For the first time all season, the Lakers will have a full roster after coming to an agreement with 28-year-old free agent Ben McLemore, who was waived by the Houston Rockets over the weekend.
The addition of McLemore was first reported by The Athletic, which also reported the 6-foot-3 guard – who is a Klutch Sports client – will sign a deal for the rest of the season.
The deal gives the Lakers another shooter as the team struggles overall from behind the 3-point arc: Going into Tuesday’s game, the team is hitting 35.1 percent of its 3-point attempts this season, ranked 24th in the league. Alex Caruso (40 percent) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (39.7 percent) are the only two regular rotation players shooting above 37 percent.
McLemore, drafted No. 7 overall out of Kansas in 2013, broke through last season for the Rockets after a journeyman career, showing promise as a 3-point shooter (40 percent) and wing defender.
After Houston traded James Harden, McLemore wasn’t a good fit for the Rockets’ remaining group, shooting just 33.1 percent and averaging 7.4 points per game as the team sputtered to the bottom of the standings. But Rockets coach Stephen Silas still was laudatory of McLemore’s professionalism in Houston.
“Hopefully, he gets an opportunity with another team where he gets to play,” he told Houston media on Sunday. “And maybe it’s a playoff team and he gets to make five or six 3s in a playoff game. That would be awesome for him.”
McLemore’s first career playoff experience came last year in the bubble, when the Rockets were wiped out by the Lakers in five games in the second round. Though McLemore totaled just 44 points in 130 minutes, he had three games with three or more 3-pointers in the postseason. His career has also seen him bounce through Sacramento (twice) and Memphis.
The Lakers now have three of the top 17 picks from the 2013 draft on the roster in McLemore (seventh), Caldwell-Pope (eighth) and Dennis Schröder (17th).