Lakers exercise team option on Jodie Meeks

A day before the NBA Draft, the Lakers exercised their $1.55 million team option to resign backup shooting guard Jodie Meeks.

“Jodie is not only a gifted three-point shooter who helps us space the floor on the offensive end, but he is also a very active and underrated player defensively who continues to work on and improve all aspects of his game,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “He was an important member of our team last year and we look forward to having him back for the 2013-14 season.”

Despite Kupchak’s sentiments, such a move would enable the Lakers to use Meeks in a trade either that would either improve their draft position beyond the 48th pick or at some point during free agency.

Meeks averaged 7.9 points in 21.3 minutes in his first season with the Lakers in what proved to be a feast or famine year. He scored in double figures in 25 games, shot above 50 percent from three-point range in 14 games and hit a career-high seven three-pointers in a game. But he also went through 25 games where he shot 25 percent or worse from the perimeter and often struggled running fast-breaks.

Still, the Lakers largely liked Meeks’ effort on defense, floor spacing and his unwavering confidence in knocking down three-point shots. The Lakers’ locker room also liked him because of his amenable personality. Meeks became close with particularly close with Dwight Howard, who will become an unrestricted free agent July 1st.

Meeks has spent this summer rehabbing from a partially torn ligament in his left ankle that left him sidelined for the last three games of the Lakers’ first-round sweep to the San Antonio Spurs. He also has taken summer classes to finish up his degree at University of Kentucky.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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