Delonte West, one of my favorite Boston Celtics ever despite his one major bout with legality, is being targeted by the Los Angeles Lakers. (ESPN)
The Lakers have interest in Delonte West, who played for coach Mike Brown in Cleveland and last played for Boston, as a potential fill-in at guard and also are keen on Indiana free agent Josh McRoberts, according to a source with knowledge of their thinking. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that Denver free-agent guard Arron Afflalo is also on the Lakers’ radar.
The elephant in the room, of course, was Orlando’s 6-foot-11, 265-pound center Dwight Howard, whose contract with the Magic expires at the end of the season. Unless Howard signs an extension with the Magic, the expectation is Orlando will trade him and Los Angeles is a possible destination. Stein and ESPN Insider Chad Ford reported this week that L.A. is expected to offer “some combination” of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom for Howard.
Kupchak side-stepped a direction question about L.A.’s interest in Howard.
“Obviously talking about other team’s players would be considered tampering, so I wouldn’t answer that question,” Kupchak said.
Last offseason, if you can recall, the free agent market for West was very limited because of behavioral issues. Definitely not a veteran’s minimum player, West signed a minimum deal with the Celtics, who were one of few suitors willing to overlook his troublesome recent past.
This offseason, things are probably going to be different. NBA teams know West can play. They know he’s a gamer unafraid of the moment. They know he’s a smart player who can create offense on one end and frustrate offense on the other. And now, after a (mostly) incident-free year in Boston, West’s personal problems are less of an issue.
There’s going to be a market for Delonte West. It already includes the Lakers. The question now becomes whether the Celtics can afford to keep him. Losing West would be a major blow to Boston’s bench, especially if the injury issues that plagued him last season become shelved in the past.