Pau Gasol to maintain philanthropic efforts in Los Angeles

No longer will Pau Gasol step on the court showing off his dazzling array of post-moves and passing while wearing a Lakers uniform. After spending 6 1/2 seasons helping the Lakers to two NBA championships, adapting to varying roles and listening to endless trade rumors, Gasol officially decided on Sunday that he will join the Chicago Bulls.

On his Web site, Gasol called leaving the Lakers an “extremely difficult decision” before expressing gratitude for his two NBA championships, Kobe Bryant and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson. But the strong emotions went beyond no longer wearing the purple and gold. Gasol also remains mindful about his philanthropic impact with Los Angeles that entailed extensive relationships with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and MySafeLA. Yet, Gasol maintained those efforts will still stay ongoing.

“Despite the move,” Gasol said, “I intend to maintain close ties with the Los Angeles community, which will always feel like home to me.”
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Julius Randle looks decent in NBA Summer League debut

Julius Randle only had 20 minutes between signing his contract and appearing in his first NBA Summer League game. But he played anyway. Randle, the Lakers’ seventh overall draft pick, sat out of contact practices for a week while waiting for the Lakers to finalize his deal. But he played anyway. Randle had not participated in a full contact game since appearing in Kentucky’s national championship loss to UConn three months ago. But he played anyway.

It appears nothing would hold Randle back from jumping back onto the court as soon as he was allowed to, his contract signing delay stemming from the Lakers doing so to free up an additional $500,000 to pursue Carmelo Anthony. Once that wait ended, Randle wasted no time trying to get acclimated in the Lakers’ 90-73 loss to New Orleans Sunday at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

As shown in the video above, Randle posted 10 points on 4-o-f-9 shooting and two rebounds in 21 minutes, showing a mix of potential and rust along the way. He scored the game’s first five points, but he also badly mistimed a jumper and 3-point attempt. Randle appeared aggressive running up and down the floor, but two rebounds hardly fills what he will need to provide in future games.

Randle did not shy away from contact, perhaps showing more evidence that his right foot that is determined not to need surgery will remain just fine. Yet, Randle also showed some rust perhaps by virtue of both his inexperience and recent absence while waiting to finalize his contract.

All of which suggests Randle will develop just fine the more he plays. That next step may take place as soon as Monday when the Lakers play the Golden State Warriors at 7 p.m. at Cox Pavilion.

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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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Julius Randle signs contract with Lakers

Julius Randle’s pre-game routine went beyond stretching and squeezing in some practice shots. It also entailed Randle signing his contract.

The Lakers delayed signing Randle’s four-year deal that includes a $2.9 million salary the first two years and a team options his last two years for a simple reason. The Lakers’ front office wanted extra cap space to pursue free agents, most notably Carmelo Anthony.

But with the majority of the Lakers’ free agent work complete, Randle signed his contract about 20 minutes before playing in the Lakers’ summer league game on Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas. He posted 10 points and two rebounds in 21 minutes. The contract delay forced Randle to sit out of the Lakers’ summer league opener in a loss Friday against Toronto.

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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 officially acquire Jeremy Lin from Houston Rockets

Rockets#7 Jeremy Lin drives to the hoop against Lakers#27 Jordan Hill. The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 145 to 130 in a regular season game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA. April 8, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Rockets#7 Jeremy Lin drives to the hoop against Lakers#27 Jordan Hill. The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 145 to 130 in a regular season game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA. April 8, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers officially acquired guard Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets, and it turned out the deal included more than acquiring a 2015 first-round pick.

The Lakers also picked up a heavily protected 2015 second-round pick from the Clippers that was previously traded to the Rockets. The Lakers will only receive the pick from the Clippers if the draft selection falls between 51 and 55 overall. Meanwhile, the Lakers have traded away the rights of overseas player Sergei Lishcuk. He was acquired by the Lakers in a 2011 deal that involved shipping Sasha Vujacic to the former New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn), while Joe Smith went to the Lakers through Houston.

“This trade allows us to acquire a solid player who will make us a better team, as well as draft picks to improve our team in the future, while at the same time allowing us to maintain financial flexibility,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “In addition to what he’ll bring us on the court, we think Jeremy will be warmly embraced by our fans and our community.”

Lin, who has averaged 11.9 points and 4.8 assists a game over his four-year career, arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday to take a physical. But he soon returned to China to continue a previously scheduled appearance with Adidas. Lin’s $14 million expiring contract includes a salary cap worth $8.3 million.

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Jeremy Lin acquired by the Los Angeles Lakers from Houston Rockets

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

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Pau Gasol officially joins the Chicago Bulls

Pau Gasol talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

Pau Gasol talks about the disappointing season and his future following his Lakers exit interview at their training facility in El Segundo, CA on Thursday, April 17, 2014. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

It turns out that among all the endless trade discussions that involved Pau Gasol as the centerpiece, the Lakers either remained unable or unwilling to deal their star forward.

Gasol announced on his Twitter account that he agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bulls. But his departure did not involve the Lakers completing a sign-and-trade with the Bulls, according to a league source familiar with the discussions. The Lakers were generally open to the idea both to help Gasol secure a larger contract and accumulate additional talent and draft picks. But even if the Lakers were willing to do this out of gratitude for Gasol helping them to three NBA finals appearances and two championships, the Lakers would only do so if the deal helped them.

It is not immediately clear what offers the Lakers turned down. But in general terms, the Lakers wanted talent, draft picks and expiring contracts, both to boost their vacant roster and ensuring financial flexibility for the 2015 offseason.

Gasol established a deeply rooted legacy with Los Angeles ever since being acquired froa pm Memphis in 2008. Beyond appearing in three NBA Finals and winning two NBA championships, Gasol became a perfect fit for Phil Jackson’s triangle offense and complemented Kobe Bryant’s personality and skillset.

After a struggling playoff run in 2011, the Lakers traded Gasol the following season in the Chris Paul deal that soon became nixed. Gasol still wanted to stay a Laker, but he faced circumstances that were hardly as enjoyable as initial success here. Gasol faced a reduced role in the 2011-12 season under former coach Mike Brown to accommodate Andrew Bynum. For the past two seasons, Gasol exchanged with philosophical differences with former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni over his fast-paced system that put less of an emphasis on post play. Meanwhile, he became the subject of nearly every Lakers’ trade proposal. He also suffered a rash of injuries the past two seasons.

Still, Gasol remained mostly beloved within the Lakers and their fanbase for his versatility, loyalty to the franchise and philanthropic work that included extensive involvement with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and MySafeLA. Through six seasons with the Lakers, Gasol averaged 17.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

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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 engaging with Chicago in sign-and-trade talks involving Pau Gasol

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, right, drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets power forward Mason Plumlee (1) in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, in New York. The Lakers defeated the Nets 99-94. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol, right, drives to the basket against Brooklyn Nets power forward Mason Plumlee (1) in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game at the Barclays Center, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, in New York. The Lakers defeated the Nets 99-94. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

This time, the Lakers might actually trade Pau Gasol.

With it becoming clear Gasol will not re-sign with the Lakers, the Lakers are currently in talks with the Chicago Bulls about facilitating a sign-and-trade, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The Lakers are engaged in this scenario for two reasons. They want to facilitate the deal out of respect for Gasol, who guided the team to three NBA Finals appearances and two NBA championships after acquiring him from Memphis six years ago. Doing such a thing could help Gasol join a team of his choice. The Lakers are also interested in filling out their roster with more talent and assets, such as draft picks, both to expedite their rebuilding and offset their losses from Gasol’s departure.

For salary cap purposes, the Lakers cannot sign off on any of the dealings involving Jeremy Lin, Nick Young and Jordan Hill until the sign-and-trade is complete.

ESPN and The Chicago Tribune have also reported about the Bulls’ efforts in completing a sign-and-trade with the Lakers. The Tribune’s report mentioned the Bulls have discussed sending Mike Dunleavy and the non-guaranteed contracts of Mike James, Lou Amundsen and Ronnie Brewer to the Lakers.

It is not immediately clear what would prompt the Lakers to agree to a deal. But in general terms, the Lakers would want a talented player that does not compromise their cap space beginning in the 2015 offseason. The contracts to Dunleavy ($3.3 million), James ($1.44 million), Amundson ($1.3 million) and Brewer ($1.3 million) all expire after next 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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Kent Bazemore agrees to two-year, $4 million deal with Atlanta Hawks

The Lakers’ Kent Bazemore #6 moves the ball up court during their game against the Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles February 28, 2014. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

The Lakers’ Kent Bazemore #6 moves the ball up court during their game against the Kings at the Staples Center in Los Angeles February 28, 2014. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Lakers free agent forward Kent Bazemore agreed to a two-year deal worth $4 million with the Atlanta Hawks, according to a league source. The source added that the deal does not include any player or team options and that the money is fully guaranteed.

The Lakers wanted to re-sign Bazemore, who was also amenable toward staying even on a one-year deal. But the Lakers were busy enough on Friday in deals involving Jeremy Lin, Nick Young and Jordan Hill. Bazemore attracted interest from a flurry of teams, including San Antonio, Boston and Charlotte. He was scheduled to meet with the Hornets on Saturday, but the deal with the Hawks became too good to pass up.

Bazemore averaged 13.1 points per game through 28 appearances with the Lakers, arriving after the NBA trade deadline in a deal that sent Steve Blake to the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers opted against granting Bazemore a $1.1 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, which would give them the right to match any offers he receives elsewhere.

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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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Pau Gasol not expected to stay with Lakers

In this file photo, the Los Angeles Lakers' Pao Gasol smiles a a young fan in the front row as he waits for a freethrow against the Denver Nuggets at the Staple Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. (Scott Varley/Daily Breeze file)

In this file photo, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pao Gasol smiles a a young fan in the front row as he waits for a freethrow against the Denver Nuggets at the Staple Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. (Scott Varley/Daily Breeze file)

After endless trade rumors and uncertain offseasons, it appears Pau Gasol has finally expended his nine lives with the Lakers.

The Lakers do not expect to keep Gasol after unsuccessfully courting both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Although the Lakers would remain amenable for Gasol to stay, their numerous offers and discussions with him were contingent on Anthony joining the Lakers, according to a league source familiar with the situation. Gasol had no interest in staying if Anthony did not come here, preferring to opt choose a team that can contend next season for an NBA championship.

Gasol has not formally announced his decision. But the Lakers’ slew of moves in securing Nick Young to a four-year deal worth $21.5 million and Jordan Hill to a two-year deal worth $18 million happened after it became clear Gasol had no interest staying.

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Lakers miss out on Carmelo Anthony, now they play kick the can

When Plan A went poof, the Lakers quickly moved on to Plan B.

And by Plan B, we mean kicking the can down the road a couple of years.

It’s all about the summer of 2016 now, folks.

Carmelo Anthony might not be coming, but hey, in two summers Kevin Durant will be a free agent and the Lakers should have plenty of money to throw at him.

Wait, where did we hear that before?

That’s right, last summer.

And the summer before that.

First Dwight Howard was going to lure Anthony or LeBron James to Los Angeles.

Then it was going be Anthony and James joining forces with the Lakers once Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol’s contracts came off the books this summer.

And the seamless transition to another era of dominance had commenced.

It made for fantastic sports talk radio.

But in reality, it was a pipe dream.
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NBA free agency: Lakers to re-sign Jordan Hill to two-year, $18 million deal

The Lakers' Jordan Hill smiles after securing a rebound before a timeout and the lead against the Celtics, Friday, February 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

The Lakers’ Jordan Hill smiles after securing a rebound before a timeout and the lead against the Celtics, Friday, February 21, 2014, at Staples Center. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News)

The Lakers are moving fast and furious in filling out their roster after it became clear neither LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony would come here. The next step entailed re-signing power forward Jordan Hill to a two-year deal worth $18 million, according to a league source familiar with the situation. The deal has a team option on the second season.

Despite posting a career-high 9.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 2013-14 season, Hill grew frustrated last season with the Lakers under Mike D’Antoni’s system that featured him having a fluctuating role partly because of his preference for a so-called “small ball” system. Hill became more amenable toward returning to the Lakers. Though Hill suffered from bursts of inconsistency with fatigue, he mostly became a dependable force on rebounding and hustle plays.

This move sends a strong signal that Pau Gasol will not rejoin the Lakers. Gasol has fielded interest with a number of teams, including Oklahoma City, Chicago, Miami and New York, and has said he prefers playing for a championship contender. It appears likely Hill would start at center and pair with rookie power forward Julius Randle.

Yahoo! Sports first reported the news.

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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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