Lakers Rumors: LA Must Sign Lou Amundson to Fill Pau Gasol Void

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2013

Oct 13, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Lou Amundson (17) against the Chicago Bulls at the Target Center. The Timberwolves defeated the Bulls 82-75. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With Pau Gasol out recovering from a torn plantar fascia for the next several weeks, the Los Angeles Lakers really need some help in the low post. Fortunately for GM Mitch Kupchak, there are plenty of reliable options available on the waiver wire, but one appears to be standing out.

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, the Lakers are one of a few teams interested in veteran forward Lou Amundson, who was with the Minnesota Timberwolves before being waived on February 8. In 20 games, Amundson was averaging 1.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest.

Those numbers are not what one would call good, but Amundson simply was unable to crack Minnesota's rotation. It was not his fault by any means, so he deserves a fresh start with a team that will give him a fair chance. Fortunately, the Lakers are in such a position to do just that.

Amundson does not have as much size as Gasol, standing just 6'9", 225 pounds, but his focus and intensity on the defensive side speaks for itself. This is the same man who averaged 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds in his final season at UNLV, and his low post game has always been solid since he made his NBA debut in 2007.

The former Runnin' Rebel has not put up those kinds of numbers on the professional level, but he still has a reputation as one of the game's most underrated defenders. He won't score a lot of points or get a ton of rebounds, but he'll put in the same strong effort on defense whenever called upon.

Amundson's per 36 numbers are also respectable, with career marks of 10.6 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He isn't going to be as strong a scorer or as dominant a low post presence as Gasol, but Los Angeles needs a viable body to come off the bench until the Spanish seven-footer's foot is healed.

Just the same, the Lakers are not guaranteed to sign Amundson, nor anyone. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times reports that head coach Mike D'Antoni is not in a rush to fill the team's empty roster spot, so Los Angeles' interest in Amundson could just be a case of the front office dipping its toe in the water.

The Lakers still owe it to themselves to at least give Amundson a 10-day contract. Worst-case scenario, it doesn't work out and he hits the waiver wire again.

Best-case scenario, he proves to be a solid defender and helps the Lakers keep pace in the Western Conference and maybe go on a bit of a run towards the playoffs until it's time for Gasol to come back. At that point, however, it would be hard to not keep him around, and if Los Angeles is serious about making the postseason this year, Amundson should get a contract.