Season wrap: Antawn Jamison helped -- but not consistently
Veteran forward Antawn Jamison agreed to come to the Lakers in the off-season, signing a one-year deal at the minimum ($1.35 million). At the time, he believed the Lakers would give him a shot at an NBA championship.
Jamison’s contribution fluctuated throughout the year, but he was never quite consistent or versatile enough on a nightly basis.
In 76 games, Jamison averaged 9.4 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 46.4% from the field. His numbers dipped in the postseason against the San Antonio Spurs -- 7.3 points with 1.8 rebounds on 43.5% shooting.
“I have no regrets,” he said. “It’s disappointing, but I have no regrets.”
After playing in pain with a torn ligament, Jamison on Tuesday underwent surgery for a wrist injury suffered on March 22. He’s expected to make a full recovery before next season.
Injuries derailed the season for the Lakers, and Jamison may not return. The Charlotte Bobcats tried to bring him in last summer and may be the favorite to bring home the North Carolina product.
“I definitely enjoyed my time here,” Jamison said after the Lakers Game 4 loss to the Spurs. “I wouldn’t count it out if there was an opportunity for me to come back. ... You never know.”
The season wasn’t always easy for Jamison, who fell out of Coach Mike D’Antoni’s rotation early in the year. Injuries to others (notably Jordan Hill) quickly opened up playing time.
Jamison had some big nights, including 33 points and 12 rebounds in a win over the Denver Nuggets, 19 points and 15 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks and 27 points in a March win over the Sacramento Kings.
When Jamison was an aggressive, accurate scorer, the Lakers were a lot harder to beat.
Ultimately, Jamison didn’t have the kind of foot-speed, athleticism and defensive awareness to make up for some of the team’s deficiencies (especially with the rash of injuries).
If Jamison wasn’t scoring for the Lakers, he was rarely adding much more. Should he leave, the team could stand to add a younger, more athletic and versatile defensive player in his stead. It would help if that player has an accurate jumper -- but that’s a lot to ask of General Manager Mitch Kupchak given the rules limiting teams over the luxury-tax threshold.
Of course the Lakers are in flux as management waits to see if Dwight Howard intends to re-sign in July. It’s difficult to say what the team needs, especially if Howard leaves.
The Lakers can pay up to $1.68 million to bring back Jamison without having to use any of their taxpayer mid-level exception.
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