Lakers Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIJune 25, 2012

Lakers Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

0 of 27

    The 2012 NBA season has officially come to a close, with the Miami Heat celebrating the franchise's second NBA championship. On the sidelines sat one of the Lakers' legends, Pat Riley, as he orchestrated yet another championship run for a major city's franchise.

    Time for the Los Angeles Lakers to strike back and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

    The greatest way for the Lakers to achieve such a feat will begin in the offseason. From free agency to draft night, the infusion of new talent may just be the only way to fix an old machine. For those worried about the Lakers standing still and letting another season pass them by, fear not.

    The Los Angeles Lakers are poised for some big moves come free agency.

Dwightmare Is Ended!

1 of 27

    Update: Friday, August 10 -- Maxwell Ogden

    Showtime has returned to Los Angeles, ladies and gentlemen, as Dwight Howard has officially become a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. As for how the deal got done, the word impact doesn't really do this trade justice.

    Four teams were involved in this deal, with the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers joining the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic to get the swap done. Amongst the players traded were All-Stars Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bynum.

    According to Ken Berger of CBS.com, this is how it all went down.

    -- Orlando sends Howard, Earl Clark and Chris Duhon to the Lakers and Jason Richardson to the 76ers.

    -- L.A. sends Andrew Bynum to Philly, and Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts, a conditional 2017 first-round pick and a conditional 2015 second-round pick to Orlando.

    -- Denver sends Al Harrington and Arron Afflalo to Orlando with a 2013 second-round pick and a 2014 first-round pick from the Nuggets or Knicks.

    -- Philadelphia sends Andre Iguodala to Denver and Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless and a conditional first-round pick to Orlando. The Philly pick is lottery-protected in 2013 and '14, top-11 protected in '15 and top-8 protected in '16. If the Magic don't get the pick by '16, they get two second-round picks from the Sixers.

    While the winners and losers of this trade are of a subjective matter, there's no denying how big every move was. Los Angeles receives Dwight Howard, Philadelphia gets Andrew Bynum, Denver acquires Andre Iguodala and Orlando receives positional upgrades, a slew of draft picks and significant cap space.

    Upwards of $20 million should the expected buyout of Al Harrington goes through.

    -- Report via B/R's NBA Trade Rumors tracker

     

    BREAKING NEWS: Thursday, August 9 -- Joel C. Cordes

    Dwight Howard is finally a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the rest of the NBA is no longer hostage to his story. The blockbuster four-team trade involving the Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic will go through.

    Merely rumors as of early Thursday afternoon, the trade was allegedly agreed to in principal during the wee hours of the evening, with a league-office finalization call being planned for Friday morning.

    Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN and ESPNLA, respectively, broke the stories Thursday night, providing new details from the earlier speculations that included Pau Gasol.

    Gasol appears to actually be safe now, with only Bynum and a first round draft pick leaving L.A. in return for Dwight Howard. Andre Iguodala will indeed leave Philadelphia for Denver, who will ship Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington and at least one first rounder to Orlando.

    The Magic will also reportedly receive Nikola Vucevic, at least one first round pick and (potentially) Moe Harkless from the Sixers. 

    Philly is potentially the real winner, landing not only Andrew Bynum, but also Jason Richardson in the process for nothing more than Iggy and some spare assets.

    Neither Bynum nor Howard are likely to sign in-season extensions, and Marc Stein especially reinforced this for D12.

    ESPN source says Dwight definitely NOT doing extension with Lakers. Will test drive Lakerland for season and go to free agency in July 2013

    — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 10, 2012

    If L.A. does not work out for Dwight, says source briefed on his thinking, he knows "Dallas will be there for him." Mavs will have cap space

    — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 10, 2012

    Yet, both will have massive financial and personal incentive to re-sign with their new teams next offseason. Howard will finally be playing on the big stage for a championship contender, while Bynum will have a franchise all to himself, playing within an hour of his New Jersey home.

Dwight Howard Trade Paves the Way for Free Agents?

2 of 27

    BREAKING NEWS: Friday, August 10 -- Joel C. Cordes

    It happened a little sooner than anticipated, but the L.A. Lakers have followed up their blockbuster acquisition of Dwight Howard by signing free agent combo-guard Jodie Meeks.

    Meeks didn't make the money he wanted with this deal, but he does get a chance to showcase his skills on the league's biggest stage. He'll primarily back up Kobe Bryant, but don't be surprised if he spots occasional time behind Steve Nash at the point as well.

    As a defensive stopper with some NBA range, he'll be a welcome addition to this stacked Lakers roster.

    L.A. Lakers blogger Mark Medina broke the news this afternoon:

    Jodie Meeks agreed to 2-year deal worth about $3 million to play for the Lakers, The Times has learned

    — Mark Medina (@MarkGMedina) August 10, 2012

     

    Update: Friday, August 10 -- Joel C. Cordes

    NBA insider Steve Kyler reports that Dwight Howard's signing unlocks the final stages for the L.A. Lakers' offseason to remember.

    The Howard deal is paving the way for a few more transactions once the dust settles... Hearing that Lakers forward Devin Ebanks will sign his Qualifying Offer sheet and return to the Lakers... Hearing Lakers are likely going to land Jodie Meeks when the dust clears. 

    Meeks was earlier uninterested in signing for the veteran's minimum, but a lack of more lucrative opportunities, along with the chance to boost his value playing for a title contender, might make a one-year deal much more attractive.

    Ebanks will be buried on the depth chart if he does indeed return, but he's still a nice developmental prospect for a Lakers team that's suddenly loaded to the gills with weapons.

Dwight Howard to Lakers Still Has Legs?

3 of 27

    Update: Thursday, August 9 -- Joel C. Cordes

    It's been awhile since we've had a good Dwight Howard rumor to freak out about, but this one is certainly both new and a doozy.

    Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic have found some fresh victims (err... facilitators) for their continued Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum trade machinations:

    Orlando and the L.A. Lakers are engaged in 4-way talks with Denver and Philadelphia on a Dwight Howard blockbuster, league sources tell Y!

    — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 9, 2012

    Including the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers actually makes a ton of sense. Just check out the rosters for the Nuggets and the Sixers; each has plenty of names that could be attractive to a rebuilding Orlando franchise.

    However, a deal of this magnitude brings up more questions than answers. Could Bynum be going to Denver or Philly instead of Orlando? What do those other two teams get out of such a deal? Which young stars could be included in these discussions? 

    We've heard plenty of head-scratching rumors ever since this saga began, but this one comes from a reputable source and is fresh enough to create some pause. At least we all now have something to think about for the day...

    - Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's Offseason Trade Rumors tracker.


    Update: Thursday, July 26 -- Maxwell Ogden

    The Los Angeles Lakers are not going to sit around and wait for Dwight Howard. They're also not going to close the door on a potential deal, however, and that's most important to note.

    Chris Broussard and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com have the news.

    While Orlando regroups to assess its options with Howard, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said as far as he's concerned, the door remains open for the team to make an impact trade.

    "Typically it slows down in August, but the brakes are never on," Kupchak said coyly.

    It's not hard to imagine what that impact trade might be. After nearly a month of trade talks with the Orlando Magic, the Lakers are likely to remain open to any possible move. On the heels of D-12 telling management that he would not re-sign, that trade does become a lot more likely.

    The question is, will the Lakers extend Andrew Bynum before they can acquire Dwight Howard?


    Update: Monday, July 23 -- Maxwell Ogden

    The Orlando Magic have been involved in a back-and-forth battle with the decision to keep or trade Dwight Howard for roughly a year. While it seems as if all signs have pointed to a potential trade, it appears as if the franchise will hold onto their embattled superstar.

    Chris Broussard of ESPN.com has the report.

    An executive who has had discussions with the Magic regarding Howard said Orlando only will trade the star center in a deal that is great for the franchise. The executive said this has been Orlando's stance for the past "week or so."

    Another executive who has talked with Orlando said he thinks the Magic may start the season with Howard and wait until the February trade deadline to move him.

    This decision has been building up to for quite some time, with the Magic refusing deals from a handful of potential suitors. The question at this point, of course, is whether the team will indeed trade Howard come February or hold onto him and try their luck in free agency.

    More on this story as details are released.

    -- Report via B/R's Dwight Howard Tracker

     

    Update: Saturday, July 21 -- Maxwell Ogden

    B/R's earlier report answered why Dwight Howard hadn't been traded. This upcoming news will answer when the plug could be pulled on the D-12 trade talks.

    Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated has the report.

    The Magic, I'm told, are hopeful that they can pull the trigger on a deal by early August (although I certainly couldn't tell you which one it might be). That being said, new GM Rob Hennigan...is proving to be very prudent in this process, meaning those hopes won't be realized if the deal simply isn't up to his standard's.

    This is a fair approach by Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan. The team simply cannot pull the trigger when there remains an outside chance of Howard returning to Orlando, regardless of what he may have said before.

    Either way, the D-12 trade talks could conclude by early August. Expect a frantic few weeks heading up to that time.

    -- Report via B/R's Dwight Howard Tracker

     

    Update: Thursday, July 19 -- Maxwell Ogden

    Well, so much for that.

    Just when it appeared as if Dwight Howard would be open to signing an extension, his agent crushes those dreams with two simple sentences. Ric Bucher of ESPN.com has the story.

    Agent: Wherever Dwight Howard lands, he'll be an UFA next summer. Doesn't mean he won't re-sign, just no promises. espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id…

    — Ric Bucher (@RicBucher) July 20, 2012

    Things aren't looking good for a potential Dwight Howard to Los Angeles deal. While the Lakers may believe in their brand, no one can be foolish enough to believe in trading a franchise player away for another who may not re-sign.

    Can they?

    -- Report via B/R's Dwight Howard Tracker

     

    Update: Thursday, July 19 -- Maxwell Ogden

    Could the Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum trade talks all be a hoax? If you ask Andrew Bynum's agent, the answer might be yes.

    Per a report via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times, Andrew Bynum's agent David Lee has not been contacted about a potential trade.

    Andrew Bynum's agent says no teams have contacted him about trades @bbolch has more detailslat.ms/NXfEm9

    — Mark Medina (@MarkGMedina) July 20, 2012

    While this certainly does not suggest a nail in the coffin, one has to question whether or not the talks are legitimate or media driven. At this point, it appears to be the latter.

     

    Update: Thursday, July 19 -- Maxwell Ogden

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have taken yet another precautionary measure in their potential inclusion in the Dwight Howard trade talks. This time around, they're demanding what could only be expected of them: a guaranteed extension of Andrew Bynum's contract.

    This comes per a report via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

    "Cleveland will only do the deal if Bynum extends," a league official directly involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports.

    This should come as no surprise, as Cleveland would be foolish to include themselves in any mega deal without a guarantee of their reaping the benefits. Despite what we already assumed, it has now been reported that the deal will hinge on Bynum's extension.

    -- Report via B/R's Cleveland Cavaliers Tracker

     

    Update: Thursday, July 19 -- Maxwell Ogden

    Per a report via Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, it appears as if an Andrew Bynum to Cleveland deal has not been run by Bynum's agent David Lee. Here's what Lee had to say.

    "When I read it online I was in Alaska with Andrew and his family ... I was taken aback by the list considering there is nobody in anybody’s camp he could’ve been talking to. I have no idea where that came about."

    This could complicate the Cleveland Cavaliers' role in the Dwight Howard to Los Angeles trade talks. The Cavaliers may not want to give up anything substantial without Andrew Bynum agreeing to re-sign with the team after the 2013 season.

    -- Report via B/R's Trade Tracker

     

    Update: Thursday, July 19 — Ethan Norof

    Finally, some movement on the Dwight Howard trade front.

    Jarrod Rudolph of Real GM was first to break the news that Howard is now willing to sign a long-term extension with the Los Angeles Lakers if he is traded to the team.

     

    Sources: Dwight Howard is ready to join Lakers. If traded to Los Angeles Howard will re-sign long-term with team after 2012-13 season.

    — Jarrod N Rudolph (@JRudolphSports) July 19, 2012

     

    ESPN's Chris Broussard has confirmed the news as well.

     

    Sources confirm @JRudolphSports report that Dwight Howard is ready to join Lakers. If traded to LA DH will re-sign long-term with team

    — Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 19, 2012

     

    It appears as if the Lakers are in the driver's seat in the race to land Howard.

    -Content for this update was provided by B/R's Dwight Howard Trade Rumors Tracker.

    Update 3: Wednesday, July 18 -- Maxwell Ogden

    For those Cleveland Cavaliers fans worrying that one of their young pieces would be on the move, fear not. According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cavaliers will not let go of any member of their young core.

    The Cavaliers to this point have not seemed inclined to include any of their young players in any potential deals. That includes Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

    This could complicate the Dwight Howard to Los Angeles trade talks if either the Lakers or Magicwere hoping to acquire one of the said players from the Cavaliers. In all likelihood, however, it was made clear from day one that they were not an option.

    -- Report via B/R's Trade Tracker

     

    Update 2: Wednesday, July 18 — Joel Cordes

    Formerly repudiated as nothing more than a pipe dream, ESPN's Ric Bucher is reporting that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been mentioned yet again as a facilitator for the Dwight Howard trade.

    In the proposed scenario, Howard obviously goes to the Los Angeles Lakers, Andrew Bynum WOULD still be ending up with the Cavaliers and Anderson Varejao and plenty of draft picks headed to Orlando.

    Bucher has stressed that these are merely framework talks at this point and nothing is imminent. Still, this is strong confirmation that last week's "Bynum to Cavs" rumors weren't actually the hot air they appeared to be.

    - Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's NBA Offseason Trade Rumors tracker.

     

    Update: Wednesday, July 18 — Ethan Norof

    The Howard to Lakers rumors just won't die.

    After a Yahoo! Sports report that stated Los Angeles was "pushing hard" to land Howard, ESPN Los Angeles confirmed that the two sides were talking, though no deal is imminent.

    The Lakers remain committed to pursuing Howard even without assurances he'd sign a long-term extension with the club. What's unclear to both sides is whether Orlando would accept Andrew Bynum without assurances he'd sign a long-term extension.

    If the team can't execute a trade for Howard, the Lakers are expected to turn attention to signing Bynum to a long-term extension.

     

    Update: Tuesday, July 17 — Joel C. Cordes

    The Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic remain in serious talks about swapping Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum.

    Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports the only hurdle left is getting that pesky contract-extension assurance from Dwight Howard:

    Lakers pushing hard to land Magic center Dwight Howard & meeting with Magic today,sources tell Y! LAL wants DH contract extension commitment

    — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 17, 2012

    At this point, it would be simply ridiculous if Howard doesn't see the Lakers as his best destination. With the Brooklyn Nets out of the picture for good, (they can't sign and trade for him next year due to changing rules in 2013), Howard is left with the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks as potential destinations.

    He'd have to play one more season for the Magic in order to sign with the Mavericks, and Orlando has yet to latch onto any real pitches from the Rockets or Hawks. Expect this to gain steam throughout the day.

    - Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's Dwight Howard offseason tracker.

     

    Update: Monday, July 16 — Ethan Norof

    Once again, it's time to pump the brakes on the Howard to L.A. talk. 

    Nothing to these trade rumors involving #Cavs, Lakers and Magic, league source confirms. No merit to them at all.

    — Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) July 15, 2012

    We'll have to continue to wait for Howard's situation in Orlando to be resolved.

     

    Update: Saturday, July 14 — Maxwell Ogden

    Per a report via Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com, it appears as if the Dwight Howard trade saga has gained traction. The Los Angeles Lakers are once again at the heart of the trade talks.

    Three-team deal may send Dwight Howard to Lakers, Andrew Bynum to Cavs and picks/prospects/cap relief to Magic. Still trying to get details.

    — Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 14, 2012

    We were all aware of the fact that Andrew Bynum would have to be involved. It can only encourage the Lakers to know that he'd be shipped to somewhere well away from the Western Conference.

     

    Update: Saturday, July 14 — Joel C. Cordes

    Though it's somewhat speculative, Click Orlando's David Pingalore cites sources who firmly believe the Los Angeles Lakers remain the front-runners for Dwight Howard.

    Especially now that the Brooklyn Nets are out of the picture, the Lakers seem to best match Howard's big-market machinations much more than the dogged determination of the Houston Rockets.

    Houston has been willing to sell the farm for Howard, but he'd then be arriving to an empty plot of ground accompanied only by the misfit parts he wanted to leave in Orlando.

    On the other hand, the Lakers can simply swap Andrew Bynum (and possibly Metta World Peace) for Howard. This would give Dwight the chance to play for a clear championship-contender on the league's biggest stage.

    It's not surprising that stories like this about the Lakers would continue to surface. What's shocking is that Howard hasn't publicly warmed to this seemingly inevitable idea yet.

    - Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's Dwight Howard offseason tracker.

     

    UPDATE: July 10, 8:57 p.m. ET — Maxwell Ogden

    According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Lakers are willing to absorb a major salary in order to acquire Dwight Howard.

    Key development in Lakers' pursuit of Dwight Howard: They're more open to taking back contract of G-F Jason Richardson (3 yrs, $18.6 mill).

    — Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 11, 2012

    Should this be true, the second unit would certainly get a boost but the luxury tax would be even more of an enemy. The question is, would the deal really be worth it?

     

    UPDATE: July 10, 7:21 p.m. ET — Maxwell Ogden

    Just when we thought the Dwight Howard trade talks were dead, a new team has emerged as a facilitator in the Hollywood blockbuster deal. While Dwight Howard's potential destination will come as a surprise to no one, Andrew Bynum's new home could be very surprising.

    HOOPSWORLD has learned that there have been preliminary discussions between the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets that would involve sending Andrew Bynum to the Rockets, Howard to the Lakers and a number of first-round picks, prospects and significant cap relief to the Magic.

    Keeping Andrew Bynum in the Western Conference can't be very enticing to the L.A. Lakers. Acquiring Dwight Howard, however, makes it worth it.

     

    UPDATE: July 7, 10:57 a.m. — Maxwell Ogden

    In recent talks, the most significant hurdle in the Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard trade talks had been the Lakers' fear that D-12 would not re-sign. After all, Howard himself had publicly stated his willingness to re-sign with just one team; generally considered to be the Brooklyn Nets.

    As Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports, however, this is no longer of the Lakers' concern.

    “Lakers no longer demanding contract assurances from Dwight Howard in trade talks, reportedly dlvr.it/1pr8ff” bad news for Nets

    — Stefan Bondy (@NYDNInterNets) July 6, 2012

    This could be the play that opens up the flood gates for a potential D-12 trade. If nothing else, it adds further speculation to the move being made after a Lakers player was reportedly told of his potential involvement in a trade for Dwight Howard.

    --End of Update--

     

    UPDATE: July 4, 4:32 p.m. — Alex Ballentine

    According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports the Orlando Magic are increasingly focused on acquiring Andrew Bynum in the process of unloading Dwight Howard. Any deal for Howard would also need to involve the Lakers absorbing one of the Magic's big contracts such as Hedo Turkoglu or Jason Richardson.

    At this point a trade for Howard is not a sure thing but it would appear that the Magic have a deal in mind that would enable the Lakers to get the sought-after big man.

    --End of Update--

    Could Dwight Howard still end up a Los Angeles Laker after all? Gery Woelfel of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel apparently believes so:

    Howard to the Lakers, with Bynum going to the Magic, still being discussed.

    — Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) June 28, 2012

    While this rumor seemed dead and gone, the Orlando Magic ARE actively shopping Dwight Howard surrounding the draft. This was the best deal they were able to get in the past, so it makes sense that they would be interested if it's back on the table.

    Yet, is this back to a straight Andrew Bynum for Howard swap, or is Pau Gasol involved too?

Leandro Barbosa an Option?

4 of 27

    Update: Thursday, August 2 -- Joel C. Cordes

    Still in the market for a cost-effective Kobe Bryant backup at the shooting guard spot, the Los Angeles Lakers are leaving no veteran stone unturned.

    While they've been previously linked to C.J. Miles and Jodie Meeks, ESPN's Marc Stein reports they also may be interested in combo-guard Leandro Barbosa who last played for the Indiana Pacers:

    Game of the day now: Brazil v Russia. Hearing out of Brazil camp that they believe Lakers have interest in free-agent Leandro Barbosa

    — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 2, 2012

    Barbosa is actually only 29 years old, but the one-dimensional nine-year vet has been on the decline for the past few seasons. Still, his ability to spot minutes at either guard spot, his outside shooting and end-to-end speed could be valuable commodities off a suddenly-resurgent Lakers bench.

    The big question remains: can L.A. snag him for the veteran's minimum?

C.J. Miles Receiving Serious Interest

5 of 27

    It's no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers are in need of an athletic perimeter defender who can help slow down the elite players at the small forward position. While the big names are gone, hope is not for the Lakers.

    According to Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune, the Lakers' top target is the athletically gifted C.J. Miles.

    UFA small forward C.J. Miles drawing serious interest from Los Angeles Lakers, league source tells @sltrib.

    — Brian T. Smith (@tribjazz) July 31, 2012

    While C.J. Miles has failed to live up to his potential, he's never had a true mentor at the position. He's also been surrounded with fellow youth for the majority of his career. If anyone can get him to reach his defensive potential, which is sky-high due to his athleticism and length, it's Metta World Peace, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

    More details on this story will be reported as they emerge.

Jodie Meeks on the Radar

6 of 27

    Update: Monday, July 30 -- Maxwell Ogden

    One of the hottest remaining commodities on the open market is sharpshooting swingman Jodie Meeks. Still riding on the coattails of a 54 point outburst in 2009 while playing for the Kentucky Wildcats, Meeks has commanded attention from quite a few teams.

    As for who is at the head of the pursuit, Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com has the news.

    “I’ve gotten interest from the Lakers, Bucks and Wizards,” [Jodie] Meeks told HOOPSWORLD. “There are five or six teams, but those three are at the forefront right now because I’ve been talking to them the most. I really like those teams and I like what they bring to the table. I’m looking forward to signing, whenever that may be.”

    More will be reported on this story as details emerge.

    -- Report via B/R's Free Agent tracker

     

    Update: Friday, July 27 -- Joel C. Cordes

    It's unclear just when the Philadelphia 76ers soured on Jodie Meeks, but they've been happy to let the combo-guard walk during free agency this offseason.

    The Los Angeles Lakers have been expressing modest interest throughout this time period as they still look to fortify their new bench around Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill.

    Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy updates that the conversations continue:

    The Los Angeles Lakers continue to express interest in Jodie Meeks, according to source. No deal is imminent, but the two sides are talking.

    — Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 27, 2012

    Meeks won't get more than the veteran's minimum salary with L.A., so he's undoubtedly still waiting to see if a larger offer comes down the pipeline. There aren't many guards left to choose from, so it's still possible he finds some mini mid-level or biannual exception money from somebody out there.

    Meeks is big enough to be pesky on defense and he has decent range, though his ceiling and optimal role are both still unknown. He'd be a nice fit for the Lakers, as he provides the guard size and versatility lost when Ramon Sessions departed.

    - Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's Top Free Agents offseason tracker.

Lakers, Bynum Talk Extention

7 of 27

    Update: Thursday, July 26 -- Maxwell Ogden

    For those concerned with Andrew Bynum potentially searching for a new home, fear not. The 24-year-old and his agent have reportedly given no thought to a future outside of Los Angeles.

    Chris Broussard and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com have the news.

    Lee also denied that Bynum had a list of preferred destinations, saying he and Bynum chuckled when they read reports while on vacation in Alaska last week indicating he already had made such decisions.

    However, sources have told Broussard that Bynum likely would not sign an extension anywhere else but with the Lakers this summer because it benefits him financially to wait until after the season so he can get a longer, more lucrative deal.

    While this does not eliminate the possibility of a trade, it certainly adds a new element to the Los Angeles Lakers' future with their big man. More on this story as details emerge.


    Update: Thursday, July 26 -- Maxwell Ogden

    Andrew Bynum hass had quite a tumultuous ride this offseason, find himself in the shoes of the 2011-12 Pau Gasol. By that, of course, I'm referring to the fact that he's at the heart of each and every major trade rumors out there.

    According to Chris Broussard and Ramons Shelburne of ESPN.com, however, that has not discouraged the Lakers' big man in any way.

    Bynum has been the subject of trade rumors for most of his career and is somewhat used to them by now. Although it gets tiresome, Lee reiterated that any notion this latest round of speculation would sour him on the Lakers is incorrect.

    "I haven't heard him say anything negative about the Lakers," Lee said. "I know that (Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations) Jim Buss has reached out. I'm not sure that he's been successful yet."

    This is certainly encouraging news for any fan or member of the Los Angeles Lakers. They cannot enter the future without a star big man and would be doing just that if they fail to land Dwight Howard and lose Andrew Bynum simultaneously.

    Things are looking up in Los Angeles.

    --End of Update--


    The Los Angeles Lakers have had one of the most eventful offseasons of any team in the NBA. After bringing in a handful of valuable assets, however, it appears as if general manager Mitch Kupchak's attention has turned to securing the current talent.

    The target of this attempted extension is All-Star center Andrew Bynum.

    Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports that the Los Angeles Lakers and Andrew Bynum's agent, David Lee, met to discuss the Bynum's long-term future with the team. Here's Kevin Ding with the news.

    Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Andrew Bynum’s agent spoke Wednesday about a contract extension for Bynum, an indication of the Lakers’ ongoing interest in locking Bynum beyond next season.

    It's unclear what effect this will have on a potential trade with the Orlando Magic. It's very clear, however, that the Lakers are not prepared to enter the future without a star big man in the middle.

    More on this story as it develops.

Lakers Retain Jordan Hill

8 of 27

    Update: Friday, July 20 -- Joel C. Cordes

    The Los Angeles Lakers continue to solidify their bench. Retaining the versatile and athletic Jordan Hill will be a popular move with fans and teammates, as the hustling big man won over both despite a brief appearance in 2012.

    Yahoo! Sports has terms of the new deal:

    Jordan Hill has reached agreement on a two-year, nearly $8 million deal with the Lakers, his agent Kevin Bradbury tells Y! Sports.

    — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 21, 2012

     

    Update: Wednesday, July 18 — Ethan Norof

    Jim Buss continued to hammer home the idea that the Lakers are committed to re-signing Jordan Hill.

    Buss is reiterating Mitch Kupchak's comments that the team would like to re-sign Jordan Hill.

    — Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) July 17, 2012

    If Hill does come back into the fold, he'll hold the same role he did in the rotation during the 2011-12 campaign. At this point, the Timberwolves are the main competition to the Lakers for Hill's services.

     

    Update: Tuesday, July 17 — Joel C. Cordes

    Jordan Hill didn't play much for the Lakers last year after coming over from Houston, but his athleticism and hustle sure made a quick impression.

    He was a shot of energy for a Lakers team that was dragging a little at the end of the season and they're one of only two teams on Hill's radar, according to ESPN 1500.

    Hill's ability to competently play both the center and power forward position make him a nice depth guy for an already-established front line. Thus, the Minnesota Timberwolves are also looking for Hill as a big body who can backup both Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic.

    They're confident that Hill is their's. Unless the Lakers retain him first.

Lakers Land Antawn Jamison

9 of 27

    UPDATE: Wednesday, July 18 -- Maxwell Ogden

    Antawn Jamison's offseason has certainly been one of the most interesting in the Summer of 2012. From his surprise agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers to the simple fact that he's entering what could be his final period of free agency, Jamison has seen it all.

    He's even received offers from a contender for the NBA title and a contender for the first overall draft choice.

    Jamison had a 2-yr,$8 m offer to play for his hometown CHA. But agent Makhtar N'Diaye's reminder about will to win pushed AJ to choose LAL.

    — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 19, 2012

    Clearly, Jamison chose the right team if he's trying to win a title. You have to wonder, however, if missing out on the extra cash won't bother him a bit.

    -- Report via B/R's Free Agency Tracker

     

    UPDATE: Wednesday, July 18 — Maxwell Ogden

    The Lakers' pursuit of a legitimate scoring presence coming off of the bench has ended, as they've added a versatile forward who averaged 17.2 points per game. While many were hoping for youth, this crafty veteran could play a major role in the Lakers' pursuit of a title.

    That player happens to be one Antawn Jamison.

    Lakers have agreed to a one-year deal paying the minimum with free agent forward Antawn Jamison, a source tells Yahoo! Sports.

    — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 18, 2012

    Jamison, who was the second leading scorer on the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2012, will offer the Lakers a major improvement in terms of bench scoring. This unit may have gotten older, but they also became more dangerous.

     

    UPDATE: Tuesday, July 17 — Joel C. Cordes

    Los Angeles Lakers GM refuted the unconfirmed reports that Antawn Jamison was already a member of the team:

    "We're not about to do anything," Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I would know." 

    For now, Jamison remains on the radar, but no contract has been signed.

    - End of Update - 

    The Los Angeles Lakers still need to address two pressing areas: their inefficiency from distance and an absence of second unit scoring. 

    Per a report via Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer, the Lakers have tabbed forward Antawn Jamison to fill that role.

    A source tells me Antawn Jamison will be a Laker.

    — Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) July 16, 2012

    Jamison weighs the Lakers due to his desire to win a title during his final years in the league. Other options are the Brooklyn Nets and his homestate Charlotte Bobcats.

Devin Ebanks Delays Re-Signing

10 of 27

    Update: Tuesday, July 17 -- Joel C. Cordes

    ESPNLA reports that Devin Ebanks has yet to sign a contract with the Lakers as he deals with a bone bruise in his knee.

    The injury has kept him out of NBA Summer League action, which was supposed to be another chance to display his development.

    For now, he's in rehab, and the Lakers sound alright with risking outside offers from other teams. Waiting on Ebanks gives them another $1.1 million in salary flexibility at the moment.

     

    Update: Tuesday, July 10 -- Joel C. Cordes

    Having already acquired their big prize of the offseason in Steve Nash, the Lakers now will set about filling in the rest of the puzzle.

    Devin Ebanks is expected to re-sign with the Los Angeles Lakers on a one-year deal, according to sources close to the situation.

    — Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 10, 2012

    Devin Ebanks had a solid year of development for L.A. last season, and may have a shot at challenging Metta World Peace for the starting small forward position in 2013.

    However, he needs to show a lot more consistency and improvement before the Lakers are willing to commit long-term to him. This one-year deal is nice incentive for Ebanks, while also leaving the door open for the franchise should he fail to capitalize on the opportunity.

Antawn Jamison and Jermaine O'Neal to L.A.?

11 of 27

    The Los Angeles Lakers' second unit has had two issues that can only be described as insurmountable. For one, they can't score the ball. To go with that issue, they can't defend.

    According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, it appears as if the Lakers have found the cure to said woes. The players chosen to fill those voids just might surprise a bit.

    Lakers could be landing forward Antawn Jamison & center Jermaine O'Neal to minimum deals, sources tell Y! Jordan Hill interest remains, too.

    — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 17, 2012

    Antawn Jamison is coming off of a season in which he averaged 17.2 points per game as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jermaine O'Neal, meanwhile, finished his injury-plagued season with an average of 1.7 blocks per contest.

    Although aging, both offer the Lakers just what their second unit has long needed.

Lakers Add Steve Nash, Is Grant Hill Next?

12 of 27

    The Lakers have found their answer at the point guard position.

    Los Angeles agreed to a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns to bring Steve Nash into the fold.

    Clearly, general manager Mitch Kupchak wasn't messing around in his attempt to upgrade the roster in emphatic fashion.

    The Lakers will send two future first-round picks, two future second-round picks and cash to the Suns in exchange for Nash, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.

    Nash will receive a three-year, $27 million contract to continue his career with the Lakers, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

    Could Nash recruit Grant Hill to join him with the Lakers? Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports that Hill will either join the Lakers or retire.

    Given the issues L.A. has had at small forward, adding Hill makes a lot of sense if he wants to continue playing.

Lakers Interested in Sign and Trade for Courtney Lee?

13 of 27

    Update: Tuesday, July 17 -- Joel C. Cordes

    Courtney Lee has been on the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics' radars, but with O.J. Mayo off the free-agent board to the Dallas Mavericks, other suitors are beginning to line up.

    The St. Paul Pioneer reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves want Lee if their offer to Nic Batum is (likely) matched by the Portland Trail Blazers.

    So too, the Phoenix Suns are eyeing Lee after their offer to Eric Gordon was matched by the New Orleans Hornets.

    Finally, the Los Angeles Lakers could have interest in a sign-and-trade, although one wonders what attractive assets they still have left to offer in such a deal.

Role Player Targets

14 of 27

    Update: Tuesday, July 17 — Joel C. Cordes

    The Lakers are seriously considering Jermaine O'Neal as a front-line depth guy, and will take a look at him Tuesday, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears:

    Lakers to work out free agent forward Jermaine O'Neal in Las Vegas on Tuesday, source tells Y! O'Neal has recovered from knee surgery in Feb

    — Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 17, 2012

    O'Neal has to stay healthy before he's considered anything more than a body, but he would provide the Lakers with an experienced post defender. Still one wonders what they see in O'Neal that free agent Jordan Hill didn't already provide last year.

     

    Update: Monday, July 16 — Ethan Norof

    With Elton Brand now a member of the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers will have to sniff around the bargain bin for other potential alternatives.

    There has been strong speculation that Raja Bell could be on the team's radar. Bell has reached an agreement to be bought out of his contract with Utah (via NBA.com's David Aldridge), and the Lakers had previously flirted with Bell in the past.

    Aldridge also notes that the Lakers "came hard" after Bell, and his best friend in the NBA is new starting point guard Steve Nash.

    The Lakers are also known to be pursuing guys such as Antawn Jamison and Grant Hill, with the latter reportedly "leaning" toward Los Angeles, per Phoenix sports radio host John Gambadoro,

    Update: Friday, July 13 -- Joel C. Cordes

    Having brought aboard Steve Nash as their big prize, the Lakers now turn towards filling out the rest of their rotation with low-price veterans willing to trade money for a ring.

    ESPNLA reports that L.A. is especially interested in Elton Brand, Antawn Jamison and Jermaine O'Neal to backup Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on the front line.

    While O'Neal can be had for the veteran's minimum salary, Brand and Jamison are likely to find richer offers elsewhere.

    Jamison has been linked to signing with the Charlotte Bobcats or being traded to the Brooklyn Nets. Brand's name has especially surfaced with the Dallas Mavericks after he was amnestied by the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Finally, Grant Hill's name has been logically connected with the Lakers the minute they acquired good-friend Steve Nash. That rumor hasn't diminished in recent days, though a veteran of Hill's track record and ability understandably has other offers too:

    Grant Hill still considering Heat, Thunder, aswell as Lakers, per source. Story up soon on NBA.com's Hang Time Blog.

    — David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 10, 2012

D-12 Talks on Hold? Conflicting Reports

15 of 27

    Jarrod N. Rudolph of RealGM.com made waves when he reported that the Dwight Howard trade talks had been suspended. Per his sources, the offers currently on the table simply weren't enough to strike a deal.

    Sources: Magic GM Rob Hennigan told Howard the team tired to make a deal but none of the offers met the team's satisfaction.

    — Jarrod N Rudolph (@JRudolphSports) July 11, 2012

    ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst wasted no time in disproving those rumors. Straight from the mouth of Magic general manager Rob Hennigan comes this report.

    Magic GM Hennigan on reports that Howard trade talks have been suspended: "That's not accurate."

    — Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 11, 2012

    Within minutes, Randolph admitted that his report was wrong.

Pau Gasol Safe for Now?

16 of 27

    Update: Sunday, July 8 — Joel C. Cordes

    It's been eerily quiet for Pau Gasol and trade rumors of late. In fact, logic and some indirect rumors seem to imply that perhaps he'll be part of the Los Angeles Lakers' plans going forward after all.

    L.A. reporter Jackie Pepper cites sources who give me reason to believe that Gasol is safe in all this Dwight Howard talk:

    The source says the Lakers have informed one player that he might be part of the package deal and that he could be traded at any moment. The Lakers are “very interested” in acquiring Howard, according to the source. 

    Back at the 2012 trade deadline, the Orlando Magic supposedly wanted BOTH Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in exchange for Howard. Desperation, the passage of time and Howard's back injury means the Magic have backed off to only demanding Bynum.

    It's logical then, that the "player" told of their involvement in a potential Howard deal is NOT Gasol. Not only would it make no sense for Bynum and Howard to be on the same team, but there's no way the Magic would accept Gasol as the centerpiece to any such trade.

    Now that Steve Nash is aboard, Gasol's passing ability, mobility and shooting range will be maximized to their fullest. He'll be a major asset for this team regardless of whether he's playing alongside Bynum or Howard.

    What's more, his value to the Lakers roster is unlikely to be met or exceeded in any straight up trade at this point. While he could be swapped for multiple depth parts, the rumors don't support such a move at the moment.

    All quiet on the Gasol front. For now.

    - Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's Pau Gasol offseason tracker.

No Interest for World Peace

17 of 27

    Update — Joel C. Cordes

    Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reports that the Los Angeles Lakers believed they could shop Metta World Peace for a low first round draft choice.

    To no one's surprise (except the Lakers, apparently), they haven't found any takers. The player formerly known as Ron Artest is still owed nearly $7 million per year on a contract that has two seasons left.

    Few teams apparently want his erratic behavior or lack of production, especially in exchange for a pick in this year's deep draft. For now, the Lakers appear stuck chasing the usual Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum trade rumors.

Brandon Roy Not an Option

18 of 27

    Update — Joel C. Cordes

    The Los Angeles Lakers need to get Kobe Bryant some additional rest after playing him over 38 minutes per game last season. The problem?

    They didn't have enough bench depth or a credible backup to keep him off the floor for long. Jason Kapono didn't even make it through a whole season and Ramon Sessions was forced to play out of position at shooting guard instead.

    Don't count on Brandon Roy to be in the mix however, writes ESPN LA's Dave McMenamin. The former Portland Trail Blazer and All-Star's injury history, which caused him to retire at age 28 last season, has scared the Lakers off.

    This is interesting, considering that Kobe's backup would only play 12-20 minutes per game at most. Apparently, that still appears too much of a gamble on Roy's ability to come back and stay healthy.

Atlanta Hawks Continue Pitching for Pau

19 of 27

    Update — Joel C. Cordes

    Pau Gasol rumors seem to have made up 50 percent of all trade chatter this year. However, it's not just the Los Angeles Lakers who are checking their options for the Spanish big man.

    Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times reports that the Atlanta Hawks have pitched an offer for Pau, including high-flying forward, Josh Smith.

    While trading for Smith would make the Lakers smaller up front, it would add a new dose of athleticism that has been sorely lacking for the past year or two. Smith's ability to finish, create his own shots and protect the rim would all be upgrades, even as his shooting and rebounding efficiency is noticeably weaker than Gasol's.

    Potential destinations for Gasol change every day, but this deal could be a nice "change of scenery" for the players and teams involved.

Deron Williams Crosses Lakers off Short List

20 of 27

    For those who had dreams of a backcourt consisting of Deron Williams and Kobe Bryant, keep on dreaming. The only way that might occur is at the All-Star Game.

    According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the prize of the 2012 class of free agents has narrowed his list to two teams: the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks. In case you can't read between the lines, the Los Angeles Lakers have been eliminated from the recruiting process.

    Maybe next year, Los Angeles will nearly acquire Rajon Rondo. You know, for the trifecta.

Ramon Sessions to Test Free Agency

21 of 27

    In other "point guards hate the Lakers" news, the man whom the Lakers traded away a chance at youth to acquire has decided to test free agency. That player, of course, would be the underwhelming Ramon Sessions.

    After giving up a first-round draft choice to acquire Sessions, the Lakers had high hopes for his ability to compete with the NBA's elite. That was not to be, however, as both Ty Lawson and Russell Westbrook torched the Lakers during the 2012 postseason.

    The draft pick which Los Angeles traded just so happened to be the 25th overall selection. A pick that could have potentially landed it three-point marksmen Doron Lamb or John Jenkins, as well as Quincy Miller out of Baylor.

Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant Travel to Germany for Surgery

22 of 27

    In December of 2011, ESPN reported that Kobe Bryant had received surgery from a German doctor. While some were concerned, the end result proved to be a positive one, as Bryant finished second in the NBA with an average of 27.9 points per game.

    Apparently, Andrew Bynum wants to join the movement.

    According to Mike Trudell of the Lakers.com, the team's official website, Bynum will join Kobe for a trip overseas to visit that very doctor. If the past dictates the future, Bynum will improve on his year as well.

Andre Iguodala on Lakers' Radar?

23 of 27

    According to John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia 76ers front office "will neither confirm nor deny" their interest in performing an Andre Iguodala for Pau Gasol swap. Considering two of the Lakers' weakest pieces are that of a consistent 3 and primary ball-handler, Iguodala's arrival sounds all the sweeter.

    There's no denying how much of a void Gasol's absence would leave. There's also no denying how much better the Lakers would be on the defensive end if they had a player like Andre Iguodala to defend anyone from Russell Westbrook to LeBron James.

    This is a move that both sides should seriously consider.

Jim Buss Says Fans Shouldn't Expect Major Moves

24 of 27

    When asked if the Lakers would be signing or trading for any major names, head honcho Jim Buss has ended the speculation with one word: "No."

    According to T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times, Buss had this to say when asked whether or not Pau Gasol would be traded.

    I think changes are going to be made moving Pau lower to the basket. We can improve that way with a change in coaching strategy rather than a change in personnel.

    Chances are, Lakers fans are either uncomfortable with that statement or think of it as false. I'm joining the latter group.

Lakers to Once Again Target Ramon Sessions

25 of 27

    Just as soon as you thought Ramon Sessions was gone, Jim Buss made it clear that he would do what he can to bring him back. A strange roller coaster ride for such an underwhelming performer.

    In all likelihood, the Lakers will struggle to re-sign Sessions due to their financial constraints. Although disappointing in the quality of his performance, Sessions has a high-profile enough name that he may grab a $4.0 to $5.0 million deal.

    Out of the Lakers' reach.

Lakers Cannot Re-Acquire Lamar Odom Until December

26 of 27

    According to Mike Breshnahan and Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times, it's become quite unlikely that Lamar Odom will re-join the Los Angeles Lakers. The main reason for this is a rule that the NBA upheld, stating that players cannot re-sign with a team that traded them within a calendar.

    That puts Odom out of reach until December.

    While Odom's rocky 2011 campaign may suggest that teams avoid signing the lanky veteran, his versatility is far too valuable to pass up on. One way or another, Odom will end up somewhere before December.

    That just won't be Los Angeles.

Pau Gasol to Timberwolves Talks Heating Up

27 of 27

    According to a report issued by the Associated Press, the Minnesota Timberwolves are "trying hard" to land Pau Gasol. As for who they're offering, that honor goes to the 2011 second overall draft choice, Derrick Williams.

    While the Lakers certainly have a pressing need for athleticism on the wing, it's hard to imagine they'll pull the trigger on such a deal. Williams is coming off of an underwhelming rookie season and the Lakers are unlikely to be looking for unproven potential should they deal their star power forward.

    Nevertheless, the heat is on and a deal could be made.