11 july 2014
The chaos and turbulence of the free-agency season turned the Lakers into the employers of Jeremy Lin and, yes, a certain type of insanity.
But then they started looking a lot like the old Lakers, the ones that went 27-55 last season, after agreeing to deals with Nick Young (four years, $21.5 million) and Jordan Hill (two years, $18 million).
They apparently lost out in their spirited but unsuccessful free-agent bid for Carmelo Anthony and also said goodbye to a strong part of their past, Pau Gasol, who probably will play for a championship contender next season, be it San Antonio, Chicago or Oklahoma City.
First, the additions.
The Lakers acquired Lin and Houston’s first-round pick next year, because the Rockets were desperate to unload him to make room for a maximum-contract offer to Chris Bosh, who then actually accepted one to stay with the Miami Heat.
Lin fit the Lakers’ bill for a player with a short deal (one more year, $14.9 million), allowing them to maintain financial flexibility heading into next summer, when Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge could become free agents. The year after that, Kevin Durant could become free as well.
But on Friday, the Lakers bought themselves four more years of “Swaggy P,” the self-administered nickname supplied by Young, the good-natured, high-volume shooter who averaged a career-high 17.9 points last season and became a fan favorite on a team desperately seeking charisma amid its worst season since moving to Los Angeles.
It’s hard to argue with the deal when the average NBA salary is about $5.5 million. The fourth year is a player option.