Los Angeles Lakers Take Step Toward Future with Tarik Black Acquisition

Rookie Tarik Black could be a solid step forward in the Los Angeles Lakers’ rebuild.

L.A. picked up the 23-year-old frontcourt bruiser Sunday after the Houston Rockets waived him Friday to make room for incoming forward Josh Smith. The Lakers, in turn, created a roster spot by cutting swingman Xavier Henry, who was already out for the year after tearing his Achilles tendon.

Black went undrafted out of the University of Kansas last June, but made good on an invite to the Rockets’ training camp.

He started 12 regular-season games while filling in at the center position for an injured Dwight Howard, and came off the bench in 13 additional appearances.

All told, he averaged 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds in 15.7 minutes, playing a hard-nosed hustle game and impressing Rockets coach Kevin McHale, who said, per Jonathan Feigen for the Houston Chronicle:

Tarik did a great job. I told him he’ll be picked up in our league. I told him in preseason, I said ‘Tarik, you have to go out and open people’s eyes. You didn’t get drafted.’ But he came in and had (15) rebounds in a (preseason) game. Everybody around the league is saying, ‘Dang, what did we miss on Tarik Black?’… We’re going to miss him. It’s a tough business this league.

As it turned out, landing another job didn’t take long at all. Goodbye Texas, hello Hollywood!

Lakers Nation’s Serena Winters spoke with Black on his first day at the Lakers team headquarters in El Segundo. The interview also includes the story of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' attempted recruitment of Black as a tight end:

Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Black’s first love was jazz trumpet, not basketball. In fact, he didn’t make the cut on an organized squad until his freshman year at Ridgeway High.

Jesse Newe...

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