NBA free agency: Lakers reach out to Wayne Ellington

Lakers Wayne Ellington scores two points during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, January 3, 2015.  Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers 88-87.  ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) "

Lakers Wayne Ellington scores two points during second half action at Staples Center Sunday, January 3, 2015. Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers 88-87. ( Photo by David Crane/Los Angeles Daily News ) “

After experiencing the Lakers’ support through both a significant role and a family tragedy, Wayne Ellington had another reason to feel gracious toward them.

The Lakers contacted Ellington shortly after free agency began on Tuesday evening to express interest in retaining him, according to a league source familiar with the situation. Cleveland, Golden State, Washington, San Antonio and Atlanta also showed interest, a league source said, though Ellington hopes his future rests with the purple and gold. Ellington averaged 10 points on 41.2 percent shooting in 25.8 minutes through 65 games. That bodes similar to the career-highs he posted also under Byron Scott in Cleveland (2012-13) in points (10.4), shooting percentage (43.9) and minutes played (25.9).
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Lakers exercise team option to keep Robert Sacre

Lakers' Pau Gasol, left, Robert Sacre, and Steve Blake, right, in the last few seconds of the game against the Jazz in a NBA Western Conference basketball game at the Staples Center Tuesday, February 11, 2014, Los Angeles, CA.  The Lakers lost 79-96. Los Angeles Lakers versus Utah Jazz. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

The Lakers exercised a team option to keep center Robert Sacre for the 2015-16 season.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

The Lakers exercised a $981,359 team option to retain center Robert Sacre for the 2015-16 season, according to league source familiar with the situation.

The Lakers did not formally decide until the deadline at midnight on Tuesday. Sacre’s contract now becomes fully guaranteed.
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Lakers express interest in Jimmy Butler, Iman Shumpert

On Tuesday night, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak expressed interest in Bulls forward Jimmy Butler and Cavaliers forward Iman Shumpert, according to a league source.  (Photo by Brad Graverson/Daily Breeze)

On Tuesday night, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak expressed interest in Bulls forward Jimmy Butler and Cavaliers forward Iman Shumpert, according to a league source. (Photo by Brad Graverson/Daily Breeze)

The Lakers’ top free agency priority has entailed securing a marquee frontcourt player. But that has not stopped the Lakers from also looking elsewhere.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak expressed interest in signing Chicago Bulls small forward Jimmy Butler and Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Iman Shumpert, according to a league source familiar with the situation. The likelihood of the Lakers landing either player seems challenging since both are restricted free agents.
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NBA free agency: Lakers reach out to Ed Davis

"The Lakers’ Ed Davis #21 lays the ball up as the Grizzlies’  Jon Leuer #30 looks on during their NBA game at the Staples Center Friday, January 2, 2015.  The Grizzlies beat the Lakers 109-106. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)"

“The Lakers’ Ed Davis #21 lays the ball up as the Grizzlies’ Jon Leuer #30 looks on during their NBA game at the Staples Center Friday, January 2, 2015. The Grizzlies beat the Lakers 109-106. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)”

The Lakers repeated something to Ed Davis’ representatives on Tuesday night that they have said throughout the course of the 2014-15 season.

The Lakers expressed interest in retaining Davis, according to a league source familiar with the situation. He posted career-highs in scoring (8.3 points a game), field-goal percentage (60.1), rebounding (7.6), blocked shots (1.2) and assists (1.2) in his fifth NBA season. Whether that happens, however, remains in question.

Four other undisclosed teams also expressed interest in Davis, according to a league source. Although it is not clear which teams reached out, it is possible any of them could offer something more than the Lakers can afford. After declining his $1.1 million player option, Davis would like a two or three-year deal worth $7-$8 million or a one-year deal worth $9-10 million.
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NBA free agency: Lakers reach out to Jordan Hill

"Los Angeles Lakers' Jordan Hill smiles before the Lakers' NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)"

“Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Hill smiles before the Lakers’ NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)”

Despite declined his team option worth $9 million only a day earlier, the Lakers expressed interest in re-signing Jordan Hill as a free agent, according to a league source familiar with the situation. Hill’s representatives also fielded “several calls” from other interested teams, according to the league source.

By waiving Hill’s team option, the Lakers secured $23 million to spend in free agency. They can also re-sign Hill at a discounted price, though it remains uncertain considering the team’s glut of power forwards in Julius Randle, Ryan Kelly, Tarik Black and Larry Nance Jr. Ed Davis also declined to exercise a player option worth $1.1 million. The Lakers want to retain him, though that might not happen if Davis fields more lucrative offers elsewhere.
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Lakers to include Kobe Bryant & Byron Scott in meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will undergo surgery Wednesday for the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, but a timetable for his return will not be revealed until after the surgery. (Mark J. Terrill/The Associated Press)

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will undergo surgery Wednesday for the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, but a timetable for his return will not be revealed until after the surgery. (Mark J. Terrill/The Associated Press)

The Lakers plan to host a set of heavy hitters for when they meet with Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge at 9:01 p.m. in Los Angeles, which will mark the beginning of free agency.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is expected to sit in on the meeting, according to a league source familiar with his itinerary. He will join Lakers president Jeanie Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak, executive Jim Buss, coach Byron Scott, assistant general manager Glenn Carraro, senior vice president of business operations Tim Harris, team spokesman John Black, representatives from Time Warner Cable SportsNet and AEG. Former Lakers forward James Worthy, who serves as a studio analyst for Access SportsNet, also plans to attend the meeting.
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Magic Johnson won’t be around for Lakers’ initial free agent pitches

Lakers legend Magic Johnson spoke at Cal State Long Beach Monday, May 05, 2014, Long Beach, CA.  Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Lakers legend Magic Johnson spoke at Cal State Long Beach
Monday, May 05, 2014, Long Beach, CA.
Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

Magic Johnson once delivered the Lakers NBA championships with no-look passes and timely shots. But the Lakers legend will not be around for the team’s latest quest to return to championship contention.

Johnson, who is a part of an ownership group with the Dodgers, left on Tuesday for a vacation in Europe, according to a source familiar with his itinerary. Although it is currently unclear when Johnson will return, it is safe to say he will not be available for the Lakers’ initial meetings with marquee free agents. The Lakers currently plan to visit Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge tonight at 9:01 p.m. PST and Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday. They likely will have even more meetings scheduled this week.
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Lakers make a big splash with 2015 NBA Draft

My colleague Thuc Nhi Nguyen produced videos surrounding everything about the Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Above, I provided my analysis of the Lakers’ draft picks at No. 2 (Ohio State freshman guard D’Angelo Russell), No. 27 (Wyoming senior power forward Larry Nance. Jr) and No. 34 (Stanford senior small forward Anthony Brown).

Below, there is video highlighting the main parts of Monday’s press conference with all three players.

Los Angeles News Group intern Alex Nieves had a brief one-on-one interview with Brown in the video below.

RELATED:

D’Angelo Russell believes he and Jordan Clarkson can grow together

Can D’Angelo Russell bring ‘Showtime’ back to the Lakers?

It’s a big challenge, but Laker D’Angelo Russell appears ready

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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D’Angelo Russell believes he and Jordan Clarkson can grow together

LA Lakers press conference to introduce 2015 NBA Draftees - D'Angelo Russell (shown), Antonio Brown and Larry Nance Jr. - at training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/LANG/06/29/15

LA Lakers press conference to introduce 2015 NBA Draftees – D’Angelo Russell (shown), Antonio Brown and Larry Nance Jr. – at training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/LANG/06/29/15

How they arrived with the Lakers seems different, though both D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson may finish their respective journeys the same way.

Russell officially became a Laker five days ago after selecting him second in the 2015 NBA Draft. He sounded determined to meet the high expectations that includes becoming the Lakers’ next great point guard since Magic Johnson and eventually having his jersey join other Lakers luminaries on the Staples Center rafters. Clarkson became a Laker nearly a year ago after paying $1.8 million to Washington to secure his rights to the 46th pick. Since then, Clarkson has proven countless teams wrong for passing on him by earning a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie first team.

Amid those different stories, Russell sees the same mentality on how both he and Clarkson stepped on the court eager to show their growth. Hence, Russell expressed confidence both he and Clarkson will play well together in a dynamic that will involve sharing ball handling duties with Kobe Bryant.

“He’s an explosive guard, fast. He’s bigger than most guards,” Russell said. “I look at it more as he’s a guy that I can definitely play with. He’s versatile also, he can play off the ball, with the ball. So, I mean, I feel like it’s just an advantage to be young and we can grow together.”

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Lakers to have free agency meetings with LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan

Clippers' DeAndre Jordan, center, says he is ready for Spurs to deploy Hack-A-DJ strategy during playoff series. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, center, says he is ready for Spurs to deploy Hack-A-DJ strategy during playoff series. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

No NBA team can contact free agents until the clock strikes 9:01 p.m. on Tuesday. But that does not preclude teams from setting up meetings with them.

The Lakers plan to meet with Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge once free agency starts on Tuesday night, according to a league source familiar with the team’s itinerary. The Lakers will then follow that up with a meeting on Wednesday with Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, the league source said.

The Lakers will put the highest priority in acquiring a marquee frontcourt player after selecting Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell with the second pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. But it remains unclear if they can attract other candidates, such as Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Cleveland’s Kevin Love or Detroit’s Greg Monroe.
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