The Los Angeles Lakers are actively looking to upgrade their roster before the start of next year.
While picking up a future Hall of Fame point guard in Steve Nash obviously checks off one of the major objectives this team had coming into the offseason, in the eyes of management, there is still work to be done.
Here is what's reportedly currently on the agenda for Mitch Kupchak: working out a trade for Dwight Howard and adding some combination of Antawn Jamison, Grant Hill and/or Jermaine O’Neal.
First, let’s start with an update on the Howard front.
The most recent reports regarding L.A.’s pursuit of the NBA’s best center had them working on a three-team deal with the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers that would send Andrew Bynum to Cleveland and Howard to Los Angeles. Those talks have either come to a standstill or were never as serious as some made them out to be; either way, they don’t appear to be progressing at this point in time.
That means, while the Lakers are no doubt still working on bringing Howard in, their reported deal with Cleveland and Orlando from this weekend likely won’t be the way it happens.
As far as depth goes: on Monday afternoon, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reported that L.A. would officially ink Jamison at some point in the foreseeable future. Per his article:
Charlottean Antawn Jamison has chosen the Los Angeles Lakers over his hometown Bobcats, the Observer has learned.
Jamison, who starred at Providence High and North Carolina, gave serious consideration to finishing his NBA career as a Bobcat. But late Monday he decided to sign with the Lakers for a chance to pursue a championship, an informed source told the Observer.
Of course, that was then directly contradicted by an interview Mitch Kuphcak gave to Dave McMenamin:
Just talked to Mitch Kupchak about Antawn Jamison. He acknowledged interest but said: "We're not about to do anything. I would know."
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) July 17, 2012
Presuming the Lakers are working on adding Jamison and that Kupchak was just trying to bluff out the world there – this'd be a huge pick-up for L.A.
Jamison would provide instant offense off the bench (albeit, not particularly efficient offense) and, if he averaged anything even remotely close to the 17 per game he dropped last year, he’d instantly lighten the starters’ workload.
Then there’s also Hill. Via John Gambadoro:
Hearing Grant Hill leaning towards Lakers after big push by Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo620) July 13, 2012
By now, everyone is familiar with what Hill’s positives and negatives are. Last year, the 39-year-old averaged 10 points on 45 percent from the field in 28 minutes of play per game. Ten points on 45 percent shooting is a positive. Conversely, him being 39 is a negative.
The Lakers are also reportedly looking into adding O’Neal. Via Marc J. Spears:
Lakers to work out free agent forward Jermaine O'Neal in Las Vegas on Tuesday, source tells Y! O'Neal has recovered from knee surgery in Feb
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 17, 2012
O’Neal averaged five points and seven rebounds through 25 games with the Boston Celtics last season, but ultimately he got his year cut short by an injury. In theory, he could actually be a solid contributor for L.A. if he weren’t so injury prone; as we’ve said in the past, though, the problem with O'Neal is that he is that injury prone.
At this point, it’s probably a safe bet that the Lakers come away with two out of three of the following players: Jamison, Hill, O’Neal. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.
Update: Grant Hill is signing with the Clippers.
(Kudos Charlotte Observer)