Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have used up the remainder of their salary cap room in signing former lottery pick Yi Jianlian, the team has begun making their other agreed to deals official. The team just signed rookie Brandon Ingram, and now comes the news that the team has officially locked up backup big man Tarik Black.
The Lakers made their deal with Black official on Wednesday, and General Manager Mitch Kupchak spoke about what Black brings to the team via Lakers.com:
“Tarik is a player whose strengths are well-suited for the style of play we envision for our team going forward,” said Kupchak. “He plays the game with a mix of athleticism, energy, and physicality that make him a valuable frontcourt contributor in today’s NBA.”
When the deal was originally reported, it was said that Black’s contract was a two-year deal worth just under $13 million which is a solid deal for a young backup like Tarik. After a promising first season, Black struggled to see consistent floor time in his second year under Byron Scott.
With Luke Walton now at the helm, Black is certainly hoping for a change and has said that Walton has promised him a ‘fair shot’ at earning minutes this season. Whether or not Black can win what should be a very crowded battle in the frontcourt remains to be seen.
Black will be battling rookie Ivica Zubac, recent signing Yi Jianlian, and Larry Nance Jr. for backup big man minutes. Each player brings an entirely different style and while Nance will almost definitely get plenty of minutes, the rest will be competing to get minutes. It is also conceivable that Walton could choose any of those players to see time depending on the matchup much like the Warriors did with Festus Ezeli, Marresse Speight, and Anderson Varejao.
However, it ultimately turns out, Black will work as hard as possible and get everything out of himself that he possibly can.