NBA Free Agency: Lakers Reportedly Working on Shabazz Muhammed, Jeremy Lamb, Dwayne Bacon and Mai Oni

After Dennis Schroeder signs the Veterans’ Minimum ContractThe Lakers You have one place on the list for the 2022-23 season, barring any other important moves over the next week.

On the first episode of Cole SwiderSwider — who is currently on a two-way contract with the Lakers — said he’s seen a lot of interest from free agents trying to join the Lakers ahead of training camp because several of them showed up at the team’s training facility:

“Training camp is coming up, we have two places open on the roster, and everyone in the league wants to play with the Lakers. So we have all these guys coming in for free practice and everything like that. So when they see two open areas on the Lakers roster, a lot of people are interested in playing with LeBron and playing at that stage.”

(Note: This episode appeared before Schroeder was signed, which is why Soeder says the Lakers have two places on the roster left.)

The good news for Lakers fans is that the front office appears to have the correct archetype for the player no. 15th. According to a report by Michael Scotto of HoopsHypeThe Lakers brought at least four wingers to training: Jeremy Lamb, Dwayne Bacon, Mie O’Ne, and Shabazz Muhammed.

Aries is the most interesting name among the four. At 6’5, he looks like a two-keeper, although his 6’11 wingspan allows him to play a defensive position. He’s an excellent wing rebel and blocks shots at a very high rate. Offensively, his best skill is a float, but he doesn’t hit the edge particularly often, and he’s been just a three-point-league shooter averaging once every four years. Lamb has been stuck in the league for ten seasons, which suggests he’s doing something right, but his lack of spacing may be an issue for this Lakers roster.

If shooting a Lamb is questionable, wait until you reach Bacon, who is probably best known for Rick Choo accidentally calls him Dwyane Wade at his introductory press conference in Charlotte. At 6’7, Bacon is a good size, still only 27 years old. Unfortunately, his effective field goal percentage ranked in the bottom 10 percent of the wards in three of his four seasons, in clearing glass. Other than not turning the ball around, it’s hard to find much of anything Bacon excels at.

Oni doesn’t have a track record problem, but that’s because he played just 672 minutes over three seasons at Utah. He took all the shots in the 2021-22 season, and made one of them. He hasn’t even been a fit in the G League since 2019-20, so Oni would be a pure pilot considering the blank slate he’s been on in his NBA career.

At least Oni has been an occasional part of the league for the past three years, because Muhammad hasn’t played for an NBA team since 2018. His best trait was scoring size and he didn’t do it efficiently, making him a strange fit player in a Laker team where he wouldn’t have The ball is in his hands. But he’s 6’6, which was apparently the only barrier to entry for this particular workout.

Although it’s good to see the Lakers recognize the weakness situation and try to remedy it, at this point in free agency there are slim choices. The Lakers can’t even create a training camp fight because they already have 19 players on their camp roster unless they choose to waive Wenyen Gabriel, who has a no-guaranteed deal, or one of two ways.

The best chance of finding a good winger to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis would have come in July, beating the Lakers at that time. Now, they’re fishing in the bargain basket. The only way out of this mess is to get a winger by trade, which would solve more than one of the team’s current problems.

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