The Los Angeles Lakers made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals last season and it looks like the front office wants to run it back with mostly the same roster. Los Angeles can definitely improve around the edges but it is hard not to love the core that is in place.
The purple and gold still have the luxury of a bi-annual exception as well as the non-taxpayer MLE (if D’Angelo Russell doesn’t re-sign) to add difference-makers in the rotation. In addition to that, the Lakers could try and bring in savvy veteran minimum targets to bolster the back end of the rotation.
The New York Knicks already gave the Lakers an excellent veteran minimum target and the Washington Wizards have also joined the party. According to NBA insider Jake Fischer, the Wizards are expected to buy out long-time veteran Danilo Gallinari after acquiring him from the Boston Celtics in the Kristaps Porzingis trade.
"“With Washington currently holding 16 players on guaranteed contracts, the Wizards are also expected to come to a buyout agreement with Danilo Gallinari, acquired in the Porziņģis trade, clearing the way for the veteran scorer to find a home with a playoff contender.”"
Danilo Gallinari would be a superb buyout signing for the Lakers
There are some risks in bringing in Gallinari and that is why he is available for the veteran minimum. Gallinari is not a spring chicken by any means and is coming off of an injury that resulted in him missing the entire 2022-23 season.
After seeing the 2021-22 Lakers struggle so much with all of the age on the roster, fans may not be keen on the idea of seeing the team sign a 35-year-old coming off of an ACL injury.
It is one thing to build an entire roster with players like Gallinari, which is what the team did two seasons ago. As a backend rotation guy that could blossom into a bigger role, Gallinari is worth the roster spot.
If he can return to his previous form he would add a great floor-spacing option for the Lakers without sacrificing size. Gallinari is a prolific off-ball shooter that has shot 40.8% from three in his last four seasons played.
In fact, in that four-year stretch from 2018 through 2022, there were only 11 players in the league that shot 40% or better from three in 1,300 or more attempts. When it comes to win shares, the only players that topped Gallinari on that list were Karl-Anthony Towns and Stephen Curry.
Gallinari can play next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis but he could also be a small-ball five off the bench to space the floor. He is a versatile player that can play anywhere from the three to the five depending on that matchup. That is something that the Lakers desperately lacked last season.
If it works out, the Lakers have a reliable veteran that can play 15-20 minutes per game in a playoff series. If it doesn’t, it will cost LA one roster spot and a minimum contract that otherwise would have gone to someone else that doesn’t have as high of a ceiling.