The Lakers really wanted Raja Bell as the backup to Kobe Bryant at the shooting guard position. So much so, they arranged for a helicopter to transport him to a scheduled meetup with Kobe tonight. That never happened, though, as Raja instead agreed to a three-year, $10 million deal with the Utah Jazz. Hard to blame him, as that's almost twice what the Lakers could have offered him with their remaining MLE money. Now the Lakers are moving on to Plan B and the possible return of a familiar face.
Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers are getting close to a deal with Shannon Brown. Woj spoke tonight with Mark Bartelstein, Shannon's agent, who says:
Mitch and I have been talking and we're getting there on something.
Roh-kay. Sounds promising. I don't think anyone here is super in love with Shannon, who's occasionally shaky defense and often shaky shot selection can drive one to Mel Gibson levels of rage. But the kid knows the Laker playbook, he seems like a decent locker-room type, and anyhow there aren't a ton of great alternatives left out there.
Perhaps Shannon's greatest virtue as a potential signing is that the Lakers hold his "Early Bird" rights. That means they can pay him without cutting into their $1.77 million of MLE space. They still need to add a backup center, so preserving what little cap flexibility they have left would be helpful.
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