Former Lakers Sharpshooter Matt Ryan Inks Deal With New Team

Matt Ryan

Getty Images Former Lakers forward Matt Ryan.

It didn’t take too long for former Los Angeles Lakers sharpshooter Matt Ryan to find a new job in the NBA, inking a two-way deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday.

The news of the signing was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

“The Minnesota Timberwolves are signing ex-Lakers wing shooter Matt Ryan on a two-way NBA contract,” Charania tweeted. “Ryan had a solid stint for the Lakers, making 13 three-pointers over a 12-game stretch.”

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

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 shots from beyond the arc at a 37.1% clip.

The Lakers released Ryan — who was on a non-guaranteed contract — to open up a roster spot and he had no ill will toward his former squad.

“Nothing but gratitude for the city of LA and the Lakers! Any opportunity to play in the NBA, let alone for this franchise, is special. Thank you. Now I’m excited for whatever is next!”

He joins a Timberwolves team that is 11-12 and in need of shooting. Minnesota is hitting just 32.6% of their 3-pointers as a team, which ranks 28th in the league. The Lakers will next see the Timberwolves on March 3.

Lakers Still Evaluating Ways to Improve Roster

The move to release Ryan was made to give the Lakers some flexibility with an open roster spot when it came to trades or potential free agent pickups. After a disappointing start to the year, Anthony Davis has gone on an MVP-type stretch, helping the Lakers improve their record to 10-13.

Davis is averaging 27.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, coming on especially strong over the last few weeks. In his last 10 games, Davis is averaging 35.3 points and 15.6 rebounds, which includes a dominant 55-point night against Washington on December 4.

With Davis surging, the Lakers might be rethinking how they approach the trade market, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Up until recently, the front office was close to letting this year’s Lakers die on the vine. Rather than ship out Russell Westbrook and one or both of their available future first-round picks (2027 and 2029) to bolster a lost cause, the Lakers seemed resigned to waiting to shop for bigger upgrades around the 2023 draft and free agency. Los Angeles has preserved roughly $30-35 million in cap space for this upcoming summer.

But this recent surge makes a trade more likely than the alternative. Going for it this season is more of an option with Davis playing this well, picks and future cap space be damned.

Davis Leaves Game Against Cavs With Flu-Like Symptoms

The Lakers had won eight of their last 10 entering Tuesday’s game against the Cavaliers but were overwhelmed late without Davis on the floor. The big man started the game but soon retreated to the locker room with what the team dubbed “flu-like symptoms.”

“He said he was going to try and give it a go, and he did, but he just felt too weak, drained and dehydrated a little bit,” coach Darvin Ham said. “But, you know, it’s that time of the season, in terms of winter time and the weather changing. Changing climates, coming from LA and going to these different places.”

The Lakers are hoping that Davis can bounce back quickly with a busy week ahead. They’ll face the Raptors on Wednesday on the second night of a back-to-back before continuing the road trip against the Sixers on Friday and Pistons on Sunday.

Read More