Lakers Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

Grant Hughes@@gt_hughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 24, 2013

Lakers Offseason Tracker: Latest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

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    With Dwight Howard now a member of the Houston Rockets, a bloated payroll and limited options, the Los Angeles Lakers don't figure to have an offseason marked by a flurry of free-agent acquisitions or trades.

    The Lakers already have more than $70 million committed to player salaries in the 2013-14 season, a figure that doesn't even include the money they'd have to pay Howard in a maximum-salary deal.

    So barring an unlikely trade involving Pau Gasol or Steve Nash, or an even less plausible use of the amnesty provision on Kobe Bryant, L.A. is going to have to think small.

    As certain taxpayers, the Lakers have only the mini mid-level exception and the veteran's minimum to offer.

    Still, these are the Lakers we're talking about. Splashy moves and intriguing rumors have a way of finding their way to Hollywood.

Chris Kaman Agrees to Sign with Lakers

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    The Buzz

    UPDATE: Friday, July 12, 6:20 p.m. ET by Zach Buckley

     According to a team press release on, the Los Angeles Lakers have officially signed free-agent center Chris Kaman. 

    Kaman spread his first 10 NBA seasons across three different teams, most recently the Dallas Mavericks where he averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 66 games last season.

    His strongest statistical seasons were logged in the Lakers' home arena, where the Central Michigan product spent the first eight years of his career as a member of the Clippers. He made the only postseason (2005-06) and all-star (2009-10) appearances of his career while playing for L.A.'s "other team."

    --End of update--


    According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Lakers have agreed to a one-year deal with center Chris Kaman.

    Ramona Shelburne, also of ESPN, says that the Lakers will use their mini mid-level exception to bring Kaman on.


    Buying or Selling?

    If you don't buy this, you're on something.

    Kaman is a starting-caliber center who the Lakers definitely signed for pennies on the dollar. This is also just a one-year commitment, so it doesn't compromise any of their future cap flexibility.

    Where Kaman will fit in remains to be seen. Playing time will be available, but it's unclear whether he'll start next to Pau Gasol or come off the bench in front of Jordan Hill.

    Don't discount the possibility that the Lakers elect to amnesty Gasol and start Kaman either. It seems like a long shot, but with Kaman and Hill on the roster, it's certainly possible.


Nick Young Signs with the Lakers

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    The Buzz

    According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Lakers have reached an agreement with Nick Young.

    The volume-shooting guard spent last season with the Sixers.

    Buying or Selling?

    Say what you will about Young, but the Lakers need scoring. And he can score.

    Young is shooting just 42.7 percent from the field for his career, but he's averaged at least 10 points per game in four of the six seasons he's played. 

    Mike D'Antoni's offense, half-court or not, calls for shooters, and Young is a gunner in every sense of the word.

    Given what the Lakers had to offer (veteran's minimum), Young can be considered a solid signing.

Lakers Sign Wesley Johnson

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    The Buzz

    The Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan reports that the Lakers have signed Wesley Johnson.

    Bresnahan says that his deal will be for one-year at the minimum.

    Buying or Selling?

    Any player the Lakers sign at this point is going to be a low-risk acquisition. Johnson is a former fourth overall pick and on a one-year deal, so there's nothing to really sell. 

    Not known for his scoring, Johnson scored 15.1 points per 36 minutes in Phoenix last season, and though he's shooting just 33.6 percent from beyond the arc for his career, he will help stretch the floor further for Mike D'Antoni's Lakers.

    Mostly, Johnson just adds affordable depth to Los Angeles' bench. More so than anything else, that's what really matters.

Metta World Peace to Be Amnestied

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    The Buzz

    UPDATE: Thursday, July 11, 7:55 p.m. ET by Zach Buckley

    The writing was already on the wall, but now it's found its official place on the transactions page.

    Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports that the Los Angeles Lakers have waived Metta World Peace using the amnesty provision. Per Ding, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak admitted it was not easy to part with World Peace. According to World Peace, Kupchak called him personally to break the news.

    Emotions aside, this was a move that the Lakers had to make. If Ding's previous calculations are correct, L.A. just saved itself nearly $30 million in salary-cap commitments and luxury-tax hits.

    With Kobe Bryant still nursing his torn Achilles and Dwight Howard racing to the Houston Rockets, the Lakers didn't have the realistic postseason goals to justify an enormous tax bill.

    --End of update--

    UPDATE: Monday, July 8, 7:50 p.m. ET by Adam Fromal

    Metta World Peace may still be amnestied, but it hasn't officially happened yet. Technically, it won't actually take place until the moratorium lifts on July 10, so anything can happen before then. 

    Here's the latest from the Los Angeles Times' Eric Pincus: "I did write today that it's conceivable the Lakers keep him - getting Kaman instead of a wing - but $ is $ - so we'll see"

    Pincus isn't convinced that the amnesty is a guarantee quite yet, so this remains nothing more than a potential move. 

    UPDATE: Monday, July 8, 7:25 p.m. ET by Adam Fromal

    Sadly, all good things must come to an end.

    Such is the case for Metta World Peace's tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, as the O.C. Register's Kevin Ding reports that the team will use the amnesty provision to free itself of around $30 million. Given that the Lakers aren't set up to compete for a championship and a lack of financial flexibility prohibits upward mobility, it's a logical move for a team trying to avoid a hefty luxury-tax payment.  

    The small forward averaged 12.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks per game during his final season in purple and gold. 

    Now we'll get a chance to see how many teams are interested in World Peace. 

    UPDATE: Monday, July 8, 4:01 p.m. ET by Dan Favale

    Dave McMenamin over at ESPN reports that with Dwight Howard gone, the Lakers would "most likely" amnesty Metta World Peace.

    Parting ways with the forward would save the Lakers close to $25 million in salary and luxury taxes, McMenamin says.

    According Amick, Metta World Peace will not exercise his early termination clause, and he'll remain under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

    MWP verified that he'll be sticking around L.A. for the final year of his deal via Twitter.

    Buying or Selling?

    Consider this one "bought." World Peace has been officially amnestied, saving the Lakers roughly $30 million in salary and tax penalties as listed above.

    "It's tough to say goodbye to a player such as Metta, who has been a significant part of our team the past four seasons. For anyone who's had the opportunity to get to know him, it's impossible not to love him," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a release on

    World Peace is now free to sign with any NBA team, and the Lakers will have his $7.7 million contract come off their salary cap.

Jordan Farmar Making His Lakers Return

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    The Buzz

    UPDATE: Wednesday, July 17, at 9:19 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to Arash Markazi of ESPN, the deal is now official. And Mitch Kupchak, the man who signed Farmar, is excited.

    ---End of update---

    UPDATE: Wednesday, July 10, at 5:42 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    Per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, signing Jordan Farmar means the team won't have the space or inclination to pursue another throwback acquisition: Sasha Vujacic.

    Apparently, the L.A. reunion tour has reached its capacity.

    ---End of update---'s Dave McMenamin reports that the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a one-year contract for the veteran minimum with Jordan Farmar. Farmar must first negotiate a buyout with Anadolu Efes, his current team in Turkey.

    Buying or Selling?

    The cash-strapped Lakers need some value finds on the free-agent market, and Farmar could use a path back to the NBA.

    So we're buying this report, even if there's a steep price tag for Farmar to buy his way out of Europe.

    He played the first four seasons of his career with the Lakers, emerging as a steady on reserve on L.A.'s championship teams in 2009 and 2010. He's a perimeter threat that defenses have to account for (career 36.7 three-point percentage), but holds his greatest value with his court vision and ability to maximize the play of those around him.

    Given the recent injury histories of Steve Nash and Steve Blake, Farmar is at least a cheap insurance option if medical issues arise in L.A.'s backcourt again next season.


Are the Lakers Loooking to Bring Back Lamar Odom?

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    The Buzz

    UPDATE: Monday, July 8, at 6:54 p.m. ET by Dan Favale

    Ramona Shelburne of ESPN says that the Lakers remain interested in Lamar Odom even after signing Chris Kaman.

    She notes that the Lakers only have veterans minimums to dell out after using their mini mid-level exception on the big man.

    ---End of update---

    Things are officially getting desperate for the Lakers, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reports that the team has reached out to Lamar Odom.

    Buying or Selling?

    Odom was once an integral part of the Lakers' title-winning teams, but after forcing his way out of L.A. two years ago, he has become better known for his dalliances in reality television than his exploits on the court.

    The veteran flamed out with the Dallas Mavericks and spent much of the 2012-13 season with the Clippers battling to play his way into shape. If the Lakers are seriously considering bringing Odom back into the fold, they must really be out of options.

    But seeing as the Lakers have nothing left to lose, it seems reasonable that they're trying to reunite with Odom.

Is Antawn Jamison Going to the Clippers?

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    The Buzz

    UPDATE: Monday, July 8, 4:05 p.m. ET by Dan Favale

    Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Clippers and Antawn Jamison are making progress on contract talks.

    Any deal Jamison signs with the Clippers will be for the veteran's minimum and likely span one year.

    ---End of update---

    According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Washington Wizards have interest in bringing Antawn Jamison back to town, where he played from 2004 until 2010.

    Spears states that Jamison is mutually interested in a return to Washington.

    Buying or Selling?

    While the Lakers need all the help they can get, especially in the terms of floor spacing and three-point shooting, it's not a long-shot to imagine that Jamison wants to get out of such a tense situation.

    Jamison's best years were in Washington, and they were arguably his best in terms of team success, so him wanting to return is likewise believable. 

    Until the Lakers show interest in keeping him, go ahead and buy this one.

Why Dwight Howard Left the Lakers

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    The Buzz

    UPDATE: Friday, July 5, at 8:04 p.m. ET by Grant Hughes

    According to ESPN, Howard chose to leave the Lakers because of his distaste for Mike D'Antoni's system, Steve Nash's age and the prospect of playing alongside Kobe Bryant in the future.

    Brian Geltzeiler of reports that Howard asked the Lakers if they would consider firing D'Antoni. The team responded that no such move would be made.

    ---End of update---

    UPDATE: Thursday, July 4, at 1:07 p.m. ET by Dan Favale

    According to ESPN's Chris Broussard, Kobe Bryant's "I can teach you how to win" sales pitch isn't going to fly with Dwight Howard. A source told Broussard that it will likely turn Howard off.

    Is it possible Dwight could leave the Lakers because Kobe wants to, you know, win? We'll see.

    ---End of update---

    Following a sit down with the Mavericks, Howard met with a Lakers contingent that included Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Mike D'Antoni and Mitch Kupchak. Per Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times and Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register, the group also included an AEG executive and TWC SportsNet rep, tasked with selling Dwight on the opportunities that awaited him off the court if he re-signed in Hollywood.

    Once the meeting adjourned, Nash told Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles that it was a productive sit down. Nash said they talked about last season and how it can be built on. According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Nash also admitted Howard gave no indication as to when he'd make his decision.

    When he himself left, Howard didn't speak extensively with reporters. As Jonathan Feigan of Ultimate Rockets writes, he said he had "a lot" of great meetings before rushing off

    A source close to Howard, however, told Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles that the Lakers' meeting went well.

    The messages they delivered to him were said to be pretty straight forward. Per Bresnahan, Kupchak said they just reiterated to Howard that they felt Los Angeles was the best place for him.

    Meanwhile, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Kobe talked to Howard about winning. Feigan also says that the Lakers talked about making Howard a part of the franchise's decision-making process.

    More was apparently said in a private setting between D'Antoni, Nash, Kobe and Howard. Shelburnereports that they met separately to have an "honest" conversation about many of the issues they dealt with this past season.

    Though Howard gave no indication as to when he would make his decision, Woj says that he's leaving Tinseltown for a few days to mull things over.

    According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Howard is reportedly headed to either Colorado or Montana in an effort to clear his head and come to a decision.

    Buying or Selling?

    Of course Howard's meeting with the Lakers went well. These things always do. The Bobcats could have met with the big man and he would have said the same thing.

    With all his meetings in the books, the only thing left for Howard to do is make his decision. The Lakers have already pulled out all the stops and now it's a waiting game.

    Dwight is expected to deliver his decision swiftly, allowing both parties to move on as soon as possible. As for what team he'll choose, that's still a question mark.

    But hopefully not for much longer.