The Los Angeles Lakers have taken a local approach to free agency this summer, and the fans don’t appear satisfied with the results thus far. The Lakers officially announced the signing of Jordan Farmar on Wednesday evening. Farmar originally confirmed that he had agreed to terms with the Lakers on July 9, but the team required more than a week to negotiate his release from Turkey.
Farmar represents another impressive signing by the Lakers’ front office after this offseason started with the disappointing departure of Dwight Howard. Credit to General Manager Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers have not sulked and stuttered following Howard’s decision. Farmar was only the latest player to take a pay cut in favor of joining the 16-time NBA champions.
Along with Farmar, the Lakers targeted other players with Los Angeles roots. Fellow LA-native Nick Young signed onto a two-year minimum contract--Young holds a player option in the second year. Young played his high school ball at Cleveland High School in Reseda before graduating to the University of Southern California. With Farmar’s UCLA and Taft High School past, the pair of Angelinos decided to join the Lakers instead of taking more money elsewhere. Both players admitted the city and the franchise played the deciding role in their respective decisions.
The Lakers also brought in Chris Kaman, who played eight seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers. Although none of the three signings may be viewed as marquee talents, all three players have ties to Los Angeles and promise to be contributing rotation players.
The Lakers’ fourth offseason signing was Wesley Johnson, a 26-year-old Texan out of Syracuse University. Although Johnson may not have history in the southland, he is a young athletic player with a few years under his belt. Johnson was with the Phoenix Suns for the 2012-13 season and is due to be introduced to the media at the Lakers’ practice facility on Thursday afternoon.
Considering Kobe Bryant is coming off a major surgery and Howard hopped out to Houston, the Lakers are not expected to be title contenders in the upcoming season. If Bryant can return healthy, however, the Lakers still have Pau Gasol and Steve Nash to go along with a deep bench further solidified by the return of Farmar--those guys aren't exactly slouches when healthy. With the supporting cast assembled, the upcoming season offers more promise than most expected upon Howard’s exit.
As weak as the Lakers’ bench was last season, their second unit entering the upcoming season suddenly features a formidable mix of youth, experience, and athleticism that was clearly lacking a season ago. Overall, the 2013-14 season promises to be less painful than the “Dwightmare” season that just passed, and Farmar’s presence provides the Lakers with another fan favorite on the floor.
Welcome back home, Jordan Farmar.