The Lakers do not want to distance themselves entirely from a team that finished with the worst record in the franchise’s history.
The Lakers agreed to retain backup forward/center Tarik Black on a two-year deal worth $12.85 million, according to The Vertical. Black appeared to confirm the news by posting the tweet below of a Lakers hat.
— Boom Boom (@TarikBlack25) July 4, 2016
Black averaged 3.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in the 2015-16 season, marking a dropoff from the 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds he averaged in the 2014-15 campaign with the Lakers. But Black averaged fewer minutes in 2015-16 (12.7) than 2014-15 (18) amid the Lakers’ frontcourt logjammed with Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Bass.
Black also fell out of favor with former Lakers coach Byron Scott, who had questioned his ability to live up to his initial reputation as an energy player. Nonetheless, the Lakers still granted a $1.1 million qualifying offer to Black to make him a restricted free agent.
With the Lakers hiring Luke Walton, it also seems possible the 6-foot-9, 250-pound Black would receive both a larger role and chances to play at multiple positions in a faster-paced offense. Black played for Walton when he was an assistant coach at the University of Memphis in 2011.
After going undrafted in 2015, Black played 25 games for the Houston Rockets and averaged 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds. Despite liking his work ethic and athleticism, Houston waived Black in Dec., 2014 to open up more space to sign free-agent forward Josh Smith. The Lakers picked him up on waivers shortly afterwards.