As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to look for solutions to address their issues on the wing and in minutes when LeBron James sits, the team is adding his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate, Dion Waiters, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Waiters was waived by the Memphis Grizzlies after being acquired in the Andre Iguodala trade with the Miami Heat, and did not play a single game with the former team. That’s only 42 minutes less than Waiters played for the Heat during what’s been a tumultuous 2019-20 campaign so far for the guard.
Waiters started out the year by getting suspended for the Heat’s opening game for “conduct detrimental to the team.” He responded by taking shots at the team on Instagram, and was later given a 10-game suspension after having a panic attack following the ingestion of a “THC-infused edible” on the team plane, an incident that ultimately cost him about $2 million total.
Waiters apologized following that suspension, but was soon suspended a third time because he reportedly posted an Instagram photo of himself on a boat after telling Heat officials he could not practice or play because he was sick.
So yeah, it’s been a bit of a long season for ol’ Kobe Wade. All that noted, he did reportedly tell the Lakers he’d accept any role with the team, and explained why the things listed above won’t happen again.
But that’s where the buyout market takes us with players. No one is available because they don’t have flaws, and there are still reasons to believe Waiters might be able to help this Lakers team, reasons our own Darius Soriano broke down well this very morning. For one, he’s a capable ballhandler, and while playmaking isn’t really his first option, in seasons in which he’s been allowed to handle the ball a fair amount, he can do it a bit. He’s also a career 34.8% 3-point shooter.
And from Dwight Howard’s miraculous second act to taking a flier on Avery Bradley after a rough couple of years, one of the running themes with this Lakers roster has been giving players second chances. For Lakers Vice President, Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka, this is just another instance of him doing so — this time with a former client of his from his days as a player agent. If Waiters can trend closer to Howard’s redemption arc in a lesser role on a title contender, maybe he really could make a difference in Los Angeles.
Or maybe he won’t. Most buyout guys don’t. But the Lakers needed to find some avenue for improvement, and this is at least a decent gamble for the team. We’ll see how it plays out.
This story will be updated with more information as it develops. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.