The Los Angeles Lakers brought 19 players into training camp over the summer with four of those players destined to be cut. The final roster needed to be trimmed down to 15 players before the start of the 2015-16 NBA season with some competitive battles throughout the preseason making the final cuts a difficult task for the Lakers coaching staff.
Despite showing a lot of potential as a solid rim protector, undrafted rookie center Robert Upshaw didn’t make the cut. Upshaw was waived by the Lakers, and that paved the way for the 21-year-old to sign with the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
During media day for the D-Fenders on Tuesday, Upshaw was asked whether it was difficult being cut by the Lakers. The rookie center claims he knew it was coming, as transcribed by Lakers Nation contributor Alan Huerta.
No. I knew I was going to be cut. I knew that before anybody; I knew that myself. I just knew that I’ve been through a lot, I’ve been through a really lot in the past year and a half, so I mean I’m excited for any opportunity to still be here to play basketball with the D-Fenders. You know, still playing basketball – to be a part of the Lakers’ squad – Summer League – and preseason. You don’t get those opportunities like that after you’ve done what I’ve done and I just try to put that behind me and use this opportunity. I know that sometime this year I’ll be playing in the NBA. That’s just a goal that I have, also.”
It came down to Upshaw, Michael Frazier, Jonathan Holmes, and Jabari Brown being the four players cut before the start of the regular season. Upshaw was one of the few players on the roster bubble before cuts were made, but the team chose to keep Robert Sacre rather than taking a chance on the rookie.
The Lakers will keep a close eye Upshaw’s progress during his time with the D-Fenders this year. There’s a good chance Upshaw could be in a Lakers uniform this season, in the same way, Jabari Brown was called up last year. Injuries or coaching staff wanting to mix it up could lead to the rookie getting his shot at some point down the road.