Lakers, Robert Upshaw agree to two-year deal

Former Washington center Robert Upshaw, left, is playing for the Lakers' summer league team that starts play in Las Vegas on Friday. He says he has matured since committing violations of team rules that led to his dismissal from Fresno State and Washington. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Former Washington center Robert Upshaw, left, is playing for the Lakers’ summer league team that starts play in Las Vegas on Friday. He says he has matured since committing violations of team rules that led to his dismissal from Fresno State and Washington. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After going undrafted amid concerns about Robert Upshaw’s behavior that led to two colleges dismissing him from their teams, the 7-foot-2 shot blocking specialist experienced a dose of good news.

The Lakers and Upshaw agreed to a two-year deal that is expected to be signed soon, according to a league source familiar with the situation. The Lakers have not confirmed the deal since it is still pending. But a source familiar with the terms said the league-minimum deal has a partial guarantee the first season and is non-guaranteed for the second season. The contract has no player or team options, the source added.

Northeast Ohio Media Group first reported Upshaw’s pending deal with the Lakers.
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers sign contracts for D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr.

Former Ohio State point guard D'Angelo Russell talks with media after he worked out with Lakers on Monday, June, 8. (Photo by Stephen Carr/Daily Breeze)

Former Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell talks with media after he worked out with Lakers on Monday, June, 8. (Photo by Stephen Carr/Daily Breeze)

Lakers rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell and rookie power forward Larry Nance Jr. signed their contacts on Friday just in time to appear in the team’s summer league opener against Minnesota on Friday in Las Vegas.

The NBA moratorium ended late Wednesday night, and the Lakers made most of their free-agent and draft signings on Thursday. But the delay stemming Russell and Nance Jr. simply involved the Lakers timing their moves with salary cap implications.

Russell and Nance Jr. took of $5.2 million of cap space with just cap holds. Considering Russell signed for $5.1 million and Nance Jr. signed for $1.2 million, the Lakers had an additional $1.2 million in cap space by delaying their contracts becoming official.

But the Lakers made those official so both players could play. The Lakers would not allow any player to compete on their summer league team without a signed contract to prevent any liability issues.

RELATED:

Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak says Aldridge meeting was learning experience

Lakers Summer League: Five things to watch

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

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

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

How much will Tarik Black expand his game in Summer League?

 File photo: L.A. Lakers forward Tarik Black (28) is waiting to get back into the rotation. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

File photo: L.A. Lakers forward Tarik Black (28) is waiting to get back into the rotation. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Only a year ago, Tarik Black felt the sting over going undrafted. Only eight months ago, Black felt the rejection over the Houston Rockets waiving him. Only five months ago, Black felt uncertainty over his future with the Lakers.

But this week, Black stood on the Lakers’ practice court in El Segundo feeling more at ease than when he took the circuitous path last year that often required a GPS navigation system.

“Definitely feel like a bigger piece to this team,” Black said. “I’m definitely a part of this family and a part of this team. I feel comfortable with my role.”

As Black feels more comfortable, his role may take some more unpredictable turns. Black knows he will compete on the Lakers’ summer league team that begins playing on Friday in Las Vegas through July 20. Black knows he will stay on the Lakers’ roster for the 2015-16 season on a non-guaranteed contract worth $850,000. He knows the Lakers became impressed with how he represented one of the team’s few bright spots last season, averaging 7.2 points on 58.9 percent shooting and 5.8 rebounds in 21.1 minutes through 38 games.

Yet, Black sounded unsure to what degree his game will evolve in summer league play. Though the Lakers love Black’s hustle, coach Byron Scott also wants the 6-foot-11, 257-pound forward to establish a mid-range game.

“That’s going to keep me at this level, my rebounding, hustle plays and playing defense,” Black said. “I’m always going to work on that and utilize it. But as far as getting better, we have so much talent. It’s tough to say how much I’ll use it.”

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Mitch Kupchak sympathetic to all sides surrounding DeAndre Jordan’s free agency saga

DeAndre Jordan gave the Dallas Mavericks his word. Then he gave the Los Angeles Clippers his signature. Could his change of heart spark other changes in the NBA? (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

DeAndre Jordan gave the Dallas Mavericks his word. Then he gave the Los Angeles Clippers his signature. Could his change of heart spark other changes in the NBA? (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Something captured Los Angeles’ attention, and for once the drama did not surround anything related to the Lakers.

It all centered on DeAndre Jordan, who determined not everything is bigger in Texas. After providing a verbal commitment last Friday to leave the Clippers for the Dallas Mavericks, Jordan reached out to Clippers coach Doc Rivers a few days later. But instead of offering his goodbyes, Jordan extended an olive branch, suggesting to Rivers he harbored doubts about his decision.

Then, the Clippers furiously flew out on Wednesday to Jordan’s residence in Houston in one last pitch to salvage their star center. Soon enough, a stream of emojis emerged on Twitter. Mavericks guard Chandler Parsons tweeted one of a plane. Clippers forward Blake Griffin tweeted several of a plane, helicopter and car. Clippers guard Chris Paul tweeted an emoji of a banana boat, the same mode of transportation he used in a recent vacation in the Bahamas. Even Lakers guard Kobe Bryant participated in on the fun, tweeting out all five trophies to represent the NBA championships he won.

Soon enough, breathless reports emerged about the Clippers staying at Jordan’s house, while the Mavericks made several unsuccessful attempts to reach him. Shortly after the NBA moratorium ended at 9:00 PDT on Wednesday, Jordan signed a four-year deal worth $87.6 million to stay with the Clippers.

As Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak mused, “the social media affect turned it into somewhat of a soap opera from the moment you woke up [on Wednesday] until the moment you went to bed.”

Kupchak had other things to worry about that day, ranging from Summer League practices and finalizing free agent deals. Yet, Kupchak acknowledged “it became a bit unsettling” on the possibility Dallas could swoop in at the last minute and pursue Roy Hibbert after losing a center. The Lakers acquired Hibbert last week in a trade from Indiana for a second-round pick. But since players could not sign contracts until the NBA moratorium ended on July 9, any player technically remained available.

Yet, Kupchak offered sympathy for Jordan, who had turned down both the Lakers and the Knicks shortly after meeting with them.

“I want nothing but the best for DeAndre Jordan,” Kupchak said. “If he felt that he didn’t make the right decision, the rules that are presently set up allow for him or provide for him to change his mind.”
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Metta World Peace impressed with Julius Randle’s strength

Lakers coach Byron Scott initially plans to feature Julius Randle as both a post player and playmaker. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)"

Lakers coach Byron Scott initially plans to feature Julius Randle as both a post player and playmaker. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)”

His strength remained so forceful that Metta World Peace once gave James Harden a concussion on one swing with his elbow. His toughness seemed so fierce it took only 13 seconds before World Peace tumbled to the floor with Paul Pierce for a loose ball. His anger became so out of control that the former Ron Artest once punched a fan in the stands after he a threw a drink at him.

But after working out this summer on his own at the Lakers’ practice facility, World Peace apparently found an opponent that could match and withstand his own power.

His name is Julius Randle. He has not played in an NBA game since logging only 14 minutes in the Lakers’ season opener last year before fracturing his right tibia. And Randle has impressed the Lakers with a slimmed down figure, an emerging jump shot and a beefed up frame.

“This kid is super strong,” Lakers coach Byron Scott recalled World Peace observing to others around him.”If Metta says that, he’s pretty strong. Metta is pretty strong.”
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Mitch Kupchak critiqued Lakers’ first meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge

The Los Angeles Lakers had the number 2 pick in the NBA draft and selected D'Angelo Russell from Ohio State Thursday, June 25, 2015, El Segundo, CA. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak discusses the selection of Russell with the media from the Toyota Sports Center practice facility. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

The Los Angeles Lakers had the number 2 pick in the NBA draft and selected D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State Thursday, June 25, 2015, El Segundo, CA. Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak discusses the selection of Russell with the media from the Toyota Sports Center practice facility. Photo by Steve McCrank/Staff Photographer

It turns out another prominent person besides LaMarcus Aldridge walked away unimpressed with the Lakers’ first meeting with him to open free agency.

That person was Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak, who echoed Aldridge’s concerns that the Lakers’ first presentation at 9:01 p.m. on June 30 in Los Angeles focused too much on branding and not enough on X’s and O’s.

“We accomplished the part about how much we wanted this player in Los Angeles,” Kupchak said in a conference call on Thursday, which coincided with the NBA lifting its moratorium. “But I don’t feel the basketball component of it was covered in depth.”

Kupchak also added, “I don’t think the meeting was as bad as people heard it was, nor do I think it was as good as we hoped it would be. I would say live and learn.”

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers acquire Roy Hibbert from Indiana

The Lakers finalized a trade with the Indiana Pacers on Friday that will land them center Roy Hibbert in exchange for a second round pick.

The 28-year-old Hibbert has made two NBA All-Star appearances, but the Pacers became eager to clear his $15.5 million salary for next season amid a diminished role on a faster-paced offense. Hibbert is considered an elite shot blocker, but is lagging in points and rebounding. He has averaged 11.1 points on 46.4 percent shooting, 6.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks through seven NBA seasons with the Pacers.

“We’re happy to add a veteran big man to the roster,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “Roy is a proven All-Star center that will help improve our front line. In addition he is a consummate professional and we look forward to having him on the team.”

The Lakers moved quickly to acquire Hibbert after missing out on the free agent class’ top big men, including LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe and DeAndre Jordan.

RELATED:

Lakers, Kobe Bryant plan to discuss playing time following Summer League

Lakers Summer League: Five things to watch

Lakers to hold Julius Randle out in second game of Summer League

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

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers officially sign Lou Williams, Anthony Brown, Brandon Bass to roster

Lou Williams, who was the NBA's Siixth Man of the Year with the Toronto Raptors last season, has agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract with the Lakers. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Lou Williams, who was the NBA’s Siixth Man of the Year with the Toronto Raptors last season, has agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract with the Lakers. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

With the NBA’s moratorium ending on Thursday, the Lakers quickly signed some of the players they acquired on their roster.

The Lakers first signed Lou Williams, who won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award with the Toronto Raptors. Williams secured a three-year deal worth $21 million with no player or team options, according to a league source familiar with his contract.

Williams averaged 15.5 points a game last season with the Raptors and has also had stops in Philadephia (2005-12), and Atlanta (2012-14). His arrival with the Lakers gives them secondary scoring behind Kobe Bryant and could offset Nick Young’s departure if the Lakers trade him.

“I am pleased to welcome Lou to the Laker family,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “We look forward to his contributions both on-court in bolstering our guard rotation, and also for the veteran leadership he can provide to our young players in the locker room.”

The Lakers also secured Anthony Brown, whom was drafted 34th in the 2015 NBA Draft after spending five years at the University of Stanford. The terms of his contract aren’t clear, but it is a multi-year deal. Brown averaged 14.8 points a game and went 44.1 percent from three-point range. This ensures Brown can suit up for Summer League play beginning on Friday in Las Vegas.

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

Lakers, Kobe Bryant plan to discuss playing time following Summer League

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) drives against New Orleans Pelicans guard Nate Wolters, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) drives against New Orleans Pelicans guard Nate Wolters, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

For all the importance the Lakers’ Summer League team will have on developing their youth, there marks one other looming variable that will determine the team’s success or failure in the 2015-16 campaign.

Kobe Bryant.

His resume speaks for itself with his five NBA championships and third-place standing on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. But Bryant also has suffered three season-ending injuries in consecutive seasons, the latest involving a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder that required surgery.

So when Summer League play ends on July 20, Lakers coach Byron Scott said he, Bryant, head athletic trainer Gary Vitti and strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco will discuss at some point how to handle their star player’s practice regimen and playing time. Scott estimated that meeting will take place within three to four weeks.

“One thing I want to do is make sure he is able to play this whole year hopefully injury free,” Scott said after summer league practice on Thursday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I don’t want to overload him with minutes. I don’t want to overload him here in practice as well. But I want him to get all those things in so he can stay sharp. It’s a fine line on how to do that.”
Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email

NBA free agency: Wayne Ellington agrees to deal with Brooklyn Nets

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 ) “

Wayne Ellington has agreed to a deal to play with the Brooklyn Nets next season.

Ellington attracted interest from the Lakers, Cleveland, Golden State, Washington, San Antonio, Atlanta and New York, according to a league source with the situation. Ellington had hoped for a multi-year deal with the Lakers after averaging 10 points on 41.2 percent shooting in 25.8 minutes through 65 games. But it currently is unclear if that became an option considering the Lakers acquired shooting guard Lou Williams in free agency. Still, Ellington expressed appreciation for the Lakers both for his role and granting an indefinite leave of absence that eventually lasted 11 days over the murder of his father in his Philadelphia hometown

Continue reading

Facebook Twitter Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Tumblr Email