Arnab Bose


EXPLAINED: Why Are The Los Angeles Lakers Waiting Until Training Camp To Lock The 14th Roster Spot?

Los Angeles Lakers had a great offseason in terms of executing their plans. They had a few things to worry about heading towards the offseason. For instance, three crucial players were heading toward free agency. Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and D’Angelo Russell were heading toward free agency. Among them D’Lo’s place was a bit doubtful. He had great form in the regular season but lost it in the postseason. However, the LA side opted to try him once more for his performances in the regular season. It helped the 17-time champions to make the postseason.

But after assuring the presence of the five stars – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers had to find some supporting roles. They signed Cam Reddish, Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, and so on. Moreover, the Lakers have got young promising talents like Jaxson Hayes and Jalen Hood-Schifino. The latter is the 2023 NBA Draft’s 17th overall pick. Hence, the Lakers have a pretty good balance. But the LA side still has a spot open for the 14th member on the roster.


Los Angeles Side Might Need The Training Camp To Find A Suitable Player For Their 14th Spot

Jaxson Hayes Lakers
Jaxson Hayes Lakers Source: ESPN

They are looking for a big man who can play alongside Anthony Davis plus take some load off him. But it seems like the Los Angeles Lakers might have to wait for the training camp to fill their 14th spot. The Lakers were thinking about Christian Wood, but an NBA writer, Mark Medina, feels they will take time to solidify the 14th spot. According to Medina, the Lakers are still not sure about Wood because they don’t want to agree with a sign-and-trade deal for a player who’ll occupy their 14th spot.

Moreover, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times suggests Wood is a liability in defense and has rumored personality issues. The other option for the Lakers is Bismack Biyombo. In free agency, both Wood and Biyombo are yet to sign with a franchise in the league. The 17-time champions can also think about Jaxson Hayes to play the big man’s role at the center. Hence, the Lakers can confirm nothing before the training camp.                     

Lakers Did A Great Job Retaining Reaves, Hachimura, And Russell

Lakers Source: SBNation

Austin Reaves was the first priority for the Lakers to retain. They did not want to repeat the mistake they made with Alex Caruso. Hence, the Lakers had to retain the new fan favorite, Austin Reaves. Later, the 17-time champion re-signed Reaves for a four-year contract worth $56 million. On the other hand, there was the Gonzaga Product, Rui Hachimura. The Japanese played even better in the playoffs than he did in the regular season. Both Reaves and Hachimura were playing in their first Western Conference Finals.

Even though the LA side lost to the eventual champions, Denver Nuggets, Reaves, and Hachimura caught the attention of the fans for their consistency. Moreover, Rui Hachimura is a solid big man available for the Lakers in their reserve bench. Hence, the front office wasted no time and re-signed the Gonzaga Product for three years with a contract worth $51 million. Lastly but not least, the LA side re-signed D’Angelo Russell for two years. D’Lo has a player option in his second year. The Lakers Nation had doubts if they want to see Russell back in the purple and gold army after a disappointing playoff performance streak.