We know the Los Angeles Lakers are looking at in season free agency options in the wake of Larry Nance, Jr.’s recent knee injury. The sophomore forward being out of the lineup is just the latest injury hit for the team, and as a response they reportedly worked out former Houston Rockets forward and unrestricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas last week. While he impressed them, the Lakers opted night to sign Motiejunas as of yet.
Will the team end up making a move to sign Motiejunas or another player? It’s unknown right now, even inside the organization, according to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.
In a wide-ranging interview on the state of the team, which players he’s impressed with, and why he feels like the Lakers’ young players need to give more effort, Kupchak told Mark Medina of the O.C. Register that he isn’t quite sure just yet if the Lakers need to make any roster cuts or additions:
Kupchak expressed uncertainty on whether he will pursue a free-agent frontcourt player to accommodate Nance’s absence. Since the Lakers have a full 15-man roster, they would have to waive either 25-year-old forward Thomas Robinson or veteran forward Metta World Peace before their one-year deals become fully guaranteed on Jan 10.
“There’s a lot to consider,” Kupchak said. “A big part is Larry’s condition going forward. At first, we thought it was an ACL and he could be out for the season. But knock on wood, it’s a bone bruise and he seems to be getting better quickly.”
If a big factor in whether or not the Lakers are going to add another player is Nance’s health, then it’s probably more likely than not they stand pat. Nance is only going to be out around four weeks, so if replacing his minutes was the only reason the Lakers were going to add a player, then the motivation wouldn’t seem to be there for them.
However, Kupchak said that was “a big part” of what they were considering, not the only thing. The Lakers could have been impressed enough with Motiejunas’ work out that they decide he’s worth cutting a player for. Whether or not they ultimately decide to do so will likely depend on the whole team’s health and level of play over the next few days and/or weeks, though.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.