Jianlian asked the Lakers to be released and will be waived Monday, Marc Stein of ESPN reports. Jianlian reportedly was given a different role than he expected when he initially signed with the Lakers from China, as it's possible that Jianlian was not a fan of the team playing him at backup center behind Timofey Mozgov through training camp. Jianlian's departure will likely result in a return to China for the big man, while Tarik Black and Ivica Zubac could now potentially see bigger roles in the frontcourt this season for the Lakers.
Jianlian tallied four points (1-3 FG, 2-2 FT) and four rebounds over 13 minutes in Tuesday's 109-106 preseason loss to the Blazers. Jianlian saw another small bump in playing time Tuesday and turned a solid effort relative to his 13 minutes on the court. The seven-footer has been serviceable to date in the exhibition slate and is slotted as Timofey Mozgov's primary backup at center in the coming season. With Mozgov never having averaged more than 25 minutes in any of his eight seasons, Jianlian could receive a solid allotment of minutes if he can continue to prove worthy of them.
Jianlian has been seeing time during training camp practices as the Lakers' backup center behind starter Timofey Mozgov, Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet reports. Though he's seven feet tall, Jianlian lacks the rim-protecting ability most teams value at the center spot, but he could provide the Lakers with an interesting weapon on the offensive end. The 28-year-old possesses a reliable stroke from the outside, which could aid the Lakers with their floor spacing when Julius Randle is on the floor working the low block. While Jianlian looks like an increasingly safe bet to make the roster despite his contract not being fully guaranteed, he still figures to see fewer than 20 minutes per game behind Mozgov, which will limit his fantasy production.
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