The Lakers lost their first free agent by virtue of the open market.
Lakers guard Jodie Meeks agreed to a multi-year deal with the Detroit Pistons, according to a league source familiar with the situation. The terms were not readily available. But Yahoo! Sports, which first reported Meeks’ deal with the Pistons, reported the terms at a three-year contract worth $19.5 million.
The Lakers liked Meeks after he posted a career high 15.7 points on 46.3 percent shooting last season and showed marked improvement in nearly every area of his game, including shooting consistency, ball handling, driving and defense. The Lakers also reached out to Meeks shortly after free agency began on Monday night to express interest, according to league sources. But the Lakers were not prepared to offer a lucrative contract Meeks received in Detroit after making $1.55 million with the Lakers last season.
Mindful of their strategy to maintain cap flexibility to pursue high-profile free agents in 2015 and 2016, the Lakers are reluctant to offer any role player a multi-year deal. The Lakers are also prioritizing their pursuit of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, though they are not expected to land either star.
Through five NBA seasons, the 26-year-old Meeks has established himself as a dangerous outside shooter, consistently hard worker and positive locker room presence. He played for Milwaukee and Philadelphia before joining the Lakers in 2012 on a two-year deal that included a team option on the second year.
Meeks expressed interest during the season about re-signing to the Lakers, but he maintained he would keep his options open without divulging specifics. Meeks will become the first free-agent signing for new Pistons president Stan Van Gundy and general manager Jeff Bower.