Los Angeles Lakers: 3 former LeBron James teammates to avoid in free agency

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(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) /

2. Kyle Korver

It doesn’t take a basketball genius to understand that it’s smart to put shooters around LeBron James.

Kyle Korver is still one of the best shooters on the planet, and he’s played with LeBron before. Seems like an obvious fit, right?

Not quite.

At 38 years old, Korver doesn’t contribute much else besides shooting at this stage in his career. He’s a high-IQ player, but physically he just can’t keep up like he used to in his prime as an All-Star.

The last time Korver played alongside LeBron, he looked like a shell of his best self. In the 2018 NBA Finals, Korver — who was on paper considered Cleveland’s third-best player — made only one field goal in four games. He went 1-for-16 from the field (6.3 percent) and scored six total points.

The Cavs didn’t have much use for Korver after LeBron left for L.A., so he was traded early last season to the Utah Jazz. He averaged 9.1 points per game and shot 38.4 percent from 3-point range for the Jazz during the regular season.

But just like how Korver’s declining athleticism made him a liability against the Warriors in 2018, he didn’t help the Jazz in their playoff series against the Houston Rockets in 2019. Korver scored a total of 10 points in four games (2.5 points per game) and didn’t even get off the bench in the decisive Game 5.

The Lakers need shooters, but they also need defenders and they need versatile athletes. Korver is a specialist, and that will keep him employed for another few years in the league, but the Lakers can get better value from players who can do more than just shoot.