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:
- Jonathan Holmes ($100,000 guaranteed)
- Michael Frazier ($50,000 guaranteed)
- Robert Upshaw ($35,000 guaranteed)
- Metta World Peace (unguaranteed)
- Tarik Black (unguaranteed)
- Jabari Brown (unguaranteed)
- Marcelo Huertas (unguaranteed)
How will the Lakers trim their roster to the regular-season limit of 15?
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:
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.