More specifics will be ironed out in days to come, but the Lakers reached out to Devin Ebanks’ representive to express interest in re-signing the small forward. Ebanks’ agent, David Bauman, told The Times on Saturday night that General Manager Mitch Kupchak reached out to him via text message shortly after 9 p.m., which marked the beginning of free agency. Bauman said Kupchak reiterated the same sentiments in a follow-up phone conversation.
“Mitch and I had a really good talk. Mitch told me how much the Lakers want Devin to return,” Bauman said. “We agree we’ll probably talk on Monday.”
Meanwhile, Ebanks plans to arrive in Los Angeles sometime on Sunday and work out at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo on Monday.
In recent weeks, Bauman has sent what he called a “Matrix” to a number of unspecified teams around the league, including the Lakers, outlining various statistics he believes illustrates how Ebanks contributed when given the chance to play. Bauman said a few unspecified teams reached out to him about signing Ebanks to a mult-year deal, but declined to name which ones.
“Unless it’s really a crazy number,” Bauman said, “Devin’s preference will be to stay with the Lakers.”
Ebanks averaged four points on 41.6% shooting from the field and 2.3 rebounds in 16.5 minutes in the regular season, but showed some growth signs during unexpected promotions. Ebanks started at shooting guard for seven games in April while Kobe Bryant sat out with a left shin injury, averaging 6.14 points on 48.71% shooting in 25.2 minutes a game. On April 22 against Oklahoma City, Ebanks suddenly entered the game after Metta World Peace earned an ejection for elbowing James Harden and Matt Barnes sprained his right ankle. Ebanks made two steals in the final minute of the second ovetime while holding Kevin Durant to five-of-19 shooting when he played the entire fourth quarter and subsequent overtimes. Ebanks also started at small forward during World Peace’s seven-game suspension, scoring in double digits in three of those contests.
The Lakers have praised the lanky and athletic Ebanks for his work ethic, defense and unassuming personality in his second season with the Lakers. But his playing time came in spurts. He started four games to open the season only to disappear down the depth chart behind World Peace and Barnes. From Jan. 3 to April 6, Ebanks played a combined five minutes through 34 games. He even appeared in three games for the D-Fenders, the Lakers’ Development League affiliate.
Still, the Lakers offered Ebanks a qualifying offer Friday worth about $1 million. Although he’s free to sign with any team, the Lakers have the right to match any offer he receives. Bauman has tabbed signing Ebanks to a multi-year deal at either two or three years with the Lakers as his top priority.
“He was demonstrating his respect to Devin more than anything,” Bauman said of Kupchak, “by saying we want him and our intention is try to keep him.”
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