With the NBA season starting within the week, the Lakers waived Vander Blue, Briante Weber, and Travis Wear per a press release Saturday. The roster now stands at 16, with no other cuts expected (Alex Caruso, the 16th player on the roster is on a two-way contract and does not need to be cut). No additional Lakers roster moves are expected before the start of the season.
Of the three players waived, Weber was the most expected. While he showed defensive intensity and a strong competitive streak, Weber does not yet have the requisite point guard skills the team would need from a player his size. I think he’d be a fine G-League candidate, be it with the South Bay Lakers or another franchise, however. He needs seasoning and can get it there.
Wear was just signed to his contract Thursday, but it’s also not a surprise he was cut. While the Lakers need shooting — which is Wear’s best skill — PF is the team’s deepest position and Wear would not have seen any minutes this season. As we noted when he was signed, his contract is one that can be easily converted to a two-way contract or he can also be shuttled to the SBL as an affiliate player. It seems the Lakers signed him specifically for these purposes, which was pretty much transparent when he put signature to his contract.
As for Blue, he’s the player who I feel most for here. Last year’s G-League (then D-Leage) MVP and a key contributor to the Lakers summer league championship team, Blue has probably outgrown the minor leagues. He has NBA game, even if as a 4th or 5th guard and at the time he inked his deal with the Lakers I thought he had a legitimate chance to make the final roster. The team’s guard depth and the momentum he had coming off the summer combined with his style of play make him a reasonable good fit on this team (like Jordan Clarkson is).
But after the team signed Andrew Bogut, Blue’s chances went from hopeful to longshot. The team wouldn’t bring a player like Bogut into the fold without the strong possibility he makes the final roster and with no movement expected with any of the other players on the roster, there simply isn’t space for Blue. Whether Blue ends up with the SBL, remains to be seen, but his contract is likely to have similar provisions as Wear’s to make him a candidate for a two-way contract.
I wish all these players well. They all work hard and all offer skills which can be useful for NBA team’s (especially Blue). That said, they weren’t long for this roster and Saturday’s news basically reinforces what we all should have seen coming at the start of camp.