The Los Angeles Lakers have signed undrafted free agent center Robert Upshaw to a multi-year contract, the team announced in a press release. Upshaw has remained on the Lakers radar since playing for the team during Las Vegas Summer League, and it looks like the big man will get an opportunity to prove his value during training camp and preseason.
The Lakers have expanded on their roster all summer, and Upshaw's signing brings their training camp group up to 18 players. His on-court talent has never been a question, but his personal issues off the court deterred teams from selecting the seven-footer with first-round talent. His play in Vegas was impressive for a player who hadn't played competitively in months after losing his place with the Washington Huskies basketball program.
Upshaw showed his defensive talents around the rim, set very good screens for D'Angelo Russell, and looked comfortable around the rim and baseline on offense during his five-game tryout for the Lakers during Summer League. He could prove to be an interesting piece to develop with their young core, and the Lakers locking him up with a contract instead of allowing him to be swept up by another team ensured they'll have him heading into training camp.
It was reported that the Lakers and Upshaw had agreed on a contract after his first Summer League appearance, but there was no follow-up announcement. Instead, the Lakers waited, laying out guidelines for Upshaw to follow on his own personal development, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. A contract seems to indicate the Lakers are happy with the progress he's made. Still, a training camp invite is just that, and the Lakers are expected to bring roughly 20 players -- the maximum number of players a team can hold in the offseason -- to Hawaii.
There's plenty of competition, but Robert's foot is back in the door with the Lakers. If you're looking for some reading material on him, here are a few things we've published: