The Los Angeles Lakers have added four players already in the 2019 undrafted free agent pool.
The Los Angeles Lakers were quiet throughout a majority of the 2019 NBA Draft. By trading the No. 4 overall pick to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis package, the team went into the night without a selection.
While the Lakers waited a little while to get into the draft, they wasted very little time jumping into the undrafted free agent pool.
Because of the pending Davis trade, Los Angeles roster is pretty bare. They have only five players currently on the roster, a number which could drop if they are successful in moving more pieces to create a max salary cap spot.
As a result, they need to get creative in filling out the roster. No one knows what they will do with their cap space in July. Whether they sign multiple players or one max-player, they will need to find cheaper alternatives to fill out the remaining spot. That is where the undrafted free agent market comes into play.
Los Angeles moved quickly to begin finding players to use. Zach Norvell Jr. out of Gonzaga, was signed using one of the two-way contracts the team has available. After that, the team has targeted seasoned players that all played four years collegiately.
Of the three other players signed, Jordan Caroline is probably the most recognizable. Caroline is the son of former NFL standout, Simeon Rice. It was reported that he will be joining the Lakers by Harrison Faigen.
He started his college career at Southern Illinois before transferring to Nevada and truly breaking out. In three years with the Wolf Pack, Caroline averaged 16.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.3 blocks per game.
Despite standing 6’7″, he spent a majority of his time playing power forward and center at Nevada. He is a bruiser with some playmaking ability, giving him versatility that NBA teams crave. He is also an improved shooter, as he knocked down 36.8 percent of his 3-point attempts. However, his free throw shooting leaves questions whether he will truly improve beyond the arc at the next level.
Holman has the potential to develop into a stretch-4 at the next level. He knocked down 43.3 percent of his 3-point attempts his last two seasons with the Bulldogs while improving his free throw shooting percentage to 72 percent. Those are big improvements upon the 22.5 percent and 61.7 percent he shot his first two seasons.
Holman is a solid rebounder and shot blocker, something the Lakers will need more of this season. Being able to protect the rim on one end of the court and stretch the floor on the other is a combination every NBA team is seeking nowadays.
Last but not least is Devontae Cacok out of UNC-Wilmington. His signing was reported by Jonathan Givony and he reports that the Lakers and Cacok agreed to an Exhibit 10 contract.
An Exhibit 10 contract is a one-year deal for the league minimum salary but includes an optional bonus that ranges from $5K up to $50K. An Exhibit 10 contract is basically an incentive for a player to remain with the team’s affiliate G League.
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The Lakers must like Cacok to hand out a contract like that, and with good reason. Cacok was arguably the best rebounder in the nation last season, recording the highest defensive rebounding percentage (34 percent) and overall rebound percentage (24.4 percent) in all of college basketball.
Cacok averaged 12.3 rebounds per game his senior year, which is actually a drop off from the 13.5 he averaged as a junior. He scoring also took a dip, going to 15.2 points per game from 17.7, but his efficiency rose slightly as he made 59 percent as a senior and 58.5 percent as a junior.
Los Angeles is probably hoping they can improve Cacok’s shooting, as that is what truly held him back from getting draft. He shot, and made, only one 3-point attempt in his collegiate career. He made under 60 percent of his free throws as well.
Cacok’s rebounding is what got him a look, but making improvements offensively is what will help him stick in the NBA.
Expect to see these four players in action during the Las Vegas Summer League. Check back in at the Lake Show Life in the coming days to see who else may be joining them this summer!