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Lakers News: Los Angeles Makes Necessary Cuts in Keith Appling and Jeremy Tyler

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2014

ONTARIO, CA - OCTOBER 12:  Keith Appling #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball during the game against the Golden State Warriors on October 12, 2014 at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Noah Graham/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have to get the roster down to 15 before the start of the regular season, and they made a big step toward accomplishing that by waiving two players Monday.

According to the team's official website, both Keith Appling and Jeremy Tyler were waived to put the official roster count at 17.

Appling was a college star at Michigan State and was hoping to show he could be a quality backup point guard at the next level. With Steve Nash dealing with various injuries, this could have been quite valuable for the Lakers.

Unfortunately, he suffered a shoulder injury in his second preseason game against the Utah Jazz. Before coming out, he scored two points with three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes. The injury ended up being a shoulder subluxation, the same problem that kept him out of games in college.

While unfair, this was the nail in the coffin for Appling's chances of making the opening-day roster. Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times notes how this affected his pay:

Eric Pincus @EricPincus

Because Keith Appling is a summer contract - he'll get just $6k for being cut while injured (shoulder sublexaton) - not entire contract

You can question whether this is far, but there is no doubt the Lakers made the right decision about letting him go.

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The loss of Tyler might end up being bigger, as the three-year veteran had actually proven the ability to be a productive player in the NBA. He has spent time with the Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks, averaging 3.6 points in 104 games.

However, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports notes that the player had other plans for the season:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Lakers will waive Jeremy Tyler so that he can sign a deal in China, league sources tell Yahoo. Tyler will not dress for Sunday's game.

This roster move could make things interesting as the team makes the final decisions regarding the roster. With 13 of the 17 players having guaranteed contracts, it really comes down to Ronnie Price, Wayne Ellington, Jabari Brown and Roscoe Smith getting two spots.

Of this group, Price seems the best lock to make the team after a solid preseason. He is averaging 8.5 points with 4.8 assists per game but more importantly is impressing the right people with his hustle, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com:

Mike Trudell @LakersReporter

Ronnie Price is diving all over the place tonight, causing havoc. Kobe, Byron both love him.

The 31-year-old journeyman will likely never be a star, but he is exactly what the team needs with Nash less than 100 percent going into the season.

This leaves the Lakers to choose one of the three shooting guards, each of which is capable of providing something different for the team. The one thing that gives Ellington an advantage over the other two is his outside shooting ability after hitting 38.6 percent of his three-point shots in his five-year career. Outside of Nick Young, the team does not have many other players of this ability.

On the other hand, he has only hit two of his 12 attempts so far in the preseason. He will need to prove this was just a rough patch before the team can commit to him.

Otherwise, it might be a smart move to keep a more versatile player like Brown, who also has plenty of upside despite being undrafted. The former Missouri star has the talent to one day be a quality contributor in the NBA and might be worth giving a chance on a team likely looking at the future.

While these smaller moves do not always make the top headlines, these changes at the end of training camp can often make a big difference to the future of a franchise. Fans will hope general manager Mitch Kupchak makes the right calls over the next few days.

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