Lakers agree to deal with Wesley Johnson

The Lakers agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal with Wesley Johnson Rick Bowmer / The Associated Press

The Lakers agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal with Wesley Johnson Rick Bowmer / The Associated Press

The Lakers agreed to a deal to bring back forward Wesley Johnson, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The terms were not readily available, but it is believed to be a one-year deal worth $1 million, as reported by ESPN’s Chris Broussard. The signing is somewhat surprising. Though the Lakers never ruled bringing back Johnson, they did not consider keeping him to be a top priority after his 9.1 points per game average on 42.6 percent shooting last season featured inconsistent offensive and defensive performances.

But the Lakers were willing to resign Johnson for reasons including his age (27), athleticism and being a good teammate. The Lakers currently have 11 players under contract, including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, Julius Randle, Jeremy Lin, Carlos Boozer, Nick Young, Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Xavier Henry and Johnson. The Lakers also have a non-guaranteed deal to Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers are also expected to re-sign Ryan Kelly, who was given a $1.1 million qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent.

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Pau Gasol recalls difficulty telling Kobe Bryant he would leave Lakers

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Pau Gasol recalls difficulty telling Kobe Bryant he would leave Lakers

The bond grew stronger with each NBA championship they won together. The cement remained deeply rooted amid the losing, injuries and trade uncertainty. Yet, after years of Kobe Bryant pleading the Lakers not to trade Pau Gasol away, Gasol told Bryant that he would leave.

Gasol signed with the Chicago Bulls to a reported three-year $22 million deal, marking a relative paycut that he could have attracted elsewhere, including the Lakers. But with Gasol mostly motivated to join a team equipped to win an NBA championship, that meant he needed to desert the Lakers’ rebuilding project and his trusted ally in Bryant.

“It was difficult. We have a close friendship,” Gasol said of Bryant to reporters on Friday in Chicago. “We’ve been through a lot together. I’m sure I’ll miss him. We talked to each other and our relationship goes beyond basketball. We’ll always have a friendship. That’s where it stays.”

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Kobe Bryant competes with fan in a game of H-O-R-S-E

Kobe Bryant wants to win, so much that he will go toward any lengths just to win a game of H-O-R-S-E against a fan.

He will throw up simple albeit difficult layups just to catch up to a fan who surprisingly took an early lead. Bryant will attempt countless step-back jumpers, the same ones he has made over and over during his 18-year career. Of course, Bryant will also talk trash along the way.

So it should be hardly be surprising that Bryant’s contest against a fan named S. Sami turned out the way it did at his camp in Santa Barbara. You see Bryant at his vulnerable. You see Bryant with confidence he will climb back from adversity. You see Bryant relying on his scoring versatility. You see Bryant remaining intimidating. And, of course, you relish Bryant relishing a victory.


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

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Xavier Henry to stay with the Lakers

In this file photo, Los Angeles Laker Xavier Henry makes an attempt for the basket against Golden State Warrior defense during a preseason Lakers game against the Warriors at the Citizens Business Bank Area in Ontario on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (Photo by Rachel Luna / San Bernardino Sun file)

In this file photo, Los Angeles Laker Xavier Henry makes an attempt for the basket against Golden State Warrior defense during a preseason Lakers game against the Warriors at the Citizens Business Bank Area in Ontario on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (Photo by Rachel Luna / San Bernardino Sun file)

The Lakers have reached an agreement to bring back Xavier Henry to a one-year deal worth $1 million, according to multiple reports.

Henry appeared to confirm the news on Twitter.

Henry’s return adds some much needed depth at the small forward spot that includes Nick Young and occasionally Kobe Bryant. Henry averaged 10 points per game last season, thanks to a heavy dose of athleticism and aggressiveness. Henry is currently recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee and left wrist, injuries that kept him out for a combined 39 games. Henry said last month that he expects to heal by late July. Though the Lakers have not medically cleared him to train in all basketball activities, it remains unclear at which stage he has advanced in his recovery. Last month, Henry performed a series of individual basketball drills only using his right hand.

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Lakers waive Kendall Marshall

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

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Lakers waive Kendall Marshall

In this file photo, the Lakers' Kendall Marshall (12) shoots a fade away jump shot against the Jazz in a NBA Western Conference basketball game at the Staples Center on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Los Angeles, Calif. The Lakers lost 79-96. (Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze file)

In this file photo, the Lakers’ Kendall Marshall (12) shoots a fade away jump
shot against the Jazz in a NBA Western Conference basketball game at the Staples Center on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Los Angeles, Calif. The Lakers lost 79-96. (Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze file)

To help free up cap space to their growing roster, the Lakers have waived point guard Kendall Marshall, according to league sources familiar with the situation.

The Lakers have nine players under contract, including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, Jeremy Lin, Jordan Hill, Nick Young, Ed Davis and Carlos Boozer, whom was claimed off waivers for about $3 million after the Lakers waived him through the amnesty provision. Marshall was slated to make $915,000 this season, but his position frees up a cap hold that allows the Lakers to absorb the other contracts.

The Lakers will place Marshall on waivers, but they have interest in re-signing him should he go unclaimed. Marshall also had interest in staying with the Lakers, who selected him out of the Development League last season amid a rash of injuries to Steve Nash (back), Steve Blake (right elbow) and Jordan Farmar (left hamstring). Marshall averaged eight points and 8.8 assists in 54 games, though he faced inconsistency on defense and shooting.

Marshall also averaged 8.3 points three assists through four games on the Lakers’ Las Vegas Summer League team. The Lakers currently have three point guards in Lin, Nash and Jordan Clarkson, who has a non-guaranteed deal.

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

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Will Lakers name Byron Scott the head coach?

Byron Scott has interviewed with the Lakers three times, but the search remains ongoing. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Byron Scott has interviewed with the Lakers three times, but the search remains ongoing. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

My colleague Daily News columnist Vinny Bonsignore wonders and explains the hold up surrounding the Lakers not hiring Byron Scott as head coach despite already having three interviews with him.

The Lakers planned to hold off on hiring a coach until knowing how they would fill out a roster so they could match the proper candidate with the proper personnel. That is why Scott’s interview on Wednesday with the Lakers mostly entailed going over the roster. But he left the interview without receiving a job offer.

At the beginning of this week, the Lakers planned to make a hire within the next two weeks, though a league source familiar with the team’s thought process said that could also happen within a couple of days. Considering the Lakers have mostly rounded out their roster, Bonsignore argues the Lakers should just hire Scott already.

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

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NBA TV analyst Rick Fox believes Kobe Bryant receives “unfair” criticism over contract extension

"Kobe Bryant welcomes youngsters to the Kobe Basketball Academy at UCSB, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The five-day camp focuses on the Flex offense, the Princeton offense and the Triangle offense. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Daily News)"

“Kobe Bryant welcomes youngsters to the Kobe Basketball Academy at UCSB, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The five-day camp focuses on the Flex offense, the Princeton offense and the Triangle offense. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Daily News)”

Below is a Q&A on the Lakers’ offseason with NBA TV analyst Rick Fox, who is hosting a show titled “Fox After Dark” airing Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 9:30 p.m. PST. The show will feature a behind-the-scenes look at the NBA Las Vegas Summer League as well as interviews with NBA personalities and celebrities, including New Kids on the Block’s Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood, rapper Common, Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Terry Crews, illusionist Criss Angel and the cast of VH1’s basketball drama Hit the Floor, among others.


How would you analyze the Lakers’ free agency period?


Fox:
A lot went down. Most of it was centered on LeBron James’ decision to go home. That was really the big piece that toppled the rest of free agency. Pau Gasol went to Chicago, which makes them stronger. Carmelo Anthony stayed home in New York. I think for me the storylines were the shift to Cleveland for LeBron and the future potential top free agents coming in and joining him and where does the Heat go from here. Obviously they’re not going to fold a tent. But I don’t think they’re expecting to make such an adjustment so quickly.

As far as the Lakers, I thought there was potential for them to lose Jordan Hill and Nick Young to free agency. Those are young talented players in the organization that had really good years. They probably wanted to continue to build some of that back. In bringing Jeremy Lin, they were obviously in need of a healthy point guard. He played in a big market in New York and he understands what that is like. I think he’ll be received well by Lakers fans. The draft picks definitely helped considering we lost a ton of them in a trade for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

Historically, the Lakers have built through free agency. But it just seems it’s harder to get players to be patient enough to be unrestricted free agents. Even then, the advantage goes to the teams that can pay them the most money. It’s hard for a player to leave money on the table with a no real guarantee of winning a championship. You still have to go out and compete and pursue it. I think the era of making free agent moves at least in this collective bargaining agreement is real slow. That puts the Lakers in a really difficult position where you have to build through trades and drafts. Unfortunately to trade with pieces, I don’t think that can happen. Players will have to develop to warrant getting a player of All-Star development in a trade.

Are these defections from star players a sign the Lakers don’t have the lure to attract a big free agents, or unique circumstances with each player?


Fox:
From a business standpoint, Pau was offered three years and $29 million. But he left for Chicago, who can compete in the Eastern Conference and has a chance to go to the Finals. For him, it was about finding the right situation where he could contribute to and compete for championships. Guys aren’t just going to leave L.A. out of desire. I think it speaks more to the uncertainty of who the coach is and the direction of the team. But they chose to make a run at LeBron and Carmelo. That put the Lakers slowly behind in the pursuit of some of the secondary guys.

But do you still like that the Lakers swung for the fences even when you weigh the consequence?


Fox:
Oh yeah. It’s L.A. and the it’s the Lakers. That’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s what I ‘d expect them to do. I wouldn’t expect anything else. Carmelo went back home and got the additional $30 million and LeBron wanted to go home to Cleveland. You can’t fault both of those guys for going into situations where they felt most connected. Either one of them now has a brighter chance at winning a championship next year.
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Lakers win highest bid for Carlos Boozer

Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer, right, goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Lakers' Ryan Kelly (4), during the second quarter of an NBA bask

Chicago Bulls’ Carlos Boozer, right, goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Lakers’ Ryan Kelly (4), during the second quarter of an NBA bask

The Lakers submitted the winning bid to pick up former Bulls forward Carlos Boozer, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The Bulls waived Boozer this week through the so-called amnesty provision, which requires the team to still owe his $16.8 million left on his remaining contract albeit without the money costing against the team’s salary cap. The Lakers’ bid price, which has not been reported at this time, offsets the balance that the Bulls still owe the 12-year NBA veteran.

Boozer averaged 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds through 76 appearances with the Bulls, but he faced reduced playing time amid concerns about his defense. The Lakers currently have nine players under contract, including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, Jeremy Lin, Julius Randle, Nick Young, Ed Davis, Jordan Hill and Boozer. The Lakers also have non-guaranteed deals to Kendall Marshall and Jordan Clarkson, both of whom are expected to stay on the roster.

This move appears appealing for the Lakers both because of Boozer’s potential and his expiring contract. The NBA’s current labor deal prohibits players picked up through an amnesty claim, such as Boozer, to be traded at any point during the season.

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

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Metta World Peace oozes optimism about Lakers, Kobe Bryant, playing future

A looming presence marched his way down the red carpet on Wednesday before the 2014 ESPY awards in downtown Los Angeles. A familiar voice shouted into microphones and tape recorders as he bounced from one reporter to the next.

Yes, Metta World Peace was back in Los Angeles, eager to share a litany of laughs. So, of course, that entailed offering this outlandish explanation for why the Lakers ended last season with a 27-55 record, the worst mark in L.A. franchise history.

“They took a break. Sometimes you have to go to sleep and take a break,” World Peace said. “They’re like a sleeping bear. They’ll wake up out of hibernation and then get back on top.”
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Julius Randle passes test on Kobe Bryant trivia

Julius Randle encountered a test arguably just as challenging as adapting to the NBA or handling Kobe Bryant’s demanding expectations.

The Lakers’ rookie had to prove on NBA TV’s “The Starters” that he knew his Bryant trivia after professing himself as a Kobe fan growing up. It may not be challenging to answer whom the Lakers traded for to acquire Bryant’s rights from Charlotte in 1996 (Vlade Divac). Or the origin of Kobe’s name (a Japanese steakhouse). Or when Kobe won the NBA Dunk Contest (his rookie season).

But any slip up might reveal Randle’s expertise on all things Black Mamba may not be as sharp as he professes, leading both Bryant and a legion of supporters giving him a collective death stare. For Randle’s sake, however, he passed the test.

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

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