The Los Angeles Lakers made the difficult decision to waive reserve center Tarik Black on Saturday, freeing up $6.6 million in cap space in the process. The Lakers had to decide whether or not to waive Black by July 4th, when his deal would have become fully guaranteed.
While Black was a solid backup big man over the course of his two and a half seasons with the club, perhaps his leadership will be missed even more than what he brought on the court. Black has always taken a very professional approach to the game, and should hopefully sign with a team that can use this services. Black posted a farewell message to his Instagram account that thanked both the Lakers organization and the fans:
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This picture best describes my time here in LA. It's been absolutely amazing and invigorating. I would like to thank the Lakers for an amazing ride and being there for me. From the staff, the team, and the fans I am indescribably grateful. You all opened the doors for me to live a dream to play for such an organization. I love you all and the Lakers are forever in my heart 🙏🏾
Los Angeles currently finds itself in a situation where they just don’t really need another backup center. The recently acquired Brook Lopez should have the starting job locked down with Ivica Zubac gobbling up most of the backup minutes, which he deserves after a standout rookie campaign. Los Angeles also drafted Thomas Bryant out of Indiana with the 42nd pick in the draft and he figures to be a third center for the team.
One also has to factor in that head coach Luke Walton will almost certainly employ some small ball lineups with Julius Randle or Larry Nance Jr. at center, which means that there simply wasn’t room for Black on the roster. Instead, the Lakers will likely focus on finding help for their backcourt.
They have reportedly reached out to free agents Rajon Rondo and Ben McLemore, and may be interested in bringing back Tyler Ennis, who played well as a reserve at the end of last season. Regardless of who they eventually fill the spot with, there is no doubt that Black will be missed.