After weeks of stagnation, the Los Angeles Lakers finally added to the roster by signing polarizing big man Christian Wood. Now, the Los Angeles Lakers have 14 players on the active roster and have room to bring in one more player for the NBA rotation.
There are several directions that the team could take. Many fans believe that the Lakers will leave the roster spot open for a potential buyout target in the future. But with a thin potential buyout market, Los Angeles could fill the spot in-house by converting one of the team’s two-way contracts into a standard NBA contract (like it did with Austin Reaves).
It didn’t seem likely that Los Angeles would bring in anyone on the free-agent market to fill the 15th roster spot as the options were limited. However, that changed last week when the San Antonio Spurs waived veteran role player Cameron Payne. Payne is better than anyone the Lakers will sign as a buyout target so it makes sense for the team to check in on the guard.
Payne may prefer to sign with a team that can give him a bigger role right away, as he would essentially be D’Angelo Russell insurance in Los Angeles. The problem is that Payne may not have many suitors as not many NBA teams have an open roster spot. One of his potential suitors, the Minnesota Timberwolves, now appears to be out of the running entirely for Payne.
Lakers signing Cameron Payne is more likely after Timberwolves’ move
All signs appeared to be pointing toward Payne signing with Minnesota. The Timberwolves were heavily tied to the veteran role player as the team looked to add another guard to the roster. However, with Minnesota signing Nix instead, there isn’t room for Payne in the rotation.
Payne has to go back to the drawing board and look at the options that are available to him. Suddenly, getting to live in sunny Los Angeles and getting the chance to win a championship does not seem so bad, even if his role on the team might not be large at first.
But this is where Payne should look at the long-term perspective of the Lakers. The team has made it more than obvious that D’Angelo Russell will be traded. And even if he isn’t, there is a good chance that D’Lo (or someone like Max Christie) does not live up to expectations and the Lakers need Payne to play 18-20 minutes a night.
Jalen Hood-Schifino isn’t quite ready and Los Angeles would be foolish to give a rookie such a big role in the rotation when they have other options. By the end of the season, Payne very well may cement his place in LA’s playoff rotation.
Los Angeles could really use one extra veteran guard with all of the variance in the backcourt right now. Payne could use a team that can win a championship and potentially boost his value, which LA has done for other role players in the past. It is a perfect pairing.