NBA free agency: Roy Hibbert indicates he has officially become a Laker

The signing technically is not official.

But Roy Hibbert basically indicated as such, the former Indiana Pacers center posting a Lakers banner on his Twitter account. The Lakers are believed to be sending a future second round draft pick to Indiana, which became eager to clear Hibbert’s $15.5 million salary for next season amid a diminished role on a faster-paced offense. But it remains unclear if the trade will involve additional moves, including the Lakers sending any combination of Nick Young, Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly.

The 28-year-old Hibbert has made two NBA All-Star appearances and has cemented himself as one of the league’s best shot blockers. But both his rebounding and scoring is considered subpar. 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.

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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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Jeremy Lin agrees to deal with Charlotte Hornets

#BuzzCity (: @source24)

A photo posted by Jeremy Lin (@jlin7) on

Amid his quest to have a productive NBA career, Jeremy Lin has narrowed in on a landing spot.

Lin announced on his Instagram account on Wednesday night that he will join the Charlotte Hornets next season. That officially ends a one-year stint with the Lakers in which both parties expressed frustration over his inconsistency and evolving roles.

Lin also attracted interest from Dallas, Memphis, Indiana, Chicago, San Antonio and the Clippers. Although the Lakers also contacted Lin after the free agency period began on July 1, both sides appeared skeptical about extending their reunion.
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Julius Randle to sit in second Summer League game

Rookie forward Julius Randle is eager to show the Lakers they made a smart choice by taking him seventh in the NBA Draft in June. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

Rookie forward Julius Randle is eager to show the Lakers they made a smart choice by taking him seventh in the NBA Draft in June. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

Only 48 hours await before Julius Randle will make his Summer League debut, ending a 10-month process that felt like an eternity as he rehabbed a right leg injury that wiped out his rookie season.

But even before seeing how that plays out, the Lakers are exercising caution regarding Randle’s return. They will sit Randle out of the Lakers’ second summer league game on Saturday against Philadelphia in Las Vegas.

The Lakers stressed Randle has not experienced any setbacks on his surgically repaired right leg and foot since participating in organized full-court practices this week. Instead, the Lakers want to gradually phase him back onto the court. They found sitting him out on Saturday as most appropriate since the Lakers have a back-to-back with a game against Minnesota on Friday. Randle then plans to play against New York on Monday.

The Lakers shared their plan with Randle after he spoke with reporters on Wednesday at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. But Randle offered no indication of any setbacks and often flashed a smile.

“Amazing,” Randle said in describing his state of physical and mental being. “It’s a blessing to be back on the court. I’m doing what I love so I can’t complain. A lot of fun getting up and down. I’m just playing the game, so I can’t complain.”

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Live chat: Lakers’ free agency & summer league



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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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Anthony Brown models game after former Laker Trevor Ariza

The Lakers games played for a loop on Anthony Brown’s television set. That left the former Ocean View star with vivid memories of the Lakers’ championship runs, Kobe Bryant’s heroics and, yes, even Mark Madsen’s dancing.

But another image stayed with Brown all these years, admiring how Trevor Ariza made a lasting impact on the Lakers’ 2009 NBA title run even if he lacked the star talent or personality to come along with it. Then, Ariza averaged 11.3 points on a 47.6 percent clip from three-point range and also stole two key inbounds passes in Games 1 and 3 of the Lakers’ Western Conference finals victories over Denver.

As he completed a five-year stint at Stanford, Brown tried mimicking the game of Ariza, Toronto forward DeMarre Carroll and Milwaukee forward Khris Middleton. All those players represent the so-called “3 and D” players, a rising commodity in a league that has prized versatility and outside shooting.

“They don’t try to do anything they can’t do,” said Brown, who starred at Ocean View. “They keep it simple. They’re efficient. They know who the main ball handlers and main playmakers are and definitely ready for their looks at the same time. They know their role.”
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Jabari Brown’s left eye injury likely to sideline him for two Summer League games

The season hasn’t even started, and the Lakers are already experiencing an unpleasant reminder of past seasons.

The injury bug has bitten someone again.

The Lakers expect guard Jabari Brown to miss the first two games of Summer League in Las Vegas on Friday and Saturday after he was diagnosed on Tuesday with a small laceration in his left eye. He was poked in his left eye during Monday’s practice, causing him to sit out of Tuesday’s session. The Lakers’ training staff plans to examine him regularly through the next several days, but his return will likely fall on Monday when the Lakers play the New York Knicks.

The Lakers signed Brown to a non-guaranteed contract for the 2015-16 season after impressing the team as a late-season pickup because of endless injuries. Brown, who went undrafted after playing at Missouri alongside Jordan Clarkson, averaged 11.9 points on 41.2 percent shooting in 29.9 minutes through 19 games.

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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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Robert Upshaw says he has matured since Washington dismissal

The obstacles Robert Upshaw faced once he stepped on the Lakers’ practice court seemed far more serious than his poor conditioning, learning a complex offense or fitting in with fellow rookies. Once Upshaw begins summer league play with the Lakers on Friday in Las Vegas, he will have to prove worthy of latching on an NBA team after he struggled to stay on two collegiate programs.

Both Fresno State (2012-13) and the University of Washington (2014-15) dismissed him from their programs amid unspecified violation of team rules, causing a projected first-round pick to suddenly go undrafted. He sounded fully aware that the Lakers will not view any behavior issue following the old adage that “whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

“For me, I had the opportunity come back to me every time I was let go,” said Upshaw, who missed the 2013-14 season because of NCAA transfer rules. “This time it sees real. It really does. It seems like if I don’t make this, I’m done.”
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NBA free agency: Wesley Johnson agrees to one-year deal with Clippers

Los Angeles Laker Wesley Johnson grabs a rebound against the Utah Jazz first half in the NBA preseason basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. (Photo by Sean Hiller/Daily News)

Los Angeles Laker Wesley Johnson grabs a rebound against the Utah Jazz first half in the NBA preseason basketball game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. on Tuesday, October 22, 2013. (Photo by Sean Hiller/Daily News)

As he takes another turn navigating his uncertain NBA future, Wesley Johnson will experience some similar elements.

For the third consecutive year, Johnson will play his home games at Staples Center and he will enjoy his Manhattan Beach residence. During that span, Johnson will also play for another one-year deal at the veteran’s minimum hopeful that he will fully unleash his potential to command a more lucrative contract.

But Johnson will change his uniform colors from purple and gold to blue and red. He agreed to terms on Tuesday to play for the Clippers in the 2015-16 season, according to a league source familiar with the situation. Johnson will continue an interesting trend in which former Lakers have joined their inner-city rival in recent years, including Ronny Turiaf, Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Matt Barnes and Jordan Farmar.

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Lou Williams believes he can help Kobe Bryant reduce his workload

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)

Father Time delivered three devastating punches that took Kobe Bryant away from the court for three consecutive years. That made the Lakers determined to find some antibiotics to ensure their star patient can delay the inevitable against an undefeated opponent.

Bryant would have surgery on his injured right shoulder and go through a nine-month recovery process aimed at fully healing his battered body. The Lakers would upgrade their roster so neither coach Byron Scott nor Bryant would feel he has to carry a burden that would become too heavy to lift. The Lakers would then become even more conservative with Bryant’s playing time, practice regiment and off-day routines.

The Lakers did not accumulate the talent they wanted, striking out on free agent bigfish named LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe and DeAndre Jordan. But the Lakers collected a decent consolation prize in Lou Williams, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year who could ease Bryant’s workload because they both share the same position and love for scoring.

“When he goes out, I’m sure I’ll be coming in,” Williams said of Bryant in a phone interview on Monday with Los Angeles News Group. “That’s how it will work. We won’t have too many lapses. We’ll be able to keep the scoring level going and give him an opportunity to get a breather and then he’ll come back in.”

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Julius Randle believes improved diet will help conditioning, versatility

The moment left Julius Randle giddy, prompting the Lakers forward to set an alarm early on Monday morning so he could have a head start on a potentially big day. The excitement seemed so overwhelming that Randle woke even before his alarm rang.

This adrenaline rush all pointed toward the Lakers beginning their summer league practices before they play in Las Vegas beginning on Friday. Such episodes may hardly compare to the feeling Randle had when the Lakers selected him seventh overall in the 2014 NBA Draft. It likely does not match the build up leading into Randle making his NBA regular-season debut nearly nine months ago. But considering that night also coincided with Randle experiencing a season-ending injury with a fractured right tibia, his participation in Monday’s summer league practice meant something both tangible and symbolic.

After spending recent weeks completing full-court five-on-five drills, Randle’s participated on Monday in his first organized practice. After spending nearly the whole year off the court, Randle emerged from the sidelines feeling more comfortable about his conditioning, jump shot and versatility than when he entered training camp last year huffing and puffing his way through conditioning drills.

“I definitely felt a lot better,” Randle said. “I could get through it a lot better than I was last time. I’m more mentally prepared and physically prepared than I was last year.”

Randle then had graded himself a “C,” believing the lack of training stemmed from a contract delay and rehab surrounding his right foot slowed his progress. But Randle also followed through on the Lakers’ insistence, led by strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, to cut out sweets in place of grass-fed food. Randle reported those efforts ensured that he lost 15 pounds in fat, resulting in a slimmed down and chiseled frame that can adapt both to Byron Scott’s conditioning-heavy practices and actual games.

“The credit goes to my coaches for staying on me and not letting this down time being injured be a step in the wrong direction,” Randle said. “I’m taking advantage of it the most that I could. It’s also me with my drive and will and people supporting me. The credit goes to all of them.”
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