With the Los Angeles Lakers recently being granted a disabled player exception (DPE) for DeMarcus Cousins’ potentially season-ending ACL injury, the team now has an additional $1.75 million in salary-cap space to add another player to their roster ahead of training camp. But while the team may have found a potential replacement for Cousins after signing Dwight Howard last month, the fact remains that he missed all but nine games last season due to injuries and mostly posted career-low numbers for the Washington Wizards, per Basketball-Reference.
In a report published on Wednesday, Heavy listed three players whom the Lakers can consider signing now that they have been granted a DPE. Aside from Andre Iguodala and Carmelo Anthony – two players who have frequently been linked to the Lakers – the publication suggested a third potential acquisition in Kenneth Faried, who has not been mentioned as often as a candidate to be signed by Los Angeles despite his proven resume as an NBA veteran.
As Heavy sees it, Faried could serve as an “insurance policy” for Howard, given how he similarly plays close to the basket and plays both power forward and center positions.
“While Faried lacks the same size and rim protection that Howard brings to the table, he is a tenacious rebounder and hard-nosed defender. He won’t be a sexy pick up [sic] by any means but could prove valuable should the Lakers and Dwight Howard’s reunion not go as planned.”
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) September 19, 2019
Currently an unsigned free agent, Faried has career averages of 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds and has shot 54.6 percent from the field in an eight-year NBA career, according to his Basketball-Reference player page. The 6-foot-8-inch, 220-pound former Denver Nuggets first-round draft pick last saw action for the Houston Rockets in the 2018-19 season, where he averaged 12.9 points and 8.2 rebounds and shot 58.7 percent from the field, starting 13 out of 25 games for the team. At that time, he was mostly used as a fill-in for Clint Capela while the Swiss big man recovered from an injury.
Although Faried could provide some much-needed frontcourt depth to the Lakers if they sign him, there’s also a chance that they might end up opting not to use their disabled player exception. As reported by CBS Sports, ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted that as of January, NBA teams had chosen to use their DPEs only 29 percent of the time. However, the Lakers still have a long time to take advantage of this option, as the team has a deadline of March 10 to use the exception by signing a new player.