With the Steve Nash trade in the books, the Lakers have moved towards building up their bench, and per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, will be receiving the services of forward Antawn Jamison. No terms are yet on paper, but the Lakers were pursuing Jamison previously with the veteran's minimum according to previous stories in an effort to keep the overall payroll low, as Nash constitutes a hefty addition to the Lakers' luxury tax bill. If so, Jamison would be solid value for that price, even considering his deficiencies.
Last year on a fairly miserable Cleveland team, Jamison averaged 17.2 points per game and put up a respectable 16.17 PER. A stretch four, Jamison shoots decently from deep and has a variety of flip shots in the lane near the basket. Given that he will have far less offensive attention devoted to him in Los Angeles than he had with the Cavaliers, it is likely that his rather mediocre shooting percentages will improve. As a bench scorer, however, Jamison will bring a lot of perk to what was a horribly moribund unit last season, and his low mistake game -- he had the twelfth lowest turnover ratio in the entire league last season -- will aid in that respect as well.
Now, Jamison certainly has his downsides. He basically refused to play defense in Cleveland, and that will obviously have to change with Mike Brown as his head coach once more. Even during his better days, Jamison was a mediocre defender at best, so there might not be a whole lot of effectiveness there for Brown to squeeze out of him. Still, as previously mentioned, Jamison is a fine addition for what the Lakers want him to do off the bench, and his ability to stretch the floor and play away from the basket should mesh well with both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, as well as offering another offensive option for Steve Nash to play with. One wonders what Jamison's addition implies for the future of Jordan Hill, who was the Lakers' primary frontcourt reserve last season, but either way, we will keep you updated on any new information that arises.
UPDATE (4:34 PM): So, here's your splash of cold water. Per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
Nothing official yet on Antawn Jamison as per Laker source. Jamison would help Lakers' reserves tremendously...if he signed with them.
Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that Bonnell, who is apparently close to Jamison's camp according to Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus, is incorrect, but that signature has not hit paper yet, or at the very least, a verbal commitment is not there. Jamison very well could have chosen a team, but not formally gone through the proceedings. For his part, Bonnell has put up a short piece in the Charlotte Observer announcing that Jamison will go to the Lakers.
UPDATE (5:05 PM): We have more details from Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears:
Free agent Antawn Jamison to talk to @Lakers Tuesday, source said. Vet forward excited to play with Kobe & Nash, but still awaiting offer.
This makes sense, as it reconciles Bonnell's and Bresnahan's reports: Jamison clearly wants to sign and is ready to negotiate a deal, but the Lakers haven't put anything on the table yet. As previously stated, they were chasing Jamison with the minimum, so supposedly that will be forthcoming tomorrow. It may very well be a formality at this juncture if Jamison has decided on his destination, but we will await the results on Tuesday.
UPDATE (8:49 PM): As a clarification to all the above, Bonnell has this tidbit in his expanded article:
Jamison, who starred at Providence High and North Carolina, gave serious consideration to finishing his NBA career as a Bobcat. But late Monday he decided to sign with the Lakers for a chance to pursue a championship, an informed source told the Observer.
Jamison is on vacation in Europe. He's expected to sign with the Lakers once he returns to the United States later this week.
As such, expect news of an official signing later in the week and as early as tomorrow, as Spears' report above asserts that Jamison will be coming in for a meeting Tuesday, which presumably would qualify as him returning from his vacation in Europe. No details yet on contract figures or anything similar, but it is likely that this is a done deal.