Lakers waive Xavier Henry, claim Tarik Black

The Lakers waived Xavier Henry on Sunday (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers waived Xavier Henry on Sunday (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers waived reserve forward Xavier Henry to accommodate room for rookie center Tarik Black after being claimed off waivers, according to league sources familiar with the situation.

Henry had only averaged 2.2 points in 9.6 minutes through nine games before suffering a season-ending injury to his left Achilles tendon. That marked a steep dropoff from the career-high 10 points he posted last season despite missing 39 games because of injuries to his left wrist and right knee, both of which had offseason surgery. Henry also underwent the so-called Regenokine treatment on his knee in Dusseldorf, Germany, but Lakers coach Byron Scott noticed his explosiveness had diminished.

Meanwhile, Black averaged 4.2 points on 54.2 percent shooting and 5.1 rebounds through 25 games with the Houston Rockets as a backup center behind Dwight Howard. The Rockets recently waived Black to make room for Josh Smith, whom the Detroit Pistons recently released.

Black joins a flooded Lakers’ frontcourt that includes Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Carlos Boozer and Robert Sacre. But this move gives the Lakers a young player they hope they can develop. Meanwhile, Henry was ruled out of the season last month and would become a free agent this offseason. Henry resigned with the Lakers last offseason to a one-year, guaranteed deal worth $1.1 million.

The Lakers could have waived Henry earlier, perhaps to make room for Earl Clark, who was in negotiations last month to join the team. But the Lakers wanted to hold out for in case another player became available that matched their needs. Such a strategy both bought the Lakers time to see who else would become available and gave Henry access to rehab with the Lakers’ training staff.

The Lakers have disabled player exceptions for veteran guard Steve Nash ($4.85 million) and rookie forward Julius Randle ($1.5 million) after suffering season-ending back and right leg injuries, respectively. But it seems unlikely the Lakers would use those tools. The Lakers already have a league-maximum 15 players on their roster, with Wayne Ellington and Ronnie Price marking the lone players whose contracts are not fully guaranteed.


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