Antawn Jamison has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum to play for the Los Angeles Lakers, reuniting him with his former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Brown.
Jamison’s deal with the Lakers was a bit of a surprise since many thought he would choose the Charlotte Bobcats because he is from North Carolina, where he played high school and college basketball. The Brooklyn Nets also made a bid to get his services as they try to assemble another super power in the Eastern Conference.
But, it’s apparent Jamison clearly wants to pursue a championship, and L.A.’s championship hopes were bolstered by the acquisition of Steve Nash through a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns.
Jamison had a good season as a starter for the Cavaliers this past season, averaging 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds. For his career, Jamison has been a consistent player, usually on bad teams such as Golden State and Washington. He has a career scoring average of 19.5.
A lot of people might not like the decision because Jamison doesn’t play defense, but that isn’t the biggest need for the Lakers. The Lakers improved their team defense in their first year under Brown. Jamison will most likely come off the bench for the Lakers, something he did in 2003-04 when he was a member of the Dallas Mavericks (he averaged 14.8 points for the Mavs).
The Lakers are hoping Jamison can bring some much-needed scoring punch. Matt Barnes was the leading scorer off the bench last season and offense isn’t Barnes’ forte. Jamison is an instant upgrade to their bench and he can be the main guy on the second unit, plus he can come in and relieve Pau Gasol at power forward and play with the starters and help stretch the defense with his outside shooting.
If the Lakers decide to go all out in their pursuit of Dwight Howard, they could offer Andrew Bynum and Gasol for Howard and another contract — possibly Hedo Turkoglu or Jason Richardson. They could start Jamison at PF and his perimeter game could be a nice complement to Howard’s inside game. That’s if the Lakers decide to include Gasol in the deal, but they haven’t to this point. They seem intent on getting a third team involved that can offer young talent and draft picks to the Magic.
In any case, Jamison has helped improve the Lakers’ chances of getting back to the NBA Finals.
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Send him an email at [email protected]