With no pick leading up to the 2022 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers have been busy holding numerous workouts with players projected in the second round or undrafted, including some with ties to the franchise.
LSU forward, and son of Laker great Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef participated in the Lakers’ final workout Tuesday and wound up signing with the team as an undrafted free agent.
Other prospects have caught the organization’s attention too. Six-foot-nine Syracuse forward Cole Swider is the only prospect to work out with the Lakers twice.
It appears Swider impressed as according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, he has signed a two-way contract with the Lakers after going undrafted:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 24, 2022
Finding gems in the undrafted free agent market will go a long way for the Lakers because of their dire cap space. L.A. is on the books for $146 million next season with nine players on the roster so far.
The Purple and Gold have developed a strong history of finding diamonds in the NBA Draft. Jordan Clarkson, Ivica Zubac and Talen Horton-Tucker were all second-round pick the Lakers turned into solid contributors. Late first-round picks Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr. and Josh Hart have all carved out a place in the league too.
The Lakers also have a proven track record of developing undrafted players. Alex Caruso famously jumped on the scene as a two-way player in 2018 after being undrafted in 2017. Austin Reaves did the same, becoming a strong rotational player last season after initially signing a two-way deal.
Swider recently discussed potentially following a similar path as Reaves, and it now looks like that will be the case after joining the Lakers.
After three seasons at Villanova, Swider transferred to Syracuse for his senior year and averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 41% from 3-point range.
Lakers take Christie With No. 35 pick
Early on Thursday, the Lakers did what many expected to happen — acquire a draft pick. The Lakers traded away their 2028 second-round pick and cash to the Orlando Magic for the No. 35 draft pick.
With that pick, L.A. wound up selecting Michigan State guard Max Christie, who projects to be a quality 3-and-D player at the NBA level.
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