New Lakers Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, Brandon Bass make their hellos
The three newest Lakers were introduced Wednesday, joining a team that produced the worst record in franchise history, though each of them said this was a fresh start.
Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Brandon Bass talked about becoming Lakers, and the team’s general manager, Mitch Kupchak, later indicated that he has considered acquiring another guard or a center.
The Lakers have five guards under contract, but Kobe Bryant may move to the starting small forward position. That would leave the Lakers with four guards, including rookie D’Angelo Russell and second-year combo guard Jordan Clarkson.
“Depending upon how you look at it, we may look to bring in another guard on board,” Kupchak said. “We may not.”
The 7-foot-2 Hibbert, whom the Lakers acquired from the Indiana Pacers in a trade for a second-round pick, is Los Angeles’ only quality center with experience. Tarik Black, generously listed at 6-11, is undersized and has played only one season. Robert Sacre, at 7 feet, has the size but lacks the skills to be a regular rotation player.
“We’re not a big team,” said Kupchak, who has a 14-man roster. “So really, if you look at our team you can make an argument we need another big player.”
The news conference at team headquarters at El Segundo with the recent additions had one awkward moment when the trio was asked whether Bryant had reached out to any of them since they joined the team.
Williams, who sat in the middle of his new teammates, looked to his right at Hibbert, who stared straight ahead and said nothing. Bass, already leaning back in his chair, smiled and also said nothing. Neither did Williams.
Instead, they all preferred to talk about how they can help the Lakers improve after a disastrous 21-61 season.
“You always feel like you have an opportunity to win here,” said Williams, who signed a three-year, $21-million deal to join the Lakers. “And when you have Kobe Bryant, that always gives you an opportunity to go far. So for me, they have a winning tradition, they always are one move away from their team going from zero to 100 and you’ve got Kobe Bryant.”
Williams, 28, is expected to give the Lakers some firepower off the bench, as he did last season when he was named the NBA’s sixth man of the year while playing for the Toronto Raptors.
He averaged 15.5 points per game, shooting 40.4% from the field, 34% from three-point range.
Williams was asked how he and Nick Young will coexist, considering that both like to shoot and neither is known for his defense. Both are expected to come off the bench.
“I look forward to building a chemistry with Nick,” Williams said. “Since I’ve signed here, everything has been Nick and Lou. I look forward to being teammates with him.”
Bass, 30, said he hasn’t had his role defined yet. He’ll either start at power forward or come off the bench behind Julius Randle.
Bass, who averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds last season in Boston, said he’s just looking forward to “any challenge.”
“That’s what it is about,” Bass said. “But I’m really just looking forward to just helping this team.”
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