Lakers, Shannon Brown agree to two-year deal

Shannon Brown had suitors. Six of them or so. Some offered the free-agent guard more money than he might make if he returned to the Lakers. He thought about that.

But in the two years Brown had spent in purple and gold, he won two rings. He thought about that too. Eventually, the idea of three in a row was too much to pass up, and the guard agreed to a two-year contract worth about $4.6 million to stay with the Lakers, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Thursday.

“Obviously, the process took a while, but Shannon wanted to be here and they wanted him,” Bartelstein said. “Shannon had a number of other opportunities out there, but he had been in L.A. for two years and they won two championships. The chance to go for a three-peat is very special to him.”

The athletic, high-flying dunker averaged career highs in points (8.1), rebounds (2.3), assists (1.3) and minutes (20.7) last season. Brown, 24, had opted out of a contract that would have paid him $2.1 million next season, the second year of his previous deal with the team.

The Lakers like his potential and own his “early bird rights,” meaning they could have paid him about $5.5 million in the first season of a new contract. But Bartelstein said Brown, whose new deal includes a player option in the second year, was willing to take less money to stay in L.A.

“It was important for him to go through the process and hear what people wanted to say, but his heart was with the Lakers to stay here and try to win a third title,” he said.

Brown, who was hampered late in the season with a bone bruise and torn ligament in his right thumb that he said could require off-season surgery, was perhaps the Lakers’ final off-season priority.

Coach Phil Jackson, obviously the highest priority, announced he would return for one more year, and veteran point guard Derek Fisher signed a three-year contract. In moves to bolster the lineup, the Lakers added Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff.

With Brown signed, the Lakers have 12 players under contract and can focus on signing second-round draft picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter.

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