Lakers to sign Earl Clark, likely waive Xavier Henry
The Lakers are involved in discussions to reunite with one of their former players but haven’t officially signed Earl Clark.
One person familiar with the situation said the team had agreed to terms with Clark for the rest of the season, but another person cautioned that a deal had not been completed.
The Lakers are at the NBA-maximum 15 players and would have two options to sign Clark. They could waive a player such as Xavier Henry, who would still get his $1.1 million this season. However, someone close to the situation said that would be “too cold” for the Lakers to do the same week Henry had surgery to repair a torn Achilles’ tendon.
The Lakers could also wait for the NBA to grant a hardship waiver, which would temporarily allow them to increase their roster size to 16 players.
The hardship waiver isn’t expected to be granted until this weekend or next week. It stipulates that a team must have four players sidelined at the same time with substantial injuries.
Henry, Steve Nash and Julius Randle are done for the season because of injuries, and Ryan Kelly is out until at least January because of a torn hamstring.
The Lakers would have to return to 15 players when one of the four returned.
Clark, 26, is an energetic player who also can hit from three-point range. He averaged 7.3 points in 59 games for the Lakers in 2012-13 after being acquired from Orlando in the Dwight Howard trade.
Clark then signed a two-year, $8.5-million free-agent deal with Cleveland, but he was later traded to Philadelphia and waived by the 76ers.
He most recently played in the Development League, averaging 28.8 points for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The Lakers have been short-handed in practices, forced to suit up assistant coach Mark Madsen and player-development coach Larry Lewis.
There’s one coach who doesn’t want to get on the practice court. He knocked on a wooden podium as he spoke about it Wednesday.
“If we get two more guys hurt, then I’m going to probably be out there,” Byron Scott said. “But we’ll be going half-court only. It won’t be full court.”
Scott then got more serious. This injury thing has gotten a little out of control.
“It would just be nice to have 12 healthy bodies,” he said. “Not only for games, just for practice. There are things we can’t do.
“The last practice we had, two of our coaches had to practice just so we could go five-on-five. That makes it tough.”
Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.
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