The Lakers took a small step in providing clarity to their nearly barren roster, extending reserve forward Ryan Kelly with a $1.1 million qualifying offer that will make him a restricted free agent.
The move was expected after Kelly averaged eight points on 42.3 percent shooting and 33.8 percent from three-point range after the Lakers selected him with the 48th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. The Lakers went against offering an extended qualifying offer to reserve forward Kent Bazemore in hopes to maximize cap space to pursue LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in free agency.
The Lakers have a $3 million cap hold to secure Kelly, but he likely gained the edge because there are fewer power forwards he will have to compete on the open market than Bazemore. Kelly made $490,180 this season and would likely only need a slight raise to secure him. By making Kelly a restricted free agent, the Lakers have the right to match any offer he receives from other teams. Although Kelly will entertain those offers, he prefers playing with the Lakers after receiving plenty of opportunities to develop.
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