At least, for the time being.
The Lakers signed Shareef O’Neal and Scottie Pippen Jr. to deals following the NBA draft, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. O’Neal, the son of former Lakers big man Shaquille O’Neal, will play with them in the summer league and Scottie Pippen’s son agreed to a two-way contract.
O’Neal spent last season at LSU, his second with the program, though he averaged just 2.9 points off the bench in 14 games while dealing with a lingering foot injury. He started out at UCLA, but needed open-heart surgery in 2019 after he was diagnosed with a right anomalous coronary artery.
Though it’s hard to compare him to his father, O’Neal had several predraft workouts and he opted to stick in the draft despite few people thinking he’d go any higher than the late second round. While he’ll have to prove himself in Las Vegas to earn his spot, seeing another O’Neal in a Lakers jersey of any kind is sure to be cool.
Pippen will join the Lakers on a two-way deal, which should carry him over into the season this fall. Pippen averaged 20.4 points per game last season at Vanderbilt while shining in the SEC, but most expected him to get overlooked in the draft. At just 6-foot-1, he’s much shorter than his father and not as skilled — which, again, is an incredibly tough ask.
While it may take a lot for either player to make the Lakers’ full-time roster next season, this vintage-style summer team could be fun to watch.
And, if nothing else, their basketball backgrounds certainly give both Pippen and O’Neal plenty of upside.