The Los Angeles Lakers open training camp on Sep. 29 in Hawaii and remain active in rounding out the roster they'll take over the Pacific Ocean. The team officially announced the signing of Brazilian point guard Marcelo Huertas to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, but that won't be the end of their offseason. The Lakers plan on signing at least three more players, bringing their roster up to 20 slots, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
The Lakers' basketball operations team powered through the predraft process, scouting well over 70 prospects heading into draft night. They've since continued digging through talent, also signing undrafted rookies Jonathan Holmes and Michael Frazier, while leaving the possibility open to continue working with big man Robert Upshaw. With additional young talent like Larry Nance, Jr., Anthony Brown, Jabari Brown and Tarik Black also on the roster, the team is positioned to invest into developing prospects.
Their D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, should continue to be a busy developmental hub for the franchise. The team brought in head coach Casey Owens to take over responsibility of the on-court product, and he was kind enough to speak with Silver Screen and Roll about his role and philosophies. The Lakers have used the D-Fenders often for rehab assignments and development time for their young players, and now plan on having an even richer pool of young prospects to scout. Player development looks like a clear focus for the team.
The NBA allows teams to enter the season with 15 players, making many of these signings through training camp and portions of preseason. Both Jabari Brown and Tarik Black are on non-guaranteed contracts, making them flexible contracts to work with if other players stand out. Los Angeles could also find the elusive roster-space clearing trade it's been looking for, but there hasn't been any reported movement on that front.
Bringing a veteran along like Metta World Peac is also an option the team seems warm to. He's continued working out with Julius Randle in El Segundo and could be a mentor for the bruising young man. The Lakers continue a "no stone left unturned" approach to every roster decision, testing the effectiveness of their operations team. Exhausting every option should leave them with the best group of players possible, in theory. How they execute once they have this potluck spread of talent laid out on the basketball court is where they can find a competitive advantage.
These players will all fight for one of the few spots left to make the Lakers' roster, and creating a competitive environment should bring the most out of these prospects. The non-guaranteed contracts the Lakers are constructing this with allows them the opportunity to pick and choose which players they want to commit to, and having a good number of additional bodies is always a plus through preseason.
Ultimately what they do between now and preseason isn't going to make or break the final roster. They're locking down the players they want to choose from, and adding someone now doesn't tie them to anything just yet. It's all about squeezing all the juice they can out of the lemons they've steadily picked all summer.
The more, the merrier, for now.