Lakers waive Robert Upshaw, Michael Frazier II

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The Lakers did such a good job filling their roster with quality players on partially guaranteed or unguaranteed contracts, they must now face difficult decisions.

Behind 12 players with guaranteed salaries, the Lakers had:

How will the Lakers trim their roster to the regular-season limit of 15?

Lakers release:

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived guard Michael Frazier II and center Robert Upshaw, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:

These concerns are not new about Upshaw, who was dismissed by both Washington and Fresno State reportedly for failing drug tests.

But Upshaw’s potential is as enormous as his 9-foot-5 standing reach. Why would the Lakers – who are very unlikely to even make the playoffs this season – keep veterans who’ve established their ability over promising young players like Upshaw and Frazier? Robert Sacre, though just 26, has drawn particular scrutiny for remaining on the roster.

I don’t know the particulars of Upshaw’s latest off-court issues, but this strikes me as a poor allocation of resources.

At least the Lakers can assign Upshaw’s and Frazier’s D-League rights to their affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, if the pair clears waivers. The small guarantees those players received were probably meant to entice them to pick the low-paying D-League over overseas options.

However, Upshaw and Frazier would be NBA free agents – free to sign with any team. The only way for the Lakers to retain exclusive NBA rights to those two was keeping them on the 15-man roster.

The Lakers still must waive two more players. Byron Scott is talking about Huertas running the second unit. Holmes is out at least a couple weeks, and his salary becomes guaranteed while he’s injured. If he’s getting paid anyway, why not keep him?

An over-the-hill World Peace should be the easiest cut, leaving one of Black or Brown as the other. But the way the Lakers prioritize experience, maybe World Peace makes it.