The Los Angeles Lakers waived veteran forward Trevor Ariza on Thursday, with three days remaining in the regular season. They were eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday, and, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, they plan to use the open roster spot to convert a young player's contract. Forward Wenyen Gabriel and guard Mason Jones are both signed to two-way contracts with Los Angeles.
The Lakers signed Ariza, 36, to provide some stability for a roster that was severely lacking in 3-and-D players. He had to have surgery to repair an ankle injury in October, however, didn't make his season debut until Dec. 19, entered health and safety protocols a few days later and eventually started earning DNP-CDs. In 24 games this season, Ariza averaged a career-low 4.0 points, plus 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.3 minutes. He shot 20 for 74 (27 percent) from 3-point range.
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In other late-season transaction news, the Brooklyn Nets waived big man James Johnson. The resulting roster spot will allow them to convert rookie Kessler Edwards' two-way contract, and, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, that is exactly what they will do. When that happens, it will make Edwards eligible to play in the postseason.
Johnson, 35, has been in Brooklyn's rotation for the majority of the season. In fact, he is fourth on the team in games played (62) and fifth in total minutes (1191). He averaged 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 19.2 minutes.
Similarly, the Phoenix Suns are waiving big man Frank Kaminsky, per Charania. This move frees them up to -- you guessed it -- convert a two-way contract. In related news, Ish Wainwright is on a two-way, and here's what he did in the fourth quarter last night:
NBA career-high 20 PTS, 8 REBS and 4 AST for Phoenix Suns rookie and Uganda National Team star Ish Wainright against the Clippers last night. Knocked down 4-of-8 threes, put pressure on the rim, active defensively (3 STL). Incredible success story and an even better person. pic.twitter.com/cme5sx5KE8— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) April 7, 2022
Elsewhere, the Atlanta Hawks converted guard Skylar Mays' two-way into a standard contract, just in time for the play-in, and the Milwaukee Bucks opened up a roster spot by waiving wing DeAndre' Bembry. Bembry tore his right ACL and MCL in March and had season-ending surgery.
And the Indiana Pacers were busy. On the same day that coach Rick Carlisle said he isn't moving to the front office, the front office converted the two-way contracts of guard Duane Washington Jr. and forward Terry Taylor, then signed guards Nate Hinton and Gabe York to two-ways. The Pacers also waived guard Keifer Sykes.