One day after the Cairns Taipans announced it had released Cameron Oliver so he could pursue NBA opportunities, the former Nevada Wolf Pack star signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Oliver finished last season with the Houston Rockets, where he made his NBA debut, after returning home from Australia due to complications with his wife's pregnancy. Oliver was in his second season playing for Cairns but had an opt out in his two-year deal signed before the start of the 2020-21 season.
Oliver played for the Golden State Warriors' summer league team in August and averaged 7.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 0.8 steals in 14.8 minutes per game. He made 14-of-27 shots (51.9 percent), including 0-of-3 from three. He made 8-of-9 free throws. Oliver's addition to the Lakers' roster was first reported by The Athletic's Jovan Buha.
The 25-year-old Oliver played four games with the Houston Rockets last season, including one against the Lakers. He averaged 10.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 blocks in 21.8 minutes per game. He made 57.8 percent of his shots, including 30.8 percent from three. He sank 1-of-4 free throws.
An athletic 6-foot-8 big, Oliver has an ideal skillset for the modern NBA with his ability to protect the rim defensively, finish at the hoop offensively and hit enough 3-pointers to maintain spacing. He'll be one of the youngest players on the Lakers' roster, which has been retooled this offseason after a first-round playoff exit following the team winning the 2020 NBA title. The roster is headlined by LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.
Oliver played for Nevada from 2015-17 before entering the NBA draft after his sophomore season. He went undrafted before signing a deal with the Houston Rockets. Oliver broke his hand in training camp that year and didn't make the team. He spent two years in the G League before going overseas and finding success is Australia's NBL. Oliver said he shed tears of joy after signing a contract with the Rockets last season.
"It was a moment I had been waiting for for so long," Oliver told Nevada Sports Net in May.
Oliver said he felt like he belonged in the NBA during his brief stint in the league.
"When I stepped on the court, I didn't feel out of place, if that makes sense," Oliver said. "I didn't feel like I didn't belong. I felt like I did belong. I feel like I needed to be here. It was just a great opportunity, and just so unexpected."
Oliver is the fourth Wolf Pack product to sign an NBA contract for the 2021-22 season. JaVale McGee (Suns) and Cody Martin (Hornets) are on 15-man rosters while Caleb Martin (Heat) is on a two-way contract and expected to split time between the G League and NBA team. Oliver's Exhibit 10 contract means he will get a training camp invitation that could turn into a two-way contract. The Lakers also have signed Mac McClung and Chaundee Brown to Exhibit 10 deals. The Lakers have already signed Joel Ayayi and Austin Reaves to two-way contracts. Teams are allowed two two-way players each.
In a news release, Taipans head coach Adam Forde said he was proud of Oliver and hopes for his success in the NBA.
“This is such a positive outcome," Forde said. "Cam said that he has never felt this close to his NBA dream, and this is exactly what we want. It speaks volumes of the Taipans organization because they took a chance on him and look where he is now.”