The Los Angeles Lakers were busy on the first day of NBA free agency.
NBA free agency officially began on Thursday at 3:00PM PT and the Lakers didn't waste any time, making a flurry of moves within the first few hours that players were allowed to agree to deals.
Last year at this time, the Lakers signed a bunch of aging veterans to deals. Having the oldest roster in the NBA blew up in the team's face last season. As several players spent most of the year injured, and the Lakers finished in 11th place in the Western Conference, missing out on the NBA playoffs entirely.
This time around it seems the Lakers learned from their mistakes.
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L.A. agreed to terms with Lonnie Walker IV, Damian Jones, Troy Brown Jr., and Juan Toscano-Anderson on Thursday, adding much-needed youth, athleticism, and length to the roster.
Walker, 23, spent the last four seasons under future Hall of Fame head coach Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists last year.
Jones, 27, spent last season with the Sacramento Kings. Fans may remember Jones from his short stint with the team two seasons ago when he signed a pair of 10-day contracts before being released.
Brown, 22, played with the Chicago Bulls last season and proved to be a formidable wing defender.
Toscano-Anderson, 29, is coming off a championship season with the Golden State Warriors, and is only the second Mexican American basketball player ever to win an NBA title.
Despite the additions, the Lakers also lost a pivotal player from last season's squad.
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Malik Monk, 24, proved to be a bright spot for the Lake Show last season, averaging a career-high 13.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and three assists in his first year with the purple and gold. The Lakers wanted to keep Monk, but were only able to offer him the taxpayer midlevel exception. Monk instead choose to sign with the Sacramento Kings on a two-year, $19 million deal that gives him a significant pay raise.
Now that the Lakers have gotten younger and more athletic, they will turn their attention to outside shooting. Something they could potentially address in a deal for disgruntled Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving.
The Lakers reportedly made multiple sign-and-trade offers to the Nets for Irving over the last week, but the chances of the mercurial guard coming to L.A. seemed all but gone when he opted-in to the final year of his contract with Brooklyn.
However, everything changed on Thursday morning when Kevin Durant requested a trade from Brooklyn. Durant's eventual departure will create a seismic shift in the NBA landscape, and will likely mean the Nets are headed for a rebuild around Ben Simmons. That makes Irving now expendable, and he too will likely be traded in the coming days.
Can the Lakers offer a package enticing enough to send Irving to L.A. and Russell Westbrook somewhere else? Only time will tell…