The Los Angeles Lakers have one more roster spot to utilize during the team’s playoff push and might be more insistent on using it with LeBron James missing time due to a foot injury. Los Angeles missed out on the initial wave of buyout targets but there are still talented players available.
The buyout market continues to expand as the season goes along as well. Los Angeles doesn’t have to just rummage through the unsigned players as there are new options that hit the market weekly.
Another new option just recently hit the market and it is notable as it is someone who the team was in trade discussions for. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Detroit Pistons have completed a buyout with big man Nerlens Noel.
Nerlens Noel is a new buyout target for the Lakers.
Nerlens Noel may not seem like a perfect fit on this roster but if Los Angeles continues waiting around for a perfect fit on the buyout market then they are never going to make any kind of move. At some point you have to take what you can get and Noel is an overqualified addition to make at this point in the season.
The former sixth-overall pick has not played much over the last two seasons for his respective teams but he still adds value to an NBA rotation. Noel would give the Lakers another big to help defensively alongside Anthony Davis with real shot-blocking and rebounding prowess.
Plus, the Lakers would be smart to load up on size near the rim if the team is serious about making a playoff run. Los Angeles is going to need extra bodies to throw at someone like Nikola Jokic. Noel helps matchup-wise in that regard.
Back in January, it was reported that the Lakers were in talks with the Pistons for a trade involving Noel and Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic was obviously the key return in that trade but it still establishes some kind of connection to Noel.
Los Angeles would essentially be getting him for free at this point in the year and that is better than just leaving the roster spot empty. Plus, he fits the youth movement that LA has been trying to execute this season. While he has been in the league for almost a decade, Noel is still only 28 years old.
Noel is not going to fix the Lakers’ problems with LeBron James out or play some massive role in a playoff run. But there is no such thing as having too much depth and with only one traditional center on the roster, adding Noel could be beneficial.