As the Lakers look to replicate the formula that helped win them the 2019-20 championship, a return to rim-protecting, athletic centers appears to be their latest move. Following a trade from the Nets (and after the Pistons bought him out), veteran center DeAndre Jordan is returning to Los Angeles, this time to sport the purple and gold for the Lakers next season.
Prior to today's trade, Jordan spent the last two seasons in Brooklyn, bouncing in and out of the starting lineup during his tenure. Over 113 games — 49 of those in the starting lineup — Jordan has averaged 7.9 points and 8.7 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game. However, his time in the lineup and the rotation as a whole dipped during the latter stages of last season, as he did not feature in the final 16 regular season and postseason games for the Nets.
Jordan parting ways with the Nets is not a surprise as Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the two sides were nearing an agreement to do as much earlier in the week. The news came just a few days before former Net LaMarcus Aldridge was cleared to return to the court (and to Brooklyn).
Signing Jordan signals a return to the playing style that helped the Lakers capture a title last year. Two seasons ago, the Lakers’ identity was that of a team that dunked everything around the rim. After a year with Marc Gasol playing heavy center minutes, the Lakers appear eager to return to the winning formula, leading to the signing of Dwight Howard and this move for Jordan.
Gasol, meanwhile, appears to have his days numbered in Los Angeles. Jordan’s impending arrival ends the Lakers’ long search for a center despite having a Gasol under contract. And while the Spanish big man has committed to seeing out the final year of his contract this season, the Lakers have remained persistent in their search for an alternative option.
Once Jordan is officially signed, the Lakers will sit at 14 players on the roster pending any other moves. The team reportedly plans to enter the season with one open roster spot, limiting them to only 14 players, making Jordan likely their final addition until the midseason buyout deadline, unless they also part ways with Gasol in an ensuing move.
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