Mitch Kupchak made it no secret that adding depth was the Los Angeles Lakers’ main non-Dwight Howard priority this summer, and that's exactly what he has done up to this point.
He re-signed Jordan Hill, ensuring that L.A. will have someone to bang under the basket; he convinced Devin Ebanks to stick around, guaranteeing that the bench will have a versatile three who can mesh with whatever offense they’re running; plus, in what has inarguably been his most impressive offseason maneuver thus far, Kupchak also convinced Antawn Jamison to come on board for the minimum.
Is the Jamison signing really more impressive than trading for Steve Nash? Kind of. That’s not to take anything away from the wheeling and dealing that L.A. did to acquire Nash, it’s just that they actually had to put together some sort of package in that transaction. The Suns didn’t just give up their point guard for nothing – they got something back. Jamison was literally convinced to leave money and playing time that he could have gotten from a worse team like that Charlotte Bobcats on the table to come off the bench for the Lakers.
Jamison gives the Lakers a much-needed No. 1 scoring option for when the starters are resting, something that they desperately needed all last year.
Which brings us to the remaining missing piece. L.A. has its rebounder/interior defender in Hill, its versatile small forward in Ebanks and its big-time scorer in Jamison – what’s the bench still lacking?
Or at least that was the general consensus earlier this week when Kupchak and Co. were said to be looking seriously into bringing Jodie Meeks on board. Over the past two days, however, based on various rumors that have been floating around, it’s beginning to look like adding a shooter isn’t the squad’s primary goal anymore.
Aside from Meeks, the Lakers are reportedly also looking into making deals for either Leandro Barbosa or C.J. Miles.
Game of the day now: Brazil v Russia. Hearing out of Brazil camp that they believe Lakers have interest in free-agent Leandro Barbosa— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 2, 2012
Question is how much Lakers, w/only 13 contracts but WELL into tax territory, have to spend. Brazil also worried Barbosa might be pressing— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 2, 2012
And via the Salt Lake Tribune:
Unrestricted free agent small forward C.J. Miles has narrowed his options down to a few teams, a league source told The Salt Lake Tribune on Tuesday, and the longtime Jazzman is drawing serious interest from the Los Angeles Lakers.
So, who would be best out of the trio of Meeks, Miles and Barbosa? Well, it depends. Each one brings something different to the table, and they do so for a different price.
In 2011, through 66 games (total, not started) with the Philadelphia 76ers, Meeks averaged eight points on 41 percent from the field in 25 minutes per game. He can technically score in a variety of ways, but his calling card is his three-point shooting. He only shot 37 percent from behind the arc last year, but he shot 40 percent the season before that.
Miles, meanwhile, through 56 games (14 started) with the Utah Jazz, averaged nine points on 38 pecent shooting in 20 minutes of action per game. He’s only a 30 percent three-point shooter, though, so he definitely wouldn’t address that aspect of what L.A. was purportedly originally looking for. There are also some questions regarding how much he’d command; it’s kind of unlikely that he would settle for the minimum.
Finally, through 66 games (none started), Barbosa averaged 11.1 points on 43 percent shooting from the field in 20 minutes of action per game. His totals declined noticeably when he moved from the Toronto Raptors to the Indiana Pacers, but that was mostly just because he was such a clunky fit in Indiana. The problem with Barbosa is that there is no way he’d come on board for the minimum and, according to Kupchak, that’s all L.A. is willing to spend right now.
Order of likelihood at the moment: 1.) Meeks 2.) Miles 3.) Barbosa.