The Los Angeles Lakers wasted no time making some stellar moves in free agency to give themselves a legitimate shot at repeating next season.
They say the rich continue to get richer, and the Los Angeles Lakers are taking that saying to heart.
Fresh off of winning an NBA title just a month ago, the team got busy immediately after free agency opened up on Friday. Looking to retool their roster in hopes of going back to back next season, the Lakers signed a pair of solid free agents, the first being Wesley Matthews.
The team scooped Matthews off the open market on a one-year deal worth $3.6 million, a signing that many considered a steal given the season he just had. Having spent last year with the Milwaukee Bucks, Matthews played a pivotal part in their success as he lived up to his 3-and-D stature all season long. Across 67 starts, the guard averaged 7.4 points on a .396/.364/.765 slash line, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Although those stats do not jump off the page, the 33-year-old brings aboard a hard-nosed defensive presence and stellar floor spacing capabilities, all while being relatively cheap.
The second, and undoubtedly more surprising addition, was Montrezl Harrell, who spent last season with the LA Clippers. Harrell shocked the NBA landscape Friday night when it got announced that he would be staying put in Los Angeles but signing with the purple and gold on a two-year deal worth approximately $20 million. Harrell just finished off a career-year in 2019-20, earning Sixth Man of the Year honors for his efforts. The 26-year-old averaged 18.6 points while boasting a 58.0 field goal percentage, in addition to 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game.
This new duo of Harrell and Matthews gives the Lakers two gritty defenders, only further bolstering their third-ranked defense from last season. Matthews is not afraid to go against the opposing team’s best player, as seen this past season when he was glued to LeBron James in matchups against the Milwaukee Bucks. On the other hand, Harrell provides a sizeable presence at the rim, and that defensive duo of he and Anthony Davis will be compelling to watch.
Not to mention that the Los Angeles Lakers also acquired Dennis Schroder through trade recently, who finished second to Harrell in this year’s race for Sixth Man of the Year honors. Schroder averaged 18.9 points on .469/.385/.839 shooting slashes, 3.6 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game this season. The 27-year-old gives the Lakers another ballhandler guard this can score at will, adding another dynamic piece to the puzzle.
The Los Angeles Lakers are winning the offseason with their new acquisitions, and they are surely not done making moves just yet.
Of course, the biggest fish of them all remains Anthony Davis. While all signs point to Davis returning to the Lakers with a new lucrative extension, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Davis is not afraid to play the waiting game and is in no rush to sign a new deal anytime soon.
All in all, the Los Angeles Lakers have lost Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Avery Bradley, and Dwight Howard this offseason, and they have brought in Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell, and Dennis Schroder to replace them. Not a bad group at all, to say the least.
The Lakers were already arguably the favorites to win the title next season, but these latest signees only elevate their case. Time will tell what else they might have in store as free agency progresses.