Xavier Henry was already fading into relative obscurity at just 22 years old when he was invited to training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. However, he showed enough in camp and the preseason to earn a spot on the roster. After doing that, the 23-year-old guard was able to do enough to earn himself a contract for the 2014-15 NBA season with the Lakers.
According to an announcement from the team’s official website, the Lakers have re-signed Henry to a one-year deal. The team has not released the details of the contract, per a team policy, but we do know that Henry joins a list of re-signings this summer that includes Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Ryan Kelly and Wesley Johnson.
Like many of the members of the Lakers last season, Henry fell victim to a number of injuries that limited the time that he was able to be on the court. He played just 43 games last year, but was also able to produce solidly for a struggling team. In 21.1 minutes per game, Henry averaged 10 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and one steal per game, though his efficiency numbers left a bit to be desired.
While it’s nice to see Henry get another shot, what’s not nearly as nice is what this deal signifies for the Lakers. After finishing well outside of the postseason-picture with a 27-55 record last season, the Henry signing only seems like a nail in the coffin of another dismal-to-mediocre-at-best Lakers season on the horizon for next year.
It’s not that the Lakers haven’t been active this offseason. Trading for Jeremy Lin, winning the waiver claim for Carlos Boozer, signing Ed Davis, and drafting Julius Randle are all steps in the right direction and improvements for this team. However, they don’t move the needle nearly enough for a team whose needle had a long way to move.
There’s a future for the Lakers no doubt. Randle has the potential to be a multiple-time All-Star forward in this league. Moreover, once Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash retired and come off of the books, this team has the opportunity to make some highly impactful signings and rebuild. As for now, though, this team seems like one revolving around offense with little-to-no defense. Much like how that recipe worked last season, the results are hardly going to be promising for Los Angeles.