The Lakers have agreed to terms on a one-season, $1.3-million contract with veteran big man Troy Murphy, according to a report on Yahoo Sports. The Lakers said they would have no signings to announce today, however.
Murphy would give the Lakers depth in their frontcourt in the wake of the departure of Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers look a little thin beyond Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, their 7-footers.
The Lakers did sign Josh McRoberts last week, and he might be the starting power forward while Gasol moves to center while Bynum serves a five-game suspension for the first five games of the season.
“He’s a good player,” Gasol said of Murphy. “He has a lot of range shooting the ball. He’s experienced. I’m not sure how much playing time he’ll get here or how much the coaching staff will use him. We definitely could use more depth. I think it’s really important when you’re trying to stay healthy throughout the year. If we can do that, it’s going to be a huge plus for us.”
Murphy, 31, averaged 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds last season, playing 18 games for the New Jersey Nets and 18 games with the Boston Celtics. He has averaged 11.6 points and 8.3 rebounds during his 10-year career.
Matt Barnes heard all the talk during the offseason, after the Lakers got booted from the playoffs in the second round by the eventual NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. He didn’t like what was said one bit and he predicted things would change.
“You’re going to see a different Lakers team,” Barnes predicted after the Lakers played three 12-minute periods during a scrimmage today at USC. “There’s going to be attention to detail after being embarrassed last year and talked about all summer.
“People said, ‘This is a terrible team. They’re horrible. They need to trade everybody.’ Everyone has a chip on their shoulder. We’re going to come out here and run through walls this year. No more soft Lakers this year.”
Barnes scored 10 points in the scrimmage.
There was no winner or loser today since several players moved between the purple and gold teams. Barnes played with the starters in the first period, joining Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Steve Blake. Derek Fisher sat out to rest.
It was hardly a surprise, given that Metta World Peace didn’t play with the starters in the scrimmages reporters were allowed to view, but Lakers coach Mike Brown made it official today. World Peace will move to the second unit when the season begins on Christmas Day. Matt Barnes probably will start at small forward, although Brown didn’t rule out using Luke Walton or a third option he didn’t name after today’s workout.
World Peace had this to say, ‘It’s going to be good. I get a chance to come in and have more responsibility, which is good. It’s going to make the other team off balance. Kobe, Pau and Bynum are going to be out and you’re still going to have to double-team me. You can’t leave me alone on the block by myself.”
Brown approached and interrupted the scrum.
Brown: “If that second unit ain’t rolling, who’s fault is it going to be?”
World Peace: “Me.”
Brown: “It’s on you. We’ve had this discussion a couple of times. If the second unit ain’t rolling, who am I going to come to first?”
World Peace: “Right here.”
Brown: “We’re going to get it straight.”
We’ll know more about Brown’s rotation after Friday’s exhibition at USC.
Josh McRoberts hustled through his first practice with the Lakers today after signing a two-season contract worth $6.2 million this morning. He answered the burning question right off the bat, saying he has no plans to replace Lamar Odom.
When Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday it created a void that McRoberts will be asked to fill. He might even start on Christmas Day because Lakers center Andrew Bynum will be suspended for the first of five games to start the season.
“That’s not the way I’m looking at it,” McRoberts said after his first practice after signing a two-season, $6.2-million contract. “I’m sure that’s the natural thing for fans to look at. I understand that. But that’s not what I’m going to try to do.”
McRoberts and Odom are both 6-10, they’re both left-handed and they’re both very athletic players who can play multiple positions. There are plenty of differences, however, starting with their statistics last season.
McRoberts averaged modest totals of 7.4 points on 57.4 percent shooting and 5.3 rebounds over 22 minutes in 72 games last season with the Indiana Pacers. Odom averaged 14.4 points on 53 percent shoot and 8.7 rebounds in 32 minutes in 82 games.
Odom was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2010-11.
“I don’t think any of my teammates are expecting me to do that,” McRoberts said.
Pau Gasol admitted it hasn’t been easy to focus on basketball since the Lakers tried and failed to trade him Thursday in a multi-player three-team deal. But sounded determined to make the most of whatever happens to him, especially if he remains with the Lakers.
“It’s a business of numbers,” Gasol said today. “With a lot of financial decisions to make (under the new collective bargaining agreement), a lot of teams look at it that way. I don’t know if it’s the total approach here, but you have to keep it in mind.”
Gasol said he believes GM Mitch Kupchak is still trying to make trades.
“I think there are still talks,” he said. “Mitch said it clearly (Tuesday). The franchise is looking to make moves. One has been made and that just leads to another one, for something else to happen.”
Gasol couldn’t compare the days leading up to his trade to the Lakers from Memphis.
“It was confusing and unexpected at the time it happened, but in that particular situation I wanted out,” he said. “I was ready to move on. I had been demanding or asking for a move for two years or a year and a half. It happened at the least expected time. … So this is a little different.”
Also, the Lakers signed free agents Gerald Green and Malcolm Thomas and are expected to add Josh McRoberts soon. McRoberts could be a valuable addition, especially if Derrick Caracter is out for an extended period after undergoing surgery on his left knee Wednesday. We’ll know more about Caracter’s recovery after surgery.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he traded Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks because Odom asked to be dealt. Kupchak said he, team owner Jerry Buss and team executive Jim Buss “went back-and-forth about it,” but agreed to grant Odom’s wishes when Odom’s agent called Saturday and asked that his client be sent elsewhere. Kupchak said he and the Buss family were in agreement to do the deal.
“To have waited two or three weeks would have just prolonged an environment with Lamar that … would have sucked energy away from the team and we might not have had a better opportunity,” Kupchak said of pulling the trigger so quickly.
“Lamar is probably more sensitive and more emotional than most people, in particular our players, and it’s a plus more than it’s a minus, but in this case he couldn’t get over the fact that something like that could take place,” Kupchak added.
“I spoke to him Thursday or Friday, and I was hoping things would change in a day or two. But I spoke to his representative, he called me on Saturday and said it’s not going to change and he wanted to be traded and we worked together to find a spot that would give us the most flexibility going forward.
“There are a lot of teams in the NBA that would take a player like Lamar and you could probably do it in a day, but you would probably have to take back players and you might not like the players you’re getting back and there might be long commitment’s going out. … That’s not something we were interested in doing.
“All that does is handicap us going forward.”
Kupchak said the Lakers can use the first-round draft pick and the $8.9 trade exception it got from Dallas to strengthen the team down the road. He also said he “expected” Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol to be here for the rest of the season, but didn’t rule out making deals involving Bynum or Gasol. Bryant has a no-trade clause.
In addition, Kupchak said he didn’t expect to use the amnesty clause to kick a bad contract to the curb by Friday’s deadline. Candidates on the roster could have been Metta World Peace, Steve Blake or Luke Walton. All three will be on the roster.
The Lakers traded forward Lamar Odom and a second-round draft pick tonight to the Dallas Mavericks for a first-round pick and a $8.9 million trade exemption. “Lamar was a fine player for us in his seven years with the Lakers,” general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “In addition, he always conducted himself with class and professionalism and we wish him well in the remainder of his career.”
After the Lakers tried and and failed to trade Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol for New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul on Friday, a team source said Odom was so upset he asked general manager Mitch Kupchak to trade him. Kupchak told Odom he would “think about it.” Jeff Schwartz, Odom’s agent, then phoned Kupchak on Saturday to say the versatile 6-foot-10 forward still wanted to be dealt. The team hasn’t completed the proposed trade to the Dallas Mavericks, but the source indicated Kupchak was merely attempting to comply with the wishes of an unhappy player.
Kobe Bryant had his say about the Lakers’ decision to trade Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for a first-round draft pick late Saturday night:
“I don’t like it. To be honest with you, I don’t like it. I’ve known Lamar for a long time and for the team itself, he’s meant a lot. From a team chemistry standpoint, he was great at bringing guys together and things of that nature. I trust that management knows what they’re doing. I’ll let them do their jobs. I won’t get in the way of it.
“It’s tough. You’re talking about the Sixth Man of the Year last year. He played lights out. I don’t understand the criticism of the reality shows and this and that. I don’t get it. I don’t understand that. He had his best season last year. It clearly wasn’t a distraction. He played his ass off. I don’t get where that comes from. Now, I’m getting pissed off. Especially (trading Odom) to them (Dallas). We were supposed to get them back. Do I think we got too little? Who did we get? I don’t think Mark Cuban is protesting this trade.
“You’ve got to let Mitch (Kupchak) do his job (as the Lakers’ general manager). Mitch has proven himself over the course of the years that he’s been able to build a great team here. We all have to trust that he’s going to do that. That being said, it’s still hard to see one of my friends and one of our great players go somewhere, especially to that team seemingly for nothing. Now whether they have something else going on, that’s on them. But it’s tough. It’s tough. I talked to (Odom) a little bit two nights ago. I haven’t spoken to him since this latest news, but I will.
“It’s tough to lose Lamar. Pau (Gasol) is still here and we’re thankful for that. It’s hard when you’ve been through so many battles to see them go someplace else. It’s tough. It’s tough. It’s the nature of the business and we all understand that. At the same time it still hard.”
Lakers forward Matt Barnes said today he has been in touch with Dwight Howard, his former teammate with the Orlando Magic. Barnes said he hasn’t had to make a pitch to Howard in an attempt to persuade him to ask the Magic to trade him to the Lakers. Here’s more:
“I have spoken to him. He has a tough decision to make. There’s teams pulling at him every way. We just have real talks. He’s got to do what’s best for him and his family. Not necessarily pitches. He knows the opportunity he has here, the opportunity that awaits him. With that said, it’s not about what we want, it’s about what’s best for him and his family.”