Despite having a disabled player exception worth $1.75 million, the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had much luck on the buyout market, which wouldn’t be as pressing of an issue if other teams in the Western Conference weren’t being active in free agency, but that hasn’t been the case.
On Monday, the Houston Rockets used their final two roster spots to sign Jeff Green and DeMarre carroll, two players that could have helped the Lakers if for no other reason than the fact that they’re over 6’7 and have experience playing the small forward position. Then, on Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that their inner-city rivals, the LA Clippers, got a commitment from Reggie Jackson, who agreed to a buyout from the Detroit Pistons earlier that day.
The Lakers have been in the market for another ball-handler for a while now and Jackson would have filled that need for them. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like they even got the chance to speak with Jackson or his representatives despite reportedly having some level of interest in the 29-year-old guard:
Jackson had become the highest-impact player available in the buyout marketplace and had been a target of the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
UPDATE: ESPN has since changed Adrian Wojnarowski’s report to say that “several contenders” were interested in Reggie Jackson, and the Lakers are no longer mentioned by name. The original story continues as follows.
Jackson joins a guard rotation that features Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Landry Shamet. For the Clippers, that’s a good thing, but not so much for Jackson, who will be fighting for minutes in a crowded backcourt. That’s why it’s so confusing that Jackson chose the Clippers over the Lakers, who could have offered Jackson a prominent role in their rotation.
The good news for the Lakers is that this move doesn’t make the Clippers much better. Yes, Jackson is a decent player, but it’s hard to imagine Doc Rivers going away from what he knows will work in the playoffs, and that’s not Jackson. The bad news is that the Lakers didn’t get any better, which probably played a role in the Clippers’ pursuit of Jackson in the first place. That same logic can be applied to the price they paid for Marcus Morris.
While things could change within the coming weeks, it’s starting to look like the Lakers will go into the postseason with what they have.