The Los Angeles Lakers completed and confirmed a trio of expected signings on Wednesday, when Tarik Black joined Brandon Ingram and Yi Jianlian in putting ink to paper in the same week.
With the three latest signings, the Lakers are now carrying 15 players, which is the maximum number allowed by the NBA. As such, the Lakers have effectively filled their roster.
Unofficial numbers (but accurate) - Brandon Ingram's contract come in at $23.8 mil - $5.28 mil for the coming season — Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) August 23, 2016
At point guard, the Lakers have D'Angelo Russell, who is in his second year, with crafty veterans Marcelo Huertas and Jose Calderon backing up the youngster. Brazilian Huertas came over from Spain a year earlier, while Spaniard Calderon arrived via trade earlier in the summer.
Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams continue as the team's primary options at shooting guard for the second year running, and Nick Young is still on the roster. Earlier in the summer, Young told the LA Daily News he had been mending broken fences with Russell over an infamous video leak, but Young's future with the team remains in serious doubt.
If the Lakers are going to buy out Young, probably better off taking the $5.4 mil cap hit this season, stretch out the final year over 3yrs — Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) August 23, 2016
At small forward, the Lakers signed Luol Deng to be the starter over the summer, and the 31-year-old expects to be as important as a veteran presence in the locker room as he does as a versatile player on the court.
Ingram, who was the Lakers' no. 2 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, expects to be the backup behind Deng, with second-year Anthony Brown providing depth.
At power forward, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. expected to split minutes, but the addition of Jianlian complicates matters. The Chinese international can either slot into a center role or play as a stretch power foward, but minutes at both positions expect to pose a problem.
In truth, the Lakers have a backlog of big men. Timofey Mozgov came to the Lakers on a four-year contract and expects to be the starting center. Black's signing expected to make him the backup center, but Jianlian may steal minutes at the spot.
Also, rookie Ivica Zubac showed promise in the NBA Summer League, but the likelihood of the 19-year-old Croatian center seeing meaningful minutes during the 2016-17 season is low.
While the signings of Black, Jianlian and Ingram came as no surprise, they more importantly signify the conclusion of free agency for the Los Angeles Lakers. Like it or not, the Lakers' roster appears to be set.