The Los Angeles Lakers have done a remarkable job re-shaping the roster while maintaining future flexibility. This led to additions like Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell, while including more complex maneuvers like waiving Quinn Cook and subsequently re-signing him.
By waiving Cook initially, the Lakers saved $2 million against the hard cap, with only $1 million of his $3 million contract being guaranteed. They then re-signed Cook, essentially saving money while keeping the same player.
And while it was assumed that Cook’s deal was a standard veteran minimum, putting the Lakers right at the hard cap, this may not be the case. Cook reportedly signed a non-guaranteed training camp deal, which would mean it doesn’t count against the salary cap in any way for the time being, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports:
Quinn Cook's new contract with the LA Lakers is a non-guaranteed training camp deal. It will convert to a standard non-guaranteed contract (becoming fully guaranteed on 2/27/21) if Cook makes the Lakers roster out of camp.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) December 7, 2020
With the Lakers having only 14 players on the roster, there is a chance that Cook’s deal was constructed the way it was in order to make room for the 15th player under the hard cap. Either way, there is no reason that Cook wouldn’t make it through training camp and be with the team at the start of the regular season.
Cook was not a major factor on the court during the Lakers’ 2020 championship run. However, he was one of the team’s most important glue pieces. He was a positive locker room contributor who players loved to be around. He was often pictured alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Bringing someone like him back to fill a roster spot that likely would not have played much anyways is a savvy decision by the Lakers front office. Beyond him being as likable as he is, continuity is an important factor coming off of a championship.
Cook unavailable for beginning of training camp
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols regarding newly signed players, Cook has been unable to join the team for training camp thus far.
Head coach Frank Vogel would not offer much in terms of details, but said that Cook should be available by Thursday’s practice.
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