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Lakers among teams linked to Rudy Gay

Still looking to fill one of the final spots on their roster, the Lakers could look to the veteran to round out the team.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Like other teams awaiting to see how the dust settles on the Damian Lillard and James Harden front, the Lakers find themselves on the periphery when it comes to the waning days of free agency.

The front office already did a large portion of the work in the first few days of the transactional period as they brought back core players and infused the roster with new blood as well.

With 13 players currently on the books, and the Lakers likely holding out one roster spot for future maneuvering, there is still space for another addition. Most reports have indicated the team will pursue a center for that final signing with the two most popular names in consideration being Christian Wood and Bismack Biyombo.

On Friday, however, a new player was connected to the purple and gold. According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Lakers are among several teams who could potentially have interest in Rudy Gay.

Veteran forward Rudy Gay is expected to draw interest from several playoff-caliber teams, including the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, and New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told HoopsHype.

After being released by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, the soon to be 37-year-old enters a barren market as he’s also firmly within the twilight of his career. Any interest on the Lakers’ side would likely stem from two reasons: 1) his veteran leadership, and 2) his frame.

Although it was short stint, Tristian Thompson made fans within the organization and the locker-room thanks to his experience and toughness. Perhaps this is a role and avenue that Gay can also provide value like he did for a young Jazz team.

While his on-court production certainly isn't where it used to be at this stage of his career, Gay still does possess the requite size and strength to compete. Standing at 6’8” and sporting a 7’3” wingspan, Gay has the exact type of proportions the Lakers lacked in their series against the Denver Nuggets in particular.

The case against Gay is simple — he would not shore up the Lakers’ glaring need at center. Despite playing some small-ball five in the past, most notably last season with the Jazz where a career-high 15% of his possessions came at center, he would not be the bruiser or rim protector the team lacks behind Anthony Davis.

He also likely wouldn't be able to make up for his height deficiencies on the offensive end as a player like Christian Wood could theoretically. Gay put up career lows in 3-point shooting (25%) and eFG% (43%) with Utah this past year.

Despite the limitations and drop-offs that come with age, there is potentially a role for Gay somewhere in the league as he has proved to still be a steady contributor when given the chance. The Jazz were a +2.9 points better than their opponents with Gay on the floor (1689 possessions) this season according to Cleaning the Glass.

While it remains to be see if that role is found in Los Angeles for Gay, it probably behooves the Lakers to look elsewhere to fill what is an obvious need or at least swing for upside with a younger player.

You can follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexmRegla.

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