Update: Kuzminskas has signed with the New York Knicks, according to Sportando. Original story follows.
The Los Angeles Lakers seem to have mostly filled the gaping hole on the wing they entered the offseason with. The team agreed to a new four-year deal with free agent forward Luol Deng and will officially introduce second overall pick Brandon Ingram at a press conference on Tuesday, in addition to already having Anthony Brown on their roster
But even with those players seemingly poised to get the bulk of the minutes at small forward this season, a team can never have too much wing depth in the modern NBA, and the team’s recent workouts would seem to imply they are looking to add to theirs.
The Lakers reportedly showed interest in D-League star Nick Minnerath earlier in free agency, and according to David Pick of Bleacher Report, the team recently worked out Lithuanian forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas of Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul.
No, Kuzminskas is not a randomly generated player in NBA 2K, even if it seems unlikely he’ll have more impact than one on the Lakers in the grand scheme of things. The 26-year old averaged 11.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 20.5 minutes per game last season, and wouldn’t seem to be the type of player the Lakers are looking at for anything more than due diligence, especially with the team’s Las Vegas Summer League Roster already locked in at this point.
Still, the Lakers’ interest can’t be totally dismissed, given the team reportedly inquired about Kuzminskas’ contract status last year as well. For what it’s worth, while he is reportedly happy playing overseas, Kuzminskas did tell Pick in 2015 that he thinks he can play in the NBA.
“I’d like to get a chance to move to the NBA,” Kuzminskas told Basketball Insiders. “I feel like I matched up against Team USA pretty well. USA have a lot of talent and great players, but they’re humans, not robots. I’m not thinking too much about the NBA because I have a contract with Malaga for next season. I’m trying to help the team win in the Euroleague Top 16, and to be consistent and improve in order to think about what is next.”
“They’re humans, not robots” has to be one of the least reassuring ways to convince yourself and others you’re ready to play against Team USA, but Kuzminskas’ confidence is a laudable quality. Spain is home to some of the best basketball played outside of the NBA, so Kuzminskas definitely has a shot to get a training camp invite from Los Angeles if they like what they saw in his workout, but him making the roster seems fairly unlikely for now.
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