With training camp just a month and a half away, the Los Angeles Lakers are beginning to send out their invites to players they think could possibly earn that 15th and final roster spot.
The first player they signed to a partially guaranteed contract with a training camp invite was Vander Blue, who played for the team’s G-League affiliate Los Angeles D-Fenders last season, and was named MVP of the league. Blue then played for the Lakers Las Vegas Summer League that won the championship this summer.
The Lakers recently brought in some competition for Blue, signing guard Briante Weber to a partially guaranteed contract. Weber is a defense-first guard who the Lakers may feel can replace what the team lost when they had to release David Nwaba in order to afford signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
One of the biggest position battles this training camp may be at the backup center position behind Brook Lopez, as after a rough Summer League showing Ivica Zubac is no longer a lock for the backup center minutes. Rookie second round pick Thomas Bryant showed an ability to run the floor and stretch the floor in Summer League, which plays well into the style that head coach Luke Walton wants to play, so he may get some looks this preseason.
Additionally, the Lakers have now brought in another center to compete with them during camp, as they have signed 20-year-old Stephen Zimmerman to a partially guaranteed contract, via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
7-foot Stephen Zimmerman, 20, will sign for a partial guarantee to join Lakers training camp, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 9, 2017
Zimmerman was a second round pick (41st overall) by the Orlando Magic in 2016 out of UNLV. He appeared in 19 games last season, averaging 1.2 points and 1.9 rebounds in 5.7 minutes.
He was waived by the Magic on July 4, but at just 20 years of age he only has played one college season and one professional season, so the Lakers could view him as a project to develop down the road.
Zimmerman will have a chance to showcase his skills throughout the preseason, and if he does not make the team he will either be waived or assigned to the team’s G-League affiliate.