Before the regular season starts, NBA teams have to cut their rosters down to a maximum of 15 players.
The Lakers currently have 16 players, 13 guaranteed, so at least one additional cut is a lock.
It can be rare for a team to let go of a player on a guaranteed contract. Recently the Cleveland Cavaliers waived guard Kelenna Azubuike and the Orlando Magic released former Lakers forward Christian Eyenga.
Given that the Lakers are deep into the luxury tax, it would seem unlikely for the Lakers to trim a player whose salary is also taxed. If the Lakers cut seldom-used forward Earl Clark, the team would still owe him his full $1.24 million plus $1.24 million in luxury taxes. Clark is currently recovering from a groin injury.
Instead, the Lakers are more likely to drop from the pool of three players on non-guaranteed deals:
Robert Sacre: Taken 60th in the 2012 NBA Draft, Sacre played major preseason minutes at center while Dwight Howard worked his way back from surgery (herniated disk). Sacre shot 51.4% from the field, averaging 6.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks a game. He needs to learn how to stay out of foul trouble but for a second-rounder, Sacre has shown more than enough to make the season-opening roster. Prognosis: Favorable.
Andrew Goudelock: In stretches last season Goudelock impressed Coach Mike Brown. Over time he was phased out of the rotation. Goudelock can shoot and has a nifty floater off the dribble but he's not a point guard. In the right situation, he'll help a team as an undersized two guard. It just doesn't look like that will be with the Lakers. Prognosis: Not promising.
Darius Johnson-Odom: The Lakers made a draft-day trade to acquire Johnson-Odom's rights but Brown never seemed to give him any real minutes. Internet buzz has Johnson-Odom heading to the Ukraine once cut, but that hasn't been confirmed. The Lakers have use for an athlete in the backcourt and Johnson-Odom is gifted. With Kobe Bryant, Jodie Meeks and Devin Ebanks ahead of him in the rotation, Johnson-Odom just doesn't appear likely to make the cut. Prognosis: Unfavorable.
Final Prediction: The Lakers keep Sacre and head into opening night with 14 players on the roster.