The Lakers are bringing back a familiar face at backup point guard.
They have agreed to a minimum deal with Tyler Ennis for one year with a team option in the second year, according to a person not authorized to speak publicly. The 22-year-old, in whom they’ve maintained interest throughout free agency, was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Lakers in February.
Left on their to-do list for this summer is sign second-round pick Thomas Bryant. Signing Bryant will bring the Lakers to 14 players under contract, one fewer than the league’s roster limit. It’s likely the Lakers will keep that spot available for a player who impresses them in training camp.
Ennis will back up rookie point guard Lonzo Ball. While the Lakers had interest in bringing Ennis back right from the start, they explored options to bring in an older player who could serve as a mentor to Ball, whom they drafted second overall after he played one season at UCLA.
They met with George Hill (31), Rajon Rondo (31) and Derrick Rose (28). Hill signed with the Sacramento Kings on a three-year deal worth $57 million. Rondo signed with the New Orleans Pelicans on a one-year deal. Rose signed with the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Throughout this free-agency period, the Lakers have steadfastly refused to give out long-term deals, limiting themselves to one-year deals. They do not want to jeopardize their salary-cap space for next year’s free-agency period when such players as Paul George, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook might be available.
Neither could they offer starting jobs anywhere but at shooting guard. There they signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who became available late in free agency and signed a one-year deal worth about $18 million.
Ennis played in 22 games for the Lakers last season. He averaged 17.8 minutes, 7.7 points and 2.4 assists per game.
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