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    Lakers not done with roster moves, looking to add another big
    • July 10, 2023

    LAS VEGAS — The Lakers have already made several moves since free agency start over a week ago, but general manager Rob Pelinka made it clear they’d like to make at least one more addition before training camp starts in the fall.

    While speaking with reporters during halftime of Sunday’s 93-75 summer league win over the Charlotte Hornets at the Thomas & Mack Center, Pelinka said the Lakers are “actively in the market to add another big.”

    “Coach and I have talked a little bit with Anthony [Davis] in the offseason about more minutes of some of the 2020 success we had where Anthony got to play with a big. Adding Jaxson Hayes [in free agency] was key to that. Jaxson, much like Dwight Howard in that [2020] stretch for us: big body, rim protector, active roller.

    “When you have on-ball guys like D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, having someone who’s willing to sacrifice their body and set a screen is important. Jaxson is going to be big there. But we are looking to add an additional center as well.”

    Among the top unrestricted free-agent centers are: former Dallas Mavericks big man Christian Wood, former Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo, former San Antonio Spurs big Gorgui Dieng and former Philadelphia 76ers center Dewayne Dedmon.

    The Lakers have 13 players signed to standard NBA contracts, leaving them two open roster spots.

    Pelinka said the greatest likelihood is that they’ll “fill the 14th position before training camp,” before adding “the 15th one is more open.”

    He added that they’d like to diversify the skillsets in their big-man rotation. Wood and Dieng would help in this regard because of their ability to stretch the floor as shooters from beyond the arc.

    The 6-foot-10 Wood, who’s a Long Beach native, has shot 37.9% on 3-pointers (3 ½ attempts per game) for his career. He’s made 38.1% of his 3s (4.7 attempts per game) over the previous three seasons.

    The 6-foot-11 Dieng has shot 35.5% on 3s for his career, albeit on low volume (0.9 attempts). He’s shot 36.7% on 3s the last four seasons on 2.1 attempts.

    “Dimensionalizing the skills at that position would be important,” Pelinka said. “So we don’t want to sign someone who replicates the skills that Jaxson Hayes has. So if we can diversify the big position and have different looks, that would be good.”

    Pelinka said before free agency started on June 30 that the Lakers were prioritizing continuity and maintaining the core of the team that went 18-9 to close out the regular season post-trade deadline before the playoff run to the Western Conference finals.

    They accomplished that goal, re-signing forward Rui Hachimura (three-year contract, $51 million), guard Austin Reaves (four years, $56 million deal) and D’Angelo Russell (two years, $37 million with a player option for the second season).

    The additions: guard in Gabe Vincent (three years, $33 million), forward Taurean Prince (one year, $4.52 million), wing Cam Reddish (two years, $4.62 million with a player option for the second season) and Hayes (two years, $4.62 million with a player option for the second season).

    “We talked a lot after the trade deadline about that being kind of a ‘pre-[free] agency,’ sort of a precursor to what we wanted to do this offseason,” Pelinka said. “And I said over and over that continuity was going to be important, keeping together the core of the success we had with the run we went on to the Western Conference finals. And we were able to do that.

    “When you want to win a championship, you have to go through the defending champs and Denver’s size was something that really was apparent to us that we wanted to upgrade our wing depth. And so that was something else accomplished with the group we put together.”

    As a result of the Vincent deal, which used the bulk of the Lakers’ $12.4 million non-taxpayer mid-level exception, and using the $4.5 million bi-annual exception for Prince, the team will be hard-capped at the first tax apron level of $172.24 million.

    They still have about $1.9 million of their mid-level exception remaining to make roster additions.

    “We were intentional about keeping some space and using that,” Pelinka said. “It could come in handy. For instance, in the buyout market.

    Lakers GM Rob Pelinka says “dimensionalizing” the skills at the center position will be a priority as the team searches for another big

    — Khobi Price (@khobi_price) July 9, 2023

    ​ Orange County Register