Jordan Farmar says he felt he belongs with Lakers

Money was not a factor in Jordan Farmar's decision to return to the Lakers.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Jordan Farmar gave up a lot of money to come back to the Lakers, turning his back on a lucrative deal with a Turkish pro team.

Call him crazy?

“I’m not quite sure I’ve seen an agreement that paid so generously in recent time in Europe,” Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday.

But Farmar, 26, came back to the NBA after a one-year absence and signed a one-year, $1.1-million contract to return to the team he left three years earlier as a free agent.


Farmar left at least $10 million on the table to depart his Turkish club Anadolu Efes, according to a person familiar with the situation.

“I’ve been watching the Lakers since the moment I left,” Farmar said. “I stayed up every night while I was overseas, till 2, 3, 4 in the morning watching games, just feeling that’s where I belong. That’s where I was the most comfortable. That was home for me.”

Farmar sacrificed financially and so did the Lakers, who shelled out $500,000 to buy him out of his deal with Anadolu Efes.

Since winning two championships with the Lakers, Farmar averaged 9.9 points and 4.4 assists in two years with the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets. He then briefly played in Israel before averaging 13.8 points and 3.9 assists in 29 Euroleague games with his Turkish team.

“I feel I’m a much better basketball player now than I was my first free agency,” he said. “Coming in and being young, I dream of playing in a Mike D’Antoni system, somewhere you can just be free and push the ball and make a lot of plays. I think it will be a lot of fun.”

The Lakers now have 11 players under contract with second-round pick Ryan Kelly expected to eventually make it a dozen.


Farmar will wear No. 1 again for the Lakers. He also wore No. 5 for them.

In other team news, former Lakers player Mark Madsen and former L.A. Defend¿ers assistant coach Larry Lewis were hired Friday as player-devel¿opment coaches for the Lakers.