The Los Angeles Lakers currently have 13 players on the active roster and fans are waiting to see who the team brings in with the 14th roster spot. General manager Rob Pelinka has confirmed that the team is active on the center market, which at this point consists of slim pickings.
Los Angeles also reportedly is looking for someone with a different skillset than Jaxson Hayes, who may end up starting next to Anthony Davis in a two-big lineup. Hayes, who is a traditional rim-protecting center, cannot space the floor.
There is just one problem with that: there are not many quality floor-spacing bigs left. As Los Angeles picks through the remaining parts and hopes a talented option becomes available, the front office should be thinking about what slipped through its fingers.
The Lakers will regret not signing Mo Bamba.
Los Angeles had the answer already in the building! Granted, Mo Bamba was not worth his initial $10.3 million salary (that was non-guaranteed) but the team should have done everything possible to get him to come back on a minimum deal; which is what he signed in Philly.
Perhaps that bridge was burnt and Bamba wanted a fresh start. However, Darvin Ham never seemed to buy into Bamba as a legitimate option and that may have played into the decision to let him walk.
Was it a guarantee to work out? No. But trading a second-round pick for Bamba only to completely give up on him five months later also doesn’t make a ton of sense. In a perfect world, LA would have simply brought Bamba back to play with Davis and Hayes in the frontcourt.
But it gets even worse because Bamba is not the only floor-spacing center that the Lakers missed out on.