NBA Rumors: Los Angeles Lakers Interested In Xavier Henry And Mamadou Ndiaye, Among Others

The Los Angeles Lakers still have several roster spots to fill prior to the opening of their training camp at the end of September, even if they agree to terms with Yi Jianlian. The Lakers are currently showing interest in Xavier Henry and Mamadou Ndiaye.

Joey Ramirez, a digital reporter at NBA.com, revealed that Henry, a former Laker, was one of 13 players to work out for the team on Wednesday. Henry was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2010 draft after playing his college ball at Kansas. Although he was a first-round selection, Henry has had his career derailed by several injuries. He has played for three teams during his five NBA seasons, including 43 games with the Lakers in 2013-14 and nine contests in 2014-15 before rupturing his left Achilles tendon.

Henry signed with the Golden State Warriors on October 15, 2015, but he was waived four days later. He later signed with the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s D-League franchise, averaging 15.6 points and shooting 44.8 percent from the field though he was limited to nine games as a result of persistent injuries.

Ramirez wrote that Henry looked very good and healthy during the minicamp, even throwing down a driving dunk that certainly looked like the athletic Henry of yesteryear.

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“I’ve been doing a lot of workouts this summer with a lot of different teams and getting feedback and seeing how I feel,” Henry said. “I’ve been feeling really good. I’m feeling blessed that I can even play basketball again.”

Henry’s best season to date came with the Lakers in 2013-14 when he averaged 10.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 21.1 minutes of action. The 25-year-old shot 41.7 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc while getting to the line a career-best 4.1 times a game that year. He has career averages of 5.7 points and 1.9 rebounds in 185 games.

Jeff Ayres, P.J. Hairston, Tyler Haws, Pierre Jackson, Julian Jacobs, Orlando Johnson, Nikola Jovanovic, Johnny Bryant, Wesley Saunders, Travis Wear, Dion Wright, and Mamadou Ndiaye were the other players that took part in the minicamp with Henry. Ayres, Hairston, Bryant, Johnson, and Wear also possess NBA experience.

Ayres has been a role player throughout his six-year career. The 29-year-old has played for four different teams, including the Los Angeles Clippers, where he averaged 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 17 games last year. He also has played for the Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs.

Hairston has been a major disappointment since being taken with the No. 26 pick in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Miami Heat. The 23-year-old has been very inefficient in his two NBA seasons, and he needs to improve his decision-making in order to stick in the league.

Hairston split time with the Memphis Grizzlies and Charlotte Hornets last season, averaging 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 35.5 percent from the floor, as well as 29.0 percent from beyond the arc. Hairston has more turnovers (63) than assists (59) for his career.

Bryant hasn’t been able to find his niche in the NBA yet as he has been way too inconsistent. The 6-foot-9, 257-pounder is a space-eater with limited mobility and athleticism. He is not highly effective around the rim and is worse the further he moves out from the paint.

Bryant averaged 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting just 41.1 percent from the field in 66 games, including four starts, for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2015-16.

Johnson is similar to Hairston as they are both are highly inefficient scorers. The 27-year-old appeared in seven games for the New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns last year. He has averaged 3.2 points in 103 NBA games while shooting 35.8 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from the three-point line. Johnson has experienced some success in the D-League.

Wear spent the 2015-16 season in Spain, producing 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds over 20 minutes in 26 games. He last played in the NBA in 2014-15 with the New York Knicks where he averaged 3.9 points along with 2.1 rebounds.

Jackson is cast in the mold of the Boston Celtics Isaiah Thomas, meaning that he is on the slight side in stature and has a scorer’s mentality as a point guard. The former second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers has experienced success in the D-League the past few seasons, although he has yet to play a second in the NBA.

Jackson played in four games in the Portland Trail Blazers’ Summer League team this year, averaging 14.5 points and 5.0 assists while shooting 47.9 percent from the field.

Haws, like Wear, spent last year in Spain’s Liga ACB. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard averaged 7.9 points while shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Jacobs went undrafted out of USC. The 6-foot-4 athletic point guard averaged 11.6 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds his junior season.

Ndiaye is a massive 7-foot-6, 300-pound center who went undrafted out of UC Irvine. The 22-year-old averaged 12.1 points along with 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks for the Anteaters last season.

Jovanovic also went undrafted out of USC following his junior campaign. The 6-foot-11 power forward compiled 12.1 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 52.4 percent from the field.

Saunders played for the Westchester Knicks and Austin Spurs after going undrafted out of Harvard in 2015. The 23-year-old averaged 4.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 38 games. He shot 41.9 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from the three-point line.

Wright does a lot of the little things well and is a very good defender. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 16.7 points and 9.1 rebounds for St. Bonaventure as a senior in 2015-16. He shot 46.7 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from long-distance.

ESPN reported on Aug. 17 that the Lakers had agreed to a one-year deal, $8 million deal with Jianlian, but the Los Angeles Times said the deal was for $1.139 million with incentives that could increase the salary by several million dollars. Now, there are reports that the pact is non-guaranteed. Whatever the case may be, Jianlian is expected to be with the Lakers this season.

Including Jianlian and first-round draft pick Brandon Ingram, who remains unsigned, the Los Angeles would have only 15 players under contract. This means they could add as many as five players to the roster prior to training camp.

Of the 13 players that attended the minicamp, Henry along with Ndiaye, Ayres, Wright, and Jackson are the most likely to be signed by the team. Nick Young and Anthony Brown are the two players currently on the roster who are in the most jeopardy of not being with the team at the start of the regular season.

{Photo by Mark J. Terrill/ AP Images]