After completing their blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook in the summer, the Los Angeles Lakers were forced to fill out their roster with players on minimum salaries.
They made a number of signings that have worked out well for them, such as Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.
After their first wave of signings, the Lakers had 13 players on their roster, leaving two spots open before the start of the season. By Opening Night, the Lakers had filled those two open spots by promoting undrafted rookie Austin Reaves from a two-way contract and claiming a former player of theirs, Avery Bradley, off waivers after he was let go by the Golden State Warriors.
To this point, both players have played this season on non-guaranteed contracts and have been key contributors for L.A. The Lakers had a decision to make on both on Friday though as it marked the deadline to guarantee contracts for the remainder of the season or let those players walk.
The decision was easy for the Lakers as they are guaranteeing both Bradley and Reaves’ contracts, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
Avery Bradley’s and Austin Reaves’ Lakers contracts for this season will become fully guaranteed at 2 p.m. PT and they will remain with the team, league sources told ESPN
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 7, 2022
Given Reaves’ youth and what he has brought to the team this season, there was never any doubt that his contract would be guaranteed. He figures to be a valuable member of the organization for years to come.
There was some potential for them to let Bradley go now that their backcourt is getting healthier and their reported desire to open up a roster spot to have flexibility going into the deadline.
Bradley has been a key piece to this Lakers team though, starting 26 of the 31 games he has played and averaging 6.4 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting an impressive 39.4% from three. It’s no secret that Frank Vogel values his defensive toughness as well, so it ultimately seems the decision to keep Bradley was an easy one for the Lakers as well.
Johnson signed to 10-day contract
Another decision the Lakers had to make this week was what to do with Stanley Johnson after the young wing impressed in his first 10-day contract with L.A.
The Lakers ultimately decided to sign Johnson to a 10-day contract on Thursday, so he will be around for a while longer before the organization has to make another decision on whether they should sign him for the remainder of the season or not.
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