Tomorrow’s extended notebook tonight …
The Lakers were hours away from playing the third of their eight exhibition games this month, and the rumor mill was cranked up to full throttle Saturday. They were said to be interested in upgrading their backup point guard position in a big way.
Whether there was any truth to it was irrelevant.
The chatter was as loud as it was relentless.
Steve Blake and Chris Duhon reportedly were available to any team willing to make the Lakers a respectable offer. The Lakers also were interested in re-signing free agent Derek Fisher, although under league rules they couldn’t do it until March 15.
Then there was a Twitter feeding-frenzy about the Lakers’ rumored pursuit of Toronto Raptors point guard Jose Calderon, Pau Gasol’s teammate on the silver medal-winning Spanish Olympic team. It turned out to be bogus.
Lakers coach Mike Brown then announced he would rest Blake for Saturday’s exhibition against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center in order to give more minutes to Morris, who had two points, two rebounds and four assists in 18:47.
Brown laughed off the rumors, saying he didn’t follow Twitter.
Living in the fact-based world does have its benefits, according to Brown.
“I still don’t know who my backup (point guard) is or my backup (shooting guard),” Brown said. “I’m going to try to play Antawn (Jamison) as my backup (small forward) and I’m going to try to play Jordan (Hill) as my backup (power forward).
“I’m still searching for what my second five will be.”
Robert Sacre appeared close to locking up the backup center position, starting for the third consecutive exhibition while Dwight Howard continues his recovery from surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back in April.
The Lakers solved their starting point guard concerns when they acquired Steve Nash in a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns on July 10. Blake appeared to have the backup job won without lifting a finger, based on his service the last two seasons.
The Lakers acquired Duhon in the deal that brought Howard to Los Angeles from Orlando on Aug. 10. They drafted Morris 41st in 2011, but played him in only 19 of 66 games during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
–Meanwhile in Charlotte …
Ramon Sessions (remember him?) said last week the reason he opted out of his contract with the Lakers for this season and signed a two-season deal worth $10 million with the Charlotte Bobcats was because he was afraid he would be traded.
“It was one of those situations I looked at like, ‘If I do come back, what if they trade me'” Sessions told Yahoo! Sports. “There were talks about getting Deron (Williams). They always wanted a bigger named guy.
“What if I get traded to a team and it’s my contract year? It was one of those things that I can’t say if I opted in, (Nash) wouldn’t have come (to the Lakers). They still might have tried to get him. You just never know.”
In fact, the Lakers began their pursuit of Nash after Sessions surprised general manager Mitch Kupchak and exercised his option to terminate his contract. The Lakers hoped Sessions would be their point guard of the future despite his playoff struggles.
The Lakers acquired Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers and dealt Fisher to the Houston Rockets to clear a starting position for him. Sessions averaged only 9.7 points and 3.6 assists in 12 playoff games last spring, however.
–Jazz dump Lakers
Kobe Bryant scored 18 points, grabbed eight rebounds and added five assists in a very productive 24:54, but the Lakers still fell to 0-3 in exhibition play with a 99-86 loss to the Jazz at Staples Center. Bryant made 12 of 14 free throws.
Metta World Peace added 13 points, four rebounds, one blocked shot and one kiss on the hand of a young woman in the stands after he stuffed a driving Gordon Hayward and went into the crowd to retrieve the ball in the third quarter.
Marvin Williams and Enes Kanter each scored 14 points for Utah (2-1).
The teams play again Tuesday at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
“I kind of like where we are right now because there’s lots of room to grow,” Brown said.