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Ben McLemore leaves Lakers for Blazers in free agency

Ben McLemore is not returning to the Lakers after less than half a season with the team. He’ll instead sign with the Blazers in free agency.

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2021 NBA Playoffs - Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

When Ben McLemore signed with the Lakers on the buyout market last season, he almost immediately led to one of the funniest tweets LeBron James has ever sent:

Unfortunately for him — and the Lakers, to be honest — that was about the extent of his contributions. McLemore never earned the trust of the coaching staff defensively, which is fair, because he is an absolute tire fire on that end. But it was unfortunate nonetheless, as he was one of the better shooters on the team (arguably the best, considering previous reputation).

But as a result of that mixed-bag tenure, it wasn’t surprising to see the Lakers not exactly jump at the chance to retain McLemore, Klutch representation and their need for shooting aside. He instead left the team to sign with the Portland Trail Blazers on the first day of free agency.

And despite a few games where he had a barrage of threes like that aforementioned win against the Nets, however, McLemore never quite found his range as a Laker. A 3-point specialist who doesn’t provide anything else has to shoot better than 36.3% from deep to earn time on the court for a team that’s main route to success was smothering defense. So as a result, it’s not exactly a shock to see McLemore head back to a team where that end of the floor is slightly less prioritized.

It’s probably fair to say that McLemore may have had an inkling he wouldn’t be back, too. He simply said “we’ll see” when asked at his exit interviews whether or not he’d return, and a few months later, we saw. The Lakers will instead have to look for shooting elsewhere, and may have already found it.

So best of luck to Ben, but it’s probably best for both sides that B Mac Daddy Young Strappy and the Lakers did not really seem to pursue a reunion.

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