In what marks one of the few final moves during free agency, Ryan Kelly agreed to a deal to return to the Lakers, according to a league source familiar with the situation. The terms were not readily available, but it was likely either a one or two-year deal.
The Lakers expected they would bring Kelly back barring the second-year forward attracting a high offer elsewhere. After the Lakers selected him with the 48th pick of the 2013 NBA draft, Kelly impressed the Lakers with his floor spacing, basketball IQ and shooting. All of those qualities contributed toward averaging eight points on 42.3 percent shooting and 33.8 percent from three-point range. The Lakers also granted Kelly a $1.1 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, which gave them the right to match any offersheet he received. Kelly made $490,180 last season and would have likely only needed a slight raise to keep him.
Questions abound on how Kelly can improve on his defense and to what degree his game benefitted from former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, whose fast-paced system puts a heavy emphasis on a so-called stretch forward to make outside shots and stretch the floor. But Kelly’s work ethic and fundamentally sound play suggests his development will grow.
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