The Los Angeles Lakers have spent a lot of coin this offseason, but they could add a few more key pieces to round out the roster.
Shams Charania of the Vertical reported that the Lakers and restricted free agent Tarik Black agreed to a two-year, $12.85 million deal late last night. Charania said that Black’s salary represents the maximum he was able to earn under the Early Bird provisions. He added Black’s deal includes a trade kicker, and the second year is not fully guaranteed.
Black is a high-energy player who brings toughness as well as the ability to rebound to the team. The 24-year-old saw limited time last year for the Lakers as he fell out of former coach Byron Scott’s favor. He averaged 3.4 points and 4.0 caroms in 12.7 minutes per game while shooting 54.8 percent from floor.
The 6-foot-9, 250-pound center went undrafted out of Kansas in 2014, but he made the Houston Rockets squad out of training camp in 2014-15. Black appeared in 25 games — which includes 12 starts – for the Rockets that season, averaging 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds. He was released by Houston in late December and was picked up off waivers by the Lakers shortly thereafter.
Black averaged 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 58.9 percent from the floor in 38 games, including 27 starts, for Lakers in 2014-15. He also produced four double-doubles.
Black is the fourth free agent the Lakers have come to terms with since the free agency period commenced on July 1. Los Angeles also has agreed to a terms with Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng, and Jordan Clarkson this summer. Mozgov’s deal is reportedly for four-years and worth $64 million while Deng will make $72 million over four-years and Clarkson re-signed with the team for four-years, $50 million.
With those four players committed to the Lakers, the team now has 10 players under contract for the upcoming season though that doesn’t include first round draft choice Brandon Ingram or second round selection Ivaca Zubac. Zubac, a 7-foot-1 center from Bosnia and Herzegovina, may or may not be with the Lakers this upcoming season, as he has a few years left on his contract with Mega Leks (Serbian Basketball League), according to the Los Angeles Times.
Even if Zubac joins Los Angeles this season, the Lakers would still have around $15 million to spend this offseason – Per Basketball Insiders. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times recently tweeted that the Lakers’ cap space could increase to $25 million if they waive or use the stretch provision on Nick Young.
Roy Hibbert, Ryan Kelly, Brandon Bass, Metta World Peace, Robert Sacre and Marcelo Huertas were with the Lakers last season, but are currently free agents. Hibbert, Bass, Kelly and Sacre will likely not return. Huertas is a restricted free agent, and World Peace has said he would like to play two to four more years.
So, who else could the Lakers could pursue?
Los Angeles is pretty well set regarding a small forward, with Deng, Ingram, and Anthony Brown on the roster. Brown, the team’s second round selection in 2015, appeared in 29 games for the Lakers last year – averaging 4.0 points and 2.4 rebounds while shooting just 31.0 percent from the floor along with 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. The 23-year-old is slated to make $874,636 this year and his 2017-18 salary is non-guaranteed.
David Murphy of Bleacher Report believes the Lakers could still add another wing and listed Allen Crabbe, Moe Harkless, and Brandon Rush as possible options. Crabbe and Harkless are restricted free agents and has several teams in pursuit of them. Crabbe and Harkless are both “3 and D”-type players, though Harkless’ jumper is suspect.
Rush, 30, is coming off his best season over the past four years with the Golden State Warriors. Rush averaged 4.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in 14.7 minutes over 72 games while shooting 41.4 percent from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-6 small forward, who has suffered two ACL injuries, averages 7.0 points and shoots 40.3 percent from the three-point line for his career.
Murphy also mentioned Seth Curry and Marreese Speights as possibilities for the Lakers. Curry just became an unrestricted free agent after having his qualifying offer rescinded by the Sacramento Kings. The 25-year-old sharpshooter finished last season strong, averaging 16.4 points and 5.3 assists in April. He averaged 6.8 points and shot 45.5 percent from the field along with 45.0 percent from beyond the arc for the season.
Speights is a very good scorer and rebounder off the bench. The 28-year-old produced one double-double this past season for the Golden State Warriors, averaging 7.1 points and 3.3 rebounds in just 11.6 minutes of action.
According to reporter David Pick, the Lakers are once again interested in Nick Minnerath. Minnerath, who went undrafted out of Detroit Mercy, spent last season with the Canton Charge of the D-League after spending several years in Europe. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 18.5 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from beyond the arc last season for the Charge.
Minnerath tweeted that he will play with the New Orleans Pelicans Summer League squad.
Undrafted rookie Zach Auguste and Jabari Brown are a couple of summer league players to keep an eye on.
[Photo by Chris Carlson/AP]