Yesterday evening, the Los Angeles Lakers annnounced that former UNC star Joel Berry II officially signed a contract with their organization. The news initially broke via Berry’s instagram page, which included a picture of the Florida-native signing off on the papers:
Due to team policy, the Lakers did not announce what the terms of the deal were. It is likely that Berry will be playing for the Lakers’ G-League affiliate during the 2018-19 season, but whether it is a one-way or or a two-way contract is unknown. What we do know, however, is that Berry will get a chance to play for a team that has one a surreal amount of championships ever since the NBA was formed back in 1946. In fact, they are second place for the most titles since the league was formed, with the Boston Celtics having the most. The Lakers have also had their fair amount of notable UNC players throughout the years, including James Worthy, Rick Fox, and Sam Perkins, to name a few.
The signing of Joel Berry II comes off of the heels of the Lakers making it to the NBA Summer League championship, before falling to the Portland Trailblazers 91-73. Berry was unable to play in any of the games due to an ankle injury, and so it was unclear as to whether or not the Lakers saw anything since the draft that would have given them the incentive to offer a deal.
The Lakers also have been very busy this off-season, acquiring the best (active) player in the NBA, LeBron James. Other acquisitions this offseason include former New Orleans Pelican Rajon Rondo, former Golden State Warrior player JaVale McGee, and of course, the man that for some reason blew in LeBron’s ear years ago and sparked one of my favorite memes, Lance Stephenson. These moves have made the Lakers a potential contender in the Western Conference, although the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets are likely to be the teams to beat in the playoffs.
So the million-dollar question is: can we expect to see Joel Berry II suit up for the Los Angeles Lakers this year? If I have to make a prediction, I would say probably not. The Lakers have a good amount of talented point guards, and will primarily rely on Lonzo Ball, Rajon Rondo, and knowing how the Cavs used him, LeBron James. I will say, however, that in the NBA anything is possible, so it will at least be something to keep an eye on. The most important thing for Berry this coming season is to see as much time on the court as possible and to keep developing his game. Going from the G-League to the NBA is tough, but as we all know, Berry is also a really tough guy. He will undoubtedly give his all with the opportunity provided to him, and it will be exciting to see what the future holds for him.
We wish Joel Berry the best of luck, and as always, Go Heels!