Lakers likely to sign free agent Mindaugas Kuzminskas

By @saihoops on
Los Angeles Lakers, Mindaugas Kuzminskas
Jan 18, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) defends against New York Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas (91) in the first quarter at TD Garden. USA TODAY Sports / David Butler II

The Los Angeles Lakers (8-11) have interest in signing free agent forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas, according to a report. Earlier this month, the New York Knicks waived Kuzminskas to create a roster spot for the returning Joakim Noah. 

According to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk, the team believes Kuzminskas will help the Purple & Gold solve some of its shooting woes. This season, the Lakers rank dead last in 3-Pt field goal percentage (.310), No. 29 in 3-Pt field goals made (8.0 per game) and No. 23 in 3-Pt field goal attempts (25.8 per game). 

"The Lakers are keeping tabs on free agent Mindaugas Kuzminskas. According to sources with knowledge of the team's thinking, the Lakers, in need of perimeter shooting, are doing their due diligence and met with the forward recently while they evaluate their wing depth," Youngmisuk reported on Tuesday.

Who is Mindaugas Kuzminskas?

The undrafted Kuzminskas signed with the Knicks ahead of the 2016-17 NBA season and played 68 games. As a rookie, the Lithuanian small forward averaged a tally of 6.3 points from 14.9 minutes per game and also received five starts from coach Jeff Hornacek. This season, Kuzminskas played just one game before being waived. 

The Knicks still owe Kuzminskas a sum of US$3 million (AU$3.92 million). After waiving him, Knicks general manager Scott Perry showered praise on the Euro journeyman.

"The respect this franchise has for Mindaugas cannot be overstated. His professionalism and work ethic were greatly appreciated by his teammates, coaches and the entire staff. This decision was extremely tough for us. We wish him nothing but the best moving on with his playing career," Perry said in a statement. 

The Lakers, currently at their roster limit, would have to release someone to sign Mindaugas Kuzminskas. Luke Walton's team has begun with an 8-11 record under the Lonzo Ball era.