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Lakers News: Defense-First Guard Joins Buyout Market, Should Be Prime LA Target

LA has an open roster spot.

Veteran swingman Will Barton has reached a contract buyout agreement with his latest team, the Washington Wizards, and is set to become a free agent upon clearing waivers, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The 6'6" shooting guard/small forward is now by default the top free agent on the buyout market.

Barton, now 32, was a critical rotation player on several recent Denver Nuggets postseason runs, before being part of a trade package in the 2022 offseason that landed ex-Lakers wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in Denver.

Barton is a terrific point-of-attack defender on the wing, and would significantly help the Lakers on that end of the floor, should Los Angeles be able to land his services. This season across his 40 healthy games, he averaged 7.7 points on .387/.380/.778 shooting splits, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He's actually a solid three-point shooter, to boot, with that 38% mark this season coming on 3.4 attempts a night.

Of course, given that he is the kind of somewhat overqualified 3-and-D asset that generally doesn't hit the open market midseason, Barton is now the belle of the buyout ball (provided he doesn't get claimed on waivers), and will be the target for a lot of playoff hopefuls looking to shore up their defense along the wing. The Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and Milwaukee Bucks would all make sense as possible destinations (to be clear, this is just my speculation, no teams have yet been floated in particular).

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