The 2024 NBA trade deadline is in the past, and the Los Angeles Lakers got through it without making any new roster moves. Fans were wary of any potential changes, given that the team has struggled more than anticipated this year after what was widely considered a very successful offseason.
But as Head Coach Darvin Ham has explained, he believes that their shortcomings can be attributed to injuries as much as anything else. If the Lakers can get and stay healthy for the home stretch of the season, perhaps the perception around this group can change.
In the meantime, LA should be keeping their eyes peeled for any unsigned free agents they believe would be good additions to the team. The Lakers' full-time roster currently sits at 14 players, so they can sign one buyout target without letting anyone go. If they want to sign more than one player, that is when they will have to start waiving players to make space.
Ranked from most likely to be waived to least likely, these are four Lakers who could be cut loose to make way for a new signing.
Joining the Lakers on a two-year, $4.6 million deal last summer, Jaxson Hayes has struggled to find consistent time on the floor. He has been low on Ham's priority list for minutes, and the only three starts he has earned this season have come when Anthony Davis was ruled out due to injury.
Lakers fans have learned that one of the biggest impediments to Hayes' success and what probably keeps him from earning more playing time is his mentality. He has the physical attributes to thrive in the NBA, but it is the mental aspect he is missing. Not giving consistent effort is a way to get yourself benched quickly in this league.
If the Lakers are able to find a backup center with similar physical traits that has stronger mental discipline, Hayes could be on his way out the door in short order.
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