Many different players have donned the purple and gold in recent years. The Los Angeles Lakers have had more roster turnover than just about any other team in the sport over the last four years with each team looking much different than the previous year. Thankfully, the team has learned its lesson as the 2023 offseason was about bringing back last year’s core.
What makes the turnover even more painful is the lack of success that former Lakers have had away from LA. Outside of exceptions like Malik Monk or Alex Caruso, a lot of the players who recently donned the purple and gold aren’t even NBA quality. Just look at the 2021-22 roster as proof.
Another recent Lakers free-agent signing has joined the list of players that ended up playing in Europe after their stint in LA. Former midseason signing Ben McLemore recently inked a deal with Greek club AEK Athens, marking his second year removed from the NBA at only 30 years old.
Former Lakers role player Ben McLemore signs with AEK Athens
The Lakers signed Ben McLemore as a midseason addition during the 2020-21 season for the team’s push for the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Los Angeles ultimately made the Play-In Tournament that year and was eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns.
McLemore actually had a somewhat-prominent role on the Lakers after signing, averaging 17.5 minutes per game and making one start for the team. In those 17.5 minutes per game, the veteran wing averaged 8.0 points, 1.6 rebounds and shot 36.8% from the field.
McLemore even had a role — albeit small — in the Lakers’ playoff rotation, averaging 9.0 points per game. It is never a good look when someone in the playoff rotation is quickly out of the league before they even start regressing because of age.
Sadly enough, McLemore is not alone. Marc Gasol played a prominent role on the Lakers that season and retired shortly after a disappointing year. At least with Gasol, there was the age excuse.