Although training camp is set to begin on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Lakers have not yet filled their roster as they have only handed out 13 guaranteed contracts when they have 15 available spots.
Rob Pelinka gave some insight into why that is during his press conference on Thursday, revealing that they will likely go into the season with 14 players because of luxury tax purposes as well as to maintain flexibility for the buyout market.
That means that they will still add one more player before the start of the season though, and Pelinka said they are in their final evaluations before filling that spot.
One free agent the Lakers have been linked to for a while is James Ennis, who is a Southern California native and would fill a need as a 3-and-D wing player. Ennis has been liking and commenting on a lot of the Lakers’ social media posts this summer, signaling he would have interest in joining the organization.
It appears that is something the Lakers are at least considering as Jovan Buha of The Athletic is reporting they brought the 31-year-old in for a workout this week:
Free agent James Ennis worked out for the Lakers this week, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA.
As Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said on Thursday, the team is looking to fill its 14th roster spot by training camp next Tuesday.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 24, 2021
The Lakers have a ton of depth in the backcourt and also seem to be set at center with the addition of Deandre Jordan, making the wing their biggest area of need for this final roster spot.
Ennis would make a ton of sense considering he could bring the Lakers some defensive toughness as well as 3-point shooting, coming off a career season in which he shot 43.3% from deep with the Orlando Magic.
One thing that Ennis would have to accept before signing with the Lakers though is that he likely wouldn’t be part of the rotation to start the year. If the Lakers do indeed give him an offer then he will have to decide if his main priority is winning a championship or getting as much playing time as possible to rebuild his value before hitting the open market again next summer.
Lakers expected to be fully vaccinated by Opening Night
Something else Pelinka revealed during his press conference is that the Lakers will be fully vaccinated by the time they take the court of Opening Night against the Golden State Warriors.
While that doesn’t include Ennis or whoever the Lakers sign for their 14th roster spot, it is obviously positive news that all players will be vaccinated this summer, resulting in looser protocols.
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