4 Free-Agent Centers the Los Angeles Lakers Could Pursue This Summer

Published June 14, 2021 at 5:10 PM
BY VAHAN
     
The Los Angeles Lakers had three centers on their roster this season, which included Andre Drummond, Marc Gasol, and Montrezl Harrell. While all three of them were solid players, they had some sort of flaw that didn't fit the personnel of the team.

Drummond clogged the paint because he wanted post touches and was, at times, suspect on the defensive end. Gasol looked extremely slow and old defensively, not being able to defend pick-and-rolls, and Harrell was undersized. Drummond will become a free agent this summer, and Harrell has a player option, but Gasol will remain under contract. The Lakers may very well turn to other free-agent big men this offseason to resolve their issue at the center position.

4. JaVale McGee

Even though he played in spurts as a member of the Lakers last season, JaVale McGee was the perfect fit for the team due to his ability to block shots, rebound, run the floor, and catch alley-oops. McGee stayed out of Anthony Davis' way offensively and helped protect the paint tremendously with his length and athleticism. It wouldn't be too surprising if the Lakers reunited with him.


3. Hassan Whiteside

Hassan Whiteside, similarly to JaVale McGee, has great length and athleticism, which compliments Davis really well. He can protect the paint and catch alley-oops as well, but the only flaw is that he is not as good of a rim runner as McGee. However, Whiteside's defensive presence and fit would make him an ideal free-agent target this summer.

2. Nerlens Noel

Nerlens Noel is an agile big man, who rebounds and hustles really well. He is another athletic big, who has the ability to protect the rim and runs the floor particularly well. He, too, would not clog the paint for Davis and wouldn't require the ball in his hands to be effective. Noel's physicality and hustle would make him a very good option for the Lakers. In fact, the Lakers had some interest in Noel during the trade deadline but failed to acquire him.

1. Dwight Howard

Reuniting with Dwight Howard would probably be the most ideal move for the Lakers. The team wanted to re-sign Howard last summer and had a deal in place, but they changed their mind last minute to sign Marc Gasol instead. The Lakers will probably not make that mistake again, seeing how much Howard's defensive presence was missed this season. He was a terrific fit next to Davis and would probably earn a starting role if he decides to give the Lakers a second chance. Howard is a big, physical body, can rim-run at a high level, and has amazing athleticism to catch lobs and block shots.

It's not a guarantee that the Lakers will be able to land any of the aforementioned players, but they will certainly take a look at some, if not all, of the them this offseason since they need a center they can count on for the longevity of an NBA season, just like last year.
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