Los Angeles Lakers: centers

Countdown To Free Agency: The Bigs

June, 29, 2010
6/29/10
12:45
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Yesterday, I took a look at the potential -- and realistic -- free agent options at the guard spots for the Lakers this offseason. Part II tackles the forwards and centers on the market.

The list of bigs is shorter. The taller the player, the more money he generally stands to make. And the Lakers don't have much to toss around.

Still, with D.J. Mbenga and Josh Powell unlikely to return, Andrew Bynum's medical history and Derrick Caracter hardly a lock to make the team (much less a dent), a new reserve big is probably a must. Mitch Kupchak also noted the uncertain status of Luke Walton's back, meaning more than Devin Ebanks may be needed at the wing next season.

As a quick refresher, same rules as before. No restricted free agents the Lakers can't realistically make a play for make the list. No far-fetched scenarios where Chris Bosh lands in L.A. as a mid-level-exception sixth man, and no Bosh sign-and-trades, either. The scale of 1-10 grade assumes a reasonable contract, since an unreasonable one is highly unlikely. And finally, Shaq is not coming to L.A. for a plethora of reasons, so don't ask why he's not included.

SMALL FORWARDS

MATT BARNES

Matt Raoux/AP Photo
Matt Barnes can be a useful player. He can also go off the reservation at times.


POSITIVES: Fairly versatile. The Lakers could use small forward depth. Willing to defend. Adds toughness.

NEGATIVES: Sometimes appears to fancy himself a better three-point shooter than he actually is. Would get fewer minutes in L.A. than he probably wants. He and Lamar Odom may need to hash out differences. Often comes off like a stark raving loon. And it's not clear the Lakers really need to get tougher.

On a scale of 1-10, this signing is a . . . 6.5. On paper, Barnes sounds like a sensible pickup. But there is one issue I can't get past: Why is it a player of his caliber can't seem to stick anywhere? Is he difficult to coach? Bad in the locker room? Just one of those "solid but hardly irreplaceable" guys? I've always wondered about Barnes' permanent journeyman status and have asked a few people. They in turn had no answers, but also found it curious. Possibly much ado about nothing, but the situation nonetheless feels a little hinky to me.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 9.7
AssistsK. Marshall 8.8
StealsJ. Meeks 1.4
BlocksP. Gasol 1.5