The Los Angeles Lakers used their final roster spot during the 2020-21 season on Ben McLemore after the guard was waived by the Houston Rockets. While his defensive issues prevented him from being a consistent part of the rotation, Frank Vogel never hesitated to go to him when the team needed a scoring punch.
McLemore shot 36.8% from three during his time in L.A., just above his career average, appearing in 25 total games. Now, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. And while it’s unlikely a player like McLemore receives anything more than the veteran minimum, it’s still a question of whether or not he and the Lakers will come to an agreement.
McLemore spoke about his short tenure with the Lakers and how he felt things went despite the disappointing ending. “They gave me a great opportunity to be here and be a part of this great organization. I did exactly what they expected me to do and you know we definitely had high expectations obviously last night was tough and it’s going to be tough for a while, but this is a great organization that has bounced back from things like this before.”
When asked if he wants to come back with the team next season, McLemore had a bit of hesitation in his answer.
“Um, we’ll see,” he said. “You know it’s a business. We’ll see how things go, but obviously my time here was amazing. I appreciate Rob and Frank giving me the opportunity to be on this great big platform with the Lakers and playing with these group of guys, it was amazing.”
The Lakers sharpshooter is one of the free agents that is most likely to be playing elsewhere next season. Players like McLemore — who has spent the last few years playing diminished roles on championship contenders — generally value opportunities to play.
It would be understandable if McLemore went searching for a team that could give him more consistent minutes. However, if he does value championships more than a defined role, then he could very well be back with the Lakers.
Much like many of the other Lakers free agents, the team and the fans are stuck in “wait and see” mode with almost two months before the start of free agency.
Pelinka says shooting is top priority
Lakers general manager and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka is going to be aggressive when it comes to improving the Lakers roster. He spoke about potential changes that may need to happen, saying that shooting is the top priority.
“You can never have enough shooting so it’s something that’s always at the top of our mind when we’re building and constructing a roster. I think it’s important too, part of successful shooting is having special players that create the shooting space and for us, that comes primarily from LeBron and Anthony.”
Perhaps McLemore is a part of that equation, but maybe Pelinka is looking elsewhere as well.
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