Lakers upset with Chris Paul’s trade to Clippers
The Lakers were hit with a two-by-four of bad news Wednesday, Chris Paul heading to the Clippers and Dwight Howard heading nowhere.
The Lakers were privately fuming Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of their front office, when Paul, the New Orleans point guard, ended up in Los Angeles six days after the NBA vetoed the Lakers’ trade for him.
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak declined to comment through a spokesman but earlier this week said the NBA’s blockade was “completely unexpected.”
“We did the best we can to express our displeasure,” Kupchak said Monday.
In the highly publicized nixed three-team trade, forward Lamar Odom was headed to New Orleans and forward Pau Gasol to Houston. Odom was subsequently dealt to Dallas, an unpopular trade with Lakers players and fans.
Putting Paul aside, Howard apparently won’t be arriving in Los Angeles any time soon, as per a league official who said the Orlando Magic would no longer entertain offers for the All-Star center, who could become a free agent in July.
“They don’t feel like there’s any decision they have to make right now,” the official said.
The Lakers were involved in trade talks with Orlando via Howard’s agent for two weeks, but the price for Howard inevitably increased with Paul off the market.
The trade deadline isn’t until March 15, and plenty can happen between now and then, though the Lakers will not trade Gasol and center Andrew Bynum to get Howard, according to a person familiar with the team’s thinking.
Gasol wasn’t so sure the Magic would stop taking offers for Howard.
“You don’t know if they’re just saying that,” Gasol said. “They’re probably saying that to get a better offer and then pull the trigger.”
The Lakers and Howard ... to be continued later?
For now, the Lakers welcomed a new power forward and put another on the shelf for quite a while.
Derrick Caracter will miss at least four to six weeks after undergoing surgery Wednesday to remove torn cartilage from his left knee. Caracter, a reserve, sustained a non-contact injury Monday at practice.
Josh McRoberts took part in his first Lakers practice Wednesday, arriving a day after his agent texted him with simple words: “You’re a Laker.”
McRoberts was described by Gasol as scrappy and a hustler. He’s also penciled in to start the season opener Dec. 25 against Chicago because Bynum must serve a five-game suspension and Gasol will slide over to center.
McRoberts is cognizant that Lakers fans want him to fill the void left by Odom, but they’re not the same type of player. Odom was an excellent ballhandler who preferred to drive to the basket. McRoberts is more of a screen-setter with a decent mid-range jumper.
McRoberts, 24, averaged 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes for Indiana last season.
The Lakers will look at two veterans to possibly add to their roster.
Power forward Troy Murphy worked out at their facility Wednesday, though the Lakers could only offer him a veteran’s-minimum contract of about $1.4 million if they liked him. Murphy, 31, averaged 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds last season for New Jersey and Boston, a steep drop-off from a 2009-10 season in which the smooth shooter averaged 14.6 points and 10.2 rebounds for Indiana.
The Lakers will also monitor Baron Davis, who was waived Wednesday by Cleveland under the one-time “amnesty” provision.
Teams that are under the salary cap have until 5 p.m. Friday to submit an offer to the NBA for Davis. If the 12-year veteran goes unclaimed, the Lakers could offer him the veteran’s minimum.
The Cavaliers still have to pay Davis, 32, the remaining two years and $28.7 million remaining on his contract but he will not count against Cleveland’s salary cap.
Davis was bothered by a bad back in recent years and did not take part in training camp with Cleveland because his back felt stiff. He averaged 13.1 points and 6.7 assists last season for the Clippers and Cleveland.
Times correspondent Mark Medina contributed to this report.
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