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Category: Free agent profile

Free agent profile: Carlos Arroyo

This is the 32nd post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.

Point guard Carlos Arroyo

Type of free agent: unrestricted

Positives: Arroyo, 32, a nine-year veteran who last season played 49 games with the Miami Heat and 15 with the Boston Celtics, wouldn't cost much, and he would feel comfortable and experienced enough to run an offense. This would by no means be a splash signing, and wouldn't fully address the Lakers' point guard needs. But with the Lakers strapped financially and looking at a market that doesn't have many promising point guards, this might be one of the "tweaks" the Lakers could get in the lineup. For the past three seasons, Arroyo has eclipsed his career shooting mark. He can handle the ball. He's solid in promoting good ball movement and finding the open man. Mix all of those ingredients together, and you at least have a steady option to lower to some degree the minutes logged by Derek Fisher and Steve Blake. 

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Free agent profile: Nick Young

This is the 31st post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.

Washington Wizards guard Nick Young

Type of free agent: restricted

Positives: Fans seeing Young drop 60 pounds in a Drew League game know the dude can play. The Washington Post's Michael Lee notes there aren't many shots Young can't hit, whether it's a long-distance bomb or an off-balanced shot against two defenders. The Lakers should know this by now. After all, the USC product is a Lakers killer, averaging 25 points per game on 48.7% shooting, eight points above his season average. The Lakers are in need of a wing player besides Kobe Bryant who can score in bunches, and Young would perfectly fill that void.

Negatives: There's one problem - Young offers nothing else in value besides scoring. He also only performed consistently for the Wizards when he was given a starting spot and more security when his shot selection became questionable. Those are two luxuries Young likely won't have as much leeway with the Lakers, so it'd be too reactionary to think he could duplicate what he did in Washington again in L.A.

Verdict: The Wizards have already tendered a $3.7 million qualifying offer to Young, meaning Washington has the right to match any offer. Young would probably be more affordable than some of the other shooting guards on the market, but the Lakers should find other ways to entice him while keeping the cost down. Young has local connections and is even spending his summer out here. He also was featured  in a spread in Edge Magazine where he calls himself the "best dressed man in the NBA." For pure branding purposes, Young would likely feel enticed to listen to what the Lakers offer. 


Free agent profile: Tayshaun Prince

Free agent profile: Chris Wilcox

Free-agent profile: Jeff Foster

---Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Free agent profile: Tayshaun Prince

35074603This is the 30th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.

Player: Detroit Pistons small forward Tayshaun Prince

Type of free agent: Unrestricted

Positives: He brings championship experience, being a part of the Pistons' 2004 NBA championship team that broke up a Lakers dynasty. A a nine-year veteran, Prince's 14.1 points per game on 47.3% shooting last season pretty much mirrors his career totals (12.9 points on 46.4% shooting). And his services as a dependable wing defender would surely be an upgrade for  the Lakers. 

Negatives: The most immediate concern involves how Prince would handle playing for John Kuester again. Kuester was fired after compiling a 57-107 record through two seasons, a tenure that entailed plenty of instances in which players had issues with him. One of those players was Prince, who had a heated exchange with Kuester last season after Prince didn't fight through a double screen in a regular season game. Prince also questioned Kuester's coaching when the team started 0-4. With Kuester now an assistant coach with the Lakers, it's only natural to wonder if they'd be able to patch things up.

Another concern points to how he'd do as a reserve. He may seek an option where he could command a starter's role, something that isn't realistic with the Lakers. He may accept coming off the bench, but it remains to be seen if he'd be as productive.

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Free agent profile: Chris Wilcox

This is the 29th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.

Detroit Pistons power forward Chris Wilcox

Type of free agent: Unrestricted

Positives: Wilcox showed last season with Detroit that he can be productive. His 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game were remarkably efficient, considering he averaged only 17.5 minutes per night. Since the Lakers are pretty stacked at power forward with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, Wilcox's value would be only to make sure the Lakers can hold the fort in case an injury happens and to keep them rested. 

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Free-agent profile: Jeff Foster

Jeff FosterThis is the 28th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.

Indiana Pacers center Jeff Foster

Type of free agent: Unrestricted

Positives: The answer to the question of why Lakers forward Ron Artest likes Foster so much is pretty simple. He brings front-court toughness, as indicated by his hard fouls in the first round of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. He hustles on the glass. He fights for loose balls. He wants to win.

All of those qualities should prove valuable enough for a player who wouldn't command heavy minutes playing behind Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, but Foster would be a necessary presence in providing the intense practices Bynum and Gasol need. He's also proved he can defend perimeter players on the wing and at the basket, so if the Lakers suffer a breakdown defending the pick-and-roll, Foster can cover those lapses. 

Negatives: Foster's athleticism has diminished as he continues fighting injuries. Last season, he only appeared in 26 games because of various health issues, hardly something the Lakers can absorb.

One only has to look at how Theo Ratliff's prolonged absence after only eight games into the season exposed the Lakers' inability to handle the loss of Bynum for 24 games as he completed rehab on his surgically repaired right knee. Should Bynum suffer another injury, Foster could be solid enough to command more minutes, but it remains unclear if his health would hold up.

Verdict: The Lakers need to give Foster a call. It's unlikely he'll command a heavy salary, and he's one of the better options available on the free-agent market.


Free-agent profile: Earl Watson

Free-agent profile: Marco Belinelli

Free-agent profile: Aaron Gray

-- Mark Medina

Photo: Pacers center Jeff Foster elevates between Lakers guards Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant for a layup in the fourth quarter of a regular-season game in January 2009. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Free agent profile: Earl Watson

This is the 27th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.

Utah Jazz point guard Earl Watson

Type of free agent: Unrestricted

Positives: Lakers Coach Mike Brown has often touted how he'll hold players accountable next season, particularly on defense. Whether or not you believe Brown will actually be able to do that with a veteran-laden team, there's a real practical concern on how much Kobe Bryant actually plays. He's normally played the center-field position in hopes that it preserves his legs, but he won't have that luxury if he doesn't have another shooting guard to fill that spot. That's where Watson fits in, whose main strength in his 10-year NBA career points to his defensive tenacity.

Universally, the main concern during this offseason reflects how they're going to address their point guard spot. But having Watson's consistent defense could at least offset that problem in areas including defending speedy point guards and closing out on outside shooters. Because Bryant's fatigue levels and health will continue to be an ongoing concern, Watson's presence could eat into Bryant's minutes when the team needs to make a defensive stop and preserve Bryant's overall energy since he won't have to worried as much on playing defense. 

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Free agent profile: Marco Belinelli

Marco Belinelli

This is the 26th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.

New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Marco Belinelli

Type of free agent: Unrestricted

Positives: The Lakers need three-point shooting and Belinelli certainly provides it. He has shot 42.7% from three-point range,  has a history of making clutch baskets and provides an incredible work ethic. Belinelli certainly has limitations outside of his shooting stroke, but the Lakers are looking for a decent backup shooting guard, not someone who can start. Because of all those qualities, Belinelli would certainly be content with that role.

Negatives: Belinelli doesn't have much strength in any other areas outside of shooting, so his actual value is pretty limited. But even Belinelli has shown that his shooting consistency can remain suspect throughout the season. It'd be risky to bring in a perceived strong outside shooter only to see him get in a shooting slump.

Lakers fans well remember that Steve Blake and Shannon Brown experienced similar issues last season. Blake responded to his slump with such tentativeness that even Kobe Bryant was saying he needed to shoot more. Despite constant pleas from Phil Jackson's coaching staff to shoot less, Brown actually responded in the exact opposite fashion. Belinelli very well may make the proper adjustments, but it's in the Lakers' interest to find a consistent outside shooter instead of a streaky outside shooter. 

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Free-agent profile: Aaron Gray

Aaron Gray

This is the 25th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes particular players and how they might fit in with the Lakers.

New Orleans Hornets center Aaron Gray

Type of free agent: Unrestricted

Positives: The Lakers only have to look back at their first-round series against New Orleans to know why he'd help. As a backup center, Gray scored a season-high 12 points in the Hornets' 109-100 Game 1 victory over the Lakers and played a role in Pau Gasol putting up a listless effort. Even after spraining his ankle late in Game 1, Gray returned in Game 2 and provided a quick four rebounds and two points in the first quarter in the wake of Emeka Okafor's early foul trouble. Remember, the criteria in measuring Gray's worth to the Lakers fall into how he'd do as a backup to Andrew Bynum.

Under that standard, Gray could provide a solid 10 minutes of relief, thanks to his size (7 feet, 270 pounds), dependable rebounding skills (4.2 per game last season in 13 minutes) and solid defense when he remains close to the basket and bruises with other post players.  

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Free agent profile: Michael Redd


This is the 24th post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes a particular player and how he might fit in with the Lakers.

Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Michael Redd

Type of free agent: Unrestricted

Positives: Redd has proven to be a solid three-point shooter with a career 38.3% mark. Redd may not provide much on defense and athleticism, but his arrival would fill an immediate need in the Lakers' backcourt, which would then make it easier for Kobe Bryant to find open looks and for the likes of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to receive better post touches. Because he's 32 and coming off three seasons where he's been plagued by injuries, the market value could be pretty low.

Since the Lakers are strapped financially because of an uncertain collective bargaining agreement and long-term contracts on their core players, finding an effective shooter at a cheap rate would be a realistic option in bolstering the team's lineup. 

Negatives: As mentioned with his previous injury history, Redd has played in only 61 games over the last three seasons, and his shooting has dipped ever since his return to the court. Redd averaged at least 21 points per game from the 2003-2008 before tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee in January 2009. Nine months later, Redd returned only to reinjure both ligaments less than a year after the original injury and remained sidelined for 14 months. In the Bucks' final 10 games, Redd averaged only 4.4 points on 40% shooting and 23.5% from three-point range. It's unlikely Redd can ever restore his pre-injury shooting levels, and that's assuming he stays healthy.

Verdict: This would be a good move depending on what Redd is actually looking for in free agency. There are plenty of contending teams, including the Celtics, who are looking for a quality three-point shooter at a basement busting price. But because the market for quality shooters remain high, Redd could find himself with long-term and pricey offers. The Lakers can't afford to get in that race, but they're able to sign Redd at a discounted sale, then he's definitely worth it.


Free agent profile: Craig Smith

Free agent profile: T.J. Ford

Free-agent profile: Peja Stojakovic

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant drives around Bucks guard Michael Redd in the first half of a regular-season game in 2008. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times / December 7, 2008

Free agent profile: Craig Smith

Craig Smith

This is the 23rd post in a series of free-agent profiles that analyzes a particular player and how he might fit in with the Lakers.

Clippers forward Craig Smith

Type of free agent: Unrestricted

Positives: Smith earned the nickname "Rhino" during his two-year stint with the Clippers because of his bruising presence, his knack for grabbing offensive rebounds and for his agility in creating his own post moves around the basket despite his bulky size. Because the Lakers are stacked at power forward  with Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, Smith wouldn't get much playing time. But he's remarkably efficient when he plays in short bursts, exactly what the Lakers would need in at least providing support in case Gasol and Odom get hurt or they need a breather. 

Smith is also an intense practice player, which would do wonders for a team that admitted that efforts in practices were lacking last season because many played paced themselves because of injuries or fatigue. Add the fact that it wouldn't take too much to entice the Fairfax High product to stay in his hometown, and it appears Smith would be a good fit. 

Negatives: Smith has a pretty extensive injury history, including a herniated disk in his lower back and nerve damage in his right leg that kept him sidelined for part of last season. His practice intensity also sometimes comes with a price; he has hurt teammates with his bruising style. And despite his power, Smith is limited defensively because of his size and his sub-par conditioning. 

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