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#pounditSunday, February 25, 2024

Lakers working out controversial former NBA center

Rob Pelinka at a press conference

Jun 6, 2022; El Segundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka speaks before introducing head coach Darvin Ham at UCLA Health Training Center Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers are leaving no stone unturned in their search for roster upgrades.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Thursday that the Lakers will be working out ex-Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard this week. The seven-footer has not played in the NBA for over two calendar years now.

Leonard holds career averages of 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game and is a rarity in that he is a 39.0 percent three-point shooter for a big. But while he was a member of the Heat in 2021, Leonard used an antisemitic slur on a video game stream. He was suspended and fined for the incident and hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA since then (though shoulder and ankle surgeries for Leonard have played a part as well). Before his antisemitism controversy, Leonard also had a divisive stance on the national anthem.

It should be noted though that Leonard has taken several commendable steps to connect with the Jewish community ever since using the slur (efforts which you can read more about here).

As for the Lakers, they have gotten strong play from starting center Thomas Bryant lately while Wenyen Gabriel continues to provide an energy spark off the bench. But neither is a true seven-footer, and it appears the Lakers (who are still missing Anthony Davis) want to add more size. Earlier this month, they worked out another very well-known big man.

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