The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that they will be signing Johnathan Williams to a two-way contract and, in order to create the space necessary to do this, will waive Travis Wear. Williams played fairly well throughout the preseason, and the team might prefer his defensive abilities to what Wear offers on the other end.
In Thursday night’s season opener, the Lakers struggled mightily defensively, giving up 128 points. If they’re going to succeed in playing as fast as they seem to want to, they’ll need to improve in that facet of the game — and if you aren’t securing rebounds, you aren’t playing defense adequately. Portland out-rebounded L.A. by a margin of 54 to 46, including 14 offensive boards.
This isn’t to say Williams will immediately solve such issues, as he’s yet to have ever played in an official NBA game, and as the Lakers are trying to see with some of their more seasoned veterans, there just might not be room in the rotation right away.
Michael Beasley played only two minutes Thursday night and Ivica Zubac didn’t get to play at all. One would imagine those guys would get a crack at fixing some of the rebounding issues before Williams might.
Speaking of Zubac, it’s getting to a point where you have to wonder what the Lakers are thinking with him. He isn’t the kind of prospect you wait forever for and if he isn’t showing enough to get into games, then what exactly does he offer? Given how dire the situation is at center, the Lakers might be better off cutting bait with him so as to have even more flexibility in finding a solution to their backup center needs.
Wear will become an unrestricted free agent, and because of how well he played for the South Bay Lakers last year, he’ll likely either return to that squad or be picked up relatively soon by someone else.
The Lakers still have an open full roster spot, but both of their two-way contracts are now taken up by Williams and Alex Caruso.