Forward/center Theo Ratliff signed a one-season deal with the Lakers today, giving the team a replacement for Josh Powell, who is about to sign with the Atlanta Hawks. The deal is for $1.3 million for the 15-year veteran who played last season with the San Antonio Spurs and the Charlotte Bobcats. The signing of Ratliff gives the Lakers 10 players under contract. It’s possible they could sign forwards Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks, a pair of second-round draft picks, and then add a low-budget guard to fill out the roster.
Or more likely they could land Matt Barnes with the remaining $1.7 million they have left over from the mid-level exception of $5.8 million after signing Steve Blake for $16 million over four seasons earlier this month. Barnes could make his decision Friday.
Ratliff on joining the two-time defending champions: “I’ve had a very long and a very rewarding career, and joining a storied and legendary franchise such as the Lakers adds an even more special element. I look forward to playing for Coach (Phil) Jackson and with such great players such as Kobe (Bryant), Derek (Fisher), Pau (Gasol), Lamar (Odom), Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum and all my other new teammates, and hopefully to helping the Lakers win a third straight championship.”
GM Mitch Kupchak on Ratliff: “Theo has long been considered one of the best defensive big men in the league. He is a consummate professional and a welcome addition to our team. Together with Bynum, Gasol, Odom and Artest, he gives us a formidable and deep front line.”
Ratliff averaged 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in 49 games last season.
To be precise, he signed for $1,352,181, the veteran’s minimum for 2010-11.