The Los Angeles Lakers put together one of the best showings in the league in NBA free agency this summer. Not only was the team able to bring back last year’s core and improve on it but the team was able to do so at a great price.
With 13 players currently on the roster and time to spare until next season, the Lakers are waiting for the perfect option to sign. Rob Pelinka has admitted that the team is active in the center market but with the controversial Christian Wood being the best option, it makes sense for LA to be patient.
There could be some great options that hit the market as other teams trim their rosters ahead of the 2023-24 season. As a contending team that has a bit more to spend on a buyout guy, the Lakers naturally become a favorite for any prominent players that are let go.
One of the better possible targets for the Lakers was veteran forward Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Washington Wizards as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade and it looked like he was well on his way to being bought out. That does not appear to be happening after all, as Gallinari’s latest social media post all but confirms he will be playing in the Nation’s Capital.
Danilo Gallinari would have been a perfect Lakers free agency target
While he is not a traditional center, Gallinari is someone who really could have made a difference off the bench for the Lakers, even if his role was limited because of the ACL injury that he is coming off of. Gallinari is one of the best three-point shooting role players in the sport and the Lakers still need more shooting.
Gallinari is a career 38.2% three-point shooter who has only gotten better with age. In his last four seasons combined the veteran forward has shot 40.8% from three. That is exactly what the Lakers need.
In today’s NBA, Gallinari could have provided the frontcourt depth that the Lakers needed without being a center. The team could have played him at the four next to Anthony Davis or Jaxson Hayes and even could have toyed with some smaller lineups that included Jarred Vanderbilt or Rui Hachimura alongside Gallinari in the frontcourt.
It is not like Gallinari is small (he is six-ten) and he can also rebound fairly well (6.7 rebounds per 36 minutes over the last four years). He would have fit in nicely in Los Angeles but now the team has to look at other options.
Gallinari could still be a Laker in the future, though. Washington is keeping Gallinari with the hopes that he increases his trade value so the team can get a second-round pick or two for him in February. If not, the Wizards will likely buy him out after the deadline to allow him to sign with a contender.
It could happen in the future but when it comes to immediate additions, the Lakers are going to have to look elsewhere.