Basketball

3 Potential Free Agents the Lakers Must Keep

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The Lakers have some key players who are free agents next year. Securing those players is as important as acquiring new ones.

Some popular names that Lakers fans want to see come back next haven’t been included because they aren’t free agents this season. Names like Austin Reaves and Stanley Johnson, have not been considered.

The Play-Ins were not the target for the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s a consequence of a terrible season with a poorly constructed roster.

The Lakers roster has been getting a lot of heat, but within that roster, there are some great players. Some have had a great season, and others have not been used enough.

Here are three players, who will be free agents, the Lakers must keep next season:

1. Malik Monk

No surprise here, but securing Malik Monk for another year will be one of the most important moves the Lakers could make.

Monk is averaging 13.1 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.9 rebounds. He has added the need for scoring outside of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook.

He’s got 17 games this regular season scoring between 20-29 points, and one 33 point game.

Monk is so important and will be a valuable team member if he re-signs. He is one of the Lakers’ better three-point shooters, shooting 38.9% from three on 5.7 attempts.

He’s of course more than just a three-point shooter, Monk can create his shot and get to the rim. Lakers fans have been seeing him and James play great of each other whether it is on the fastbreak or in a half-court setting.

Malik Monk dunk against Philadelphia 76ers

He makes plays that can change the momentum of a game in the Lakers’ favor, whether it is a big dunk or a much-needed shot.

Now, resigning Monk is easier said than done. The way he’s played this season, he will have many NBA teams offering him a much better contract than he’s currently on.

Getting a player of Monk’s caliber on a minimum deal is like striking gold. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they weren’t able to have the season they envisioned with him.

During the season, James said: “Not many teams came calling. I’m happy that when we came calling, he chose us.” He also mentioned wanting to trade for him the season before.

Is there a chance that Monk believes his best chance of winning is with James and takes a lower deal from the Lakers?

It is not impossible.

2. Dwight Howard

This may be a surprise to some Lakers fans, but having a backup five of the quality and experience of Dwight Howard is so vital.

The Lakers cannot make the same mistake of thinking their centers are interchangeable with any in the league.

If Davis plays the five more next year, Howard is one of the best centers to bring off the bench.

He injects energy and passion into the lineup which the Lakers need. Howard is only averaging 15 minutes per game this season, 5.5 points, and 5.7 rebounds.

Highlights from the recent Dwight Howard game against the Philadelphia 76ers

The Lakers made a mistake letting him go to Philadelphia last year, and you could argue they made the same mistake with Andre Drummond. Howard can still give quality minutes in a championship team.

Ask yourself, if the Lakers let him go, what other centers can they get who can do what Howard does or better. He understands his role and how it may change game by game.

3. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony has been having a great season. Like Monk, he’s provided much-needed scoring off the bench.

Anthony is averaging 13.6 points, 1 assist, and 4.2 rebounds. He’s also shooting 38.7% from three on 5.9 attempts.

He is one of the best scorers the game has ever seen, and he shows it in his 19th season.

Anthony gets buckets, he’s still got a great mid-range game, and gets to his spots well. Often when he’s given the ball in the post, the opposition sends help, allowing us to move to the ball for a better shot.

The only negative about him is his defense. He’s a very bad defender.

That will not change next season, however, with the scoring, he gives the team off the bench you can live with that.

The Lakers’ defense has been a massive issue this season, and they need to make moves to change that. Not resigning Anthony isn’t the answer, he is vital to their offense.

At age 37, he is still one of the more clutch players in the league. He’s experienced and isn’t afraid of the big moment, there shouldn’t be any doubt on whether or not to resign him.

Carmelo Anthony clutch three for Lakers

The Lakers have a lot of work to do regarding their roster if they want to be a contender next year. The good news is there are solid foundations the team can build on.

Resigning Monk, Howard, and Anthony would be a great start.

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