After a tumultuous season that included three suspensions in Miami and a trade to Memphis, veteran guard Dion Waiters is currently on waivers. When he goes unclaimed on Tuesday, he’ll be free to sign with any team except the Heat, and it sounds like the Lakers may have some interest.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are expected to have an “exploratory” discussion with Waiters sometime soon. As Wojnarowski notes, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka previously represented Waiters during his days as a player agent.
The Lakers are in the market for a play-maker to add to their backcourt. Darren Collison was previously thought to be at the top of the team’s wish list, but as we relayed on Sunday, he has decided not to pursue an NBA comeback this season. Woj suggests L.A. is considering multiple other possibilities, including waiting to see who else might hit the buyout market.
The fact that Waiters is represented by Rich Paul and Klutch Sports, who also represent Anthony Davis and LeBron James, could work in favor of a union with the Lakers. However, Wojnarowski suggests that – as they did with Dwight Howard before signing him last summer – the Lakers would want to talk to Waiters to get a sense of his “state of mind” after his career hit a rough patch within the last year.
Waiters, 28, has been hampered by injuries in recent years, having not played more than 46 games in a season since 2015/16. Conditioning issues and off-court behavior – including a confrontation with head coach Erik Spoelstra and an incident on the team plane with a weed gummy – played a part in his lack of role with the Heat this season. He appeared in just three games for the team all season, averaging 9.3 PPG in 14.0 MPG.
If they want to sign Waiters or another player, the Lakers will have to remove a player from their 15-man roster. DeMarcus Cousins, who is expected to miss the entire season with a torn ACL, looks like the most probable odd man out.