Reid Pulls a Power Play

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It’s still uncertain whether the Lakers will be able to sign free agent Charles Oakley, but this much is clear: They will have a new starting power forward next season.

J.R. Reid, who started the last 10 games of the regular season and all eight playoff games for the Lakers last season, signed a three-year, $6.6-million contract Friday with the Milwaukee Bucks.

So where does that leave the Lakers?

They struck out in their bid for Lorenzen Wright, who was dealt by the Clippers to the Atlanta Hawks in a sign-and-trade deal after the Lakers showed interest, and are still waiting on an answer from Oakley or the Toronto Raptors.


Oakley, who because the Lakers are over the salary cap can sign with the Lakers for no more than the $2-million exception, has been offered a three-year, $16.5-million contract by the Raptors, who could then move him to the Lakers in a sign-and-trade deal.

With Oakley still wavering, the Lakers are left with Travis Knight and Robert Horry as possible starters at power forward.

Another option could be Corie Blount, a free agent who ended last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers after being cut by the Lakers on March 10. Blount played three-plus seasons with the Lakers after playing two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, where he started his career under new Laker Coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers cut him to make room for 1998 draft pick Ruben Patterson, who signed this month with the Seattle SuperSonics.

Also, Jackson is on record as saying that, if there are no other options, the Lakers might bring back Dennis Rodman, who played on three NBA championship teams for Jackson in Chicago.

Jackson, shortly after being hired by the Lakers, described Reid as a “journeyman” and said the Lakers would have to upgrade at power forward before next season.

Although the Lakers talked to Reid, team sources say they never made him an offer and probably would have turned to him only as a last resort.


“At this time, we’re looking into other roster options, so we understand J.R.’s wanting to sign with another team before we could make a commitment to him,” General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday. “He did a good job for us last year, though, and we appreciate the contributions he made to our team. We wish him the best of luck with the Bucks.”

Reid’s departure leaves the Lakers with only small forward Glen Rice from the March 10 trade that sent Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell to the Charlotte Hornets for Rice, Reid and B.J. Armstrong. Armstrong was cut before playing for the Lakers.

Reid averaged 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds a game for the Hornets last season, but only 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 25 regular-season games with the Lakers. Though he gave the Lakers some rough-and-tumble minutes inside, his medium-range offensive game never clicked. He averaged 3.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in the playoffs.

The Bucks are the fifth NBA team for the former North Carolina star, who was the fifth pick in the 1989 draft. He also has played for the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks, and he played the 1996-97 season in France.

Reid is the third veteran acquired by the Bucks in two days.

On Thursday, they traded forwards Chris Gatling and Armen Gilliam to the Orlando Magic for Danny Manning and Dale Ellis.

“We’ve added another key player in J.R., who’s not afraid to do the little things that make a basketball team successful,” Coach George Karl said.



Staff Writer Tim Kawakami contributed to this story.


Power Outage

Now that J.R. Reid has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Lakers don’t have a front-line power forward on the roster. Here are the free-agent power forwards (their 1999 statistics and team):

* Chris Crawford--6.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, Atlanta

* Chucky Brown--8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, Charlotte

* A.C. Green--4.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, Dallas

* Carl Herrera--2.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, Denver

* Dennis Rodman--2.1 points, 11.2 rebounds, Lakers

* Charles Barkley--16.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, Houston

* Olden Polynice--7.7 points, 8.9 rebounds, Seattle

* Charles Oakley--7.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, Toronto

Under Contract

Laker power forwards and their 1999 averages:

Robert Horry

19.6 minutes

4.9 points

4 rebounds


Travis Knight

14.2 minutes

4.2 points

3.5 rebounds