Lakers Spark Speculation By Letting Veteran Walk, Opening Up Roster Spot

Darvin Ham

Getty Images Head coach Darvin Ham and Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers have an open roster spot after opting not to sign veteran wing Sterling Brown to a second 10-day deal.

Brown’s 10-day deal with the Lakers expired on Sunday night and his time with the Lakers didn’t provide any evidence that he could be a difference-maker, albeit the opportunities were limited. He appeared in four games, averaging six minutes. He didn’t score a point, averaging two rebounds per game.

Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times first reported the Lakers’ decision to not bring Brown back.

“Sources say that the Lakers will keep the 15th spot on their roster open for now after Sterling Brown’s 10-day contract expired yesterday,” Woike tweeted on January 16.

The Lakers signed Brown shortly after players became available to sign 10-day deals, hoping he could play a role in the rotation. But even with injuries to key players, Brown really didn’t get the chance to show what he could do, going 0-4 on his field goal attempts in his short time in a Lakers jersey. For his career, Brown is a 36.3% shooter from beyond the arc.

Lakers Have Investigated Other Options With Workouts

The Lakers have done their homework on a handful of other players through workouts and could choose to give one a test drive through another 10-day deal. Most recently, the Lakers worked out DeMarcus Cousins and Meyers Leonard.

“They both looked great,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said on Janaury 14. “Whether or not we’re able to do something with them is a different story. But we’re constantly trying to kick the tires on different scenarios.”

It’s been nearly two years since Leonard has played in an NBA game. He was suspended indefinitely by the Heat during 2020-21 season for using an anti-Semitic slur during a Twitch live stream and has spent the last two years rehabbing from shoulder and ankle surgeries.

Cousins most recently played with the Denver Nuggets. In 31 games, averaging 8.9 points on 45.6% shooting and 5.5 rebounds.

Cousins signed with the team in 2019 but never played a game, tearing his ACL prior to training camp. It was part of a very unlucky streak of injuries for the former All-Star big man, who has been unable to find a home this season. However, he’s made it clear he’s ready to get back on the court.

“Have I made mistakes? Absolutely,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports in October. “Have I done things the wrong way? Absolutely. For that, I’m very apologetic. But I’ve done even more things the correct way and I’ve done even more positive things compared to my negatives. I just don’t want those positives to be overlooked.”

The Lakers have also worked out veteran big man Cody Zeller and journeyman guard Tyler Dorsey.

Kemba Walker Could Be Interesting Option for Lakers

If the Lakers are looking to add another guard, Kemba Walker could be an interesting 10-day candidate for LA. Walker was released earlier this month by the Mavericks and is still focused on finding a new home in the NBA, despite rumors he was signing overseas, per veteran reporter Marc Stein.

“Kemba Walker’s immediate focus is securing his next opportunity in the NBA, according to a source familiar with Walker’s plans,” Stein reported on January 16. “It was erroneously reported in Italy on Saturday that Walker — who became a free agent on Jan. 6 after a six-week stint with the Dallas Mavericks came to an end — was finalizing a deal with EuroLeague fixture Olimpia Milano.”

Walker is a four-time All-Star, last making it in 2020. He’s had some rough years since, spending time with the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Mavericks since his heydays in Charlotte.

Read More