As their postseason run continues, the Los Angeles Lakers have made a decision that if they do win three more rounds of the NBA playoffs and claim their 18th banner, no players’ contributions will have been too small to celebrate; not even Patrick Beverley. They will all get championship rings.
This is pretty much exactly what we predicted on this site back when Beverley reiterated that both he and Russell Westbrook would want some jewelry if their former team won the title, and TNT sideline reporter Chris Haynes confirmed as much during the network’s pregame broadcast on Monday:
"They [Lakers] would extend a championship ring to ALL players who were on the roster at any point during this season."— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 8, 2023
Russ and Pat Bev will get a ring if Lakers win the championship, per @chrisbhaynes pic.twitter.com/4Ybut4d2pf
Haynes credits Rob Pelinka with instituting that policy, and it’s something the Lakers did do back in 2020, when they offered rings to both DeMarcus Cousins (who did not play a second for the team following an offseason injury and was cut before the season even shut down to make a roster spot for Markieff Morris) and Avery Bradley (who did not go to the bubble with the Lakers).
But the Lakers would have a bit more jewelry than that to hand out this time around if they do win it all. Because of their seismic roster overhaul at the NBA trade deadline, the team would be on the hook for 26 championship rings just for players alone.
First, they’d need one for the 15 players currently on the roster:
- LeBron James
- Anthony Davis
- D’Angelo Russell
- Dennis Schröder
- Austin Reaves
- Troy Brown Jr.
- Jarred Vanderbilt
- Malik Beasley
- Lonnie Walker IV
- Rui Hachimura
- Wenyen Gabriel
- Max Christie
- Mo Bamba
- Tristan Thompson
- Shaq Harrison
Then there are the team’s pair of two-way players:
- Cole Swider
- Scotty Pippen Jr.
That’s 17 so far. Then you add in the guys who were traded midseason:
- Thomas Bryant
- Kendrick Nunn
- Juan Toscano-Anderson
- Russell Westbrook
- Patrick Beverley
- Damian Jones
Now we’re up to 23. “Surely that’s it, right?” I can hear you asking, but no, dear reader, how could you forget buzzer-beating hero Matt Ryan and the two other players the Lakers cut (Davon Reed) or let go after a 10-day contract (Sterling Brown) this season.
So if you don’t include the middle schooler’s draft rights that the team traded at the deadline, that’s 26 players in all! Given that when the Lakers won in 2020, their rings were estimated to have cost $20,000 a pop, giving every player that was on the Lakers this season a ring would cost $520,000. That’s about half of a veteran’s minimum contract, for comparison, so by NBA parlance it’s not a huge expenditure.
Still, let’s just say that while this would indeed be a really classy gesture by the team if they do win this year’s title, I won’t be surprised if they aren’t exactly tossing around cash to try and buy a second-round pick on draft night if it comes to pass. The best we can hope for is that they don’t tell Austin Reaves to think of how much exposure he’s getting with that sweet bling and a Laker uniform, and ask him give them a discount out of his next contract as a result.
You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.