Channing Frye was one of the players the Los Angeles Lakers acquired in the February NBA trade deadline deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately, the main reason why the Lakers traded for Frye was to free salary cap space for the 2018 NBA free agency and not because they wanted him to become part of their long-term plan.
Despite the acquisition of LeBron James, the Lakers decided to let Channing Frye walk away as an unrestricted free agent, where he ended up returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers on a one-year, $2.4 million contract. Instead of re-signing most of their own veteran free agents, the Lakers surrounded James with young talent and several role players like JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and Michael Beasley. In an appearance on Road Trippin, Frye praised the Lakers’ young core, but said that there is a major weakness on LeBron’s new squad, via SB Nation’s Silver Screen And Roll.
“They’re young guys are crazy talented. The only worry I have is, they don’t have a guy that’s not expected to play that is going to do the work. You need that one 15th man. You need a guy that is on par with your A1, that is working harder than him to do nothing. But that is respected and can hold people accountable. I think the communication is going to have to change with Kuz, and Josh Hart, and Zo and B.I. and big Zubac who I like a lot, Big Zu. Like, that’s five guys.”
Channing Frye believes the Lakers’ need an end-of-the-bench guy whose main role is to serve as a veteran mentor to their young core. According to Trevor Lane of Lakers Nation, Frye’s comments can be perceived that the player the Lakers need the most right now is someone like him. Despite not receiving enough playing time with the Lakers last season, Frye still wanted to return to the Purple and Gold and provide a veteran presence on their locker room. Frye would have been a great addition to the Lakers’ bench, giving them a big man who has the ability to space the floor.
Unfortunately, the Lakers didn’t see him as part of their long-term plan. Also, in terms of having a veteran mentor on their roster, it’s worth noting that Luol Deng, who is owed $36.8 million for the next two seasons, is still a member of the Lakers. Despite only playing one game last season, Deng remains professional and expressed his willingness to do everything he can to help the Lakers.