The Los Angeles Lakers finally added Stanley Johnson back to the roster on Thursday — for the next 10 days, at least. While many have voiced concerns over the process that has gone into signing him and the type of deal they offered, given where he started this season, one might argue the Lakers helping him get to this point is meeting him halfway.
This week in the “Lakers Lounge,” Harrison Faigen and I discuss Johnson’s contractual situation, as well as the decision the Lakers will have to make regarding Avery Bradley’s non-guaranteed contract, and the early (and interesting) returns on All-Star voting.
Johnson’s situation is certainly fascinating, though. On one hand, he offers a skillset the Lakers clearly needed. He hasn’t even played incredibly well, but just given how few wings the Lakers have had available this year, he was an injection of size, athleticism and energy that jumps off the court. If his agent wanted to, he perhaps could have played hardball and pushed for a fully-guaranteed deal for the rest of the season.
All that said, the Lakers also offer a unique opportunity, one where Johnson can start or at the very least play a consistent role on the NBA’s most public-facing team as it pursues its 18th championship. Had Johnson’s agent played hardball, they could’ve called their bluff and told them to find a situation better than this one.
Clearly, the Lakers and Johnson need each other, and as such, it’s good to see them working together.
Bradley’s contract is similar, in that only on the Lakers would he play as much as he has so far. And he’s played very well, especially compared to the expectations of someone added right before the season on a partially guaranteed deal. That said, as players come back from injury, his role isn’t particularly clear, and if the Lakers are still interested in shedding salary, letting him walk is an option — unpopular as it would likely be.
Finally, Harrison and I found these All Star voting results fascinating because normally, Lakers receive outsized portions of the votes given the huge and passionate fan base. In this case, the returns felt like a message to everyone associated with the team that they haven’t met expectations.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.