The Los Angeles Lakers made what appears to be their final roster moves of the 2021-22 season after the All-Star break by waiving DeAndre Jordan, who struggled mightily in his playing time with the Lakers, to make room for D.J. Augustin. They also added Wenyen Gabriel via a two-way contract.
Jordan played 32 games for L.A. this season, starting in 19 of them. In that time, he averaged 4.1 points and 5.4 rebounds and was looked upon somewhat favorably by advanced metrics. However, he was clearly not the type of center the Lakers needed.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel explained the decision to move away from Jordan and opt for Augustin instead.
“We wish DeAndre [Jordan] well. It was really just a need thing,” Vogel said. “He had an opportunity to have a bigger role somewhere else he felt. We granted that to him and we had the need for more point guard and shooting that we were able to pick up with D.J. Augustin.”
Jordan has since signed with the Philadelphia 76ers, who are in need of a backup center after Andre Drummond was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. That’s the reason why L.A. chose to waive him outright, knowing there was a possibility of him being claimed via waivers.
But Vogel was fully aware that Jordan no longer fit what the team was looking for. He had been a DNP – coach’s decision in 22 of the Lakers’ last 27 games before being waived. Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James all surpassed him on the team’s depth chart.
Jordan essentially confirmed that he asked out because he found a bigger role in Philadelphia.
“I enjoyed my time there, for sure,” Jordan said. “Obviously, this is an opportunity where I’m familiar with Doc (Rivers) so this is a chance to come here and play a little more and have a chance to go further in the postseason. I do think those guys (the Lakers) are going to have some success late,” Jordan added. “But this was just the best opportunity, I feel like for me.”
By waiving him before March 1, Jordan also maintains playoff eligibility for the 76ers. The Lakers can now move forward with Augustin backing up Russell Westbrook.
Wenyen Gabriel expected to be with Lakers full-time
Although he joined via a two-way deal, the Lakers have hope that he can be impactful at the NBA level due to his size and athleticism. “Wenyen [Gabriel] is someone that we have been high on,” Vogel said. “Someone we believe has upside as a really athletic 6’9” 3-and-D type player.
“My understanding is that he will be with us full time not really with the G League unless there are smaller stints that require that,” Vogel added.
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