Mo Bamba’s half-season with the Lakers was certainly far from optimal as a suspension and an injury effectively derailed his entire time in Los Angeles. Faced with a decision on his contract this week, the Lakers have opted to waive Bamba heading into the offseason.
Bamba’s contract for 2023-24 was set for $10.3 million and was fully non-guaranteed. The Lakers had until tonight before his contract became guaranteed.
The Lakers are waiving Mo Bamba, according to a league source.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 29, 2023
Bamba may not have known the news was coming, as Jovan Buha of The Athletic pointed out from the team’s NBA Summer League practice session:
Bamba was just working out at the facility wearing Lakers gear a few minutes ago. https://t.co/cXmFbt8Zr3— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) June 29, 2023
The Lakers are also expected to cut or trade Malik Beasley before his own $16.5 million contract guarantees at midnight. Waiving the shooter alongside Bamba would open up the mid-level exception for the team to chase Bruce Brown with, hours after reports that the Lakers are “increasingly confident” they can sign the Denver Nuggets forward.
However, the team hasn’t fully ruled out a return for either Beasley or Bamba, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
The Lakers will waive Mo Bamba and not pick up the team option on Malik Beasley today, sources told ESPN. LAL plans to stay in contact with both players’ representatives throughout free agency and could find different deal structures for Bamba and/or Beasley’s return to LA— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 29, 2023
After being acquired at the trade deadline, Bamba had to sit out the first two games with the Lakers due to a suspension given to him for a fight that took place while he was still on the Orlando Magic. He would then play the next seven games before suffering an ankle injury against the Warriors.
That injury effectively ended his season. He did not play in the regular season until the final two games and underwent another procedure in the postseason that led to him only making only garbage time appearances.
Therefore, there’s very little sample size to go off of when discussing his contribution to the team. Considering almost all of his minutes with the Lakers came without LeBron, it would have been even more difficult to project how he fits. Because of all that, it’s not all that surprising they opted to move on (at least for now).
This breaking news story will update with more information and analysis as it develops. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.