The Los Angeles Lakers are finally making their first move of free agency, as David Aldridge and Shams Charania of The Athletic report that the team is set to sign six-year veteran Troy Daniels:
Lakers closing in on deal with guard Troy Daniels, per league source. Opportunity for the 27-year-old, who played in Phoenix last couple of seasons (38 percent on threes in 2018-19); low-cost vet for the Lakers who’ll help fill out the rotation.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) July 1, 2019
Free agent Troy Daniels has agreed to a one-year, $2.1M, agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports tells @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Daniels gives the Lakers an elite shooter to pair with LeBron James and Anthony Davis and does not affect the team’s cap space.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2019
Daniels has made 40 percent of his threes in his career, and thus will give L.A. some guard depth and shooting.
As important as anything, though, is how much he signed for. $2.1 million is a veteran’s minimum deal, and thus will not affect the Lakers’ cap sheet currently. Considering what they’re looking to do, this is a pretty big deal.
Had the Lakers been okay with cutting into their space, that would have signaled that they feel as if they are now out on Kawhi Leonard. The fact that they did not go that route with this signing is an important development. The Lakers are confident right now that they are at the very least still in the running for Leonard, if they aren’t the outright favorites to sign him. This move shows exactly that right now.
But in terms of the player the Lakers just signed, Daniels makes a ton of sense for what they need next year. Here are a few numbers that really stand out: Daniels shot 38.1 percent on 194 3-point attempts total last season. He was also 36.6 percent on 134 catch-and-shoot attempts from three. Daniels was additionally an outstanding 43.9 percent on 57 pull-up 3-point attempts, and 47.9 percent on 94 wide-open 3-pointers.
He isn’t a very good defender, but there is always a reason that guys are available for the minimum, and that shooting ability is going to come in handy.
I also want to point out how little history Daniels has with the Lakers. This is a move where the Lakers appear to have done their homework and found someone who fits a need that isn’t in their immediate circle. Over the last couple years, they haven’t always done that, so it’s great to see growth in this respect.
Daniels obviously isn’t the move the Lakers are going to scream about from the rooftops, but this is a solid addition to a roster devoid of, well, everything right now.