Helin: "Lakers Will Spend Money All In One Place"

Divvy money among solid role players? That's not who the Lakers are, Kurt Helin says; it's max player or bust

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
June 28, 2019 - 8:20 am
LeBron James Lakers Kyrie Irving

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The Lakers have cleared $32 million in cap space that they can use in one of two ways. They can spread that money among solid role players, which NBC NBA insider Kurt Helin doesn’t think they’ll do.

“That’s not who the Lakers are,” Helin said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. 

Or they can add a third max player, which is, well, exactly who the Lakers are.

“They want to talk to Kyrie Irving, they want to talk to Jimmy Butler – heck, they want to talk to Kawhi Leonard,” Helin said. “They are going to try to spend all that money in one place.”

While Leonard has to be atop the Lakers’ wish list, Helin doesn’t see that happening.

“Honesty, if you can get Kawhi Leonard, you should do that,” he said. “That would be the one. I don’t think he will do it. I don’t think he wants to join a super team. I certainly don’t think he wants to be the third guy into a super team. You get him if you can, but to use a Laker analogy, you got your Shaq and Kobe; who’s going to be your Derek Fisher? Who’s going to be your Robert Horry?”

Quality depth is important. The Warriors learned that in the NBA Finals.

“Kawhi Leonard is great, but one of these teams was top-heavy,” Helin said, “and when people got injured and things didn’t go perfectly, the top-heavy team didn’t have role players that could step into the role they needed to. Meanwhile, Toronto – Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet, Danny Green – guys were just making plays. The Lakers have to go get those guys.”

Asked what exactly the Lakers need, Helin’s responsible was comical. 

“Everything, technically,” he said, laughing. “After today’s moves, they are down to basically three guys on the roster. It’s LeBron, it’s Anthony Davis, it’s Kyle Kuzma. They need everything. But if Rob Pelinka is smart about this, the focus is on guys who can defend and guys who can shoot. Everybody is looking for those guys, but that’s ultimately what they need. 

“They have to do better at team-building, at roster-bolding, than they did a year ago,” Helin continued. “If they build this thing like they did last year with terrible one-year contracts, Anthony Davis and LeBron James can take you to the playoffs, but they’re only going to take them so far in a West that’s still going to have a whole bunch of really good teams.”

Click below to listen to Helin’s interview in its entirety.