The Los Angeles Lakers have waived big man DeAndre Jordan to make room for veteran free agent guard D.J. Augustin.
The move is the first legitimate shakeup for the Lakers roster since a disappointing trade deadline where the team failed to make a move. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium first reported the news of the transaction.
The Athletic senior NBA columnist Tom Hollinger said the situation with Jordan ultimately proved quite costly to the Lakers, although that could change if someone claims him off waivers.
“Lakers cost themselves roughly $5M in tax payments and a small trade exception by not just sending cash to another team to take DeAndre Jordan at the trade deadline,” Hollinger tweeted. “Hey, it’s the Buss’s money, but that’s some FO malpractice right there.”
The Lakers will be the 10th team of Augustin’s career. He was most recently with Houston, where he played in 34 games, notching 15 minutes per contest and 5.4 points per game. What should help the Lakers is his shooting ability. Augustin has hit his 3-pointers at a 38% clip over his career and was shooting over 40% during his time in Houston.
Augustin probably isn’t the player the fans have been clamoring for, but the Lakers options are limited with the buyout market still fairly uneventful and the trade deadline now in the rearview mirror. He should at least give the second unit a reliable shooter and he comes with a bevy of experience, with nearly 1,000 games logged in his career.
The Lakers have also signed forward Wenyen Gabriel to a two-way contract, per Charania.
DeAndre Jordan Didn’t Work Out in LA
Jordan had played in just five games since the New Year and it was clear that the Lakers were eventually going to have to go in another direction at the center position, especially with limited roster spots available. Jordan got some rare minutes during Sunday night’s blowout loss to the Pelicans, with his only highlight being a ridiculously bad pass into the stands.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel had said after the All-Star break that both Jordan and Dwight Howard would be more valuable with Anthony Davis sidelined at least the next month with a foot sprain.
“Well, we’re going to need them,” Vogel said. “A lot more now, obviously, than when AD was using up a lot of the center minutes. We’re going to need both of those guys.”
Lakers Will Get Creative at Center Position with Davis Out
Howard and Jordan have similar skill sets, with Howard receiving the lion’s share of playing time with Davis out. The former Defensive Player of the Year has started the last two games, grabbing double-digit rebounds in each.
The Lakers have also experimented with LeBron James at center, which could be a larger part of the game plan with Jordan now gone.
“There were some real positives with how we were playing small and Bron was playing center, whether or not that becomes a full-time things, it’s probably better to be more of a hybrid of using that lineup in doses,” Vogel said on February 25. “But we definitely looked at that stretch of our season to evaluate who we’re gonna be going forward.”
Jordan has already drawn interest from the Philadelphia 76ers, who are in need of a big man after shipping Andre Drummond — another former Laker backup — to Brooklyn in part of the deal for James Harden.
The Lakers are currently 27-33 and sit in ninth place in the Western Conference.