Lakers Spark Speculation of Move After Waiving Sharpshooter

Matt Ryan

Getty Images Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to the teammates Max Christie, Wenyen Gabriel, Matt Ryan, and Juan Toscano-Anderson.

The Los Angeles Lakers waived sharpshooter Matt Ryan shortly after their win on Wednesday against the Portland Trail Blazer, opening up a roster spot and sparking speculation of a potential move.

Ryan was the feel-good story of the early part of the season, going from DoorDash driver to someone in the Lakers rotation. His big moment came against the Pelicans on November 2, hitting a clutch 3-pointer that forced overtime in the eventual win.

The move was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Ryan confirmed that he was waived shortly after in the locker room, per Kyle Goon.

“Matt Ryan confirmed that he’s being waived by the Lakers, but declined any other comment with the move still officially pending,” Goon tweeted.

Ryan finished his Lakers tenure averaging 10.8 minutes per game, 3.9 points and 1.2 rebounds. He was one of the more reliable 3-point shooters on the roster, hitting his 3-pointers at a 37.1% clip.

Lakers Now Have Flexibility if They Want to Make Move

Ryan was on a non-guaranteed contract, so the move had no additional financial implications for the Lakers. However, what it does for the Lakers is open up a roster spot for a possible trade of free agent signing.

A critical date for the Lakers is December 15, when free agents who signed their contracts this offseason will be available to be traded. This could open up further opportunities for the Lakers that weren’t available previously when they were actively trolling the market for deals, mostly centered around Russell Westbrook.

While a Westbrook deal could still go down, two names that have been floated as other potential trade pieces are Kendrick Nunn and Patrick Beverley, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

“Kendrick Nunn has not lived up to his contract, and has been really inconsistent this season. And Patrick Beverley has still been solid defensively but is averaging career-lows in points, 3-point percentage, and has just really been a non-factor offensively,” Buha said on ESPN LA’s “Lakers Talk” radio show. “So I think looking at Pat and Kendrick specifically, those have been the two names that have come up a lot in potential deals where the Lakers could package those guys together and get to about $20 million combined and then you throw in a first-round pick potentially, and all of sudden there are a lot of options where you get upwards of $22-25 million back in salary and throw in a pick and maybe you get a high-level starter or two coming back the other way if its a rebuilding team that’s looking to shed some salary.”

Lakers Remaining Patient With Roster Moves

After an 0-5 start, a trade appeared imminent for the Lakers, who were close to shipping Westbrook and their two available first-round picks to the Pacers for Buddy Heild and Myles Turner.

But after some early injury issues with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers have remained patient as the roster continues to develop. And there have been some good results, with Westbrook moving to the bench with great success and Davis taking on a larger role in the offense. The Lakers have won six out of their last eight and are now 8-12.

“This is team is starting to gel on both ends of the floor,” Davis said after beating the Trail Blazers 128-109 on Wednesday.

When it comes to any additions to the roster, Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that “any action before mid-January is remote.”

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