The Los Angeles Lakers may have filled out the majority of their roster already, but veteran SF Shawn Marion seems to be the team’s final primary target. The small forward position is seriously lacking for Los Angeles as Wesley Johnson is the team’s only viable option in the starting lineup at this very moment. With every other position basically complete, Marion is and should be Los Angeles’ final major signing of the offseason.
Marion has spent the past few seasons as a vital piece to the Dallas Mavericks‘ recent success. Although he is on the back nine of his career, Marion has still managed to post impressive numbers, averaging about 10 points and seven rebounds per game since joining the Mavericks in 2009. Luckily, while playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki, he was no longer expected to post 20 points and 10 rebounds much like he did in his prime years as a member of the Phoenix Suns. Despite having the offensive numbers to back him up, Marion’s strength has always been highly regarded for his notable defensive skills. He even achieved the rare feat of placing in the top-five for rebounds and steals per game multiple times during his tenure in Phoenix in addition to averaging over a block per game as well.
Furthermore, Dallas’ recent monster signing of Chandler Parsons will likely spell the end of Marion’s stint with the Mavericks, leaving him amongst the best free agents still available. Marion has received interest from numerous teams but is not expected to get a huge payday, which can play into the Lakers’ favor. Los Angeles has the ability to use their bi-annual exception on Marion, equivalent to about $2.7 million per year. Other teams that are interested can offer more, but Marion would likely have to take a substantial reduction in minutes anywhere besides the Lakers.
As previously mentioned, Los Angeles is extremely weak at the small forward position, so Marion really would not have much competition to earn the starting nod if he decided to sign. The franchise can certainly use his defensive prowess and rebounding skills in an attempt to remain competitive throughout next season.
Additionally, there is a ton of mutual respect between Marion and Kobe Bryant as well as a high familiarity level with Steve Nash, who he was teammates with for an extended period of time. In no way am I suggesting that Marion is the team’s long-term answer at the position, but he can offer some valuable time on the court that can possibly sway a few games here and there. At such a low price tag, Mitch Kupchak must do everything in his power to convince Marion to come to the City of Angels.