The Los Angeles Lakers still have a few roster spots left heading into training camp later this month, and the team may be looking to fill one of them with another big man. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the team will be working out veteran center and unrestricted free agent Kenneth Faried this week:
Free agent big man Kenneth Faried is working out for the Lakers this week, a league source told @TheAthleticNBA.— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 13, 2021
Faried last played in the NBA during the 2018-19 season, when he averaged 10.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 37 games split between the Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets. He most recently played for the Portland Trail Blazers in Las Vegas Summer League, where he averaged 5.7 points and 8.3 rebounds on 39% shooting in 18.6 minutes per game. The 6’8 small-ball center will turn 32 years old this season.
Given that Faried’s stock around the league is low enough that he was out of the league last year, played in Las Vegas Summer League and is still unsigned, it is at least possible that the Lakers may be looking at him more for a camp invite or non-guaranteed contract than for an iron-clad spot on their roster. Teams can bring 20 players to training camp, and the team currently has three open spots for camp, even though they can only offer two more guaranteed contracts, one of which they reportedly want to save for the buyout market.
So would the Lakers really give what is essentially their de-facto last guaranteed contract until midseason to Faried? When they already have two centers on their roster AND Anthony Davis? It’s possible, but until that happens, color me dubious. This is likely due diligence as much as anything.
But if the Lakers do sign Faried, it could be taken as an indication that they very much plan to go back to their 2019-20 identity of playing Anthony Davis alongside two centers, and want one more for break-glass-in-case-of-emergency situations. That would be notable if it were to happen, but the team also could be looking for an additional body and more roster flexibility, à la Troy Daniels during their title season. Daniels didn’t make it the whole year, but waiving him allowed the team to free up a roster spot after the trade deadline that they didn’t have all year, so the Lakers could want to add a cheap insurance option that they could move on from if someone better becomes available. And if Faried (or anyone else on a similar type of deal) were to play well enough to make cutting them a source of genuine hesitation, well, that would be a good problem to have for a team with limited means to add depth at this point in the summer.
For now though, this is just a workout. We’ll see what comes of it as the week moves along.