Lakers sign Ben McLemore for rest of season, fill final roster spot

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The Los Angeles Lakers are signing Ben McLemore for the remainder of the season, his agent, Rich Paul, told The Athletic’s Shams Charania. There was reportedly plenty of competition for McLemore’s services, with the Milwaukee Bucks and other contenders interested, but with LeBron James and Anthony Davis injured, McLemore will have a chance to earn minutes as a scorer for the Lakers right now. Even when the stars return, he might be the team’s best shooter anyway. 

McLemore made 40 percent of his 3-point attempts last season, but more importantly, he took 10.1 3’s per 36 minutes. That will be an absolutely critical infusion of shooting on a team that frequently hesitates. Players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Wesley Matthews, Marc Gasol and Alex Caruso are effective shooters, but low volume ones as they pass up open looks frequently. That won’t be the case with McLemore, who has absolutely no conscience from behind the arc. That’s exactly what the Lakers signed him for. Kyle Kuzma currently leads the Lakers with 7.1 3-point attempts per 36 minutes. McLemore should take his spot soon enough. 

James has been a longtime fan of McLemore’s dating back to his college days. On the night of the 2013 NBA Draft, he tweeted “they sleeping on Ben McLemore, man. Just watch.” James would later dunk on him during his rookie season, and after the game, said that “it sucks that it was him because I like him.” Now, James will be setting McLemore up for shots himself. That should put him in a good position to succeed if he can hold steady rotation minutes. 

McLemore is now the eighth Klutch Sports client to play for the Lakers since James joined the team in 2019. Davis, Caldwell-Pope, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dion Waiters, J.R. Smith, Montrezl Harrell and now McLemore have worn the purple and gold as well. That connection has proven very effective for the Lakers in the past. Now, they’re hoping it can do so again, and give them the offense they need to survive this LeBron-less stint. 

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