Lakers applying for hardship exception, may add 16th player

Lakers guard Ronnie Price puts up a shot in a game against Phoenix this season.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

After Ronnie Price misses his fourth game Tuesday, the Lakers will ask the NBA for a hardship exception, which would allow the team to add a 16th player to the roster.

The Lakers are currently at the league maximum of 15, but with four players out for the season (Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Julius Randle and Price), the NBA is likely to assent to the Lakers’ request.

According to a team spokesman, the Lakers have discussed the matter internally, but haven’t decided if they will use the exception if granted.


The franchise was previously given a hardship exception while Ryan Kelly was out with a hamstring injury, but it expired unused.

At 16-42, the Lakers aren’t aspiring to make the playoffs this season, but they may be able to bring on a prospect to develop. With Nick Young (knee) temporarily sidelined, the Lakers only have three available guards in Jordan Clarkson, Jeremy Lin and Wayne Ellington.

The Lakers could look to their own NBA Development League affiliate for talent, or to the general free-agent pool, perhaps with a 10-day contract to offer. The Lakers can also look at other D-League players who aren’t on their specific minor-league squad.

Presuming the team might look to add a guard, Jabari Brown, who went through training camp with the Lakers, is averaging 24.3 points a game with the D-Fenders. Vander Blue (21.3 a night) and Jamaal Franklin (20.4) have also been consistent scorers with the Lakers’ affiliate.

The Lakers do have a pair of disabled player exceptions, for Steve Nash ($4.9 million) and Julius Randle ($1.5 million), which can be used to sign a player through the remainder of the season. Both exceptions expire March 10.

If the team chooses to pull from the D-League, they would be far more likely to offer a minimum contract rather than use either disabled player exception.


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