The Los Angeles Lakers have been very busy during NBA free agency thus far and it is safe to say that fans are extremely pleased with the results. Rob Pelinka has brought back the core that took the team to the Western Conference Finals and has made it better.
Most of the puzzle pieces are in place but there are still some areas that the Lake Show can add to. After all, LA has 13 players signed to the roster, leaving room for two more additions. With older and injury-prone stars, having as much depth as humanely possible is a must-do.
While Walker may not have been part of the puzzle, his departure in free agency may foreshadow what the purple and gold are going to do next.
Lonnie Walker IV’s departure will bring Malik Beasley back to the Lakers.
The Lakers have two options: they can either bring in veteran minimum players since they are over the salary cap and fill out the roster that way. Or, they can utilize the Bird Rights that they have on certain free agents to sign more expensive deals while staying under the tax apron.
The latter option is the better one as typically a team can get better players the more they pay. Los Angeles had more to spend on both Malik Beasley and Lonnie Walker IV and with Walker leaving for Brooklyn, Beasley is the only feasible player to get the money.
The Lakers declined Beasley’s club option for the 2023-24 season that would have paid him $15.7 million. That would have been a massive overpay but bringing him back for a third of that is not a bad idea at all.
Sure, he struggled in the postseason but he has proven to be a high-efficiency shooter at a high volume in the past. With only two shooting guards on the depth chart, betting on Beasley with an entire offseason to work with the Lakers is not a bad thing.
The Lakers should be able to bring him back as well. No team is going to be willing to pay him more than the Lakers can offer him and unless he wants to take a pay cut to have a bigger role on a bad team, Los Angeles is probably the best place for him as well.