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Lakers Rumors: Latest Rumblings on Robert Upshaw and Team Workouts

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2015

Jul 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Upshaw (12) reacts after a call during an NBA Summer League game against Minnesota at Thomas & Mack Center. Minnesota won the game 81-68.  Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a wealth of notable additions giving the Los Angeles Lakers a strong veteran-prospect balance, it seems like general manager Mitch Kupchak isn't done just yet. 

It's August, but Kupchak still has the team's name in headlines as he and the front office conduct workouts and weigh the idea of signing one notable rookie.

So before the globe gets to see how Kobe Bryant meshes with the future, highlighted by D'Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, it is time to take another step back and gauge all the rumblings surrounding the franchise.

Interest in Eric Moreland?

The Lakers seem to have plenty of depth down low, but it doesn't mean the team cannot look at other options. 

Randle leads the way, but he is coming off an injury. Brandon Bass and Larry Nance are the only answers behind him, so it couldn't hurt to add another face.

Said face might be Eric Moreland, a 2014 undrafted free agent out of Oregon State. Reporter David Pick noted the team worked out Moreland this past week:

David Pick @IAmDPick

Lakers to workout forward Eric Moreland, according to source.

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Moreland didn't receive much in the way of a chance last year with the Sacramento Kings thanks to an injury. He saw time in just three games before getting waived.

Things seem better for a healthy Moreland now, as he averaged 6.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in the summer league. Those numbers mean it's hard to imagine the Lakers are the lone team interested in his services.

Even if it doesn't come to Moreland signing with the Lakers, he's a clear sign the team wants to add a prospect in the area to promote competition.

Jeremy Tyler Workout

Want more proof the Lakers might still have an interest in adding a prospect underneath the basket?

The front office also seems to have an interest in 24-year-old journeyman Jeremy Tyler, another workout note recorded by Pick:

David Pick @IAmDPick

Lakers also worked out Jeremy Tyler. He had 25 & 11, plus game-winner vs LA at summer league.

Believe it or not, Tyler spent some time with the Lakers last year before the team waived him leading up to the season. He went on to finish the season in China, but he does have three years of experience in the Association under his belt.

The 39th pick in the 2011 draft has spent time with the Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks, amassing career averages of 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds.

Like Moreland, what might have caught the Lakers' attention is summer-league play, as Pick notes in the report above. It seems Tyler continues to improve, hence the team looking his way and the Dallas Mavericks bringing him on their summer roster in the first place.

Granted, it's hard to see Tyler breaking through to the final roster. But again, injuries happen and quality depth breeds the best possible roster. It's something to keep an eye on in what is an otherwise boring time of year.

Robert Upshaw Update

Jul 10, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Upshaw (12) is blocked out by Minnesota Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns (32) during an NBA Summer League game at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TOD
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

There's no easy way to figure out what the Lakers are doing with undrafted free agent Robert Upshaw.

Signing the former Washington star seems like a no-brainer. The fact the Lakers showed an interest and had him on board for the summer sparked widespread acclaim for the organization—Upshaw has his baggage, but he is a talented big man at 7'0" and 250 pounds who could make a difference in the right situation.

Alas, Eric Pincus of BasketballInsiders.com provided an interesting update on the situation:

Eric Pincus @EricPincus

I hear the Lakers have no immediate plan to sign undrafted center Robert Upshaw, though he still remains a possibility

So goes the divide between public expectations and the actual musings of an NBA front office.

In fact, Kupchak met with Upshaw last month and was then quite clear on how the big man would fit if the team signed him to a contract.

“It’s unlikely Robert will contribute next year on this team to win games,” said Kupchak, per Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. “If we did something with Robert, it would be based on potential going forward.”

Upshaw remains one of the most talented prospects the Lakers could add, but the big unknown is what holds up a deal. The depth chart at center looks crowded already with starter Roy Hibbert, who has backup in the way of Tarik Black and Robert Sacre.

Things change on a dime in the Association. Injuries, contracts and many other factors will play a role in how this plays out. As the most interesting storyline surrounding the Lakers right now, be sure to watch for Upshaw's name as this saga continues.

 All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified. 

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