OK, this is what happens when a team really doesn’t want to add players or salary to its roster for next season. The Lakers made the first two of their three picks tonight and traded both, avoiding the possibility that guards Toney Douglas of Florida State (No. 29) or Patrick Beverley of the University of Arkansas (No. 42) would come to training camp next fall and earn a roster spot. The Lakers traded Douglas to the New York Knicks for $3 million and a second-round pick in 2011. They traded Beverley to the Miami Heat for $1.5 million and another second-round pick in 2011. They kept their third pick (No. 59 overall), who was Chinemelu Elonu, a forward/center.
I realize it made for a disappointing night, but I hope everyone realizes what happened will aid the Lakers as they try to re-sign free agents Trevor Ariza, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom starting next Tuesday night at 9 p.m. By trading their draft picks and not adding salary, there is now more to spend on their three free agents. Plus, they picked up an additional $4.5 million, which isn’t chump change. The Lakers want their title team back intact for next season, and they took steps tonight to accomplish that.