamic and can create his own shot. On the other, Meeks is more of a complementary player who can spot-up from beyond the arc and, apparently, finish at the rim after a summer of development.

    As much as the Lakers may want to tip toe around their salary cap, they still have to find ways to sign players who can produce if the front office is serious about a quick return to playoff contention. Swaggy P may have found his way into our hearts, but M33KS significantly improved across the board in a much larger role this season. It's not hard to envision him as a rotation player on a contending team. He's low profile but highly productive if put into a role that suits his skill set.

    Unfortunately, there's little reason to believe the Lakers will re-sign both players.

    Keeping at least one of them, however, could be a puzzle piece while building the roster mostly from scratch. The cost of keeping Meeks may ultimately be too high, and similar to Young, the furthest I'd go is a two-year deal with a team option. $3 million per year for Meeks sounds about right from the Lakers' perspective, but that's a hefty dent for a team trying to keep cap space open for high-end talent.

  • Harrison Faigen

    Like many of us that had the misfortune to watch the majority of Lakers games played this season, I was shocked when no team, contenders especially, made a move for Jodie Meeks before the trade deadline. Playing at a career best level on a cheap expiring contract, and shooting the lights out from three point land, I thought that offering up a future second round pick to bolster your shooting would have been a no-brainer for some spacing starved team.

    The real shocker, however, would be if Jodie did not have a number of suitors in free agency. Given that he will be turning 27 next season and thus probably will not be around for the next time that this team is contending, this just doesn't seem like a fit. Similarly to Nick Young, he plays the same position as the Lakers' highest paid player in Kobe Bryant. If I were the front office I would not feel comfortable making a market value offer to retain Jodie Meeks.

    I appreciated his professionalism and how much that helped keep the locker room chemistry afloat, as well as the fact that he played hard right until the end of the season (who can forget his 42 point game to down the hated Kendrick Perkins and his Thunder in March, well after the Lakers had anything to play for). His work ethic helped set a good example for the younger guys on the roster as well, but all this aside I just cannot see a realistic scenario where it makes sense for the Lakers to keep Jodie Meeks unless he for some reason loved LA so much that he wants to turn down much better contractual offers.

    Unfortunately, we will likely watch Meeks make another fanbase tweet "M33KS!!!!" next season.

meeks(Photo credit USA TODAY Sports)
  • Ben Rosales

    Jodie Meeks had arguably the best season of his career last year and was very likely the Most Valuable Player of an otherwise awful Lakers season, but re-signing him might be a luxury the team can't afford with their current drive to maintain cap flexibility.

    To put it simply, the Lakers have to walk a very tight line if they want to be able to offer the 30% max that players like Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, and others will be able to make in 2015 and that puts a harsh limit on the amount of long-term contracts they can dole out this offseason, namely around $12 million or so, even if they stand to have roughly $20 million in cap space should they renounce all of their free agents this summer.

    Is Meeks a worthy investment as far as the former amount goes? Wing shooters are increasingly becoming a dime a dozen in the NBA and while Meeks has become quite adept at cutting to become less one-dimensional, is he going to be a fixture in the Lakers' rotation moving forward? There's a fair argument to be had that as Kobe Bryant ages, lineups with him at the three will grow more and more commonplace, giving Meeks a bigger role in the rotation than he would have otherwise, but again, you have to think of how fungible of an asset that Meeks represents.

    If he was willing to come back for something around $4 million a year or less, the Lakers should think about it, but at the moment, he stands to make a decent amount of money from a contender looking for a steady reserve and the Lakers aren't in a position to overpay for him.

About the Author

Gasolina

Contributor at SB Nation NBA, lead editor for SB Nation's Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll, author of Stat Stuffing. Spend way too much time watching NBA plays over, and over and over. Doodling arrows on plays and creating diagrams is a hobby of mine.

I don't drink Sprite despite Grant Hill doing so.

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