Shannon Brown is expected to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers within the week, a source told our sister site NBA News and Rumors. Keeping Brown around would be an eventful ending to a surprisingly active off-season for the defending champions, who have made more additions than most thought possible given their cap situation.
Brown will likely resume the same role with the Lakers as he had last season, however, he may see less time at the point guard with Steve Blake now in town, whom is more reliable than Jordan Farmar, the player Shannon battled with for playing time at that spot last year. Brown will get most of his minutes at the two guard but it will obviously be in a back-up role. Shannon is also one of the few athletic players on the Lakers and was a necessary re-addition for LA so they could have at least one threat in transition that isn’t a big man. Also, do you really think Sasha Vujacic could back up Kobe for a full season? You don’t want Bryant playing 40 minutes a night, do you?
Shannon is most effective when attacking the basket but his long jumper has become increasingly better over the course of his career and he hit over 40% of his 16-23 footers last season. From three-point land, he isn’t good, but he can hit the occasional triple when he is left open on the wing. Defensively, Shannon is billed as above average. I haven’t really seen that side of him during his time with the Lakers (other than his athletic blocks) but perhaps one more year under Phil Jackson will get him going. He’s got the size, strength and athletic ability, but he lacks the proper decision making and takes too many risks for my likely.
Here’s a look at the Lakers’ depth chart after this signing:
Point Guard: Derek Fisher, Steve Blake, Shannon Brown
Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant, Shannon Brown, Sasha Vujacic
Small Forward: Ron Artest, Matt Barnes, Luke Walton, Devin Ebanks (non-active)
Power Forward: Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derrick Caracter (non-active)
Center: Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol, Theo Ratliff
After going through two season with no bench, the Lakers now have a starting quality back-up point guard (Blake), an athletic combo guard that can score on the break and defend smaller guards (Brown), a defensive stopper and a quality shooter behind Artest (Barnes), the game’s most versatile big man (Odom), a 15-year veteran who does all the little things and is ready to play when he’s asked to (Ratliff), and two second round draft picks that both look like first round talents.
If either of them get a shot on the active roster, add in another defensive specialist and improving outside shooter (Ebanks) and a big power forward with great post moves and good motor assuming he continues to slim down as he as since the end of the school year (Caracter). And if the Lakers get anything out of Luke Walton, who’s back issues are a serious problem and may cost him a season of NBA ball, that’s an added plus. Its often forgotten but Walton is a perfect fit for the triangle. The only skill that the triangle normally requires that he lacks is a consistent three-point shot but he is an excellent passer and decision maker to make up for it and he showed during the Finals that he can even defend top scoring options in stretches (he did a great job on Pierce when he was in).
A source also told NBA News and Rumors that the Lakers are trying to pair Sasha Vujacic with a first round pick and deal the package in order to clear Sasha’s salary. Their return will likely be nothing more than a second round pick but it will save them close to $10 million in cap space (Vujacic’s salary counts double because the Lakers are over the luxury tax). Brown’s re-signing will likely mean the end of the Lakers’ off-season but there is a very small chance LA could also acquire Tracy McGrady. But again, that is a very small chance.
Still, adding McGrady isn’t something the Lakers need to do. They’re defending champs and their one weakness just got fixed. Things are good in Laker land.