- The L.A. Lakers are bringing back four players who have donned the Purple and Gold in the past.
- Los Angeles now has a total of 8 players with contracts and none of them are aged 32 or above.
- The Lakers became the new odds on favorite to win the 2022 NBA championship after the Russell Westbrook trade.
There’s no doubt that the Los Angeles Lakers are going for all the marbles this season.
While the other NBA teams are balancing their rosters with young players for the future and veterans to help them win in the current scenario, the Lakers have started filling out their vacancies by adding veteran players.
None of the Lakers’ day one signees was younger than 32 years old and two of them have championship experience which means that Los Angeles is trying to maximize LeBron James remaining productive seasons.
Lakers Went Signing Former Lakers
— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 3, 2021
While teams like the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls went for the big free agents in Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball, respectively, the Lakers spent the opening day of free agency signing players very familiar to the purple and gold. The 2020 champions signed four free agents who at one point in their careers have played for them.
First on the list was big man Dwight Howard, whose defensive presence was a major factor in the team’s 2020 title run. Howard spent the previous season in Philadelphia but is now back for another title run with the Lakers. The second ex-Laker signed was Trevor Ariza who was part of the Lakers’ 2009 title team. Ariza averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Miami Heat last season.
Next to reunite with the Purple and Gold was Wayne Ellington who played for the Lakers during the 2014-15 season. Ellington averaged 9.6 points per game while shooting 42% from three-point range last season for the Detroit Pistons. Finally, the Lakers reclaimed Kent Bazemore shot a career-high 40.8% from deep while scoring 7.2 points per game for the Golden State Warriors.
Lakers Jump Ahead of the Nets in the Oddsboards
As a result of the Russell Westbrook trade, the Lakers have jump ahead of the Nets as title favorites for the 2021-2022 NBA season, according to @SportsBettingAG:
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) July 30, 2021
After the Westbrook trade, the Lakers jumped on the Nets and became the new odds on favorite to win the 2022 NBA championship. Online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag now has the Purple and Gold as the 3/1 odds on favorite to win it all next season with the Brooklyn Nets coming in second at 13/4 and the current 2021 champions Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors in third spot at 9/1 each.
The Lakers entered the free agency period with only four contracts in LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, and Westbrook. With the addition of Howard, Ariza, Ellington, and Bazemore, Los Angeles still needs to sign seven more players to complete their roster. Having seen their opening day of free agency signings, you can expect the Lakers to add more players who can contribute to their win-now mode.
Los Angeles has been on a win-now mode since acquiring LeBron James three seasons ago. With time no longer an ally of King James, the Lakers have tried to build a roster that is focused on the present rather than the future after James missed the playoffs in 2019 with a young but talented team. It worked in 2020 when they won it all but injuries saw them exit in the first round during the 2021 playoffs.