On Tuesday, we learned that the Los Angeles Lakers would be bringing in Joakim Noah, Dwight Howard and Marreese Speights for workouts this week as the front office searches for a center to replace the recently injured DeMarcus Cousins.
According to Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype, the team will bring in Speights tomorrow:
Marreese Speights will work out for the Lakers on Friday, according to sources. Frank Vogel and Ryan West (who's no longer with the Lakers) attended Speights' free-agent workout in Las Vegas last month. L.A. is also expected to work out Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah, as Woj said.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 22, 2019
Speights was out of the NBA last year, but averaged 7.7 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 36.9 percent from 3-point range under now-Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, who was also with the Orlando Magic during the 2017-18 campaign.
If brought in, Speights would theoretically give the Lakers the spacing threat from the five spot that they thought they were getting in Cousins, while not providing many of the other potential benefits (playmaking, etc.) of Cousins’ game.
So why does the timing of this workout matter? Well, for one thing it means that the Lakers are at least proceeding somewhat urgently in their search for Cousins’ replacement, and it’s probably fair to assume based on this that they’d like to have that player in place by training camp.
The only small problem, as of right now, is that the team filled all 20 of their spots for camp when they added Demetrius Jackson last week. There are easy solutions to that issue, however, they just mean that the team might either have to cut Cousins (unlikely, at least not outright) or apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which would allow them to add a player in Cousins’ place but essentially guarantee he could not come back this year, as I briefly outlined here. They could also cut Jackson or one of their other three non-guaranteed contracts, which would also open up their 15th and final guaranteed roster spot once again.
Essentially, the Lakers have the ability to add Speights, or any other big man, should they wish to do so, all while also retaining the flexibility to create one more roster spot to add a player from the buyout market, like Andre Iguodala.
Will Speights be the player the Lakers decide to make that decision for? It sounds like we could find out as soon as Friday, even if that’s probably unlikely until they’ve worked out the other names on their list as well.
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