The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a deal with Ben McLemore, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic. McLemore, the No. 7 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, was waived by the Houston Rockets on Saturday, so he just cleared waivers on Monday.
The deal is for the rest of the year, per Charania, and the Lakers had to beat out at least one other team for him:
McLemore gives the Lakers additional three-point shooting and wing depth with opportunity to compete for a title. The sharpshooter had a host of interested contenders, including the Milwaukee Bucks. https://t.co/LIwhQi45a4— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 6, 2021
Even after signing McLemore, the Lakers are comfortably under the hard cap.
The Lakers were ineligible to claim McLemore because of the hard cap and had to wait for him to clear waivers.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) April 6, 2021
The guard will cost $455K (if signed by today) and put LAL $505K below the hard cap. https://t.co/yzI4D8w3Ba
If they want to sign another player before the postseason starts, they’ll have to waive someone on a guaranteed contract because they’re currently at the NBA’s roster maximum of 17 players.
In his two seasons with the Rockets, McLemore averaged 9.3 points per game on 41.9% shooting from the field and 38.2% shooting from 3-point range. For his career, McLemore has averaged 8.9 points per game on 41.7% shooting from the field and 36.3% shooting from 3-point range.
McLemore hasn’t had his most efficient year as a shooter this season, but last season, on an actual NBA team and not this year’s Rockets, he shot 40% from behind the arc while attempting 6.4 3-pointers per game. McLemore was one of 11 players to shoot at least 40% from deep while averaging at least six 3-pointers per game last season.
McLemore's 3PT Shot Making percentiles from @The_BBall_Index:— Cranjis McBasketball (@Tim_NBA) April 6, 2021
2015-16: 50th percentile
2020-21: 16% (so he's massively underperforming the shot quality he has)
That's one of the most up and down profiles I've seen. https://t.co/TUsK3KQvVa
Defensively, McLemore has been a net negative for most of his career despite his impressive physicals (he is 6’5 with a 6’7 wingspan). Fortunately, the Lakers have enough defensive talent to hide him on that end of the floor. The Houston Rockets were mostly able to do the same with the defensive talent on their roster last season.
McLemore is the sixth Klutch client on the Lakers’ 17-man roster. LeBron James, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Talen Horton-Tucker and Anthony Davis are the others.
McLemore might not be the difference between the Lakers winning a championship or not, but, in theory, he fills a need for the team with his shooting. Over their last 10 games, the Lakers have shot 33.4% from behind the arc, which is the fifth-worst percentage in the NBA over that span.
If he squeezes into Frank Vogel’s rotation because of his lights out 3-point shooting, then that’s obviously great news for everyone involved, but if he’s used scarcely the same way that J.R. Smith was last season, that’s okay too — not every post-trade deadline buyout guy is going to be Markieff Morris.