The LA Lakers have signed free agent centre Robert Upshaw on a multi-year deal after the youngster impressed for the club in the summer league.
The details of the contract have not been disclosed, but it is expected to carry minimal guarantees beyond the upcoming season due to the California native’s off-the-court discrepancies.
Last season the 21-year-old led the way in America for blocked shots with an average of 4.5 per game before he was dismissed by the University of Washington for a breach of team discipline.
It was the second time the youngster had been released from a college programme following a similar departure from Fresno State during his freshman year, which was part of the reason the 7ft player failed to be picked up during this year’s draft.
Upshaw was subsequently offered a chance by the Lakers in their summer league programme where his impressive average of 1.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 11.5 minutes per game were enough to earn him a deal at the Staples Center.
The youngster is unlikely to feature too often during the opening weeks of the season with Byron Scott’s side blessed with quality centres such as Roy Hibbert, Robert Sacre and Tarik Black.
The Lakers coach will be hoping the new acquisition will learn from his more experienced team-mates both on and off the court in what could turn out to be a shrewd piece of business for the club.
The 16-time NBA champions are 101.00 to win this year’s competition with the Cleveland Cavaliers the current favourites to seal overall glory at 3.75.