Dave McMenamin reports the Lakers and Jodie Meeks have agreed to terms on a two-year deal worth around $3 million dollars, with the second year a team option. Mark Medina of the L.A. Times had previously reported Meeks, per his agent David Bauman, wouldn't accept a deal at the league minimum, which for a player of his experience comes out to about $916,000. One week later, a number agreeable for both sides was discovered. The Lakers get a young shooting guard with two years' worth of starting experience for a relative pittance. Meeks nearly doubles his salary from last season and gets to join a title chase.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
On Aug. 1, I provided a breakdown of Meeks as a player, so feel free to talk a walk down Memory Lane. In a nutshell, he provides a legitimate backup for Kobe Bryant (you might have noticed it hurt not having one last season), outside shooting, and youth. Three areas in short supply for the Lakers, and now fortified. Throw in some improving defense and his natural scoring instincts and it's hard to knock the latest drink order during what's evolved into a basketball version of an open bar.
What remains to be seen, however, is how the addition of Meeks affects the rest of the rotation and even the roster. For example, I thought there was a chance the reserve backcourt could be newly acquired Chris Duhon paired with Steve Blake playing off-ball. Clearly, that's no longer the case, meaning one will spell Steve Nash while the other mentors Darius Morris from a seat on the bench. For players with the mileage of Kobe and Nash, lowered minutes are always a goal, but often easier said than done. Meeks on hand makes the goal more realistic. He also complicates matters for a pair of kids lower on the food chain. The likelihood of both Andrew Goudelock and second-round draft pick Darius Johnson-Odom both making the team now feels non-existent. Depending on how many players the front office decides to keep, neither may end up a Laker when it's all said and done.
But the uncertain fate of those youngsters is about the only reason to feel bummed by this turn of events. Quite the summer for Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak, who've certainly earned their paychecks.