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Josh McRoberts signing helps, but Lakers must do more

December 14, 2011 |  9:04 am

Josh McRoberts goes up against Pau Gasol
The Lakers took the first step in adding depth to their frontcourt.

But it's only a small step.

The Lakers signed free-agent power forward Josh McRoberts for two years and about $6.2 million, constituting all the team's mini mid-level exception money. Considering Lamar Odom's trade to Dallas and Andrew Bynum's five-game suspension to open the season, McRoberts presence could actually land him a roster spot. His averages of 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes for the Indiana Pacers last season also suggests he could throw down similar numbers for the Lakers.

This signing, however, far from constitutes the "big moves" Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak envisions. This simply adds more pieces to the Lakers' reserve unit, an area that still remains flimsy with Odom's absence and Derrick Caracter requiring surgery for torn cartilage in his left knee.

He may shoot left-handed and have the ability to play at both power forward and center, but McRoberts won't even come close to replicating what Odom provided. He lacks offensive moves, other than creating points off fast-breaks, rebounds and hustle plays. He's not considered a strong defender, though he's not considered a bad one either. McRoberts is simply a solid bench player that provides some cushion, but by no means is he a legitimate heavy-rotation player.

That's OK. The Lakers at least have another trade chip and another legitimate forward. But their job isn't done. The Times' Mike Bresnahanreports that the Lakers are continuing discussions with Orlando about Dwight Howard and New Orleans about Chris Paul, though it appears nothing is imminent. What remains on the front-burner, however, is the need for Kupchak to land a "big deal" or two as soon as possible. The Lakers' title hopes hinge on it. 


Lakers gain a power forward, lose a power forward

— Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers forward Pau Gasol and Indiana Pacers forward Josh McRoberts go after a rebound during a game in March 2010. McRoberts signed with the Lakers on Tuesday. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times / March 2, 2011)