Who Will Be Lakers’ David Wests?
Looking for candidates willing to sign for the veteran minimum like David West did with the Warriors to win a couple of rings
Whether the Lakers spend all their cap space on a third superstar or pair of elite guards, they’re going to need multiple David Wests, capable rotation players willing to play for the vet minimum to pursue championship rings.
While the standard cliché says winning is everything, it’s rare to see an NBA player actually prove it like David West did, turning down a guaranteed $12.6 million dollar player option with the Indiana Pacers in July 2015 to embark upon a three-year journey playing for the $1.4 million vet minimum that happily ended up with him becoming a valuable contributor on two Golden State Warrior championship teams and ultimately winning a pair of rings.
As the Lakers head into free agency this summer, there’s no question they’ll be looking for their own David Wests, veteran players who’ve already made enough money in their careers, still have enough left in their gas tanks, and are willing to play for the vet minimum to win an NBA championship ring. They’re a special breed of player willing to sacrifice millions of dollars for the special thrill and ecstasy that comes with winning an NBA championship.
Here are five NBA vets who’ve made a lot of money but can still play, could fill valuable roles on the team, and might accept the vet minimum salary to sign with Lakers to make their dreams come true and win a championship ring:
- Brook Lopez. While the Lakers would love to bring back the 31-year old Lopez, they’re not going to spend scarce cap or room exception dollars on a center when they need guards. Brook had a terrific year, averaging 12.5/4.9/1.2 and shooting 36.5% from deep. But the opportunity to return to the Lakers, possibly start on a team with LeBron and AD, and win a few rings might be enough to lure Splash Mountain to come home.
2018/19 Earnings: $3,382,000, Career Earnings: $117,423,487
- Derrick Rose. While he no longer has the otherworld athleticism of the years when he was an MVP candidate and one of the league’s best players, Derrick Rose can still ball and it’s hard to believe he’s just 30-years old. After resurrecting his career with the Timberwolves last season, averaging 18.0/2.7/4.3 and shooting 37% from deep, Derrick could be a starter or backup point guard on the Lakers and win multiple championship rings. 2018/19 Earnings: $2,176,260, Career Earnings: $120,418,866
- Rudy Gay. After a miraculous recovery from a torn Achilles, 32-year old Rudy Gay posted his best year ever as a shooter, hitting 50.4/40.2/81.6% while averaging 13.7/6.8/2.6 for the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers could offer Rudy the opportunity be a key contributor on a championship team as LeBron James’ backup at small forward and chance to earn the only thing that’s missing from his resume: multiple NBA championship rings. 2018/19 Earnings: $10,087,200, Career Earnings: $124,025,870
- Rajon Rondo. The Lakers need a backup point guard and the 33-year old Rajon Rondo would be a perfect fit considering he has played with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Rondo averaged 9.2/5/3/8.0 and shot 35.9% from deep last season. While his defense is no longer elite or good, his leadership and playmaking could make him the perfect candidate to be the Lakers’ backup point guard if he is wiling to return for the minimum. 2018/19 Earnings: $9,000,000, Career Earnings: $88,622,794
- Trevor Ariza. Another former Laker whom the team would love to see return is 33-year old Trevor Ariza, who had a so-so season after being traded to the Washington Wizards, averaging 12.5/5.4/3.7 and shooting just 32.2% from deep. Trevor may be on the downside of his career but can still play and would be an excellent backup for LeBron James if he were willing to come back home to the Lakers for the veteran minimum. 2018/19 Earnings: $15,000,000, Career Earnings: $74,994,477