With the start of the regular season less than two days away, the Los Angeles Lakers trimmed down their roster to a league-maximum 15 players by cutting forward Anthony Brown.
The team also granted forward Yi Jianlian‘s release per his request. Jianlian averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 10.7 minutes per game in six games with the Lakers the preseason.
“Yi was productive in practices and games with us, and was a consummate professional both on and off the court,” said General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “However, he felt that the minutes and opportunities he’d be afforded here were not in line with his goals and ambitions, and that he’d be better off in a different situation. We appreciate his efforts and wish him great success as he goes forward with his career.”
Brown was set to enter his second year with Los Angeles after being selected with the 34th overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft. He had played in six games this preseason, averaging 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game. In his rookie year, Brown averaged 4.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in 20.7 minutes in 29 games.
The decision to cut Brown caught many by surprise with the anticipation that it had come down to between Jianlian, Metta World Peace, and Thomas Robinson. Peace had played sparingly in the preseason appearing in just two games averaging 1.5 rebounds, and 0.5 steals in 5.5 minutes played.
There had also been some rumblings that the 36-year-old would be cut and kept on in an assistant coach capacity. Instead, head coach Luke Walton decided to keep Peace on the roster because he believes the 17-year veteran can help mentor the younger players on the roster, according to Mark Medina.
“He’s somebody I trust and somebody I can talk to,” said Walton, who played with World Peace on the Lakers from 2009 to 2012. “He gives us an edge and a toughness.”
Robinson has been a pleasant surprise for the Lakers in the preseason showing promise in his limited role off the bench averaging 2.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in only 7.6 minutes per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the field in six games played. He consistently showed strong effort on both ends of the floor and finished the preseason with four points with five rebounds, and a block in just eight minutes.
Thomas is a former fifth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft and had hopped around the league with Los Angeles being his sixth team heading into his fifth season. He averaged 4.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 12.9 minutes in 71 games played with seven starts with the Brooklyn Nets last year.
The Lakers open up the regular season on Wednesday night at Staples Center against the Houston Rockets.
Bob Garcia IV
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