When Ben McLemore signed with the Lakers as a free agent in April, it’s safe to assume he didn’t envision that his season would end in June, or that he’d play 16 minutes of garbage time in a blowout loss in the first round. However, as brief and disappointing as his time in Los Angeles may have been from a team standpoint, he personally enjoyed his experience.
“They gave me a great opportunity to be here and be part of this great organization,” McLemore said in his exit interview last week. “I did exactly what they expected me to do. We definitely had high expectations and obviously last night was tough — it’s going to be tough for a while — but this is a great organization that’s bounced back from things like this before.”
McLemore will have the opportunity to re-sign with the Lakers as an unrestricted free agent this summer, but he didn’t express interest in re-signing the way that his teammates Jared Dudley, Markieff Morris and Wesley Matthews did.
“We’ll see,” McLemore said. “This is a business. We’ll see how things go, but obviously my time here was amazing. I appreciate Rob and Frank for giving me opportunity to be on this great, big platform and play with this group of guys. It was amazing.”
McLemore’s lack of commitment probably has something to do with the fact that the Lakers are expected to try and bring back a good chunk of their guard rotation from last season, meaning that the minutes won’t be there for him. Even if that weren’t the case, the Lakers would likely look at more proven shooters before entertaining a reunion with McLemore.
That’s not to say McLemore can’t help the Lakers — in fact, for the veteran’s minimum, he’d be a perfectly fine reserve guard — but their partnership makes less sense for both sides now than it did in April. For that reason, I’d expect them to go their separate ways when free agency begins.