The Los Angeles Lakers are most likely going to undergo an offseason of change. While there might not be some blockbuster deals on the table just yet, the Lakers are always looking to improve their roster to successfully contend the following season. As long as LeBron James is on the roster, the Lakers must go all-in every season.
The players most likely to leave the Lakers include Andre Drummond, Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, and probably Alex Caruso which leaves holes in the team. Each one of these players will either receive better offers from other teams or gain chances to play more minutes. For the Lakers, acquiring the best role players to surround James and Davis is the key goal. Here are the 5 players the Lakers should acquire this offseason.
5. Dwight Howard
Season Statistics: 7.0 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.9 BPG
Dwight Howard played a backup role for Joel Embiid in Philadelphia this season, averaging solid numbers in only 17.3 MPG. Howard can still run the floor and roll to the rim, which will always make him an attractive option at center for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Of course, Dwight Howard was one of the keys for the Lakers in winning the NBA championship last year. Howard put up 7.5 PPG and 7.3 RPG last season, so there is no doubt that the center can start next to Anthony Davis or play valuable minutes as a defensive stopper in the post. Expect Howard to be signed to a veteran's minimum contract this offseason.
4. Paul Millsap
Season Statistics: 9.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Paul Millsap was a former 4-time All-Star for the Atlanta Hawks who could do damage from the inside and the perimeter. Millsap isn't the same player as he was in 2017, but he is still an effective stretch option as a power forward. With the Nuggets this year, Millsap shot 34.3% from deep.
Millsap can defend the paint, stay with guards when needed, and is a solid spot-up shooter. For the Lakers, his playoff experience with the Hawks will come in handy because they desperately needed veterans who could perform through adversity. Millsap will probably warrant a solid mid-level contract from the Lakers.
3. Carmelo Anthony
Season Statistics: 13.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG
It was so great to see Carmelo Anthony return to the NBA and etch his name among the top-10 scorers in NBA history. With Anthony continuing to accept a lesser role and flourish as a 3rd or 4th option, he has increased his value across the league tremendously. Anthony will likely average double-digits in scoring next season as well.
LeBron James fans dream of a partnership between The King and Carmelo, and that could happen this offseason. Anthony is capable of scoring 20 points in any game, and he could have multiple scoring possessions when James and Davis are double-teamed. For a chance to win a title, Anthony would likely accept a veteran's minimum contract.
2. Rudy Gay
Season Statistics: 11.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG
Rudy Gay has done well for the Spurs, reviving his career when many thought he was just an inefficient shooter. But Gay can play both forward positions and is a decent defender thanks to his size and athleticism. Rudy Gay won't come in and be an All-Star, but he can certainly get hot when his jumper is falling. For the Lakers, Gay is a great option for a mid-level contract.
Rudy Gay shot 38.1% from three this year, and he will most likely hover around that number next year as well. With LeBron at point, Gay can run the floor and finish on the break on most occasions and his versatility will work wonders next to Anthony Davis.
1. Derrick Rose
Season Statistics: 14.7 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 4.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Derrick Rose just keeps making a mark on the league as he ages, by guiding the New York Knicks to the NBA playoffs this year. While the Knicks were defeated in the first round, it was the veteran leadership and play of Derrick Rose that was one of the most important factors in the Knicks' success this year.
Rose was one of the contenders for the 6th Man of the Year Award, and for good reason. He averaged 14.9 PPG for the Knicks this season while shooting a scintillating 41.1% from three in 35 games. After getting traded from Detroit, Rose bloomed off the bench for the Knicks. There is no doubt he can be the same guy for the Lakers, who were desperately looking for answers off the bench this postseason.