Lakers face hurdles in signing J.R. Smith
--The Times' Mike Bresnahan reports that the Lakers are pursuing free agent J.R. Smith, but that they can offer him only about $450,000, the prorated portion of the veterans' minimum. Smith made $6.8 million last season with Denver. Bresnahan mentions that New York, Chicago, Indiana, Orlando and the Clippers are also pursuing Smith.
--The Times' Baxter Holmes mentions that Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro had a recent conversation with Smith.
--Sheridan Hoops' Mark Heisler ranks the Lakers at No. 9 in his power rankings.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky says he doesn't understand why Devin Ebanks hasn't cracked the rotation.
--The Times' Chris Erskine compares Lakers fans with Clippers fans.
--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin notices that the Lakers had more fun playing Atlanta after seeing Jeremy Lin's heroics.
--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford explains how Steve Blake's return helps the Lakers.
--Fox Sports' Chris Tomasson reports that the Minnesota Timberwolves have offered Derrick Williams and draft picks to the Lakers for Pau Gasol.
--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell talks with NBA-TV's Rick Kamla about the best players to interview.
--Silver Screen and Roll's wondahbap argues that the Lakers are a deeply flawed team.
Tweet of the Day: "The NBA should use the couch Jeremy Lin slept on as some sort of obstacle in the All-Star skills competition." -- ZachLowe_SI (Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe)
Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "Amazing, how a relative nothing like Smith, who went away to play in China like unwanted baseball players go to Japan, has become the object of the Lakers' search for the holy grail. And that they still may not be able to secure him! Sure, he can help out in several ways. But it sounds like they're banking on JR Smith to be the missing piece that will save the season for them. The state of the Lakers as a contender has become pathetic." -- Craig Hill
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: J.R. Smith, then with the Denver Nuggets, battles for a loose ball with Lakers Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant in 2010. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times