According to a press release, the Lakers have waived three players from their training camp roster. Foward/Center Zach Auguste, Guard Julian Jacobs, and Foward Travis Wear were all released on Wednesday. The Lakers roster now stands at 17.
These three were always long-shots to make the roster, though Auguste had the best chance considering his solid, if unspectacular play, for the team at the Las Vegas Summer League. The emergence of Thomas Robinson, however, has rendered that play moot.
Auguste and Jacobs could become “affiliate” players for the D-Fenders team should they clear waivers and accept designation down to the D-League. Both could get some valuable seasoning in the minor league, playing for Coby Karl, and trying to earn a call-up throughout the season. I would imagine the Lakers would very much like it of both accepted that designation and were able to get more acclimated to the system the team wants to run.
As for the remaining roster spots, the Lakers will need to make two more cuts before the start of the season to get their count down to 15. Reading the tea leaves, the last three players on the roster are Robinson, Metta World Peace, and Yi Jian Lian.
A quick case for each:
- Robinson has shown the most on the court. He has rebounded well, has done enough defensively, and has shown he can score inside.
- Metta is a good locker room presence, is another veteran to for the youngsters to learn from, and can play some SF/PF in an emergency if needed.
- Yi is the only true “floor spacing” big man on the roster and has shown some skill on offense. His contract has unique escalating guarantees which could make him an interesting trade chip.
Honestly, I have little feel for how this will play out. Robinson has shown the most on the court, but both Metta and Yi have additional value which goes beyond what they can contribute between the lines. In the end, it will really come down to what the Lakers value most in this final spot. Do they want more leadership (Metta)? Do they want the unique skill set who might have some trade value (Yi)? Or do they want the player whose skill is already most replicated by similar players, but who has actually looked the best (Robinson)?
I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I would put my money on Yi making this team. I think his skill set and contract are both too unique to keep players who are somewhat redundant in what they provide to the rest of the roster. We’ll see if Mitch Kupchak and Walton feel the same way over the next couple of weeks.