The Lakers tackled the second day of free agency with aggressiveness and urgency even before it began.
Shortly after a two-hour meeting Tuesday night in Los Angeles with Portland center LaMarcus Aldrridge, various Lakers officials including coach Byron Scott and general manager Mitch Kupchak took a red-eye flight to Washington D.C. so they could visit Detroit center Greg Monroe on Wednesday around noon EST.
The Lakers reported the two-hour meeting with Monroe going well, which also included assistant general manager Glenn Carraro, senior vice president of business operations Tim Harris and team publicist John Black. A source that sat in on the Monroe meeting described it as “more low key” than their visit with Aldridge, though the team left both meetings with positive impressions. Kobe Bryant, James Worthy, president Jeanie Buss, executive Jim Buss and representatives with both Time Warner Cable SportsNet and AEG also participated in the Lakers’ meeting with Aldridge.
It remains to be seen how well the Lakers’ full-court press will ensure a top free agent.
Monroe already visited with the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks late Tuesday night as well as the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday morning. The Lakers also reported positive sentiments surrounding their meeting with Aldridge, . But Aldridge resumed his meetings late Tuesday with the Houston Rockets and on Wednesday with the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio could have an advantage in securing Aldridge after unloading cap space by trading Tiago Splitter to the Atlanta Hawks.
The Lakers’ work is far from over.
Shortly after their meeting with Monroe ended, the Lakers’ brass flew back to Los Angeles to join Time Warner officials for a meeting scheduled with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan later this evening. Bryant, Worthy and both Jim and Jeanie Buss do not plan to attend the Jordan meeting, though Bryant is believed to have already expressed interest to Jordan personally about him joining the Lakers.
The 6-11, 253-pound Monroe may be undersized as a center. But his versatility enabled him to average 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds in 31 minutes last year in his fifth season with the Pistons.