Ben McLemore agrees to deal with Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed former lottery pick Ben McLemore from the buyout market, filling L.A.’s final open roster spot ahead of the stretch run, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 6, 2021
McLemore, 28, was bought out by the Houston Rockets after falling out of the rotation as Houston plummets into shameless tank territory.
The Lakers carried two open roster spots after waiving Quinn Cook in February and had two specific needs to fill: frontcourt insurance and wing depth. After standing pat at the trade deadline, general manager Rob Pelinka has filled both voids via the buyout market — much to the chagrin of small-market execs.
First, the Lakers signed two-time All-Star center Andre Drummond. Drummond hasn’t played since losing his toenail in his odd debut last Wednesday vs. the Milwaukee Bucks, though he’s expected to return to action on Tuesday vs. the Toronto Raptors, and will be the team’s starting center going forward.
After being waived by the Rockets, Ben McLemore is headed to the Lakers pic.twitter.com/csIzUp5aN2
— LakeShow (@LakeShowCP) April 6, 2021
After that, the Lakers were in search of another wing: ideally a 3-and-D with some ball-handling and play-making skills. The Lakers are one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the league, lack athletic slashers on the perimeter besides Talen Horton-Tucker, and generally need all the scoring they can get until LeBron James and Anthony Davis return.
I advocated for McLemore as a Lakers target on multiple occasions, primarily based on his 2019-20 campaign. After an uninspiring first six seasons with the Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies, McLemore finally got a chance to be a role player on a good team last season in Houston. He played the best basketball of his eight-year career: shooting 40% from three and becoming a trusted two-way contributor.
McLemore has experienced 1 season (’19-20 Rockets) in which he’s been trusted to be a key piece on a good team. He shot a career-best .610 eFG, made 40% of his threes, and played solid wing defense.
Great add for the Lakers, if he plays up to his surroudings, once again https://t.co/YJEhgCme27
— michael corvo (@_michaelcorvo_) April 6, 2021
McLemore should be energized by the change of scenery. If he can play up to the standards set by James and the most demanding locker room in the league, he could prove to be a shrewd pickup by Pelinka and earn a handsome contract this summer.