For those thirsting for more Lakers news out of training camp besides how the team finally got their first win of the preseason, the team announced they have trimmed their training camp roster to 18, waiving Forward VJ Beachem and Center Stephen Zimmerman.
This move should not surprise anyone and, in reality, leaves the team with a roster that reflects who might actually play minutes in a preseason game.
When the signings of both Beachem and Zimmerman were announced, I had a certain amount of interest in seeing what both players were capable of. Zimmerman did not stick with the Magic after his rookie season, but he’s a mobile big who was a high second round pick just a season ago. The likelihood of him ever making the team was low, but an extended look at him and his intriguing skill set was warranted.
As for Beachem, he projects as a potential 3-and-D combo forward, but there’s simply been no time for him to show off any of that in real games. The emergence of Kyle Kuzma and the presence of Luol Deng make that spot all but tied up behind Brandon Ingram. Add to Corey Brewer to the mix and there was simply never a chance he was going to make the final roster.
In saying all that, both could be options for the Lakers as affiliate players who could end up on the South Bay Lakers (SBL) in the G-League. One could even nab the remaining two-way contract the team still has left on their books (though, this also seems unlikely). If neither player gets claimed off waivers — which isn’t a sure thing, by the way — the Lakers could retain limited affiliate rights which funnel them to their G-League team for an even longer look.
In an ideal world, this would be exactly what happens. Neither are good fits nor ready for minutes on the Lakers big roster. But seasoning and exposure with the SBL would give the team’s coaches more exposure to them and, potentially, help groom them for how the Lakers big team wants to play. The Lakers have made a habit of calling up G-League players in past seasons (hi, David Nwaba and Vander Blue) so this could be a route for them back to the NBA at some point — however unlikely that seems today.
I wish both players well in their pursuits of the NBA. Both have some talent, but in a league with only around 400 jobs there’s not a lot of room for players in the fringes.