7:58pm: The Lakers have made the signing of Blue official, according to the team’s website. There was no mention of a corresponding move, so evidently the Lakers have used the hardship provision again, as the team’s roster is once more at 16 players.
1:01pm: The Lakers have plans to sign Vander Blue for the rest of the season, a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The team was reportedly about to re-sign Dwight Buycks instead, but he broke his right hand on Sunday, the final day of his 10-day contract. It’s not immediately clear whether the deal is just for the team’s final two games this season or if it covers next season, too, though the injury-riddled Lakers presumably wouldn’t have to waive anyone if they signed Blue only for the balance of 2014/15. The team has 15 players on the roster already, but the Lakers are in position for the league to grant a hardship exception, which would allow a 16th player as long as he’s on only a rest-of-season deal.
The 10-day deal with Buycks came via hardship, and the Lakers previously used hardship exceptions to sign Jabari Brown to a pair of 10-day deals before waiving Steve Nash to accommodate a longer-term arrangement with Brown. Jordan Clarkson and Brown are the only two healthy Lakers guards, so Blue, a 6’5″ shooting guard, will provide much-needed depth. The team only has eight total healthy players, and none of them are small forwards, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Blue get some time at the three position.
Blue has been averaging 23.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 37.3 minutes per game for the Lakers D-League affiliate this season, nailing 41.6% of his three-point attempts during his 49 appearances. All of those numbers are improvements over his D-League stats from last season. Blue is a one-year NBA veteran thanks to a single 10-day contract he signed with the Celtics in January 2014, and he scored five points in 15 minutes of action during three games with Boston. The 22-year-old also signed a non-guaranteed deal with the Wizards before this season, but Washington waived him in early October, well before opening night.
The Lakers are limited to the minimum-salary exception, so even if they are signing him for more than just this season and waiving another player to make that happen, Blue’s contract couldn’t stretch beyond next season.