Franchises interested in reaching the NBA Finals realize the importance of having a wise, crafty leader on the floor. These veterans are not always necessarily the best players on the court, but the ones that come with invaluable experience from their lengthy careers. These types of players possess high basketball IQs and ooze confidence.
The Los Angeles Lakers are certainly one franchise that recognizes the importance of having veteran forces on their roster.
The Lakers completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns to acquire 38-year-old Steve Nash on Wednesday night. The two- time NBA MVP has been in the league for 16 years and is now looking to help direct the Lakers towards their 18th NBA Championship.
Nash's contract with the Lakers is slated for three-years, $27 million and in return for the trade, the Suns received two first round drafts in 2013 and 2015 and another two second round picks in 2014 and 2015.
Los Angeles is now looking to add even more battle-proven players, showing interest in signing unrestricted free agents Grant Hill and Antawn Jamison.
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Hill, who played with Nash in Phoenix last season, would provide defensive prowess and important minutes off the bench behind Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant. Hill, 39, has suffered many injuries over his long career, but recently had platelet-enrichment treatment for his knee. The treatment done in Germany is notoriously accredited for healing Bryant's knee last year, allowing him to have another huge scoring year with the Lakers.
A source close to Hill said that the aging small forward was deciding between either joining the Lakers or retiring, according to New York Daily News' Frank Isola.
Isola posted on Twitter: Grant Hill will either join Steve Nash and the Lakers or retire, a source close to the veteran forward told me.
Hill is a very cerebral player capable of providing the Lakers with mistake-free basketball and consistent perimeter shooting of off the bench. Last season he provided Phoenix with 28 minutes per game, while averaging 10.1 points, 2.2 assists, and 3.5 rebounds.
Even though Hill started 46 of his 49 games with the Suns this past season, he would be much more effective off the bench. Signing Hill is a smart move for the Lakers, who currently have to decide on re-signing forwards Matt Barnes and Troy Murphy.
Jamison is also another proven forward that the Lakers are considering during this free agency period.
Sam Amico of the FoxSportsOhio recently reported on Los Angeles' interest in Jamison through his twitter account: Lakers also expected to meet with Antawn Jamison, probably early next week.
Jamison, at age 36, proved that he can still put up good scoring numbers despite the aging process. This past season he started all 65 games for Cleveland while putting up 17.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Other than Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, the Lakers do not have another serious post presence at the power forward and center position. Jamison's inside out game is exactly what Los Angeles needs to assist Bynum and Gasol down low.
One of his best qualities is his ability to stretch the floor as a big man. Another power foward that can shoot the ball next to Gasol would be a phenomenal asset to Bryant especially.
Often Bryant faces double teams on the perimeter, in which he sometimes dishes the ball to Gasol for a look at an open jump shot. Having another paint player that can effectively hit open shots created from Bryant's double teams would make opposing teams think twice about their defensive strategy.