When it was all said and done, the Lakers did right by Jordan Farmar Wednesday when they declined to give the restricted guard a one-year, $2.8 million contract offer.
Because now Farmar gets exactly what he wants: Unrestricted free agency and an opportunity to shop himself around the NBA as a potential starting point guard.
Farmar and his agent asked the Lakers not to exercise their right to make the offer, which essentially means they will receive nothing in return if Farmar does leave as a free agent.
Had they done so, the Lakers could have matched any contract offer made to Farmar by other teams, severely limiting his maneuverability.
“I really appreciate what they did, because they didn’t have to, they could have treated me like a piece of real estate and potentially hurt my ability to take a serious look at what might be out there for me,” Farmar said by phone Wednesday. “So for that, I am thankful.”
The move doesn’t officially end Farmar’s Lakers career, which began four years ago when they drafted him in the first round out of UCLA and spanned three NBA Finals appearances and two world championships, but it’s very likely he won’t be back next season.
By all indications, the Lakers will bring back Derek Fisher, which would have meant another year as a backup rather than a starting job for Farmar.
And at this point in his career, the former Taft of Woodland Hills star wants a chance to branch out as a starter, to find out if he can be an upper-echelon point guard in the NBA, preferably with a team that runs an up-tempo offense rather than the slower triangle.
“That’s my goal, and I want to see what opportunities are out there for me as a starter,” Farmar said. “I know there is interest, and I’m looking forward to exploring my options. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to.”
Farmar, 23, is grateful for his time with his hometown Lakers, and if he does move on he will look back on his career in Los Angeles with fondness.
“I love everything about the organization, my teammates and this city,” Farmar said. “But ultimately I want a chance to start, and it’s something I looked forward to every single year here, but it just never happened. All I’ve ever wanted was a legitimate chance to start.”
Now he may finally get it.