The Brazilian point guard who excelled for FC Barcelona signed with the Lakers, but he’s not getting much security.
Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:
Suddenly, Huertas’ path to playing in the NBA doesn’t look so clear.
The Lakers have 12 players with guaranteed salaries, and they’re considering signing Metta World Peace to mentor Julius Randle. That leaves two or three regular-season roster spots for Huertas, Jabari Brown, Tarik Black, Michael Frazier and Jonathan Holmes.
An ace pick-and-roll distributor, Huertas might warrant keeping for what he can do now. But how worried should the Lakers be about the present? They’re playoff longshots, and they need to develop players who are young enough to contribute when the team is ready to win.
Huertas, 32, is easily the oldest of the bunch. Even if he’s better right now, the Lakers should consider keeping one more of Brown, Black, Frazier or Holmes instead.
Perhaps, the Lakers value Huertas’ experience and the example he can set for D'Angelo Russell. But just how much can Huertas mentor someone when he’s adjusting to a new league himself?
Huertas can definitely earn a roster spot in training camp. If he significantly outplays the competition and/or the Lakers surprisingly look ready to compete for the postseason (though I wouldn’t trust them to judge themselves on this), his current ability will matter more.
However, without youth, comfort in the NBA or a guaranteed salary, Huertas shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt.
The Lakers did well to sign Huertas to a contract that essentially has him trying out for them and only them – and getting nothing if he doesn’t make the cut. But it sure leaves Huertas in a difficult position.