On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a contract buyout with veteran Corey Brewer, thus allowing him to pursue an opportunity with a contender.
The 31 year old appeared in 54 games with the Lakers this season and played a minimal role, averaging 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game.
By all accounts, Brewer was a great teammate in Los Angeles, but recently he acquired the itch to play for a contending squad down the stretch.
"I just want to play basketball," Brewer told The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. "It's tough not to be playing. I know I can still play. It's just we're a young team -- they're a young team -- and they're all about going young right now. I just want to have a chance to play ... maybe help a playoff team make a run.”
"It was a pleasure to have Corey on our team," said Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka in an official press release. "Corey's professionalism and competitive mindset will leave a positive mark on the Lakers for a long time. We appreciate his time with the team and wish him the best of luck for the remainder of his career.”
Once he clears waivers, Brewer is expected to reunite with his college coach Billy Donovan on the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He won back-to-back NCAA championships at the University of Florida under Donovan in 2006 and 2007.
Earlier in the season, the Thunder lost elite wing defender Andre Roberson for the rest of the year with an injury. Since then, they’ve experimented by inserting Alex Abrines, Terrance Ferguson and Josh Huestis into Roberson’s role. But, none of the three has exactly been able to fill his shoes.
As a result, the stifling defense that the team played at the beginning of the season faded slightly.
Brewer’s elite on-ball defending on the perimeter will most likely come in handy, even if he isn't tasked with handling 30 minutes per night.
Although Brewer probably won’t start right away, he very well might end up in the lineup beside Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams before the regular season comes to a close.
Now that the Thunder have their 15th active-roster player, they will most likely be rolling with their current team heading towards the playoffs. On the surface, it may not seem like adding Brewer was a big deal, but since Westbrook, George and Melo do most of the heavy lifting on offense, he will be able to expend most of his energy on the defensive side of the ball, which aligns with what he does best.