LeBron James loves playing with old teammates and veterans who are way past their prime. The Los Angeles Lakers love having a guy named Shaq on the team for the playoffs. So the moves the Lakers made to get two new players for the postseason make a great deal of sense.
The Lakers are signing two players today to add depth for the postseason, sources told ESPN. L.A. will sign guard Shaq Harrison, a defensive-minded point guard, and Tristan Thompson, a veteran center with playoff experience on LeBron James’ teams in Cleveland. Both players…— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 9, 2023
Thompson was part of the Cleveland Cavaliers teams who went to four straight Finals from 2015-18, losing three of them, and we don’t remember what happened in 2016. He hasn’t played yet in the 2022-23 season, after splitting his time last year with the Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, and Chicago Bulls.
He’s on the team for two reasons. First, to provide big man depth for the Lakers. They just got backup center Mo Bamba back Friday for the first time since March 5, after he suffered a high ankle sprain. Also, Anthony Davis plays for their team. While normally when Davis falls down in agony, he’s ready to play a minute later, you never know when one of those injuries will actually be real.
Bizarre sequence with Anthony Davis injury as the game continues on for multiple possesions pic.twitter.com/cwN1wG3Fkg— hoops bot (@hoops_bot) April 1, 2023
The other thing Thompson brings is age. While the Lakers improved dramatically at the trade deadline, they also got a little too young for LeBron’s taste. Jarred Vanderbilt and Bamba are 24, Rui Hachimura is 25, Malik Beasley is 26, and D’Angelo Russell just turned 27. That’s not at all old enough for a LeBron James team! He needs a washed-up Shawn Marion, a Richard Jefferson, maybe a Jared Dudley. Sure, Thompson could give them a few minutes off the bench and grab rebounds, but his main qualification is being born while the Soviet Union still existed.
The broadcasters probably don’t mind that this greatly increases the odds that a Kardashian will attend a playoff game. That’s huge, now that Kylie Jenner and Devin Booker broke up.
The other addition is Shaq Harrison, a point guard who has played just seven games in the past two seasons. Five of those came since March 31 with the Portland Trail Blazers, where he played as recently as Saturday. Clearly, he was too good to keep on the roster ahead of...honestly, we have no idea who Portland’s backup point guard is.
He’s there because Russell is still dealing with foot soreness, after missing games with an injured ankle and sore hip since joining the Lake Show.
The real Shaq is still busy dodging process servers from the FTX class action lawsuit and manning the wheels of steel as DJ Diesel - check him out at Outside Lands this summer. Interestingly, Shaquille O’Neal’s stepfather was named Phil Harrison, so he could have potentially been the original Shaq Harrison.
Phil is immortalized in the first single from O’Neal’s second album, “Biological Didn’t Bother”.
Will these two play? Probably not, but they’ll be there to support LeBron on Taco Tuesday, to pretend he’s read more than the first pages of a book, and to pretend it’s normal that a man born in 1984 says “Sheesh” all the time. Congratulations on the playoff shares, fellas!