Saturday, December 4 2021
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The Los Angeles Lakers were among the most active teams in the early portion of free agency, but they’ve been suspiciously quiet since their opening flurry yielded a 12-man roster littered with future Hall of Famers and veterans seeking championship rings. 

We are now more than two weeks into free agency and the Lakers still have three roster spots left to fill, but that might not be the case for long. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers worked out three veteran guards recently as they attempt to add an extra point guard behind Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Nunn

Those three veteran guards are Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison and Mike James. Thomas is a former All-Star with the Boston Celtics but has struggled to find a steady NBA home since injuring his hip in the 2017 playoffs. He played with LeBron James in Cleveland, and then spent part of the 2017-18 season with the Lakers after a midseason trade away from the Cavaliers. On paper, he would be an odd fit on a Lakers team loaded with ball-handlers and scorers. Even at his best, Thomas was a poor defender because of his small stature. Haynes notes that Thomas worked out with James and Westbrook personally.

Thomas is coming off of an 81-point game at the Crawsover Pro-Am Tournament last week in Portland. While the competition was not particularly stiff, the explosion is promising in regards to his health. Thomas has played in only 55 games over the past three seasons with the Nuggets, Wizards and Pelicans. He averaged 11.1 points on 39.3 percent shooting in those games. 

Collison, a Southern California native who played at UCLA with Westbrook, surprisingly retired before 2019 free agency, when he likely would have been a Lakers target. He considered returning during the 2019-20 season and even attended a Lakers game courtside with owner Jeanie Buss, but ultimately remained retired. Collison is a 3-point specialist who led the NBA by making 46.8 percent of his attempts in the 2017-18 season in Indiana. James has no connection to the Lakers, specifically, but he did briefly play with Anthony Davis on the New Orleans Pelicans. He shined as a reserve for the Brooklyn Nets last season. 

The Lakers are also seeking another wing with one of their final roster spots in addition to a backup guard, according to Haynes. That should be the extent of their offseason movement, as Haynes reports that the Lakers are likely to go into next season with only 14 players rather than the maximum 15 in order to maximize in-season flexibility. Haynes also reported that veteran forward and beloved teammate Jared Dudley is unlikely to return next season because of that roster crunch, and that the Lakers could choose to bring in multiple players to compete at training camp for those final spots. 

With 12 players already signed, anyone the Lakers add at this point would likely start the season out of the rotation, but after last season’s injury issues, virtually every member of the roster should be expected to play at some point. On a roster in which only five players currently make more than the minimum salary, minutes should not be guaranteed to anybody beyond James, Westbrook and Davis. 



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