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NBA Free Agency News: Channing Frye wanted to stay with Lakers, but ‘they didn’t want me’

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Channing Frye could have added some much needed shooting to the Lakers, but they weren’t interested, according to Frye.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The rotation the Los Angeles Lakers are going to run out at center is basically predicated on the hope that LeBron James is open and willing to spend consistent time at that position. Otherwise, fans have to hope for JaVale McGee to be consistent, Ivica Zubac to show literally anything more than we saw last season or Moe Wagner — a rookie — to be ready to produce at a high level in his first season.

According to Channing Frye, though, it didn’t necessarily have to be that way. He was asked on the Road Trippin’ podcast about whether he was interested in coming back to the Lakers after his short but productive stint last season. Here’s what he had to say on that possibility.

“Yes and no. Yes because I wanted to. No because they didn’t want me.”

He offered more context (h/t to Jacob Rude of Lakers Outsiders):

“For me, it worked like this. I didn’t know how much the market was going to shrink, especially for big guys. It’s crazy because every west coast team is like ‘We want wings, we need length, we need like three tweeners’ so like the big guy shooter thing, out the window. A guy like Ryan Anderson who just got like...$100 million, you got to go.”

”So for me, after looking realistically what’s going to happen, like LA just wasn’t going to work out. So it was kind of like a conversation of like ‘Do you want me to wait for you guys to see what happens with this team (when you) put this team together’ or do I want to go somewhere where I’m going to have an opportunity maybe to play, I know the coaches, I know the city. Like I had an opportunity to go to Toronto, but in all actuality ... I just wanted to go back to Cleveland realistically.”

Frye has ties to the coaching staff, the star player and makes plenty of sense on the court. It’s pretty interesting the Lakers passed on him.

As I’ve said all summer, the rotation at center just seems too obviously iffy to simply be a mistake. Combine that with the Lakers literally turning down someone who makes as much sense for the team as Frye does and the picture becomes a little clearer.

But, man, if James waivers or outright refuses to play center, the Lakers are screwed at that position and might have themselves to blame for the predicament. Frye would have offered the kind of spacing you need from his position alongside James and, while he makes valid points about the direction of the game, it’s hard not to consider him a better fit for the roster than Lance Stephenson.

We just have to wait and see how this plays out. Can this season start already?