Center options for Lakers with 14th roster spot
Rob Pelinka and the Lakers have done a great job through the first two days of free agency. They re-signed Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and D’Angelo Russell while signing Taurean Prince, Gabe Vincent, Cam Reddish, and Jaxson Hayes.
LA has two roster spots remaining but is interested in keeping one open for the buyout market later in the season. The Lakers are targeting another big with their 14th roster spot to solidify their rotation and depth.
Options at center for LA include Christian Wood, Mo Bamba, Tristan Thompson, and Dwight Howard.
Let’s break down each option and how they would fit with the LakeShow.
Christian Wood is the best player on the table. Wood is an offensive center that spaces the floor well. He averaged 17/7/2 this season on 52/38/77 shooting splits. The 27-year-old center’s ability to shoot efficiently from three-point range would give the Lakers more spacing.
Wood could play in lineups with or without Anthony Davis because of his offensive game. While he’s not a great defender, the Lakers have Davis and Hayes as their rim protectors. Adding an offensive big gives them a new element in their big rotation, giving them more versatility and depth.
LeBron dishes a dime to Mo Bamba for the flush 😤— NBA (@NBA) February 16, 2023
Lakers lead on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/RfTujwoshM
Another option is re-signing Mo Bamba, who they acquired at the trade deadline. Bamba was waived ahead of free agency due to his $10.3 million contract. However, that doesn’t rule out a return for the 25-year-old.
Bamba only appeared in nine games with LA and averaged 4/5/0 on 41/31/55 shooting splits. He still has a ton of potential, and bringing him back on a minimum deal would be worthwhile. Bamba can space the floor and be a rim protector off the bench.
Tristan Thompson is another candidate to be the 14th roster spot. Thompson was signed at the end of the season and was a great veteran in the locker room for the Lakers. He can be a great leader and veteran presence for LA.
Thompson was put in the game and played solid defense on Nikola Jokic. The 32-year-old big would be a solid depth center to add for their 14th roster spot.
Should the Lakers bring back Dwight Howard? 👀🤔 pic.twitter.com/tOXTiDy5In— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) July 2, 2023
Another option for the Lakers is bringing back Dwight Howard for a fourth stint. Howard was pivotal in the 2020 title run. The 37-year-old center averaged 6/6/1, shooting 61.2 percent from the field in the 2021-22 season with LA.
He could be an option as a depth center; however, the Lakers envision Hayes playing a ‘Dwight Howard-type role,’ which dwindles the possibility of Howard returning.
Wood should be the top priority option for LA with their 14th roster spot. Bamba, Thompson, and Howard could also be solid options for depth.
Pelinka has done a great job adding tremendous depth to the rotation around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Solidifying the center rotation with one more big would be the cherry on top of a phenomenal free agency for the Lakers.