Lakers ran a great pickup game to get Steve Nash and Jordan Hill

"The kid is playing well, it looks like he has a chance to make our team," Kupchak said of Sacre, "so maybe in a year or two we'll look back on it and say it was good. But I think it's too early right now."

Kupchak largely pooh-poohed the Lakers' savings as a result of their recent deals, pointing out that they signed Nash to a three-year contract for about $27 million and retained a massive payroll of roughly $100 million.

There's also the matter of their ledger in the NBA standings.

"We haven't played a game yet," Kupchak said, "so we'll have to look back on it a year from now and say, 'Hey, those were great [moves],' or 'it wasn't as great as we thought.' But certainly we like what we've done."

Backcourt logjam

Do the Lakers really need four point guards?

They have reserves Steve Blake, Chris Duhon and Morris in addition to Nash, enough manpower to nearly outfit the entire Pacific Division.

Kupchak said he was not actively trying to trade one of the backups.

"This time of year, teams are not looking to make deals," Kupchak said. "They're evaluating their team and if anything they're going to cut players as they go into the season."

Kupchak conceded the situation could eventually become untenable.

"Some guys may not be happy if they're not playing as much as they thought they'd play or their contract's running out and they're concerned about their next contract," Kupchak said. "It's too early right now. There's a lot of energy and excitement right here. Everybody's pretty happy. So we'll just see how it plays out the next month or two."

He's still out

Dwight Howard is not expected to play in the Lakers' exhibition against Utah on Tuesday at the Honda Center, which marks the midpoint of their preseason schedule.

The center continues to practice as he rounds into form from April back surgery. He is expected to be back for the Lakers' Oct. 30 opener against Dallas.

"Dwight's exceeded my expectations in terms of what he can do in training camp," Kupchak said. "I thought it would be a much slower progression, but he's come along a lot quicker than I thought."

Etc.

Reserve forward Earl Clark, acquired as part of the Howard trade, suffered a strained left groin and will be sidelined indefinitely. ... The D-Fenders , the Lakers' Development League affiliate, announced the hiring of Reggie Theus as head coach. Theus guided the Sacramento Kings to a 44-62 record over parts of two seasons (2007-08) and later spent two seasons as an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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