Archives For Laker News

While the Lakers have not been active in signing any outside free agents, they have made a decision to turn one of their own players loose onto the open market.

Black was scheduled to make $6.7 million next season, but the entire amount was non-guaranteed if he was waived before July 4th. This amount now drops off the Lakers’ cap, leaving them with roughly $18.7 million in cap space now.

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The Lakers have announced they have picked up the team option on David Nwaba’s contract for the 2017-18 season. Nwaba is set to earn $1.3 million next season and, depending on what happens with the team’s depth chart, should be able to compete for minutes as a 4th or 5th guard in the rotation.

Nwaba had a fine close to the season last year after being called up from the D-League and signed to a 10-day contract. After signing a second 10-day deal, Nwaba stuck for the remaining of the season by signing a two year contract — with the option that was just picked up representing the 2nd year of that deal.

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After trading the #28 pick for the #30 and #42 picks, the Lakers selected University of Indiana C Thomas Bryant at #42. Bryant, a sophomore big man, averaged 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds a game in a solid season individually (but one that did not have a lot of team success for the Hoosiers).

I am by no means an expert on Bryant, but the first thing that stands out to me when looking at his profile and watching some clips on him are his physical tools and how that translates to his game. Simply put, at nearly 6’11 and 248 pounds with a 7’6″ wingspan and a 9’4.5″ standing reach, this guy has an NBA physique that allowed him to overpower college athletes offensively and impact the game defensively.

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After trading the #28 pick to the Utah Jazz for the #30 and #42 picks, the Lakers selected Villanova SG Josh Hart at #30.

Hart, at 22 years old and 4 year player at ‘Nova, offers a complete skill set, good size (6’5″, 209 pounds, and a 6’8″ wingspan), high character, and a reputation as a “winner” for his contributions to the 2016 NCAA Championship Wildcats team. Last season Hart also pulled off a nice double-double by being named the player and defensive player of year for the Big East while also being named as a 3rd Team All-American.

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With the 27th pick — aka the pick the team got as part of the D’Angelo Russell trade — the Lakers selected University of Utah PF Kyle Kuzma.

I’d be lying if said I knew much about Kuzma, but he’s got good physical tools — measuring at 6’9″ with a 7′ wingspan. At a little over 220 pounds, he’s not the bulkiest player, but he’s labeled as a smooth athlete who has a rangy offensive game with some real defensive ability.

Kuzma has some “stretch” potential at PF, but will need to improve on his 32.1% from distance he posted last season in college. Where he can excel, however, is as a ball mover the half court and as a finisher in transition leveraging his quickness and athleticism to change ends quickly. Per scouting reports, he’s a good passer and a plus rebounder averaging 2.4 assists and 9 rebounds a game last season.

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Okay…so this just happened.

As I pick my jaw up off the ground, here are a few scattered¬†thoughts that probably won’t do the gravity of what just happened justice. But I will try to anyway…

I am a D’Angelo Russell fan. I believe his talent is fantastic and that, as a just turned 21 year old playing the hardest position in the league to adjust to, he was making real strides as a player. I see his trajectory going upwards and expected, if not this next season, than at some point in the next 18 months, we were going to see his full potential come into focus as an elite scoring guard who also possesses the type of court vision and passing acumen which can be the hub of a really good offense.

And now the Lakers have traded him as, basically, the grease to dump the salary of Timofey Mozgov. Read that sentence again. Did you do that? Now please do it again. Thank you.

Now to the nuts and bolts of this.

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When it was reported that Paul George had informed the Pacers he planned to depart in free agency in the summer of 2018 and that his preferred destination would be the Lakers, it was only a matter of time before the Pacers cut out the middle man and tried to receive compensation from the team George (reportedly) said he wanted to go to. It seems that day is today.

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Since Theo Robertson left his post as player development coach to serve as an assistant coach at his alma mater UC Berkeley, Luke Walton and the Lakers have had a spot to fill on the coaching staff. It seems they have made their choice, looking at (another) former Arizona Wildcat to step in:

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