Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby rydjorker121 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:38 am

It might be a bit early to post a thread like this, but we're nearly halfway through the season, and we can start to see some trends that are starting to stabilize for our impending free agents.

I think I'm going to make some very obvious assumptions for next season--Nick Young has outplayed his player option money for next season and is going to test the market, and Steve Nash will be waived via the stretch provision (if he doesn't retire first) because frankly, there's no way he's going to be any help for us anymore, with bottom three point guard defense in particular but also invisible offense. Nash makes roughly $9.7 million next season; if waive before June 30th, for next season, we only pay him about $3.2 million, and then $3.2 million for the next two.

Ryan Kelly simply isn't playing well enough to get more than his qualifying offer amount ($1.0mil) and really, we're not even sure if the Lakers will tender a qualifying offer because he's just too passive on the court on offense. If it were me, after seeing how he's played so far, I would pass, even with it is $1 million, but with so many roster spots to fill, maybe the Lakers want familiarity.

It's pretty obvious Kendall Marshall will come back, at $915K. And the Lakers have their first round pick this year, which according to Hollinger's power rankings will likely fall either third or fourth, and that draft pick for their first year will count about $4.2mil against their cap.

Under contract for next season, the definites are the newly resigned Kobe ($23.5mil), Rob Sacre ($915K), high draft pick ($4.2mil) and the informed assumptions are Steve Nash's stretch hold ($3.2million), and Kendall Marshall ($915K) and perhaps Ryan Kelly ($1mil) will come back. That's about $33mil for next year, under this obvious strategy.

This year, the threshold is about $66million. Assuming that threshold stays the same, we have about $33mil for next season to spend, for 8 to 10 players. We can sign up to two max free agents in this deal, as according to Larry Coon's salary cap FAQ, players with 0-6 years in the league (likely coming off their rookie contracts) can make a maximum of $13.7mil in their first season, barring incentives. 7-9 years $16.4mil, and 10+ $19.2mil. The Lakers might want to save some of that space however for the max free agents of 2015 and stagger it accordingly.

But before we discuss non-bird free agent options, this season has unearthed a lot of Laker contributions, and the Lakers will have to make tough choices, as excluding Ryan Kelly's restricted free agency status (and likelihood he'll be forced to take the qualifying), the Lakers have nine (!!!) free agents to deal with this offseason. A lot of issues will have to be added to the calculus: (a) can a player who is "contributing" to this awful record actually put up the same sort of stats in a winning team, (b) how much will that player demand? and will other teams be after him? Let's deal, and start with the obvious non-returnees:

1) Chris Kaman (this season: $3.1mil): In retrospect, it is is absolutely hilarious how the Lakers used their mid-level exception on Kaman while Xavier Henry, Jordan Farmar and Nick Young all took the veteran's minimum. Not wasted necessarily, because Kaman is still Kaman and quasi-effective, but he's had his minutes wrangled about and has clearly been alienated by D'Antoni's smallball style. He's on the older side, has overrated offense, awful defense and zero athleticism. There's a reason why besides being a misfit his minutes have really taken a downturn over the past few years. He's as good as gone.

2) Steve Blake ($4mil): For as awesome as Steve Blake has looked under D'Antoni's offense as starting PG, age might make him the odd man out, especially with Kendall Marshall on deck and the Lakers' possible desire to sign Jordan Farmar instead. It's a little unfortunate, because Blake's intangibles, particularly his resourcefulness, are somewhat undervalued. He's not a great defender, but he's a very reliable one, while Farmar and Marshall might be more question marks on that end (even if Farmar has looked decent so far this season). At the same time, he's going to be 34, his PER has always by and large hovered at the 10 range, and outside of D'Antoni's offense he'll definitely go back to normal. But still, he's tall PG who can pass, limit turnovers, hit threes, and defend ably, so his very defined role will be coveted by upper tiers. It's just unfortunate because a contender like Indiana, San Antonio or Miami can all use someone like him, and you don't want to lose players to contenders. He might still be in the Lakers' price range and might earn something in the neighborhood of $3-4mil still, but minutes allocation will likely exclude him from this team. And it will suck.

3) Pau Gasol* ($19.3mil): The * refers to whether we trade him by the deadline, or not. Under the assumption he stays until the season's conclusion, he might have a puncher's chance of staying, but it's very clear that the Lakers aren't buying at his current price tag, and have put him on the trade block many times (nearly for Chris Paul, and very recently with those heavy Cavs talks). Clearly from those recent talks, his value has really, really eroded around the league, and he's really in line for a huge paycut. I sense that Pau is extremely loyal to LA and he's said all the right things, especially after winning two championships here, so I do think there's a chance of him staying assuming he's willing to be in line with the reduced pay the Lakers might offer. At the same time, though, I don't sense the Lakers are indebted to him, because while he stuffs stats he's completely reworked his shot distribution for the worse, his defense has fallen, he's noticeably soft and lazy in key spurts, etc. I'd say his value suggests something in the $7-8mil range to balance out the steepness of the paycut, and he's still stuffing stats. 7 footers who can pass the rock and hit mid-range J's like has done in the past are undervalued, and face it, without him this season, the Lakers are a 25-rebounds-per-game team. But he needs to be the third or even fourth option if he returns, otherwise the Lakers are not winning anything. I can still see him going, though, if the Lakers just want to get younger or more reliable for their primary options.

4) Xavier Henry ($884K)--Xavier's in line for a raise, probably in the mini mid-level $3.1mil territory, with his play this year. The Lakers can pay that, but I get the feeling that among their wing players, Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and Wes Johnson are higher in their totem pole. I like Henry's Corey Maggette-esque Eurostepping foul drawing style of offense, and defensively he's been surprisingly underrated this year. His lack of passing and reliable shot might prevent more $$$ from coming his way, but hey, Earl Clark earned $4.2mil this year, so who knows. But Corey Maggette-esque in hitting free throws he is not, and that might ultimately swing the decision against him. He's a good locker room presence, has two way appeal, and likely teams will undercut the Lakers on this one while they're negotiating with their other FAs. The Lakers probably feel that Meeks or Young can manufacture their free throws well enough and more importantly, hit them.

5) Jodie Meeks ($1.6mil)--Meeks has well outplayed his valuation for this year, and truthfully, he might get the non taxpayer mid level exception ($5mil) from teams this offseason, for many years. I think the stigma of him being a 6'4" non-athlete who can't pass, plus the fact that he's doing this on an awful team, will prevent more dollars from coming, but he's a hard working three point shooter who can draw fouls and has finished far better this season, and while his defense is overrated, he's decent man to man. I really like his game and effort and hope he remains a Laker, not to mention he'll be 27 entering this offseason, in his prime. The Lakers can certainly spend non taxpayer type money on him. He could be undercut if the Lakers spend too much time negotiating with Young in particular. The Lakers haven't given any hints either way, but Mitch might value him enough, even with possible bidding wars.

6) Jordan Hill ($3.5mil)--Hill is a really underrated player who is yet another player who has been alienated in D'Antoni's up-tempo offense, with very sporadic minutes even after by and large excellent play (he leads the Lakers in PER this season, and has always put up good ones for his career). D'Antoni just appears to loathe bigs who cannot stretch the floor. Hill isn't a shotblocker or even a plus defender, but rebounding bigs on both ends, especially at 6'10" and not at Reggie Evans height, are valuable, and Hill's still only going to be 27 next year and can finish around the basket, whether with dunks, layups, tips or hooks. He's active every game an when your team is slacking, he's just the proper energizer. Everyone needs that. There's a case to be made that being alienated by D'Antoni won't lead the Lakers to resign him, but among their free agent bigs, he's the highest in their totem pole (I think he's more valued than Kaman and Gasol), so for that reason I think he'll have a good chance. I think smart teams will swipe for him, and really his valuation might be like Jodie's (he might make $5mil non tax mid level type money). The Lakers should be able to pay that raise.

7) Wes Johnson ($884K)--I'm of the belief that Wes won't command too much $$ in the open market. He's had a few moments, but too often he's just invisible and his complete inability to handle the ball or dribble is a red herring, not to mention for an athlete he doesn't rebound or hit free throws. Plus, his defense is overrated. He's a fun-loving guy, but it never really seems like he imposes his will on either end; he needs more killer instinct. As a point of reference, James Johnson (the Johnson I wanted instead of Wes to join the Lakers) was picked up off the scrap heap midseason by Memphis and immediately starts imposing his will on defense--he brings Wes's steals and blocks but has the oomph on defense, and while he shoots worse, he passes the rock better and can manage the SF-PF switch far better can Wes can. That 3's-D thing could work and some contender could take a gamble, but I don't think Wes has the gameface to really let that flourish. I think the Lakers can bring him back at a $2mil valuation for next season, even, and I do get the sense that D'Antoni really likes the concept of him (hell, he was said to the best player in training camp, whatever that means; just like Sasha, it's a bunch of hot air). He should be able to come back, but it's a whatever move, and will fill a slot at cheap money.

8) Jordan Farmar ($884K)--I'm not super enthusiastic about Farmar, as he's a 6'1" skinny guard who will turn 28 this year, and I don't think he has the consistent game frame (notably lack of finishing ability or more importantly, ability to draw fouls) to take it to the next level on offense, not to mention at age 28 PGs just don't make that leap. He quasi-penetrates but his hotspot this year was his mid-range jumpers with sides of threes, but he smartly used it to create passing angles. In D'Antoni's offense (and I think we'll keep D'Antoni, just to give him another chance) he'll look good. Defensively, he's too slight and really just eh. I just wish he'd go for a PG with potential to bring it up to top ten-fifteen territory, though. But, I have a feeling the Lakers will designate him as a top priority over Blake and easily Nash, especially since he brings the native LA blood, and they need to fill the PG slot. With his injuries, I'd think mini mid level will get it done, but hopefully the Lakers don't big against themselves, like they definitely did with Kobe, just for the loyalty factor.

9) Nick Young ($1.1mil)--Young will easily decline his player option next year. Really, he's the only Laker who makes "loud" plays and is fun to watch, which earns him looks nationally even with the Lakers being an awful team. He's still by and large doing the same things he's done in Washington, with what's perceived as chucking with little assists or steals, but he's improved his defense some and has really drawn fouls particularly with his twos and even threes. He was derided as being a gunner when he was younger but now he's saying the right things, showing competitiveness, bleeding Laker purple and gold, and frankly, with so few shot creators on this team, what he's doing looks even more special in comparison. He'll be 29 this year so you really have to be careful, especially for a player who really just excels in the scoring side of things and not too much elsewhere. But this is the NBA, and teams don't really think (hence we get toxic contracts), and he might get $5-7mil offers just for the 16-17 points a game. I think Young really wants to stay with the Lakers, wants a re-start and will give them a discount within a certain range, which is why he's first in this list, and I think the Lakers admire the homegrown talent and his competitiveness and will give him such an offer.

It depends on which way we want to go:

1) The bench depth way: Young gets a $6mil base contract, Farmar goes for $3.5mil or so, Hill goes for $5mil, Meeks $5mil, Johnson $2mil. Core players kept. We lose Gasol (or not--see later in paragraph), Henry, Blake and Kaman. If we sign all of them, $21mil or so for five more players, so far $54mil for 10 players. So we have less than the max to offer (about $12mil), which we can parlay into maybe Luol Deng and a mini mid-level type, or split that money between the Paul Pierce, Spencer Hawes, Danny Granger, Trevor Ariza types. But in this arrangement, losing Pau really means the Lakers need bigs, and the market beyond Hawes is really, really dry there. We can theoretically keep Pau in the split situation for $5mil or so and get another $6mil type (hopefully Hawes, but it will be a paycut), but this is basically a similar team to what we have this year, so it's hard to see the wins add up. This team has a lot of depth, but with Kobe's uncertainty and the uncertainty of how good our draft pick will be, it might lack the top shelf player to really win. But based on contract arrangements, unfortunately this will take the Lakers out of the big fish type players, for now and for the future, and the Lakers are about top shelf players. So if that's the route they want, that means that there will have to be sacrifices:

2) We want Carmelo way: I happen to think Carmelo is super overrated on offense and awful on defense and he will turn 30 this year, so giving him that huge contract will be a bad move. Not to mention he's lost a ton of athleticism. In this scenario we will lose Young, since frankly, no one needs Melo, Kobe and Young on the same team. Then, it will likely be either Meeks/Johnson or Hill/Johnson or Pau to keep, and that could be tough. Or, we can just alienate all of our players from this year and saw money earmarked for Meeks, Hill, and Pau for our next big fish in 2015 (Kevin Love, anyone? to get Kobe/Melo/Love/our first rounder) and get the rest on minimum type deals or the mini mid. Henry, Kaman and Blake are as usual gone from this arrangement. It's hard to see this team win anything.

3) We want RFAs (Bledsoe/Hayward) way: I happen to like both of these guys as they are very young and multifaceted (Bledsoe as a 2-way athlete, and Hayward as a slashing passer with high basketball IQ). For a max deal of $13.6mil (because likely that's the going rate for Hayward at least; with Bledsoe, due to his injury, it might be less) we will need to create that space, but as RFAs, there are no guarantees. If we go for Bledsoe, Farmar will be gone, but it's a dangerous game to play if Utah matches and we alienate Farmar, although Darren Collison and Kyle Lowry are on the market. In this arrangement, we could keep Young, Hill, Meeks and Johnson, or Young, Hill and Gasol, or Young, Meeks and Gasol, and fill it out with minimum types. Or, we can just alienate all of our players from this year and saw money earmarked for Meeks, Hill, and Pau for our next big fish in 2015 (Kobe/Hayward or Bledsoe/Kevin Love?) and get the rest on minimum type deals or the mini mid.

These are likely the three possible options, since I can't see Dirk not returning to the Mavs, or Tim Duncan not returning to the Spurs, or LeBron/Wade for the Heat, this offseason. Chris Bosh could be available from Miami if he wants a bigger role (player option). Next year, there's Brook Lopez (who Mitch reportedly dangled Pau for) and Kevin Love, provided they both opt out. It's a guessing game and the Lakers can alienate all of their players this year, load up on more minimums alongside their definites and wait for that class, but it's probably not worth it.

The Lakers will have sacrifices if they want to form a big three, because with three max types they will have to get virtually all minimum type contract type players. Likely it's a big two staggered with a few decent roleplayers they are after, because bench depth (option 1) might not provide the long term gratification.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby Big Mamma Jamma on Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:16 am

Nice write up.

One thing I will say and I know that you can't count on it but I do see the Lakers landing a major player just because they'll have the space and LA is one of the best (if not the best) cities to play in. Hopefully, the Lakers quickly fire D'Antoni at the end of the season, and hire a real coach. I think we'll be surprised at players that might want to come here.

Finally, I agree with you about Melo. I would not want him on this team.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby trodgers on Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:14 am

Lengthy writeup - and it's good. I'll likely return to say more later, but let me say this:
Jodie Meeks needs to be traded. If anyone believes he's worth near MLE, let them have him as a package with Gasol.

I'd love to see Hill come back, but I don't want to see him get much more by way of raises. That said, he's really an MLE player in this NBA, maybe more.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby Lets Go Lakers on Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:38 am

Nice write up.

It's really a shame Wes isn't a better player. He's got all the athleticism in the world but simply doesn't have the game to back it up. But I would keep him around for sure given his token salary. You need a guy like that to spark you at times with his athleticism.

I would love to hold on to Hill. He's the type of high energy guy every successful team needs. He might be a bit overpriced though.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby Pig Miller on Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:41 am

i think we need to move meeks, gasol, and blake. partly to get under the tax line but also because they have some value but don't fit with us long term. if you don't move gasol, then move kaman.

must re-sign: hill, farmar

would like to: young, xavier

if we strike out on other FA, then re-sign: johnson

still unsure where marshall fits on that list. and you move nash for anything at this point
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby Rooscooter on Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:48 am

Nice thoughtful write up.

In short…. Bigs as talented as Kaman don't exist in plentiful numbers in the league. Pau needs to go…and will... Hill will go so we need to keep Kaman if he's willing to stay. Athleticism is overrated in this league. His production and knowledge at that position is still in the top 10 in the league IMO when he plays. If he were getting Pau's minutes he'd be a 14-10 guy.

Of the younger and new guys I'd keep X over Johnson and Young. Young will get MLE offers IMO and there is no way you sign him for more than a couple years. It's not a coincidence that he's playing well on a one year contract IMO.

I see FA coming down this way…..

We will focus on Melo if he is available…. it will take a while to sign him IMO. During that time we will not do anything with the FA we have at all. Hill will get a nice near MLE offer and take it. Young will most likely get the same. Meeks could also get that kind of deal from a contending team and leave. That leaves Kaman, Farmar, Blake, X and Wes. Of those I'd sign definitely sign Farmar and Kaman. Of the rest I'd take X because he's younger and still developing. Once the Melo things plays out we will scramble to re-assemble a team with 1 year contracts again in hopes of getting another big FA the in 15 and do it all over again.

There may be a scenario where we can get back to actually contending this offseason but it's astronomically remote….
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby trodgers on Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:06 am

Roo: I can't imagine Kaman sticking with us after what's happened this season. So if we lose Hill, we lose all our bigs except Sacre. Gasol and Kaman are gone, I think.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby lukewaltonsdad on Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:07 am

Looking at the roster right now;

I'd waive Nash and use the stretch provision, and not re-sign Gasol, Blake, Kaman, & Meeks. I would attempt to keep Hill, Farmar, Young, Henry & Marshall...Sacre and Kelly I would continue to develop & keep they're cheap. Johnson is a crap-shoot; I'm up in the air with him.

As far as Carmelo, I'm of the opinion he stay in New York...I don't think he's coming to L.A. or going anywhere else. He worked too hard to get there and this will be his last MAX contract; he's 30. WTS, I don't believe the Lakers are as high on him, IMO. I believe we're more interested in putting a semi-competitive team for Bryant these last two years and rolling out the red carpet for Durant in 2016.

We have so many holes, though. We need a starting PG, a defensive mind Center, another wing opposite Kobe that could create his own shot. I'd make a play at Lowry in the offseason; And as per Alex Kennedy, we may make a run at Luol Deng...although, if you want to go a cheaper route, I've been keeping an eye on Granger who when healthy is a good player. A top 10 SF is needed on this team badly. If you can address the PG and SF situations in the off-season, then you the best available center in the draft which is hopefully Embiid and go from there.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby lakerfan2 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:11 am

If reasonable, my first priority is Nick Young.

You can never have enough players who can create their own shot. Local kid, creates great chemistry with the team and fans, and just overall a good guy.

With that, Farmar comes with him. They both work together well and can run the backcourt from the bench. They really are the spark for our bench when it was running smoothly.

Hill will get paid. If MDA stays, I don't see him resigning with the fluctuating playing time and what not. He'd be my third on the list.

Johnson plays outside of his game. He needs to do what he does best, and that is play defense, and play in the open court. He's not a particularly good shooter, though he can develop that, but he's good at taking it to the rim. A Shawn Marion/Tayshaun Prince type role.

Henry - young and potential. But I need to see consistency out of him.

1. Young
2. Farmar
3. Hill
4. Johnson
5. Henry
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby LakerFanIam on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:11 am

lakerfan2 wrote:
1. Young
2. Farmar
3. Hill
4. Johnson
5. Henry
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby rydjorker121 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:31 am

I happen to like Meeks, because I see a guy who can bring more than just shooting--hard working, albeit mixed bag, defense, and ability to draw fouls. He really, really just needs to be paired up with the right players--a taller PG, rebounders, guys who can pass the ball to him. The other thing, is like Blake, I think contenders value him, but he might outprice the mini mid level for tax teams and we have his bird rights so we can pay him anything. One thing under the Phil Jackson I really liked? The players that left us, by and large didn't join contenders. Maybe Robert Horry did, but by then he was in his late 30s. I can see Meeks and Steve Blake (who's on the older side like Horry, but still) really finding their way onto contenders. And that's another problem with D'Antoni's offense--it evens everyone out so everyone is perceived to be value. That's good for depth, but might have repercussions long term.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby therealdeal on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:35 am

It just depends on who is willing to come back on a similar contract. I'm not dedicating any long-term money to a guy who isn't going to be a building block. Monroe is a building block. Maybe Carmelo if we go that route. Bledsoe if we go that route, but none of the players on our roster right now besides Kobe are building block guys.

If any of them want to return on a one-year deal for a lot of playing time and a lot of opportunity, then I'll bring the whole damn team back. Just as long as we get one good player from free agency on a reasonable contract, that's all I really care about.

If we're ranking them in terms of who I want back the most: Young, Henry, Marshall, Wes, Farmar, Sacre, Meeks, and Kelly.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby Lakerjones on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:37 am

Pig Miller wrote:i think we need to move meeks, gasol, and blake. partly to get under the tax line but also because they have some value but don't fit with us long term. if you don't move gasol, then move kaman.

must re-sign: hill, farmar

would like to: young, xavier

if we strike out on other FA, then re-sign: johnson

still unsure where marshall fits on that list. and you move nash for anything at this point


^^ Completely agree with this. But with Hill it really depends on the price tag.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby Rooscooter on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:42 am

trodgers wrote:Roo: I can't imagine Kaman sticking with us after what's happened this season. So if we lose Hill, we lose all our bigs except Sacre. Gasol and Kaman are gone, I think.


It's my feelings on what I'd do…. not exactly what I think will happen. Kaman is still a very good big in this league and we may, as you point out, only have Sacre left. I'd dump MDA and sign Kaman myself. That's an easy decision…. :man10:

Getting a good wing/guard is a whole lot easier than having to replace the entire front court depth. Going forward that is my biggest concern. Those guys are like the O-Line in football…. without depth and decent players you just don't go very far….. regardless of who you have at the "skill" positions. The focus seems to be on sizzle rather than steak. If it were completely up to me I'd keep Hill and Kaman…. go after Monroe and then address the wing/guard positions.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby revgen on Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:16 am

KEEP

Farmar - Personally, I like Blake more than him, but Blake isn't getting any younger. Farmar's decision-making has improved considerably, while at the same time, he still possesses that killer instinct that Marshall and Blake don't have.

Marshall - Probably one of the better pure PG's I've seen in awhile. He has weaknesses, but he's young and appears eager to correct those weaknesses. He's also 6'4, so he can matchup with SG's a bit easier than Blake or Farmar.

Hill - One of the few hustle players on this team.

Young - If it's mini-MLE, then I'd keep him. He's a player who can create his own shot. He'd help to keep Kobe's minutes down.

Henry - He's young and needs to learn how to play on the road, but he has a high ceiling, and probably the best NBA body on the entire roster.

ON THE FENCE

Meeks - He's improved his play, but with Nick Young's emergence and Kobe possibly coming back healthy, I don't see why he'd want to stay here.

Johnson - Nice athlete. But his IQ and skills leave much to be desired. I'd look around the FA market for better options.

DITCH

Blake - Best defensive PG on a team that needs to play better D. Best 3pt shooter among the PG's too. I hate to give up on a guy who plays decent D, distributes the ball efficiently, and shoots well, but he's not getting any younger and only seems to get hurt every year.

Kaman - Technically, he's a better player than Sacre, but his footwork is rusty after years of neglect and his defense is so-so. Sometimes he performs well defensively, sometimes he struggles. Offensively, all he seems to do well is take long 2's. So he's unlikely to acquire the extra point by making a 3 and he hardly gets to the foul line by posting up or rolling to the bucket. He's also injury prone as well.

Pau - It's time to move on unless he's willing to take MLE.

Kelly - Smart player, but lacks aggression and stinks on defense.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby Azndude2190 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:20 am

I'd keep Xavier Henry, Kendall Marshall, and Ryan Kelly. They are all only 22 and have time to develop into potentially solid NBA players.

After that, Farmar and Young.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby lakerfan2 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:35 am

^ Only thing is, are the Lakers patient enough to "wait" for them to develop.

If we're planning to make a run with Kobe's last two years, we're not waiting on anyone to develop. If we end up with a top 3-5 pick, that player is going to have an impact.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby khmrP on Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:42 am

Young, Farmar, Hill if affordable. X if only he comes back on another cheap contract. I'm disappointed in Wes, guy is so limited on offense....just a great leaper thsoe type of dudes are a dime a dozen.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby abeer3 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:49 pm

is the 33 figure accurate? i think cap holds would take it down to 29 or so.

in any case, my plan would be:

keep nash. i don't want to tie up cap space/flexibility going forward. if he can't play, they should be able to medically retire him. so we're down to 25 million or so to play with, assuming kobe/sacre/kelly/marshall/draft pick.

keep hill. 5 per for 4 years or 6 per for 3.
keep young or meeks. similar offers, something in the 4-5 mil range over 3-4 years.

that leaves about 15 left. use it to make max offer for bledsoe or monroe (preferably the latter, but either works). i'm guessing that bid fails, so plan B here would be to offer lowry 7-8 per for 3-4 years and use the rest of the cash for one-year deals to fill out the roster and preserve space for 2015.

-it's hard to let blake go (i like him), but he's hurt a lot and contenders will throw mini mles at him for sure.

-i just don't see how to continue with pau here. i'm guessing he'll take mle for a fringe contender.

-i like henry, but i think with kobe and meeks or young on board, he's redundant.

-i still like wes, but i can't see committing long term unless it's really low money.

-kaman is useless, imo. he looks good at times, but pretty much every team that's had him lately has decided they'd rather not play a center than play him at center. not just MDA, either. when coaches with very different philosophies and front offices who were happy to get you all decide to let you walk for nothing, you're the problem.

i take the BPA with whichever draft pick they get and consider it a development season, both for that player and the team. in 2015, the cash saved by going cheaper with a guy like lowry and resisting the stretch on nash can be used to get kevin love or someone of that stature.

it's not great, but it's realistic.

my real hope is to deal the draft pick for kevin love this summer and fill in around that, though. just need minny to keep underacheiving...
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby karacha on Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:21 pm

Here's what I think: this really depends on who we plan to sign in the offseason and how our tanking goes. There are some valuable players that will get paid, maybe not at the the max level, but could be vital on a championship team. Someone like Monroe (will he be offered max contract?), a young, dynamic PG of your choice and a wing a la Granger. Those are all good players, right? Most of us would like them on our team.

Now, it's safe to assume that we can get some of those guys, but not all of them, and this is why I can't say exactly who we keep and who needs to be traded or let go. But just for fun, I'll try go give a list, so at least everyone knows where I am coming from in future discussions:

PG: Keep Marshall. People were skeptical, but I see something in this kid. His floor vision is outstanding and he's so young. He can really make things happen, since he plays smart basketball. But he's a bench player, for sure. You don't want a guy with that athleticism to be constantly pressured in key moments of an important game, but he can handle heavy minutes if absolutely necessary. Has size to defend bigger guys as well. If we sign a true PG starter, keep Marshall for sure. He's cheap too. Next, since PG go down like flies on this team (and in general... most NBA teams have this problem) it would be smart to sign Farmar as insurance if he gives us a home town discount. He's a leader, a positive influence... a quality backup for sure. But he can't play too many minutes in this league, forget it. One thing he can do is hit big shots though. He's fearless, and that has value. If we get a good pick (which is why I don't mind completely tanking the season at this point) -- pick that future star at this position, and that costs next to nothing. Easier said then done, but if we get lucky, maybe we could get Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State. He's good. 6-4 with 6-8 wingspan; very big for a PG. He's not a 3-pt shooter, but he can still do a lot. Not to mention the kid is 19 and would be for sure one of the strongest PGs in the league; he's bigger then Deron, for example, and this helps him get to the line at will. People with this type of body usually don't get injured too much. He's a rebounding machine at the 1 as well (he's probably the strongest and best rebounding playmaker in college right now). Essentially, he's a typical modern combo guard and exactly what we need. But we'll need a high pick to be able to get him. This would solve many of our problems.

Sorry to say, but Nash is done. Make him a shooting coach and let Blake (who is a good guy) go. If we don't draft PG, draft a "big" and sign a proven, but young PG instead.

SG: Kobe. He needs to get healthy and not waste time playing this season, except in limited minutes if he needs it to get in shape late in the season in preparation for off-season work. See if Young wants to give us a discount (although you just can't low ball the guy too much, he deserves $$). Young is an ultra-light version of Kobe off the bench. He scores really well, and he'll mesh with any PG, since he does not need people to create a shot for him. He'll score from anywhere, albeit inconsistently. But I do see his value to this team. Also, he's just very positive and his athleticism is pretty impressive. He's in his prime now, let's use that to our advantage. Keep for sure if the price is right. I like Meeks, and really respect his hard work and the way he's improved this season. With that said, his value is high now. Trade ASAP, with Pau if necessary, to get a dynamic wing player. And I really wish him all the best, he's a great guy for sure.

SF: We absolutely need to sign a wing player to play this important position for us. Just look at those talented, athletic SFs in this league! We need to cough up money for that someone. That leaves X and Wes, and I would try to keep X. Nothing against Wes: he works hard on defense and is very athletic and long. But he does not have good BB IQ, and I simply thing Henry has higher ceiling. X is not bad in the "athletic department" himself. Has great NBA body and is fairly strong for his size. Tons of room for development -- and he'll be cheap. His injury probably helped us in a way (sorry to say that, but it's true). The kid needs to be told to shoot free throws every day, because he gets to the line like it's nothing, but can't convert. We need a strong, fearless, young slasher like him, and he can improve his D as well. Ultimately - spend $$ on a quality 3 or use "plan B" (AKA Pau).


PF: I'd try to keep Hill. We'll probably need to spend some money on him, but see if he's willing to take around $5M per. What can I say: he's strong, tall, he works incredibly hard and hustles like crazy. Might be one of the hardest working guys in the league, and he cares about the game. A "garbage man" perhaps, but in the very best sense of the word. Regardless of his status, we need to beef this position up, which might happen in the form of the best PF in the game... but not right away. In the meantime, it's Hill and whoever else you can get for cheap -- or pick in the draft, if there is such a guy. But I think there's only Randle. Not that he's bad or anything, of course not -- but if we pick high, Smart is a better pick. I say, stick with Hill, get someone cheap and go for Love later. If Hill won't stay, just do whatever at this position for now. It doesn't matter if you know you can "cash in" later, in 2015.

C: I was one of the biggest Pau fans on this board. But he needs a change of scenery. He needs to be traded, so we can get either a useful SF for him (for example, because we'll need the 3) or a 1st round pick, where we just might get lucky. Pau is still a good player in this league, I mean no disrespect. Still incredibly skilled and will get nice numbers somewhere, especially in the East. Trade before the deadline. Use a magic wand, or whatever, I know we can get something for him. Kaman is OK, but he's not getting healthier or faster any time soon, and I feel he's being a little disrespected, so he'll probably go somewhere else. Sacre will stay, and for that money you can't ask more of a 2nd round pick. A true 7-footer who loves to play the game, works hard, has improved his game and is just fine in limited minutes. I have nothing bad to say about Sacre: he knows what he can- and cannot do, and will probably give us a 5/4 with a block from now on, which is solid. But we need to either spend $$ on a center (in this league a strong, active PF/C might work just as well) or get incredibly lucky in the draft to get Embiid. And I would not count on that. Drafting Marcus Smart already requires us to be very lucky. Having a solid center is good, especially if he can play D and be an anchor, but he doesn't have to be a superstar to win the championship. Just a strong, tenacious, skilled player. If he can pass -- even better. That center (can Monroe play some C in this league?) with Sacre backing him up and Hill getting some minutes there as well, is all we need. Our priority should be 1 and 3 (and eventually, 4), and I think wing players win in this league these days.

I know this was long, but in a nutshell I see this:

New PG (signing him or, ideally, drafting Smart) - Marshall - Farmar (offer 3M per)?
Kobe - Young (offer 5-6M per - does that sound reasonable? - and hope for the best)
New SF (Pau/Meeks trade? or someone like Granger who won't command the max) - Henry (offer 3M per)
Hill - Sign someone cheap temporarily
New C (draft requires some incredible luck) - Sacre.


If case we need some extra money to sign a FA, Farmar might have to go. Next on the list are Swag and Hill, but I'd be very sorry to see that happen, because they can be pieces on a championship team for sure.
This team, if we can get lucky in the draft, and if our health situation is better, can get us though next season nicely. Develop our new PG (plus Henry and Marshall) who will do most of the damage together with Kobe, Swaggy and someone like Granger, and then go for Kevin Love.

That's all I can come up with right now, and you guys tell me how realistic it is.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby unpossibl1 on Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:33 pm

Some great write ups here. I agree that Meeks needs to be moved asap while his value is high, and also think that Young, X, Marshall, and Farmar should be our priorities when it comes to re-signing players.

For some time now I've said that Pau needs to be moved, however I'm beginning to change my mind about that. It's appearing as though Pau's trade value in the league is next to nothing, and if the Lakers can't get a first rounder OR a young talent then I think they have to just hang onto him, and that may not be a bad thing.

Let's say that we land a top pick and get a foundation piece for the future. We are going to want veterans other than Kobe to be around and show the kid what it means to be a Laker. It's important that guys are around who can teach our young guys why being a Laker isn't like being on any of the 29 other teams, and Pau and Kobe right now are I believe the only guys on the roster who can explain that from personal experience.

On top of that, Kobe is great and I think he would be an amazing mentor for Wiggins in particular but he's also a drill sergeant. Pau can help provide a calming voice to even out the Mamba. And let's not forget that keeping Pau around means having a happy Kobe as well.

On the court Pau is still a highly skilled big man and while he is clearly declining there are few in the league who can do what he does. He hasn't fit perfectly in D'Antoni's system but his recent play has showed that he still has something left in the tank.

Don't get me wrong, if there is a decent offer before the deadline I think we should deal Pau, thank him for his service, and tank on. But if the offer isn't there that would net us a young piece or a 1st then I think we just hang onto him and look to re-sign him for a reasonable amount for 2 seasons so he expires with Kobe.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby Doc Brown on Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:50 pm

Ryan Kelly simply isn't playing well enough to get more than his qualifying offer amount ($1.0mil) and really, we're not even sure if the Lakers will tender a qualifying offer because he's just too passive on the court on offense. If it were me, after seeing how he's played so far, I would pass, even with it is $1 million, but with so many roster spots to fill, maybe the Lakers want familiarity.


I think he is brought back on the basis of how cheap he is and how he could be the 13th-14th man on the team.

It's pretty obvious Kendall Marshall will come back, at $915K. And the Lakers have their first round pick this year, which according to Hollinger's power rankings will likely fall either third or fourth, and that draft pick for their first year will count about $4.2mil against their cap.


At a steal of a price. Good move on the 2 year deal.

Under contract for next season, the definites are the newly resigned Kobe ($23.5mil), Rob Sacre ($915K), high draft pick ($4.2mil) and the informed assumptions are Steve Nash's stretch hold ($3.2million), and Kendall Marshall ($915K) and perhaps Ryan Kelly ($1mil) will come back. That's about $33mil for next year, under this obvious strategy.


Before Hoopsworld went down, according to them we have a QO on Henry for 900k as well.

1) Chris Kaman (this season: $3.1mil):


Agreed. Gone. He will go elsewhere and we should as well.

2) Steve Blake ($4mil): He might still be in the Lakers' price range and might earn something in the neighborhood of $3-4mil still, but minutes allocation will likely exclude him from this team. And it will suck.


Hell no to bringing him back at any price. We need guys that can play and not get hurt every year. Time to move on and not look back.

3) Pau Gasol* ($19.3mil):


Disagree at keeping him for any price. He needs to go and we need to move on. 7-8 million on him is a waste of money.

4) Xavier Henry ($884K)


If what I saw was correct, we can hang on to the last minute with X and go over the cap to sign him.

5) Jodie Meeks ($1.6mil)


We should trade him while his stock is still high. He's a liability defensively and we've all seen what he becomes when Kobe is back on the court. I'm taking Young over Meeks to backup Kobe. Paying anything over 2 million for Meeks is going to come back and bite us IMO.

6) Jordan Hill ($3.5mil)


Agreed on Hill. We have his Bird Right's and I think we sign him at that 5-6 million dollar range.

7) Wes Johnson ($884K)-


Agreed on the cheap money part. If he wants to come back for anything less than 2 million, I'm in. Otherwise, pass.

8) Jordan Farmar ($884K)-


We need to bring him back as a backup and get a true starting PG. I don't think he will command much, given he's been injured most of this year. 1-2 million gets it done.

9) Nick Young ($1.1mil)-


Young is in the NateRob class of outplaying his contract, but not getting paid for it the next season. I think 3-4 million gets it done, I'd go as high as 5, but I don't think it will take that much.

We want RFAs (Bledsoe/Hayward) way:


I'd say we go this way or bust. We need to get a 2015 1st rounder somehow if we strikeout this offseason. We need flexibility going forward and this option gives us that. We get these guys, they are still nice trade pieces to move to get a "superstar", we strikeout we have room for FA.

I like Stephenson (UFA) and Monroe (RFA), but could live with Bledsoe/Monroe. No way Utah doesn't match for Hayward.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:57 pm

Pau has value to other teams. But no one wants to help the Lakers, so all we get are lowball offers. He'll probably sign with another team this summer for 7 - 9 million.
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Re: Who should the Lakers keep among their own free agents?

Postby rydjorker121 on Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:30 am

I like Stephenson, but I think he's unobtainable for us. Indiana's devoting all their resources to him, and there are other teams. Also, Stephenson's a candidate to get overpaid--I'll draw the line at $6-7mil for his skills, but he might get $8-9mil because of his youth and to deter Indiana.

I don't see Xavier as having a qualifying offer for next year. He's a straight up FA according to hoopsworld's old page. We can ask Eric about that though...

Here are the #1 depth free agents options we could consider ($12mil in cash to split among two players):

Straight up UFAs:

Luol Deng (UFA). Probably in the $8mil valuation range, which means he'll take up a chunk of this money. Will be 29. Very sound mid-range in type player. Very skilled as a passer and a defender, big for a wing. Quiet leader. Lacks top flight athleticism and great three point shooting, but good in that fill in the cogs type role.

Spencer Hawes (UFA). I'm surprised why Philly even thought about trading Hawes--he's 26 entering this offseason, in his early prime, and he has broad-based skills on both ends, as a 7-footer with guard skills--three point range, passing ability, and ability to run the floor well. Pretty good rebounder and tall and long to get blocks. There's very little he can't do. I realy want the Lakers to target this guy, and he likely will get a $6-7mil valuation, kind of what he made this past season. If the Lakers go this route and lose Pau Hawes is a more than adequate replacement, but he will have suitors.

Kyle Lowry (UFA). Probably in the $5-6mil range given how he's playing this year, and he's only 28 entering this offseason. Ton of mileage, but broad-based skills with shooting, slashing, foul drawing, passing, defense, stealing and ability to take charges. Tough leader who gets misinterpreted. I like him a lot, actually. Toronto doesn't want him back. He might not be the top notch PG we want given that he's 28, but he's severely underrated and fits as a starter in this league.

Trevor Ariza (UFA). $5-6mil range. A very old 29 coming this offseason, due to his Lowry-like mileage (entered league young, played minutes early). Skilled, rangy wing with underrated defense and passing ability, and has really shored up his three point shooting this year. We need a reunion with this guy too for Wes Johnson in this arrangement.

Marcin Gortat (UFA). Reality is, he's just a-OK with Washington and his valuation is $5-6mil at best, but centers are a premium in this league and someone might overpay anyway. He's entering 30 this offseason and he's just...nondescript good on both ends. A whatever, but if we need bigs to lose Pau, this guy is a prime candidate, especially since he's played in Gentry's fast tempo offense in Phoenix.

Rodney Stuckey (UFA). Eh. 28 entering offseason. Bench scorer who can D up and slash. Handles well. Tough. Little range. $4-5mil valuation. Detroit has thrown him as trade bait in the past and they probably want to shore up their shooting, meaning he might not return

Danny Granger (UFA). I actually think he can be had at even slightly submid level type money, at $4-5mil due to his injury history and he's not exactly going lights out here. He's already 30 though and isn't a freak athlete or a great passer, but he has good scoring instincts, some defense with length...and that's about it. In the past he really manufactured free throws. Not sure he can do that now.

#3 RFA options:

Restricted FAs to go for

Eric Bledsoe. Might get the max. Will be tough to get because Phoenix has fallen apart without Bledsoe so far. Athletic defensive stopper who has improved his jumper and passing, but will never be great at both of those. Will only be 23 entering offseason.

Gordon Hayward. Has few holes in his game, with defense and maybe long range shooting being the biggest weakness. But really intelligent offensive player with excellent athleticism, foul drawing and passing ability. Quiet killer instinct. Will only be 24 entering offseason. Max contract candidate.

Greg Monroe. Definitely not a bad option, but has an agent who wants nothing more than the max. The guy will only be 24, he's 6'11", has super quick hands, is an absolute layup machine in the paint. But he isn't athletic, is an awful defender, and has zero jumper. You have to take the good with the bad. At the end a 6'11" layup machine with stealing is probably too good to ignore, and likely Detroit will shave him over anyway. I'd value him in the $7-8mil range and see if anyone would bite, but anything above that is reaching toxic material. We might need a big

Isaiah Thomas. Sac's reorganized its roster to make way for their big three of Gay-Cousins-Thomas for a long time, so it's hard to see him go, but just in case...he could probably get $8mil or so in the market. Just wish he was 6'2". Seriously, if he were 6'2", this is near All star material. Incredible moxie.
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