The Los Angeles Lakers’ roster is close to set for the 2019-20 season. As of this writing, they already have 14 players on the team. They can still sign a couple more free agents, though, given the fact that Zach Norvell Jr. signed a two-way contract. While most people are thinking the team should use the final roster spot to sign somebody like Carmelo Anthony or Kyle Korver, those are moves that would hurt the Lakers more than would benefit them.
Looking at how the Lakers built their roster so far, they have a guard-heavy lineup. Aside from the fact that LeBron James is expected to start at the point next season, the team also has Rajon Rondo, Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Troy Daniels, and Danny Green. Meanwhile, the team’s frontcourt isn’t quite as deep with Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee, and Jared Dudley.
With LeBron at point guard, Davis will likely start at power forward with Kuzma at small forward, leaving Dudley as the main backup for Davis. Dudley is a stellar veteran who was a leader for the Brooklyn Nets last season, but the Lakers could still use more depth at the position.
This is why Los Angeles should go after Trey Lyles.
Lyles played for the Denver Nuggets last season, averaging 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 64 games. At 6-foot-10 and still only 23 years old, he still has some upside as a stretch 4. While he regressed this past season, especially in terms of 3-point shooting, he did make over 38% of his triples in 2017-18 on three attempts per game. If he could get back to his form from that season, he would be a great addition in Los Angeles.
The Lakers only have a minimum contract to offer Lyles at this point, but the Nuggets recently pulled his qualifying offer and may not want to bring him back. Even if Denver is interested, having the opportunity to go play with LeBron and Davis in Los Angeles would be hard to pass up. The Nuggets are a very good team and will be in the mix again next season, but a healthy Lakers team has a better chance at a title.
Now, if there’s a chance to get Andre Iguodala, the Lakers should definitely go after him first. But given the fact that the Memphis Grizzlies don’t seem to have any intention of agreeing to a buyout at the moment, waiting could hurt the Lakers once again, though they may just be able to wait him out. Iguodala’s former Warriors teammate Shaun Livingston just became available, but he’s not all that effective anymore and brings little upside.
So, at this point, there really is no better option for the Lakers than Lyles. He could provide both production and upside, which is something those older veterans can’t really offer.
The Lakers have been able to recover quite well after losing out on Kawhi Leonard. They have a promising roster that is expected to win a lot of games next season. Adding Lyles to the mix would only make them better.