The Los Angeles Lakers have been incredibly patient in filling out the bottom of their roster this offseason. After signing a host of minimum-salary free agents in early August, they were left with only 11 players for nearly a month before moves involving other teams allowed them to add Rajon Rondo and DeAndre Jordan. They eventually promoted undrafted rookie Austin Reaves to the NBA roster, leaving them with 14 players signed for the regular season and only 19 players on the training camp roster. Teams are allowed 20, and finally, with camp already underway, the Lakers settled on player No. 20 on Wednesday.
The Lakers are signing Frank Mason III to a training camp deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Mason was the consensus national college player of the year at Kansas in 2017, and in 2020, he won the G League’s MVP award playing for the Wisconsin Herd. He was the No. 34 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but has struggled to stick in the NBA since then. He has played for the Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic.
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While Mason is unlikely to make the regular-season roster, which must be trimmed from 20 down to 15, any move the Lakers make in camp is notable because they technically do have an open roster spot. Even after signing Reaves to a standard NBA contract, the Lakers have only 14 players locked in for the regular season. All reports have indicated that they plan to stick with 14 rather than filling the 15th slot because it maximizes in-season flexibility on the buyout market and saves money against the luxury tax, but the option at least exists for someone to wow the coaching staff at camp and earn a regular-season roster spot.
Mason, being a guard, is going to have a hard time doing so. Eight of the 14 players set to make the team could be classified as guards, and that does not include LeBron James, who functions as a point guard offensively. There simply are not enough minutes available for another guard, so Mason is going to have his work cut out for him if he hopes to earn a roster spot. More likely, he’ll serve as an extra body for training camp and the remainder of the preseason.