Lakers May Target Big Man Veterans Nemanja Bjelica

Nemanja Bjelica (right) of the Warriors


Nemanja Bjelica (right) of the Warriors

It’s not a name that can make Lakers fans swoon or send LA’s NBA championship odds skyrocketing. But the Lakers are seen as contenders for a big guy who will wear the most recent championship ring for purple and gold: Warriors free agent center Nemanja Bjelica.

Bjelica is 34 years old and won’t be the team’s first choice as an additional major — they’re hoping to stay younger this season. But he’s 6-foot-10 and has the ability to take out 3-pointers, which the Lakers want from a big guy playing alongside Anthony Davis. Bjelica played 71 games, averaging 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 16.1 minutes for Golden State.

He generated 36.2% of his 3s last year and has made 38.4% from arcs in his career.

The Athletic’s Jovan Buha has Bjelica among his potentials for Lakers targets when he enters free agent.

NBA Exec: ‘Beggars cannot become choosers’

There is some consensus around the NBA that the Lakers want to add a big guy with some shooting skills.

“They just have so much they can offer that they’re looking for people with minimum contracts,” said a Western Conference general manager. “It’s a no-choice beggar market for them, so you have to find guys who can fit certain roles and do them well for a limited time. Bjelica is a prime example of that because he can go in and cover the floor. Look at the personnel they have — they need shooters. Especially if you can get a big guy who can shoot, that’s one of their priorities, I say. “

The Lakers have no real options in their roster up front other than Davis. Power forward Wenyen Gabriel is the only major player left under contract for next season, and he is not expected to play a major role. With a committed salary of nearly $150 million, the Lakers have little room to maneuver this summer, with only the mid-tier taxpayer exception ($6.4 million) and minimal contracts. minimum available.

It is unlikely that last year’s reserve centre-back, Dwight Howard, will return to the team this season.

Steve Kerr praises Bjelica

Warriors coach Steve Kerr hasn’t used Bjelica much during the team’s championship campaign — he has six DNPs post-season and only plays 10.0 minutes per game in more than 15 games — but Kerr is a fan. Big respect for what Bjelica brought to last year’s roster in the regular season. The fact that he scored for us is very welcome, but so is his passing ability.

The Lakers haven’t had the type of attacking midfielder that can shoot in recent years.

“That’s the beauty of our team this year, we were built to take advantage of four-on-three,” Kerr said. “Bjelica is truly a basketball player’s hell. We’ve all watched him stretch the floor and be a pick-and-pop 3-point shooter, but he’s shown what he is in terms of his ability to pass, dribble and execute. When you get 4v3 with guys like Draymond [Green](Bjelica), Andre [Iguodala], play with gunners like Jordan Poole and Damion Lee, Otto Porter, you will get good shots wherever you are. Steph is a guy who creates every advantage, then we have a team that can take advantage of that this year. “ Lakers May Target Big Man Veterans Nemanja Bjelica

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