(NY Daily News)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that they have officially signed free agent forward Shawne Williams. It was announced today by general manager Mitch Kupchak but the terms of the agreement were not released although it is believed he will make about $1.1 million.
Williams last played for the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets(now known as Brooklyn Nets). He was also on the Portland Trailblazers but did not appear in the game.
The 27-year old has played under coach Mike D’Antoni back when he was on the Knicks. He has averaged 5.7 points and 2.8 rebounds throughout his six years in the NBA. The former 17th overall pick played his college ball in Memphis where he was also born.
The signing comes on the same day forward Michael Beasley was waived by the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers had interest in Beasley and planned to acquire him after trading Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol for Chris Paul but the trade was later vetoed by David Stern. Talks were circulating around the web whether the Lakers should look to take a chance on the troubled forward after being waived.
Lamar Odom who has also run into trouble remains a free agent. Odom recently received a DUI and there have been numerous reports of him using drugs. Many Laker fans were hoping for Odom to make a return to the Lakers but it was looking less likely throughout the summer.
(Getty Images/Jesse D. Garrabrant)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to bring back point guard Jordan Farmar on a one year deal using a veterans minimum contract. Farmar has been playing overseas with Anadolu Efes a team in the Turkish Basketball League. The Lakers will have to negotiate a buyout with the Turkish team before having Farmar play for them.
Farmar played his college basketball at UCLA before being drafted by the Lakers with the 26th overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft. He played four years with the Lakers as a back up point guard and won two championships with the team before signing a three year contract with the New Jersey Nets, now known as the Brooklyn Nets. The former Bruin was traded to the Atlanta Hawks before deciding to play overseas when the NBA lockout was taking place.
In his career Farmar has averaged 7.7 points and 2.8 assists. With the Lakers agreeing to bring the former Laker back it is unlikely that they bring back point guard Darius Morris, who Mitch Kupchak said they had invited to play for their summer league team.
There have also been talks that the team is looking at former Lakers Lamar Odom and Sasha Vujacic. Although Odom’s play has dropped he would be a great addition for the Lakers because of his ability to play multiple positions especially with there being a possibility that the Lakers will look to amnesty Metta World Peace. There was a report that the Lakers did agree to amnesty World Peace but a final decision has not been released by the team. The last day for the Lakers to use the amnesty clause is on July 16.
By Kevin R. Linares
The Houston Rockets were believed to be the front runners all along in the convincing Dwight Howard that they are the best choice for him and it appears they are indeed. After it being reported by Sam Amick from USA Today that Howard had chosen to sign with the Houston Rockets, Dan Fegan, Howard’s agent, said that there was no decision made yet. There were also reports about Howard taking a plane to meet with Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak and he was still split between the Rockets and the Lakers but Howard has now told Kupchak that he would not be returning to the Lakers.
“We have been informed of Dwight’s decision to not return to the Lakers.” Kupchak said in a statement confirming that Dwight would indeed join the Rockets, his third team in three years. What does this mean for the Lakers? They will have to look forward to 2014 when they will have plenty of cap space to find one of the many free agents. They will have to rely on Pau Gasol to play center again, Kobe Bryant to recover continuing to play at a high level and have the rest of the team to do their part in competing in the 2013-2014 season.
Although it will be an old team and without Howard, the Lakers still have enough to compete for playoff position. There will be some small moves made by the Lakers to replace Earl Clark and Metta World Peace if amnestied as well as other fill ins.
The Houston Rockets made some noise in the playoffs last year but will do more than just that next season. With Howard and James Harden the Rockets have a great duo who can compete for at least the fourth spot in the Western conference playoffs. There are reports that Omar Asik does not want to play behind Howard and there might be a trade for Josh Smith with the Atlanta Hawks or the New Orleans Pelicans for Ryan Anderson but nothing official has been reached.
With this being his third team in three years Dwight has to prove he is worth all of this. He left the Orlando Magic, a team he went to the NBA finals with, he left one of the most successful franchises in the world in the Lakers and now will join the Rockets where he has an opportunity to once again become the top big man in the league and immediately compete for a championship. Win and he will look at this as one of the best decisions he has ever made. Lose and he will be looking back at the options that he had and what could have been if he had chosen to go down a different path.
(Getty Images/Sara D. Davis)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers had one pick in Thursday’s NBA draft and that was the 48th pick. The player that was taken by the purple and gold is Ryan Kelly out of Duke. Kelly is a 6-11 forward and averaged 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in his senior season at Duke.
Mitch Kupchak, a University of North Carolina alumnus, said he had the Duke forward rated the highest from the players left on the board. Kelly is big man who can shoot the ball from mid range, three point line and can fit into Mike D’Antoni’s system. There has been problems with injuries for Kelly who missed 13 games his senior season because of a surgery he had on his right foot and had another surgery on his foot which kept him out of pre-draft workouts for the Lakers.
The Lakers have not had a first round pick to use since 2007 where they took Georgia Tech guard Javaris Crittenton with the 19th pick. The Lakers do no plan to make qualifying offers to Darius Morris, Devin Ebanks and Andrew Goudelock although Morris has been invited to the Lakers’ summer league team according to Kupchak. With the team not making those qualifying offer there will be space for Kelly on the team next season.