With a crucial break down from the Lakers’ starting point guard Smush Parker during the playoffs and the blatant awareness that the Lakers needed a wingman who could consistently hit three pointers, the Lakers knew what they had to get to become a better team. With wild rumors talking about trading Minnesota Timberwolves
star Kevin Garnett to the Lakers, fans became excited about what kind of magic the Lakers would have with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett on the same team.
Unfortunately, those rumors died down fairly quickly after the fans realized that that would never happen, especially with ex-Boston Celtic, Laker rival Kevin McHale as the executive in Minnesota. The free agent list for the Lakers was also not so appealing, with the top players far out of the Lakers’ price range.
However, a glimmer of light showed up for the Lakers through Vladimir Radmanovic. From Serbia and Montenegro, Radmanovic played as a forward for the Clippers last season. With his friend Vlade Divac working in the Laker office, Radmanovic was also tempted with a higher salary than what the Clippers had to offer. Divac actually wanted one of his best friends, Peja Stojakovic, to join the Lakers, but he knew that the Lakers wouldn’t be able to offer him as much money as other places would. Fortunately for Clipper fans, they got a very solid replacement for Radmanovic through ex-Phoenix Suns forward Tim Thomas.
Although Radmanovic averages a fairly modest 10 points and 5 rebounds, his three point shooting is exactly what the Lakers were looking for. With him on the team, the Lakers now have the ability to stretch the court out more and allow players like Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom some more space to work with. His dangerous outside shooting can also remain a threat to opponents, while he’s also pretty good at driving to the lane.
More good news came to fans of the Lakers on the same day that they signed Radmanovic, as free agent Shammond Williams signed up with the Lakers. Although the veteran guard’s numbers aren’t the greatest, he was another backup for Smush Parker, which the Lakers desperately needed.
After the rather big news of getting Radmanovic and Williams without losing any of the previous Lakers, there was no new information or deals until the NBA Draft. With the 26th pick in the first round of the draft, the Lakers weren’t expecting to be getting any huge college stars like Rudy Gay or Adam Morrison. Instead they chose a player who was used to the city of Los Angeles, Jordan Farmar. The Lakers were excited to pick this point guard from UCLA who may eventually become the future starting point guard of the Lakers. With the ability to hit open shots, Farmar was a great choice.
With their second round pick, the Lakers picked up Cheik Samb, whom they immediately traded to Detroit in exchange for guard Maurice Evans. Then, by trading away rights to a future draft pick, the Lakers acquired Danilo Pinnock through Dallas. Many Laker fans don’t think he’ll end up making the team next year, as their roster got filled pretty quickly during the off-season.
Next year should be an even better one for the Los Angeles Lakers, as they acquired some solid guards and a dangerous three point shooter. With a great coach and Kobe Bryant and Kwame Brown basically improving every year and with Lamar Odom getting more and more accustomed to the Lakers’ triangle offense, the team might just have what it takes to become a championship contender once again.