In a somewhat surprisingly timed move, the Los Angeles Lakers are capping off their win against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night by... waiving Matt Ryan (and thus opening up a roster spot).
Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news about the man we’ve been affectionately calling “The Dash Mamba” following his heroics earlier this season against the New Orleans Pelicans within half an hour of Wednesday’s 128-109 victory:
The Lakers are waiving wing shooter Matt Ryan, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Ryan impressed in stint with L.A., shooting 38.2 percent from 3, including a clutch shot in win over Pelicans in November. The move opens up a roster spot for Lakers ahead of Dec. 15 trade date.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 1, 2022
The Lakers plan to waive wing Matt Ryan, the Times has confirmed. Ryan, who hit an OT-forcing 3 against NOLA earlier this year made the team out of training camp. Here's the story of the biggest shot he hit as a Laker https://t.co/koOas3tk49— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) December 1, 2022
The Lakers plan to waive Matt Ryan, who was on a non-guaranteed contract, to open up a roster spot to give flexibility when pursuing deals starting Dec. 15 when contracts signed over the summer can be traded, a team source confirmed to ESPN. The Athletic was first to report.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) December 1, 2022
Ryan — who only played two minutes of garbage time against the Blazers and has played less than 15 minutes total since Nov. 11 — confirmed the news himself after the win:
Matt Ryan confirmed that he’s being waived by the Lakers, but declined any other comment with the move still officially pending.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) December 1, 2022
The Lakers’ roster now stands at 14 players, and this was probably always coming. Ryan was a stopgap solution, a shot in the dark to see if the team could be good enough defensively to get an ace sharpshooter of his caliber on the floor. The answer to that was mostly “no,” despite him trying his best, and so given that he was one of just three nonguaranteed contracts on the roster — along with Austin Reaves and Wenyen Gabriel, both of whom have carved out firm roles in the rotation, something Ryan could never quite do, despite his clutch heroics — the Lakers cutting him to free up a roster spot for a trade or the buyout market eventually was always more of a matter of “when” rather than “if.”
Now, why would they do so now, when normally teams line up a trade or signing before freeing up a roster spot? That part is unknown, especially given that we just heard the front office still doesn’t feel like they can judge this team. Possibly maybe potentially considering talking about making a trade in two weeks is not normally a reason to cut a player. They don’t, like, legally have to have a roster spot to discuss imbalanced trades. Are they just giving Ryan a chance to catch on in another situation and doing him a favor? Does ownership just not want to pay money for a guy to sit on the bench and cheer? Is the Buddy Hield/Myles Turner trade finally happening? Your guess is as good as mine, but a preemptive move like this does make you raise your eyebrows.
Still, while the timing is unexpected and the move is not entirely unjustified given Ryan’s glaring defensive limitations, the team would quite literally be one victory lighter had he never come to the Lakers, and he gave us a truly unforgettable night. So this blogger at the very least will always have fond memories of his time in L.A., where he vacillated between emergency shooting reinforcement to high-energy benchwarmer who was always the first to pick up a teammate who fell to the ground on the baseline.
In addition to being a great shooter, Matt Ryan is also an A+ in-game teammate. Watch him on the sideline, dude is cheering up a storm. https://t.co/FVw6DM5wc2— Sam Quinn (@SamQuinnCBS) December 1, 2022
Do you think this is a precursor to a move? Just weird timing? Are you sad to see Ryan go? Let’s talk about it in the comments.