The Los Angeles Lakers signed veteran Marc Gasol in the 2020 free agency with the hope that he would be a major upgrade over Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee at the center position. Unfortunately, as of now, Gasol has been a disappointment. With his decreased mobility and stamina, some have doubts that he could effectively go up against dominant centers in the league such as Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.
In a recent article, Luca De Angelis of Fansided’s Lake Show Life created a list of low-cost veteran big men that the Lakers could target to back up Gasol. Of all the names on his list, De Angelis believes that Sacramento Kings center Hassan Whiteside would be the perfect fit with the Purple and Gold.
“I envision Whiteside as a perfect fit for last season’s Dwight Howard role. Whiteside wouldn’t need to see significant minutes in most matchups – against smaller teams, he’d most likely be a DNP-CD or receive trivial court-time. However, against teams with a plethora of big bodies, having a rim-protecting 7-footer would be an amazing asset to have. I’m not particularly concerned about character concerns, due to LeBron James’ presence on the Lakers. LeBron has forged a reputation as an incredible leader, and I’d like to think that he’d play a role in keeping Whiteside in check.”
Whiteside would undeniably be an intriguing addition to the Lakers. He may not be a floor-spacer and an on-court facilitator, but compared to Gasol, he’s more agile and capable of guarding dominant offensive centers in the league. Whiteside’s numbers this season might not be very impressive, but when he’s given enough playing time, he can turn into a walking double-double machine.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Lakers decide to target Whiteside this season. They have long been interested in adding him to their roster. When he became an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016, they were one of the teams that tried to offer him a max contract.
There are two possible ways the Lakers could add Whiteside this season. If the Kings continue to struggle and find themselves heading into the lottery, the veteran big man could ask for a buyout and sign with the Lakers as a free agent. If the Kings want to extract some assets for Whiteside, the Lakers could offer them one of their young players or a future second-round pick.