Lakers

Who Should the Lakers Sign If Howard, Bradley Sit Out Rest of Season?

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Teams are preparing to compete as the NBA world anxiously awaits for the 2019-2020 season to restart on July 30th.

This includes any possible roster changes the league allows. But for teams looking for depth at the center position, the market just got thinner.

Former Laker DeMarcus Cousins will sit out the rest of the season and focus on making a full return in 2020-2021, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Joakim Noah is already off the shelf as well, as previous reports suggest he intends to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.

https://twitter.com/theScore/status/1274361479052038145

So what’s next?

The NBA will permit teams to have 17 players in Orlando, two more than was previously expected. This includes two-way guys and free agents who have signed a deal this year or in previous years, per Shams, who also notes that teams can start signing players Tuesday at 12 pm ET and up until June 30 11:59 pm ET, but there’s some complication that comes with that.

 

Unique Circumstances

During this one-week transaction window, teams can convert a player on a two-way deal to a standard contract, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Teams with vacant two-way roster spots will also be able to sign new two-way players who have zero-to-three years experience, or guys who have played in the NBA or G-League this season.

Even players such as Jamal Crawford and JR Smith will be eligible to sign with teams.

But for teams looking to sign replacement players, July 1-Aug. 14 marks the signing period. Replacements would be allowed for players who cannot play due to positive Covid tests or for those who choose not to play for other reasons.

What does this mean for the Lakers?

LA’s roster currently consists of 17 players with guys like LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the most notable names, and two-way youngsters Kostas Antetokounmpo, Devontae Cacok and Talen Horton-Tucker rounding out the squad.

There’s uncertainty about whether Dwight Howard and Avery Bradley will suit up when play resumes on July 30, however. The two veterans have been actively calling for social change following the murder of George Floyd, expressing basketball isn’t the most important thing in the world right now, and Bradley has even asked the league to show a plan to support its Black players and the Black community moving forward and prior to the restart.

But Howard and Bradley will have to make a decision soon, as all players must let their teams know by Wednesday whether or not they’ll play out the rest of the season in Orlando. This includes players who are considering sitting out due to COVID-19 related concerns, too.

Tania Ganguli reported June 17 that the Lakers expect Howard will play, but are unsure of Bradley’s intentions. Although, while the historic LA franchise would love for both players to suit up come July 30, the desire for Howard to play is likely mounting with the report of Cousins’ decision to sit out.

Boogie was released by the Lakers earlier this season, as he wasn’t expected to be fully healthy before the postseason began. The former Kentucky Wildcat tore his ACL last August but continued to rehab his injury at the Lakers training facility following his release.

Now if Howard AND Bradley were to sit, meaning two roster spots were open, players like the aforementioned JR Smith, a former teammate of LeBron’s in Cleveland, would make sense for LA as he provides experience, shooting and underrated perimeter defense. Jamal Crawford seems intriguing as well, but LA already has Dion Waiters rostered, a player with a comparable skillset and playing style to Crawford’s.

Guys like Iman Shumpert — also a former teammate of LeBron’s — CJ Miles and Allen Crabbe are names to keep an eye on as well. The three wings all provide shooting and some perimeter defense in the case of Shump and Crabbe.

We’ll find out within the next few days what this championship-poised Lakers team will look like as training camps and the season near.

Follow us on Twitter @LakersLead for the latest Lakers news and insight.

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About Sandeep Chandok

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