Over two weeks removed from the start of free agency, the Lakers still have a trio of roster spaces available, and have shown no urgency in filling them after the opening 24 hours of the offseason. Factoring in the impending signing of Jared Dudley, who seems like an absolute certainty to return to the team considering his son is in pictures with Lebron James and Russell Westbrook in Las Vegas, and the Lakers will have two open roster spots that could be filled.
One of the few weaknesses on the current team is a table-setting point guard, similar to the role Rajon Rondo played with the title-winning Lakers in the bubble. That type of player isn’t available, though Rondo could potentially be bought out after being traded to Memphis. The Lakers were also linked to Isaiah Thomas, who doesn’t quite fit the bill of a pass-first point guard, but does fill the need of one more true point guard on the roster.
Outside of that, the Lakers don’t have many other glaring needs. And at this point in free agency, it’s unlikely any player signed will have a major impact on the roster, but there are still intriguing names on the open market that the Lakers could consider.
Here are five of the most intriguing ones.
Wesley Matthews, Wing
It’s remarkably odd that there has been no news about Matthews’ free agency. While his season in Los Angeles may not have gone perfectly to plan, he was a solid contributor by season’s end, and played 25.3 minutes per game over the final three playoff games for the Lakers before expressing a desire to “run it back” during his exit interview.
The Lakers do lack some true small forwards, and Matthews is one of the best ones on the market and, more importantly, has a familiarity with the franchise and head coach Frank Vogel’s system.
James Ennis, Wing
A team can never have too many 3-and-D wings, and Ennis fits that role. After being a fringe NBA player for much of his career, Ennis shot 43.3% from the 3-point line last season. a huge improvement on his career 36% average from deep.
Much of Ennis’ 2020-21 makes it look like an outlier, but with the 14th or 15th roster spot, the Lakers can afford to take a risk and see if it’s the real deal, or just a statistical aberration.
Paul Millsap, Big
Another player who has had virtually no news about his free agency reported so far, Paul Millsap is a veteran forward who appears to be on the last legs of his career, both physically and metaphorically.
The Nuggets opted not to bring back Millsap this offseason, freeing up the big man to try to chase a title before the end of his career. At 36 years old, there are questions about how much Millsap has left in the tank. There are also questions about the Lakers again loading up the roster with frontcourt players on a team with Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but Millsap could be an intriguing veteran option that can stretch the floor and play alongside Davis.
Avery Bradley, Guard
A divisive name for Lakers fans, Avery Bradley does have a ring after his season with the team. Statistically, he also had a good season with the Lakers and was a part of their strong defensive backbone. And he was tangentially linked to the organization heading into the offseason after the Rockets chose not to pick up his team option for $5.9 million.
On a roster with few defenders, Bradley would still likely be one of the best among backcourt players for the Lakers if signed. At the same time, it’s a roster already loaded with non-traditional point guards, and Bradley would be another name added to that mix.
JJ Redick, Guard
This move is unlikely to happen anytime soon, as JJ Redick has already admitted on his podcast that he has no interest in signing with a team before training camp. The Lakers also already have a 3-point shooting specialist in Wayne Ellington.
But Redick is still one of the best 3-point shooters in league history and has value. There are worse ways to spend a roster space than on another shooter, especially one of Redick’s ilk who is only two seasons removed from hitting 45.3% of his 3-pointers in New Orleans.