On Monday, July 16, the Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reported that free agent forward Antawn Jamison has chosen to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Jamison scored 17.2 points and grabbed 7.9 rebounds per game with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011-2012.
When the Lakers traded away Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher, most fans believed that general manager Mitch Kupchak was trying to make the team younger and more athletic. Now that the club has picked up Steve Nash and Jamison, it's becoming clear that it will rely on veteran leadership and length in the frontcourt to win another title before rebuilding.
On one hand, signing Jamison is a great move by the Lakers. He gives them a proven scorer who can come off the bench and provide a spark that wasn't there for much of 2011-2012. He's also a decent rebounder who will help control the frontcourt when Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum need a breather. Of course, it helps that Jamison is a good teammate; he never complains about playing time or other club issues. There will never be any drama surrounding him.
Yet the Jamison deal does have its problems. The Lakers sacrificed some of their defensive capabilities when they picked up Nash. Bringing Jamison into the fold further weakens the team defensively because he's slow and doesn't guard as well as he did 10 years ago. Jamison also showed signs of fatigue throughout last season, which is probably why he shot a career-low 40.3 percent from the field. That shouldn't be much of a problem early in 2012-2013 since he won't be starting, but fatigue could catch up with him in the playoffs.
The Lakers needed some scoring help and that's what they'll get from Jamison. However, they also get a player who is defensive liability. It will be interesting to see how head coach Mike Brown uses him off the bench, especially when the team is down late in games. Will the Lakers be able to trust him defensively when they are trying to rally in the fourth quarter? Will they be able to depend on him to hit more than 40 percent of his field goals? If the answer to both questions is yes, then the Jamison signing is a great deal for the Lakers.
Derek Ciapala has been a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers since childhood. His favorite Lakers' moment is when they beat the Detroit Pistons 108-105 in Game 7 of the 1988 NBA Finals. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala or on Facebook.
- Sports & Recreation
- Antawn Jamison
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Derek Fisher
- Cleveland Cavaliers