With less than three weeks left until the start of training camp, the dust has almost entirely settled in free agency. However, after buying out and stretching Luol Deng last week, the Los Angeles Lakers have an open roster spot.
While there are no especially attractive options left on the market, having an open roster spot on a LeBron James-led team is something worth monitoring. Or at least it was, until now it became clear the Lakers don’t plan to use it.
In a recent interview on ESPN 710, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said that the team is leaning toward keeping the roster spot open going into the regular season.
”I think flexibility is really important. We’re deep already and going into camp, what a roster spot does, just to educate the audience is that it helps in a trade. So if you want to trade one player out and bring two back at the same salary, that gives you flexibility in the trade market. And then it also helps you if there’s an injury and a certain position goes down and you need to fill the need.
”So it does give us flexibility, but I think as of now, Magic’s lean is keep it open and stay flexible because we’re so deep ... That’s our current position.”
Pelinka’s words echo a report from right after the Lakers waived Deng saying that they had “no immediate plan” to use the spot, and given a week to think it seems they’re sticking to that strategy.
While one can argue all day about whether or not the Lakers are deep, it’s clear the front office is confident in the roster they constructed this summer. If their faith is proven wrong early in the season, it also sounds like they’re more than willing to shake up the roster, as they’ve been known to do in the past.
At each trade deadline since Magic Johnson took the helm, the Lakers have made one or more trades. The front office has also made at least one trade during the offseason over the past two summers.
If a player that can contribute to the Lakers’ championship aspirations in the near future, obviously the front office would reconsider their stance. But for now, it’s looking like the roster is set for the upcoming season.
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