With the offseason into full hibernation mode, the Silver Screen and Roll crew shoots off their preliminary verdicts on just how well the Los Angeles Lakers front office did in their summer maneuvers. This week, we grade the signing of 10-year NBA veteran big man Brandon Bass and his two-year, $6 million dollar deal.
Before the Lakers signed him, what did you feel would be a fair deal for Brandon Bass?
Harrison Faigen: Prior to the report that the Lakers had agreed to terms with Bass, I thought he would be getting somewhere around the veteran's minimum from a playoff team. As a Lakers fan/blogger, I cannot claim to watch a ton of Celtics games (especially when they are not good), so Bass was mostly off of my radar for the last few years. However, I undervalued Bass. The 10-year veteran will be a perfect mentor for Julius Randle, and his mid-range jumper is still money.
Apratim Ghosh: Brandon Bass is an above average PF that can contribute valuable minutes off the bench. He's proven this throughout his career and his durability is a nice add for a Laker roster plagued by injuries the past few seasons. That being said, I really thought Bass would earn a veteran's minimum deal with a contending team in need of front court depth. Bass is a strong player in a utility role, but a bit of a tweener with limited ability to stretch the floor outside of his admittedly efficient mid-range jumper.
Anthony Irwin: I honestly didn't even consider Brandon Bass in this offseason. I've always liked his game, though, and imagined some contender giving him a deal right about where his wound up with the Lakers. Given his age, I also anticipated a longer contract, but Mitch and the front office could've convinced him to hold off for a chunk of the incoming TV money. Two years at $6 million total is a pretty great deal for the Lakers.
Sabreena Merchant: I didn't think too much about the market for Brandon Bass before the Lakers signed him - frankly, anything from the veteran's minimum to the deal Amir Johnson received from Bass's former team (two-years, $24 million) wouldn't have been surprising.
Tom Fehr: Truthfully, I didn't think about Brandon Bass at all. I probably assumed he would sign for the vet minimum for a contending team or something. On a really good team, he's quite a capable backup power forward. So, who am I to complain about the Lakers getting a decent player after the last two years of suckiness?
The CDP: I figured that would Brandon Bass would re-sign with Boston for a reasonable contract that would allow him to be in the contingent of eminently tradable players and young talent that Ainge is amassing. Considering his health and consistency (including 10.6 points and 5 rebounds in only 23 minutes per game last year), I thought he might draw something closer to the mid-level exception. Maybe four-years, $20 million.
Ben Rosales: Bass is a decent, if unspectacular frontcourt reserve that can certainly be a solid part of a good rotation, so he likely warranted something higher than the minimum in free agency. The upcoming cap bump makes it difficult to parse out what's a fair deal for a role player in such a context, but a contract starting somewhere between the taxpayer and non-taxpayer midlevel exceptions over two-to-three years was likely warranted.
Ryan Kelapire: I think I would have expected Bass to get a one-to-three year deal worth about $4-6 million annually. He's a solid role player and has missed just one game in the past three seasons, so he definitely would have warranted a contract like that, especially with the cap rising so much in 2016. I mean, Jonas Jerebko signed at $5 million per year, and Kyle O'Quinn got $4 million per year, so it would have been easy to expect to get something similar to that, if not more.
Jameson Miller: Once again the Lakers surprised me with a somewhat out of the blue signing, so I can't really say what my prior feelings were. That said, I've always liked Bass in general, though my only concrete memories of him pertaining to the purple and gold stem from Kobe's 52-point game vs Bass' Dallas Mavericks in 2008, during which Jeff Van Gundy prophetically commented that he didn't like the idea of Bass being in charge of boxing out Bryant on a key crunch time free-throw rebound situation... moments before Kobe scooted around Bass to grab said key rebound. Overall though, at the risk of sounding intellectually dishonest, the two-years, just over $6 million the Lakers ended up giving him is pretty much what I would have felt comfortable with from the get-go.
What grade would you give Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak on this deal?
Harrison Faigen: As a mentor for Randle and someone who can provide a solid 15-20 minutes off the bench in his stead, Bass is a great signing at just more than $6 million over two years, especially with the rising cap. The only argument one can really make against it is that signing Bass coupled with the team drafting Larry Nance, Jr. is essentially the last nail in the coffin for Ryan Kelly's tenure with the purple and gold because of the new power forward logjam (especially if Kobe Bryant will be spending time there as well... ). Still, I will give Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss an A-.
Apratim Ghosh: I don't mind the two-years, $6 million contract doled out to Brandon Bass. It is arguably pretty good value for what could be a leading bench PF. However, my primary concern is that Bass won't end up coming off the bench. Byron has proven time and again that he will arbitrarily dole out starting minutes to veterans over younger players in need of development.
I have nothing against Bass and he will probably serve as a useful mentor for Randle, but he also stands to absorb essential minutes needed for Randle's development. In addition, given the fact that the front office used a first-round pick to acquire Nance, I am hoping the basketball operations team and coaching staff prioritize carving out minutes for his development as well.
Currently there are just a lot of mouths to feed at the power forward position. The glut of PF's on the roster includes: Bass, Randle, Nance, and Kelly. Additionally, newly acquired Jonathan Holmes could earn some time at the four as well if he makes the 15-man roster. Bass is a decent player, but every minute Bass plays creates a significant opportunity cost issue. A lot of guys on the roster need minutes and run in order to develop. That proved crucial for Clarkson last season and will again be needed to mature Randle and Nance. I hope the coaching staff will prioritize those needs over giving Bass significant run.
Anthony Irwin: My initial reaction upon hearing about the deal was "great, another veteran Byron will probably play way too much over Randle." Upon further review, though, Bass fits pretty perfectly alongside Hibbert when he does come in for Randle. Bass is one of the better spot-up, mid-range shooters in the NBA and, as mentioned earlier, came for little-to-no longterm commitment. Overall, as a role player off the bench, Bass should be a welcomed addition. Grade: A - though the grade is contingent upon Byron not playing Bass too much over Randle. Sometimes you have to protect the coach from himself and handing over an old-school vet definitely isn't that.
Sabreena Merchant: Bass has carved out a pretty solid career for a second-round draft pick. He's at least an average power forward with substantial playoff experience on a very fair contract. Laker fans will probably fret over Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. losing minutes to Bass, but it will likely benefit the youngins to have a veteran presence at power forward with Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer no longer on the roster, and also to have to earn their minutes. Bass seems like a no-nonsense guy who doesn't demand the ball and will adequately space the floor for a 4. Solid B.
Tom Fehr: I suppose I would give Mitch a B on the Bass signing. He's a more than competent bench player, but at the same time, he doesn't really move the needle at all. The best that can be said for the deal is he's the kind of player that can help contribute to rebuilding a good culture, and perhaps he can be a good mentor to Julius.
The CDP: Grade: B+. Considering the kinds of crazy deals that were thrown around this summer, Mitch and Jimmy got Brandon Bass at a killer discount. Finances aside, the more I think about having a proven professional that can serve as a mentor and role model for Randle, the smarter I think this signing was. Bass has the kind of mid-range game that Randle should aspire to and will be a great force for stability in the locker room. Given how the last few years have panned out, having a quality four to provide some insurance in the case of injury never hurts either.
Ben Rosales: The grade here is really incumbent on how Byron ends up slotting Bass in the rotation. If he's just a 15-20 minute reserve behind Julius Randle, then this is an A-; Bass is solid depth and can both act as a mentor for Randle and fill in for him on nights on which things aren't falling for him. His decent mid-range game also works well in the pick-and-pop with the panoply of ball-handlers on the offense who should all be using the pick-and-roll fairly extensively as a means of initiating the offense. That Bass displaces Ryan Kelly, whose run on the team seems to have come to an end; or Larry Nance, Jr., a likely candidate to spend most of the year honing his craft in the D-League since he probably isn't ready for a full-time role in the rotation, is fairly immaterial.
On the other hand, if Byron uses Bass analogous to how he used Carlos Boozer last season and gives him the lion's share of the power forward minutes -- and remember neither Randle nor Bass can (nor should) slot up or down a position except in extreme circumstances, so Bass and Randle are fighting for the same 48-minute time slot -- then it's quite something else. Yes, the Lakers should be trying to be competitive every night as you can't really tank for a pick this season, but by the same token, Randle should be getting as many minutes as possible as to help facilitate his development and that cause isn't aided by him being a 15-minute reserve. We'll certainly wait for Byron to roll out the actual rotations, but given his preference for veterans in the past, it's not exactly an endearing thought.
Ryan Kelapire: My initial reaction when the Lakers signed Brandon Bass was "all he is going to do is take minutes away from Randle." While I still have that concern, the Lakers got this signing right. $3 million per year for a player of Bass' caliber is a bargain when you look at comparable signings around the league. Basketball-wise, it gives the Lakers some quality depth, and also a nice mix of youth and experience. My only gripe about the contract is that the second year is a player option. If Bass plays to his usual ability, there's a high chance he'll opt out and become a free agent next summer. That being said, I doubt Brandon would have signed to such a reasonable contract if he didn't have that opportunity. All in all, I give this signing a B+.
Jameson Miller: In a vacuum, it's actually a great signing. Bass' good mid-range shooting should compliment Roy Hibbert well, the price is fair and, as noted in this space before, he should also aid in Julius Randle's development. The obvious pitfall here is that Byron Scott's coaching decisions do not exist in a vacuum. If Bass is played as a starter that eats significantly into Randle's minutes, then signing Bass will have been an awful idea, through no fault of his own. As of now, I'll give this signing a solid B, though hopefully the Lakers don't live to regret granting Scott power forward options other than young guys.