The Los Angeles Lakers have two of the best big men in the game in Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. However, after those two star players, there is a drop in the talent level at the forward position for the Lakers.
Last season, the Lakers roster had Jordan Hill and Josh McRoberts as backup forwards. McRoberts’ is drawing interest from other teams in trade scenarios involving Howard and Hill and the Lakers are far apart on their contract negotiations. This leaves the Lakers with just two big men and desperately need help coming off the bench.
All the attention for the Lakers has been put on them obtaining Dwight Howard, but the Lakers are reportedly interested in signing Antawn Jamison, Elton Brand and Jermaine O’Neal.
The three forwards the Lakers are targeting in free agency are interesting choices. Jamison is 36 years old and is coming off a season where he averaged over 17 points a game, but shot a career low 40 percent from the field with the Cavaliers. O’Neal only played 25 games with the Boston Celtics last season before his season was ended due to a wrist injury. Brand played solidly for the upstart Philadelphia 76ers and was a big contributor off the bench.
Brand is the youngest player of the three at the age of 32 and is the best option for the Lakers. The problem they have in obtaining Brand is that teams who are under the salary cap will have the first go at him. If he is able to clear waivers, then Brand is free to sign with whatever team he wants. The Dallas Mavericks are rumored to be interested in claiming Brand off waivers so this sign might be more difficult for the Lakers.
Jamison is still someone who can be a reliable shooter at times, especially if he can get open looks from newly acquired Steve Nash. However, Jamison is getting looks from other teams as well so the competition to get him will be tough.
At this point, the player they are most likely to get would be O’Neal. His age along with his injury problems make other teams stay away from him. However, the Lakers are willing to bring him into camp if he is healthy and ready to play.
Only time will tell if the Lakers will be able to acquire any of these three players.
Update: Elton Brand has been claimed off waivers by the Dallas Mavericks.
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