Indiana wanted some depth and athleticism in the wing behind likely starters Monta Ellis and Paul George, so they went out and traded for it.
Indiana has acquired Chase Budinger from the Timberwolves in a trade, reports Adrian Wojnaorski of Yahoo Sports.
I like this deal better for the Timberwolves.
You may not recognize the name Damjan Rudez but here’s what you should know: The guy can shoot the rock. He’s a 6’10” Croation who can play the three or stretch four, and shot 40 percent from three as a rookie last year playing 15 minutes a night. While the Timberwolves have depth at the three and four slots — Andrew Wiggins, Shabazz Muhammad, Kevin Garnett, Gorgui Dieng and others — you can never have enough shooting. Rudez is going to get some minutes and hit some buckets.
Budinger can shoot the ball, but he has lost some of his trademark athleticism after years of injuries, which limited him to 67 games last season. He averaged 6.8 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes a night when he did play, plus he shot almost 37 percent from three. That lack of athleticism has hurt Budinger’s defense as well in recent years.
However, near the end of the season (the last couple months) Budinger seemed to have some of his bounce back and with that was a pretty good player. In the final six weeks of the season, he averaged 12.3 points and shot 39 percent from three, playing 29 minutes a night. If that’s the guy the Pacers can get for an entire season this will be a good trade for them.
It’s just, with his injury history, it’s hard to bet on it.
In his Summer League debut, Robert Upshaw went out and battled, he stood toe-to-toe with No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns. While Towns had an impressive first Summer League game, the shot-blocking Upshaw got him once and finished the night with three blocks, two points, and six rebounds, playing 12 minutes.
That and what the Lakers saw in practices for Summer League is enough — they will bring Upshaw into training camp and he will get a shot to make the roster.
Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (and a Fresno guy, where Upshaw is from), broke the news. This will be a two-year deal with a partial guarantee the first year and no guarantee the second year, reports Baxter Holmes of ESPN, which means this is a training camp invite where the 7’2″ will get a chance to prove he should make the roster.
The Lakers will start Roy Hibbert at center and bring Robert Sacre in behind him, plus they are pretty stacked at the four spot with Julius Randle, Brandon Bass, Tarik Black and Larry Nance. The Lakers don’t need to sign another big for depth, so Upshaw is going to need to prove to the team he is worth keeping around to develop.
And that he has got his head screwed on correctly.
Potential was never the question for Upshaw — last season while at Washington he led the NCAA in blocked shots — but his off-the-court issues had him kicked off two college teams before he turned pro. Washington cut him loose mid-season last year. Those issues are the reason he went undrafted — no team even took a second-round gamble on him.
Upshaw has the tools to be a defensive and rebounding machine at the NBA level. However, he has a lot of work to do on his conditioning, the offensive side of his game, and he has to prove to Lakers brass he can be trusted.
He’s at least going to get that shot.
The Lakers missed the playoffs by 24 games last season.
Since, they’ve added D’Angelo Russell, Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Brandon Bass.
Is that enough to make a difference?
Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
I suppose the Lakers can hope for better health from Kobe Bryant, but he turns 37 next month and hasn’t played effectively or remained healthy in two years. Banking on more from him is a mistake.
And I don’t think that’s enough, anyway.
Even a healthy Kobe can’t carry a team like he used to, and his supporting cast is lacking. Plus, the Western Conference is ridiculously strong.
Phil Jackson recently lamented he wasn’t getting compared to Kupchak. I suspect that will change.
The Pacers are trying to play faster.
Out go Roy Hibbert, David West and Luis Scola.
In comes Jordan Hill
Sean Deveny of Sporting News:
It will still be tough for Indiana to adjust, but Hill is a pretty good fit for its desired new system.
He’s a good athlete, which serves him well on both ends of the floor. He’ll be an effective screener in the pick-and-roll with Monta Ellis, and he can switch defensively.
With Hibbert going to the Lakers, this is effectively a swap of centers. Hibbert is the better player, but Hill might be a better fit with the Pacers. And he’ll surely cost less.
The Lakers had a verbal agreement to acquire Roy Hibbert from the Pacers in the early days of free agency, but as we saw on Wednesday with DeAndre Jordan and the circus that played out between the Mavericks and the Clippers, deals like this are ultimately meaningless until the paperwork is signed.
L.A. and Indiana completed the deal on Thursday, and announced it via official release.
The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired center Roy Hibbert in a trade with the Indiana Pacers, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. In exchange the Pacers will receive a future second round pick.
“We’re happy to add a veteran big man to the roster,” said Kupchak. “Roy is a proven All-Star center that will help improve our front line. In addition he is a consummate professional and we look forward to having him on the team.”
Hibbert is in the final year of his contract, and for a Lakers team that missed out on guys like LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency, adding the former Pacers big man as a plan B while giving up basically nothing in return was a more than acceptable option.
The Lakers also formally announced the signings of Lou Williams and Brandon Bass, along with Anthony Brown, who was the 34th overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft.