Delonte West used to play for Lakers Coach Mike Brown in Cleveland. (Bret Hartman / Associated…)
This is the 12th post in a series focusing on this year's free-agent class.
Player: Delonte West
Former team: Dallas Mavericks
Type of free agent: Unrestricted
Positives: The Lakers reportedly expressed interest in West before the beginning of last season, in hopes his 6-foot-3 frame and feisty play could help both their backup and point-guard spots. The Lakers don't need such help anymore at point guard since acquiring Steve Nash, but the team still lacks a definitive shooting guard to play behind Kobe Bryant. West's quick footwork, aggressive motor, decent mid-range game and defensive intensity all represent qualities the Lakers sorely need. And you won't see West ever just mailing it in.
Because of various off-court transgressions, however, his league reputation isn't the best. But some accounts suggest that he's improved his behavior. But should such issues pop up, Lakers Coach Mike Brown would be well-versed in managing the situation since he coached West in Cleveland for two seasons.
Negatives: Ever since his 2009 arrest for speeding on a motorcycle while possessing handguns, a toxic reputation has followed him. Nothing of that magnitude has transpired since, but there's a lot of excess baggage the Lakers would have to handle. West is bipolar and is prone to mood swings, which may have played a role in an incident in which he was fined $25,000 for sticking his finger into the ear of Utah forward Gordon Hayward.
Even though West never lacks for effort in any games, he can have trouble staying healthy. He missed 22 games last season because of a fractured right ring finger that required surgery, marking the second consecutive season an injury sidelined him for a significant number of games.
Verdict: West, who turns 29 later this month, would like a multiyear contract. But his old club, the Dallas Mavericks, have a bloated backcourt and few teams are expressing interest. This could give the Lakers some leverage in offering him another veteran's minimum deal. Concerns could pop up about his mood swings, but the Lakers are accustomed to this type of drama. Plus, any inexpensive player will have weaknesses. It only matters if their positives outweigh the negatives. And in West's case, the Lakers would largely benefit from what he can provide.
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