The Los Angeles Lakers announced two roster cuts on Tuesday morning, waiving center Robert Upshaw and guard Michael Frazier II, bringing their roster to 17 players. Head coach Byron Scott said that both decisions were based on experience. Specifically with Robert Upshaw, though the Lakers saw “flashes” of what he could do, ultimately, there was a “big time learning curve on both ends of the floor.”
If things fall in the Lakers favor, the hope is for both Upshaw and Frazier II to clear waivers and for the Lakers to sign both to their D-League team, the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Scott specifically mentioned that they’d like to keep their eyes on Upshaw, should he find himself on the D-Fenders.
Regarding Upshaw’s off-the-court issues that had him dismissed from two college programs, Scott suggested they will likely be a concern for several NBA teams, until Upshaw proves otherwise.
“He’s going to have that stigma with him for awhile, until he can kind of erase it, and that’s probably going to be one of his biggest problems to deal with,” Scott said, while also mentioning that team camaraderie factored into the Lakers decision.
Upshaw told LakersNation.com during their first week of training camp that he was extremely confident that he would make the final roster, after sizing himself up against the competition in practices. On Tuesday, Scott admitted that Upshaw’s upside is “big time,” but also said experience and creating a balanced roster outweighed his unknown potential.
After shedding about 25 pounds from the end of Summer League to the start of training camp, Scott said Upshaw’s transformation over the past couple months clearly shows his “desire to play,” but the Lakers did what was in the best interest of their team.
Both Jabari Brown and Metta World Peace will be battling for a roster spot this week. The Lakers also have an interesting case with Jonathan Holmes, who dislocated his shoulder in the Lakers win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, and are responsible for his salary while he’s injured. With the NBA regular season roster maximum set at 15, expect a couple more cuts to follow for the Lakers.