Mere days after his name was first mentioned as one of the free agents the Los Angeles Lakers might consider following DeMarcus Cousins’ potentially season-ending ACL injury, Marreese Speights will reportedly be working out for the team on Friday as they search for a backup center ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season.
On Thursday, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype was the first to report on Speights’ supposed workout schedule with the Lakers, noting that the team’s head coach, Frank Vogel, and former director of player personnel Ryan West were in Las Vegas last month when they attended the 32-year-old big man’s free-agent workout. Kennedy added that the Lakers are still keeping their options and are planning to invite erstwhile Memphis Grizzlies center Dwight Howard and free-agent center Joakim Noah to work out.
Per Bleacher Report, Kennedy’s tweet is in line with a previous report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who wrote earlier this week that the Lakers are planning to hold individual workouts for the three aforementioned veteran centers. Wojnarowski also mentioned another free-agent big man, former Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers center Marcin Gortat, as a fourth option for the Lakers.
A 10-year NBA veteran who won an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors in 2015, Marreese Speights last played in the league in the 2017-18 season, when he averaged 7.7 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Orlando Magic, according to his Basketball-Reference player page. For the 2018-19 season, Speights suited up for the Guangzhou Long-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, or Marreese Speights.— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) August 21, 2019
Who’d be the Lakers’ best option to fill the Boogie void?https://t.co/BNXE0xmutM
Should the Lakers sign Speights as their replacement for the injured DeMarcus Cousins, he could provide some much-needed spacing on the floor as a big man with a good outside shot. Although not originally known for his three-point shooting, Speights has a 35.6 percent career shooting percentage from beyond the arc and averaged 4.5 three-point attempts per game in his last NBA season with the Magic. He has also averaged an impressive 18.9 points per 36 minutes over his career, which further underscores his potential to help out on the offensive end.
As for the Lakers’ other top candidates for Cousins’ replacement, Bleacher Report noted that the Grizzlies appear willing to work on a buyout of Howard’s contract, which would allow the former All-NBA center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year to work out with Los Angeles as a free agent. Meanwhile, Noah, who also won a Defensive Player of the Year award during his time with the Chicago Bulls, last played for the Grizzlies, where he averaged 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in the 2018-19 season, per Basketball-Reference.