The Lakers waived Troy Daniels on Sunday. The Lakers reportedly worked with Daniels and his agent, giving him the option to stay on past Sunday or seek his release instead. The Sunday date is important because it was the final day a player could be waived in order to be playoff eligible for another team if picked up.
Daniels, then, chose to be released. We know because he told us:
Daniels is now free to join any other team that wants him and, if that team makes it, to be on their playoff roster. I wish him luck in whatever comes next for him. Daniels is a fine backup shooter who is also a very good locker room guy. He may not have played his best ball for the Lakers in his limited run, but he had a handful of good games and those helped the team.
There may be questions about why Daniels chose to be released and why the Lakers would release him in the first place. The answers to these questions are linked, so let’s tackle both, quickly:
- Daniels surely understood that there was no guarantee he’d be on this roster by the time the playoffs came. The reports of the team’s interest in Smith/Waiters have been out there for weeks. If Daniels thought there was any chance those guys could get signed, he made the right choice to seek his release now while he could still be playoff eligible rather than gambling on him not being the one cut should the Lakers make a move.
- Daniels was the most obvious player to cut when you consider the roles/contracts of the other options. Quinn Cook’s contract is guaranteed for next season. Whether you think Cook is a better option for the Lakers this season than Daniels,1I, for one, do believe this as Cook is both a ball handler and a shooter, Daniels is only a shooter. Even if Cook is smaller, the difference in defense is marginal, if it exists at all so why not keep the more versatile offensive player. the contract status matters here. Rondo, for whatever flack he catches, is a current rotation player and has status in the Lakers locker room — they were never going to cut him to take a flyer on Smith or Waiters.
When taking both of these things into account, Daniels took the sure thing over uncertainty. And even though the sure thing leaves him unemployed, he now has choices that are under his control. You can understand why he framed this the way he did in his twitter post, then. He couldn’t be certain he’d ever be released, but if he was, his options would be greatly minimized by not having the outlet of a playoff roster spot.
What comes next for the Lakers isn’t quite known. I mean, we do know they’ll meet with/workout Dion Waiters this week. They’ll reportedly do the same for JR Smith. Whether either gets signed to a contract is a different story, but both could, in theory, help the team. More on that later, though.
The biggest thing for the Lakers now, though, is the flexibility they’ve gained with this move. Daniels was not likely to play many, if any, meaningful minutes down the stretch of the season or in the playoffs. The Lakers are already playing 10-11 guys each night and that’s without Daniels seeing time. If anything, the Lakers are going to have to find a way to cut back on other players’ roles, not add in new ones. This matters for Smith/Waiters, too, but that’s a topic for another day.
So, good luck Troy. Hope you can catch on with another team and find a role.