Luke Walton will undergo surgery Friday to remove bone spurs from his right ankle, the Lakers announced. Walton’s recovery period will be determined after surgery. He suffered from nagging ankle, hamstring and hip injuries during the season.
The Lakers probably won’t swap Lamar Odom for Sacramento’s Ron Artest this summer. But the Kings and Miami Heat could be more likely trade partners, according to the latest report on the Artest saga in the Sacramento Bee.
The Kings could deal Artest and Kenny Thomas to the Heat for Shawn Marion, a trade that would seem to make more sense than the aforementioned Odom-Artest swap. Artest’s expiring contract of $7.4 million doesn’t match Marion’s expiring $17 million (and change) deal with the Heat, so Miami would have to take another player to make the numbers work.
Thomas is making $18 million over the next two seasons.
Interested though they may be in acquiring the muscular Artest, the Lakers are believed to be dead-set against trading Odom. They want to see the 6-foot-10 Odom play alongside 7-footers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum next season.
The Lakers also don’t want Thomas and his bloated contract.
Lamar Odom and Dwyane Wade played only one season together with the Miami Heat before Odom was traded to the Lakers. But Wade remains an Odom booster, mainly because he would like to play with the 6-foot-10 forward again some day.
“I love L.O. as a person and, of course, as a player,” Wade said in an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We had one year together. I wish we could have had more.
“It’s a guy who I’ve always said it’s a possibility when he left that he can maybe come back. … A player like that, we would love to have a chance to get because he’s so versatile.”
Once unrestricted free agent James Posey signs a new contract (probably with the New Orleans Hornets early this week), then you can expect more signings to follow. Other free agents have been slow to sign because they’ve been waiting to see what kind of deal Posey receives and from whom.
Later in the week, you can expect the Lakers to let restricted free agent Ronny Turiaf walk, refusing to match the four-season, $17 million offer sheet he received from the Golden State Warriors. It’s just too much for the Lakers to spend on a backup.
Once they let Turiaf go, then the Lakers probably will focus their efforts on signing a replacement. As previously reported, they could sign free agent Jorge Garbojosa, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Spain who has played with the Toronto Raptors. Kurt Thomas also could be a possibility.
The Lakers also hope to re-sign restricted free agent Sasha Vujacic. Talks are ongoing, which you can take to mean that Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and Bill Duffy, Vujacic’s agent, are still a ways apart on a new contract.
No other team has stepped forward to make Vujacic an offer, so the Lakers’ hopes to get a deal done soon are very much alive. This could be the week that everything starts to fall into place around the league.
The Lakers are believed to be interested in trading for Ron Artest, but aren’t willing to send Lamar Odom to the Sacramento Kings to get him — that’s the bottom line.
The Lakers know they need more toughness, but are eager to see the 6-foot-10 Odom with 7-footers Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum on their front line next season.
Artest swapped e-mails with an ESPN.com reporter over the weekend, indicating he would welcome a trade from Sacramento and second-guessing (again!) his decision to stay with the Kings rather than opt out of his contract July 1.
The Lakers reportedly have coveted Artest for quite some time, going back to the days before they acquired Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies last Feb. 1. They believe Artest could mesh with Coach Phil Jackson and superstar guard Kobe Bryant.
They just don’t want to deal Odom to get Artest.
Coby Karl scored 16 points on 4-for-13 shooting, Cedric Bozeman (UCLA) added 12 points and Joe Crawford nine in the Lakers’ 85-76 victory Sunday night over the Memphis Grizzlies in Las Vegas. O.J. Mayo (USC) led Memphis with 15 points. The Lakers next play the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night at 5 p.m. at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.
The diagnosis is in:
According to the Boston Herald:
An MRI showed that there is no significant problem that will hinder the captain and NBA Finals MVP into next season.
“It’s what we thought all along,” Danny Ainge said. “He had a sprained MCL and a bone bruise, and he’ll be fine.”
The Lakers have shown an interest in Spanish free agent Jorge Garbajosa, according to a report out of Spain. Garbajosa, a 6-foot-9, 245-pound forward, played only seven games last season with the Toronto Raptors because of a serious left ankle injury.
He was injured March 26, 2007, suffering a dislocated left ankle, a ligament tear and a fractured fibula. He had surgery the next day and again on Dec. 11. The Raptors released him June 18.
Garbajosa, who says he is sound again, could replace Ronny Turiaf next season. Turiaf signed a four-season, $17-million offer sheet with the Golden State Warriors, and it’s possible the Lakers will not match the offer and retain the restricted free agent.
Garbajosa, 30, could serve as a backup to countryman Pau Gasol, who will shift from center to power forward with the return of center Andrew Bynum from a season-ending left kneecap injury. He averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 67 games with Toronto in 2006-07 after signing with the Raptors as a free agent.