By Tim Peterson
When the dust settles the Lakers end up with Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng and Jordan Clarkson. That and a couple of hundred bucks will get you to the playoffs.
The only way the Lakers are getting to the post season is if they buy a ticket. Nobody was looking at Mozgov for ten million let alone 64. This guy couldn’t even get on the court last year for Cleveland. He’s a back up center. Yeah, the Lakers are paying $16 million a year for a back up.
And what’s really concerning is that Mozgov was their first call. When the clock struck midnight on July 1, Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss were on the phone to Mozgov’s agent. They didn’t call Al Horford first or Miami’s Hassan Whiteside. No, they went straight after Mozgov.
It’s gotten so bad around Lakerland lately that the feeling was that if Whiteside and Horford turned the Lakers down, (which they would have) then Mozgov would already be gone. And my feeling is so what? So you miss out on a 30-year old back up that is coming off knee surgery and averaged six points and four rebounds last year. What’s the problem?
The problem is that Jim Buss has no idea what he’s doing. Do you know that Buss once told reporters that he would sign LeBron James in 2014, Kevin Love in 2015 and Kevin Durant in 2016? Durant wouldn’t even agreee to talk to the Lakers. Oops! Apparently what Buss really meant was that his big three was Mozgov, Deng and Clarkson.
The Lakers had to sign Clarkson at that point after everybody else turned them down. The embarrassement of losing their own player would have been too much to bear, so they coughed up their 50 million.
Luol Deng is good…well was good…about five years ago. His best days were in Chicago and he was pedestrian at best last year with Miami averaging 12 points per game – which was his lowest since his rookie season back in 2004-’05. In the Lakers eyes pedestrian is worth $72 million.
The truth is the Lakers wouldn’t have given Mozgov a second thought if they would have drafted center Jalil Okafor last June instead of the erratic, immature D’Angelo Russell. You don’t like Okafor? Don’t think he’s ready? Ok, well he averaged over 17 points and seven rebounds last year – nearly three times as many points as Mr. Mozgov.
Every draft evalaution out there has the Mozgov deal as the worst of all of the free agent acquisitions. Even Laker insiders or those “in the know” were blindsided by this 64 million dollar disaster.
Happy Fourth of July. Go out and celebrate with fireworks. There won’t be any fireworks for the Lakers for a long time to come.
That’s my principle.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tspeterson40.