The Los Angeles Lakers announced that Frank Vogel and Trevor Ariza have cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Vogel is expected to be back on the bench as the Lakers’ head coach for Friday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, while Ariza is listed as questionable as he may need some time to get his conditioning up after missing the last few games.
For the Lakers, this represents an organizational coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak being behind them as with the expected trade of Rajon Rondo to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, they will have no more players or coaches in health and safety protocols.
That could change at any time, of course, but regardless, it is good to see L.A. as close to full strength as it has been in a while.
Over the last month, the Lakers have been hit by the virus as much as any other team as Wayne Ellington, Anthony Davis, DeAndre Jordan and Carmelo Anthony are the only players who haven’t spent time in health and safety protocols.
The loss of Vogel was particularly big as the head coach missed the last six games with the Lakers going 1-5 in his absence. Lead assistant David Fizdale served as head coach in his place and constantly spoke of how much they missed Vogel.
With so many players out, the Lakers were able to bring in a number of replacement players on 10-day contracts via the NBA’s Hardship Exception. Isaiah Thomas and Jemerrio Jones saw their contracts expire and are no longer with the team, while Stanley Johnson and Darren Collison still have three days remaining as of Friday.
Collison or Johnson could be signed for remainder of season
The motivation behind the Lakers trading Rondo to the Cavaliers and only receiving Denzel Valentine, whose contract is only partially guaranteed and they are expected to waive, in return was so they could open up a roster spot.
With that spot, the expectation is L.A. will sign either Collison or Johnson for the rest of the season, it’s just a matter of which one they choose. It’s also possible that more trades are on the horizon so the Lakers can keep both, although only time will tell if that comes to fruition.
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