With two games remaining the Lakers called in a reinforcement, a gray-haired developmental league veteran who has waited a long time for a chance to play in the NBA.
Andre Ingram was signed for the rest of the season. Ingram, 32, has spent 10 years playing in the NBA’s developmental league. He played for the South Bay Lakers this season, averaging 9.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists.
He played four years at American University but was not taken in the NBA draft in 2007. He was, however, chosen in the seventh round of the developmental league draft by the Utah Flash and became the Flash’s all-time leading scorer before the team suspended operations in 2011.
The South Bay Lakers, then called the D-Fenders, signed Ingram in March 2012 and he spent four seasons with them before a stint in Australia. Ingram joined the South Bay Lakers in March 2017, spending the rest of last season and this season with the team, which reached the G League’s Western Conference finals this season before they were eliminated by the Austin Spurs.
The Lakers will be without forward Brandon Ingram in Tuesday night’s game against the Houston Rockets.
They have listed Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma as questionable, though coach Luke Walton has indicated that he would be hesitant to play Ball because of the length of time the rookie has been sidelined. He Ball sat out the last six games because of a bruised left knee.
Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas returned to Excel Sports Management, where he was represented by Sam Goldfeder, before having surgery March 29 to repair the torn labrum in his hip.
Thomas left Excel in September, and had been advised by longtime NBA agent Aaron Goodwin starting in October.
Thomas will be a free agent this summer. He initially suffered the hip injury in March 2017 while playing for the Boston Celtics but opted not to have surgery. He played through the injury for two months before the Celtics shut him down during the playoffs. Thomas helped the Celtics reach the Eastern Conference finals and finished fifth in most valuable player voting.
Traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last August, he played in only 15 games for the Cavaliers before they traded him to the Lakers in February. Thomas played in 17 games for the Lakers while working through his hip injury, which continued to be sore. After getting a second opinion, he opted for arthroscopic surgery.
“I just tried to let it heal on his own and I think I did the best I possibly could while doing that,” Thomas said. “Now the problem is fixed and on the road back to 100%.”
The Lakers’ game against the Utah Jazz on Sunday started earlier than their usual Sunday games at Staples Center. It tipped off at 3 p.m., rather than the usual Sunday start time of 6:30.
That was part of an initiative to start games earlier in order to broaden accessibility for international audiences. The Lakers’ weekday home games typically start at 7:30 p.m.
LAKERS UP NEXT
When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
On Air: TV — TNT, Radio — 710, 1330.
Update: The Rockets are 3-2 since clinching home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, with wins over the Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers and losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli