Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke with media following the team's introductory press conference of Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass and Lou Williams. He touched on various subjects, but most notably hinted at the possibility of needing to add another guard into the rotation.
Kupchak projected the potential of Kobe Bryant and Nick Young focusing their minutes at small forward, leaving Jabari Brown, Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson and D'Angelo Russell to handle full-time backcourt minutes. The Lakers' roster currently sits at 14, with the maximum number a players a team can have signed only one contract away at 15. The Lakers are thinner in the backcourt than with their bigs, currently structured to heavily rely on a very young group of players and one lone veteran.
This puts a player like Robert Upshaw's future with the team in the air. The Lakers already have frontcourt roster spots tied to Hibbert, Robert Sacre and Tarik Black at center, with Larry Nance Jr. also taking up a frontcourt contract. Ryan Kelly is another player linger from the last few seasons. The team was rumored to be shopping some of their excess rotation players for salary space but didn't strike any deals outside of the Hibbert trade. Now, even though several of these contracts are minimum-level, they're tying up valuable roster space as they try to add new talent to the roster.
Here's what Kupchak had to say about Upshaw going forward, via Lakers.com:
It's unlikely that Robert will contribute to the team next year to win games. I think you know Robert and how he's bounced around at the college level. He's a player that we looked at in Summer League, and we're continuing to have conversations with his representative. If we did something with Robert, it would be based on potential going forward.. ... We've made commitments to some rookies because they got drafted very high. But to look at a guy that wasn't drafted and say, "This is a guy that's gonna be in the rotation." That's not realistic at all.
It's unclear who the Lakers would look at among available guards, and what the next step will be for Upshaw. The team could wait until training camp to leave an additional space open for competition, while still trying to find ways to open up additional space before the season begins.