Mickael Gelabale to sign with the Lakers
Don't go upping the opening day roster from 13 to 14 quite yet, but Jorge Sierra of Hoopshype.com reports the Lakers have reached an agreement with former Sonics swingman Mickael Gelabale that will give the 6'7" Frenchman, 26, a chance to make the team out of training camp on a "make-good contract" (meaning there's no commitment financially until he makes the squad).
Gelabale, who dropped out of the NBA after tearing his right ACL in 2008 during his second season in Seattle, played six games with the D-Fenders last season in the NBDL, averaging 16 points and 4.3 boards a game.
He tells Sierra his health is ducky, which will give him the necessary quickness and pop on the defensive end, where Gelabale sees his opportunity:
“The knees are very good. It’s 100 per cent,” Gelabale said. “We had some tests in Los Angeles and both of my knees are very, very strong. I’ve been working out a lot and now I’m even able to do things I couldn’t do before.” The 6-foot-7 Gelabale has relied a lot on his athleticism throughout his career, so being completely healthy is key for him in order to have a chance to make the Lakers’ opening nigh (sic) roster."... I chose the Lakers because I think I can make the team. I can bring my defense to the Lakers. I remember there have been times when I played against Kobe that he would congratulate after the game for being such a good defender. I know it’s going to be hard to make the team, but you have to start somewhere.”
Indeed. Gelabale's diagnosis that it'll be tough to make the roster is spot on, but his build and profile as a player does make the move at least somewhat interesting, assuming you're willing to acknowledge that interesting is a sliding scale. While limited offensively, assuming he's healthy Gelabale is long and athletic, and plays aggressively on defense with good mobility. He is, in some ways, a Trevor Ariza for the very pauvre homme.
If there was a downside to the Ron Artest deal, it's that the Lakers lost the contrast in their primary small forwards. Ariza and Luke Walton were very different players. Artest and Walton are more similar (not in talent, just in profile). If the Lakers' roster/payroll can accommodate a 14th player- a big if- it could be on the wing, for a guy with a style that adds a true change of pace and play a little D. Gelabale could to be that guy. At the very least, he could enter camp with an edge over the rest of the chaff.
I still don't think he, or anyone else the Lakers bring in, will make the team unless an established player gets hurt, but Gelabale is an interesting name to watch. Plus, the Lakers seem to have a soft spot for energetic, braided-hair types eligible to play for the French National Team.