The Lakers decided against signing a point guard to replace Nick Van Exel and instead activated swingman Shea Seals from the injured list Friday, a move that gives them four shooting guards and as many small forwards but was deemed better than pulling an unqualified ballhandler from the CBA.
Instead, Eddie Jones will be the emergency point guard, behind starter Derek Fisher and backup Kobe Bryant. Jon Barry also has limited experience there.
“They [the front office] looked around and found a name or two of interest,” Laker Coach Del Harris said. “But in the end, we felt this was the perfect thing to do.”
At least for now.
“The same guys are going to be there down the road,” Harris said of possible replacements.
The decision puts Seals in uniform for the first time in his NBA career. The undrafted rookie from Tulsa won a pseudo-spot on the roster with his play during training camp, proving to be a player with encouraging defensive skills and a fast learner, prompting the Lakers to give him a case of back spasms and a spot on the injured list.
He had stayed there the entire regular season, able to practice and travel with the team, but only watch in street clothes from the bench. But Friday afternoon, Harris told Seals he was being activated after Van Exel, who is expected to be out at least three weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, went on the injured list.
“I was real excited,” said Seals, who did not play in the 104-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves hours later. “Getting to put on the uniform, and whenever I get into a game, it’ll be like a dream come true.”