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.
The Lakers picked guard Patrick Beverley of the University of Arkansas with the first of their two second-round selections. Beverley played last season in the Ukraine, and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchack indicated he might play overseas again next season. Still one more pick to go for the Lakers, at No. 59.
UPDATE: The Lakers traded Beverley to the Miami Heat for $1.5 million and a second-round pick in 2011.
The worst-kept secret in the draft became official just now with the Lakers and Knicks completing their swap. The Lakers sent their first-round selection, Florida State guard Toney Douglas, to the Knicks for $3 million and a second-round pick in 2011. Douglas was the 29th overall selection, but the Lakers did not wish to add another guaranteed contract to their 2009-10 roster. They still have second-round picks at Nos. 42 and 59.
The Lakers picked guard Toney Douglas from Florida State with the 29th pick, the one they’re set to ship to the New York Knicks for $3 million. Douglas, listed at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, averaged 21.5 points and was named a third team All-American as a senior last season.
Trevor Ariza is one of 25 young NBA players selected to participate in the U.S. National team’s mini-camp July 22-25 in Las Vegas. Ariza will join other rising standouts such as Ronnie Brewer of the Utah Jazz and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Andrew Bynum earlier declined an invitation to participate in order to rest his right knee. Bynum sat out 32 regular-season games after tearing his MCL in a Jan. 31 game at Memphis.
The Lakers reportedly have sold their first-round pick, No. 29 overall, to the New York Knicks for $3 million. There’s been no official word from either team yet, but ESPN.com has reported the deal based on multiple sources. It makes sense for the Lakers in that they plan to bring back their championship team intact for next season. It saves them the trouble of drafting a player now that won’t be a part of next season’s team. It also gives them a little extra cash to aid re-signing free agents Trevor Ariza, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom.
OVERVIEW: Center Andrew Bynum seemed to be on the verge on a breakthrough season (again) when he suffered a midseason knee injury (again) during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies (again). Bynum sat out 32 games after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee one season after injuring his left kneecap. He averaged 14.3 points and eight rebounds in 50 games, but struggled in the playoffs after his return from his injury. He averaged only 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in the postseason, getting into frequent foul trouble and looking a step slow in the first three rounds. He then gave the Lakers an inside presence in their Finals victory over the Orlando Magic that they lacked while losing without him in 2008 against the Boston Celtics.
QUOTEWORTHY: “(Coach Phil Jackson and GM Mitch Kupchak) basically told me they want me to do the same things I did last year (in the offseason). They play more games, find some runs, maybe at UCLA (this summer).”
STRENGTH: When he’s healthy, his development is in the right direction.
WEAKNESS: Development has been slowed by injuries.
GRADE: Incomplete because of his latest injury.
CONTRACT STATUS: Signed through 2011-12 with a team option on 2012-13.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak revealed this afternoon that he spoke with Coach Phil Jackson earlier today and they agreed that there was no way Jackson could coach mostly home games next season. Jackson had floated the idea during a radio interview Tuesday of coaching only selected road games with assistant Kurt Rambis handling most of the travel in 2009-10. Kupchak and Jackson agreed today that such a scenario would not work in theory or practice. Jackson is awaiting the results of a series of medical before deciding whether to coach next season, the final year on his contract. So far, there have been no red flags in the testing, Kupchak said. He also said he and Jackson have met in the team’s offices almost every day since the Lakers won the NBA title June 14. If Jackson returns next season, it would be only as a full-time coach.
Phil Jackson admitted it might not be the best way to coach the defending NBA champions next season, but he suggested during a radio interview Tuesday that he and the Lakers have discussed having him travel to fewer road games next season. Jackson has not decided whether to return for the final season of his contract, preferring to wait until he gets the results of some medical tests. He missed a regular-season game and an exhibition game last season because of soreness and swelling in his legs. Kurt Rambis filled in for him, and would do so again if Jackson decides to cut back his travel.
“Yeah, we’ve toyed around with that idea actually,” Jackson told John Ireland and Mychal Thompson of KSPN 710. “I guess it’s not that revolutionary. We talked a little bit about it, and you know I was actually kind of given the green light to actually try this out and when the time came. I think the idea has some merit to it. [But] I don’t want to lose control of the team. And I think that’s the one thing that you find out your team needs. I don’t mean control, like control, but like being in the trenches with them, i.e., when things get tough or something happens, you’re there with them. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this idea and it’s certainly not going to be the last. And I’m going to discuss it a little with [Lakers general manager] Mitch [Kupchak], that same idea.”