Who are the 3 guys most likely to stay this summer?
Brian Booth – Jordan Farmar, Nick Young, Jordan Hill. Farmar is a fan favorite, and is currently in his 2nd stint with the Lakers, and is productive on the court. It took some doing to get Farmar back from his over-seas contract, so I don’t think they let him walk again.
Young is just that; YOUNG. He is also productive and was enjoying unexpected success as one of the top scorers on the team until he got hurt. I expect the Lakers to lock him up for a few years as a solid role player.
Hill is wishful thinking on my part. I really like his energy on the boards. He will get offers from other teams in need of front-court help, but I am hoping he still dons the purple & gold next season.
Harry Burden – Jordan Hill, Jodie Meeks, Xavier Henry
Colin Lopez – If there are only three guys to keep, I would put my money on them being Jordan Farmar, Kent Bazemore, and Jodie Meeks. Farmar has shown flashes of being a really strong point guard in this league and does have the pedigree of being a champion. Meeks has been one of the most improved players in the NBA, let alone the Lakers. He is averaging a career high in FG shooting %, 3-point shooting %, and points per game. Bazemore is one of the latest additions to the Lakers, and he looks like he can stick as a rotation player in the NBA. He is only 24, very athletic, and commits himself on the defensive end, something the Lakers desperately need
Blair Hicks -Its a tough call because most of the best candidates to stay are wing players and their might be really tough choices next year if D’Antoni is not the coach and Wesley Johnson is not asked to play the four. Jordan Farmar is a lock to return and I’d be comfortable with him as the starter next year if the Lakers were to draft a point guard to develop. He’s become a world class shooter and fits well with Kobe. Johnson is also a lock to return, he’s becoming a poor man’s Shawn Marion and there is still room for improvement with him. I’d take Xavier Henry over any of the other choices because of his age, aggressiveness, and potential. He can be a solid starter down the line.
Mike Garcia – The guys who stay are dependent on what they’re willing to take. I doubt players are looking for one-year deals, even if it pays considerably more than the veteran minimum. Cap room needs to be retained for 2015. I have a feeling, the guys I’d like to stay, will ask for more money. They have played out their year looking for better contracts. They may end up elsewhere. I think Kent Bazemore will stay. He hasn’t had enough playing to warrant a mid-level contract. He needs a full season of playing time. As much as I’d like Jordan Farmar to stay, he’s too good of a guard to play for the veteran minimum. The same goes for Jodie Meeks. That leaves Kendall Marshall and Wesley Johnson. Marshall puts up big numbers, but needs better finishers. Johnson is dynamic defensively, and could be a key cog for a playoff team. Both of them need to develop consistency.
Valerie Morales – This is how I judge. Could they crack the rotation of a contending team? Jordan Hill. Jordan Farmar. Kent Bazemore. Hill is the glue guy everyone needs. He doesn’t overwhelm in one particular stat. But he is tough and a fighter. Farmar is a good backup and leader. He is a good three-point shooter and he plays well with creators. He has won a title so he knows what it takes. Bazemore is just talented. He can finish with his right or left, finish through contact, get to the rim, hit a 3 or a mid range, is a clutch shooter.
Jacob Rude – If we assume that the Lakers pick up Kendall Marshall’s option, a very safe assumption, then the other remaining three will be Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks, and Xavier Henry. Farmar came to the NBA with the sole intention of playing for the Lakers. The Lakers would be silly not to offer him a long-term extension. For Meeks, his play this year has more than warranted a pay raise. Few, if any, players in the league have improved as much as he has, and he has expressed interest in staying in Los Angeles. With Henry, you’ll be getting an explosive, athletic player who, due in part to injuries, will come at a cheap price.