Lakers News: L.A. Moving Towards Signing Matt Ryan, Dwayne Bacon

Not that Matt Ryan.

With Fabian White Jr. no longer numbering among your Los Angeles Lakers’ training camp lineup, L.A. is reportedly circling two new small forward additions — one a potential Exhibit 10 signing, the other a potentially more long-term piece.

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Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, L.A. intends to add 6’7″ swingman Matt Ryan, most recently with the Boston Celtics, to a non-guaranteed contract for the 2022-23 season. Charania adds that the team also intends to sign former Charlotte Hornets and Orlando Magic wing Dwayne Bacon, albeit to an Exhibit 10 training camp deal.

The team has 12 players signed to guaranteed deals on its standard 15-man roster, in addition to the non-guaranteed contracts of Austin Reaves (likely to be guaranteed at some point this season) and Wenyen Gabriel. 

As a power forward, Gabriel plays at a position of need for L.A., though it is unclear how the club feels about his upside. Adding Ryan to another non-guaranteed deal would fill up the final roster spot for the club, at least until the team makes determinations on those guarantees.

To be quite clear, Ryan is not the Indiana Colts’ 37-year-old, four-time Pro Bowler quarterback. After going undrafted out of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2020, the 25-year-old NBA Matt Ryan signed on with the Denver Nuggets’ NBA G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold, as an affiliate player for the start of the 2021-22 season. He joined the Boston Celtics on a two-way contract in February 2022. Ryan failed to crack Boston’s rotation, appearing in just one game.  Across his 30 G League appearances with the Grand Rapids Gold and the Celtics’ G League affiliate, the Maine Celtics, last season, Ryan posted averages of 19.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, two assists, and 0.7 steals. He also put up some enticing shooting numbers, logging a cumulative slash line of .469/.413/.860.

Bacon was selected with the No. 40 pick by the Charlotte Hornets in 2017 out of Florida State University. He never broke out with the Hornets. He split his time between Charlotte and its affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, during his first three seasons in the league. After three seasons with the Hornets, the 6’6″ small forward signed with the Orlando Magic for the 2020-21 season. Bacon enjoyed his best season with a lottery-bound Magic club. Across 72 games (50 starts), he averaged 10.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists a night. But apparently that wasn’t enough to entice another franchise the next year.

With no NBA contracts forthcoming, he joined French club AS Monaco Basket in 2021-22. Never a great shooter, Bacon’s game has always been credited on slashing to the rack. The 27-year-old could serve as an interesting development project if L.A. opts to retain him as an affiliate player in South Bay.

Because of Ryan’s tantalizing upside as a floor spacer along the perimeter, he actually could get some run on a shooting-starved Los Angeles roster.

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