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Category: Derrick Caracter

Lakers send Derrick Caracter to D-Fenders

Caracter

After his surgically repaired left knee kept him sidelined for the past 43 days, Lakers forward Derrick Caracter will finally return to the court.

Just not in a Lakers' uniform.

The Lakers assigned him to their Developmeant League affiliate, the D-Fenders, in time to appear in Thursday's game against the Bakersfield Jam. The Lakers sent rookie guard Andrew Goudelock on a D-League assignment during training camp, but Caracter's appearance marks the Lakers' first assignment during the regular season. Under the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement, teams can send a player to the D-League up to three times per season.

Caracter, who suffered the injury in the fourth day of training camp on Dec. 12, played a pretty modest role last season, averaging only two points in 5.2 minutes per game in 41 contests. He then had arthroscopic surgery two days later.

Although the Lakers' backcourt hardly has provided much, Caracter's absence has meant little. Aside from his limited production last season, the Lakers' frontcourt already features Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and reserves, Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy. Meanwhile, the Lakers have relied heavily too much on rookie guards Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock because they remain depleted in the backcourt. 

Caracter has already made two separate trips to the D-League last season, averaging 8.7 points and six rebounds in 19.7 minutes through three regular-season games with Bakersfield. He also averaged seven points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 21.5 minutes per game in two postseason appearances.

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Derrick Caracter practicing with Lakers

Lakers expect Derrick Caracter to miss 4-6 weeks

Lakers Report Cards: Derrick Caracter

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Derrick Caracter was little used by the Lakers last season despite the need for a bruising big man. Credit:  Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times 

Lakers expect Derrick Caracter to miss 4-6 weeks

Derrick CaracterAfter having surgery that removed part of a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, Lakers forward Derrick Caracter is expected to sit out for at least four to six weeks.

Should the Lakers' initial timetable hold up, Caracter would remain sidelined between 11 and 18 games. According to the timetable, Caracter would return anywhere between Jan. 11 and Jan 25.

Caracter, who suffered the injury in Monday's practice, played a pretty modest role last season, averaging only two points on 5.2 minutes per game in 41 contests. But his absence only further diminishes the Lakers' frontcourt depth. Center Andrew Bynum faces a five-game suspension to open the season because of his forearm shove against Dallas guard J.J. Barea in last season's playoffs. The Lakers also recently traded Lamar Odom and a second-round draft pick to the Dallas Mavericks for a first-round pick and a $8.9-million trade exception.

To mitigate the damage, the Lakers signed free-agent forward Josh McRoberts by using the entirety of their mini mid-level exception. The Lakers kept Caracter this year through a $788,872 contract, but it's a non-guaranteed contract.

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Lakers Report Cards: Derrick Caracter

Five things Derrick Caracter needs for a successful season

— Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Derrick Caracter was little used by the Lakers last season despite the need for a bruising big man. Credit:  Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Lakers can't let limited payroll inhibit risk-taking

Just like everyone else consumed with NBA basketball, Lakers forward Matt Barnes listens to the trade rumors.

Not all of them. He says he only cares about whether a rumor involves the Lakers. But unlike the average NBA fan, he has -- and is willing to share -- some insider knowledge, particularly when it involves any possibility his former teammates Dwight Howard or Baron Davis could join the Lakers.

"I've talked to both of those guys and they want to be here," Barnes said Friday at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo. "We'll see what happens."

We sure will. But don't start pre-ordering Howard or Davis Lakers jerseys just yet. The Lakers face an unfortunate reality: A $91-million payroll, increased luxury taxes and increased revenue sharing suddenly make General Manager Mitch Kupchak worried about finances. 

"Based on our financial structure, we would be very limited in what we can do with our team in terms of free agency in the next two weeks," Kupchak said.

Fair enough. Last year, the Lakers could offer free agents a five-year, $32-million contract. This year, they can only offer a mini mid-level exception of three years and $9.4 million, as well as a veteran's minimum of one year and $1 million. Short term, the Lakers may only need to address low-hanging fruit, such as formally cutting ties with Joe Smith and Theo Ratliff, likely letting Shannon Brown go, exercising $788,872 team options on Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter and signing rookies Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock. 

But as the Lakers begin free agency on Dec. 9, they can't let such scenarios inhibit their risk-taking. It's a no-brainer to pursue Howard, but it involves much more creative structuring of deals than when picking up peripheral players. It's a no-brainer to pursue Chris Paul once free agency hits next season, but why wait when he's reportedly demanding a trade to New York?

Kupchak may feel confident that the Lakers can win a title with the current roster, but playing it safe could hurt the team's long-term future once Kobe Bryant's and Pau Gasol's contracts end after the 2013-14 seasons.

Of course, Lakers owner Jerry Buss has thrived on risk-taking. But as an avid poker player, he knows that doesn't always require having the most chips. It also requires doing the most thinking. 

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Mitch Kupchak says Lakers will be 'very limited' in free agency

Mitch Kupchak

The Lakers roster that takes the floor at Staples Center on Christmas could look a lot like the one that shows up when training camp starts a week from Friday.

General Manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday during a media conference at the team's training facility in El Segundo that he would be "very limited" as far as bringing in free agents. Depending on whether shooting guard Shannon Brown decides to re-sign with the team, the Lakers could target a guard and forward in free agency but have limited options to acquire them.

They can use the so-called mini mid-level exception of three years and $9.4 million as well as a veteran's minimum of $1 million, leaving the Lakers hoping that quality players will want to come to Los Angeles for other reasons besides money.

"We're hopeful there's a player out there who's made money in his career and is on the back end and is looking at a championship, or a player who is developing," Kupchak said. "That's harder to do."

Kupchak said he did not anticipate that Theo Ratliff or Joe Smith would be returning to the roster, but he confirmed that he had been in contact with Brown's agent. The Lakers can exercise team options on second-year players Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter and must decide whether to sign second-round draft picks Darrius Morris and Andrew Goudelock.

Kupchak almost sounded resigned to losing Brown, who has been a free agent at the end of each of his seasons with the Lakers and has explored more lucrative offers elsewhere.

"My guess is, you can only continue to do that for such a period of time where it doesn't make any more sense," Kupchak said, "so I would think this year he would look for and probably get a package that's financially much more attractive than we could offer under the present rules."

Morris, Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes were among the Lakers who stopped by the team's training facility for informal workouts Friday. Coach Mike Brown briefly hailed Fisher from across the court before smiling and putting his finger to his lips, a nod to the fact that coaches are not supposed to speak with players before the NBA lockout formally ends.

With only 16 days to hold practices before the Lakers' opener, the coach said he would try not to overwhelm his players. And what would he call Metta World Peace?

"I might just call him Metta or Met," Brown said. "I don't want to call him Peace, because he might think that's grounds for him to leave practice."

We'll have more later at www.latimes.com/sports.

-- Ben Bolch

Photo: "We believe in this group," Mitch Kupchak says of the current Lakers roster. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times

NBA lockout: Which Lakers should play overseas?

Kobe Bryant

Lakers who shouldn't play overseas

Kobe Bryant -- As stated numerous times, there's no value for Bryant to risk injury by playing overseas. Save any barnstorming exceptions, Bryant should simply rest no matter how long the NBA lockout lasts.

Pau Gasol -- He'll remain in Spain for most of the lockout, and I'm told he remains noncommital on any plans until the NBA officially cancels the entire season. But Gasol would be better off just continuing his training with FC Barcelona and then resting. 

Andrew Bynum -- Bynum's finally enjoyed a full off-season injury-free. It's allowed him to box and work on his post moves. Going overseas would only increase the chances his knees would fail him again.

Derek Fisher -- Even if he doesn't have a direct role in NBA lockout negotiations anymore, he'd still need to be around as a sounding board.

Metta World Peace -- It's unlikely Ron Ron can actually spread world peace. His agent, David Bauman, has remained skeptical in shipping him off because he hasn't been able to get insurance. Risking three years on his $21.8-million contract isn't worth it.

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Five things Derrick Caracter needs for a successful season

Derrick Caracter

This is the 12th post in a series focusing on five things each Lakers player must do to have a successful 2011-12 season (assuming there is one, of course).

1. Get re-signed. Despite Derrick Caracter's optimism that the Lakers will exercise their $788,872 option to keep him next season, I remain doubtful. He averaged two points on 48.5% shooting in 5.2 minutes a game his rookie season. He was arrested during the playoffs at a New Orleans IHOP, accused of battery, public intoxication and resisting arrest. The Lakers' coaching staff appeared uncomfortable elevating Caracter's role despite Pau Gasol's needing more rest when Andrew Bynum rehabbed his surgically repaired right knee. It's possible Caracter could stay on the team, however, considering his inexpensive price tag.

2. Improve maturity. Caracter doesn't have the clout for the Lakers to tolerate his off-court arrest. This episode highlights the Lakers' contrasting views toward Caracter and Devin Ebanks. Despite Ebanks' limited playing time and raw abilities, the Lakers loved his attitude and work ethic. Meanwhile, Caracter's arrest only raised doubts about his maturity and seriousness toward the game. Ensuring he stays out of trouble will at least alleviate his standing on the team. 

3. Improve conditioning. Caracter said he's more concerned about becoming a better player than losing weight. The two go hand in hand, though. Dan Barto, the IMG Basketball Academy's pro/college training coordinator, said last month Caracter weighs 270 pounds, which he considers appropriate weight for a bruising center. Caracter needs to maintain that weight because his physical presence gives him a competitive advantage. But he needs to make sure that doesn't compromise his endurance and mobility. Barto believes a weight of 265 pounds would put Caracter in "optimal shape."

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Derrick Caracter optimistic the Lakers will re-sign him

6a00d8341c506253ef0147e4418d4a970b-800wiHe averaged only two points on 48.5% shooting in 5.2 minutes a game his rookie season, and admitted lacking the necessary conditioning and preparation to excel in the NBA. Yet, Lakers backup center Derrick Caracter remains optimistic the Lakers will exercise their $788,872 option to keep him next season.

"I’m pretty confident that they’ll pick it up based on our conversations [in my exit interview]," Caracter said in a phone interview. "If they don’t, I’m still Derrick Caracter and the basketball player I’m trying to be. My goal in trying to get better doesn’t change."

That's why Dan Barto, the IMG Basketball Academy's pro/college training coordinator who has worked with Caracter for the last three summers, views his stint with the Impact Basketball Academy league in Las Vegas as particularly important in showing he can defend, rebound consistently and finish in the post.

Good performances could wipe away the only lasting image of Caracter this summer in which Houston Rockets forward Terrence Williams posterized Caracter early August at a charity game in Louisville.

"I came late, but that’s how I block shots," Caracter said. "I don’t jump because I’m not a high crazy jumper. I usually jump later when he gets a little closer to the rim so I can time it. I tried to catch him before he got the ball, but he got me." 

Good performances would validate the work Barto spent with Caracter to avoid committing fouls and improve his post presence so he receives more paint touches.

"He has to go to show people he’s conditioned and ready to play hard in this lockout league," said Barto, who said Caracter currently weighs 270 pounds. 

Good performances could also help wipe away the stain of getting arrested during the playoffs at a New Orleans IHOP when he was detained and booked in connection with charges of battery, public intoxication and resisting arrest, an incident Caracter declined to say whether there's any resolution on the case.  

Said Caracter: "It’s most important for me to prove I’m an NBA basketball player and I’m here to stay." 

RELATED:

Lakers Report Cards: Derrick Caracter

Derrick Caracter to play in Impact Basketball Academy league

IMG's Dan Barto explains how he helped Derrick Caracter lose weight

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers backup center Derrick Caracter. Credit: Wally Skallij / Los Angeles Times

Magic Johnson ready for some football

Magic Johnson --ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne notes that Magic Johnson is reaffirming his involvement with AEG in trying to secure an NFL team in L.A.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding argues that Pau Gasol can only redeem himself on the NBA court, but he credits Gasol for his good effort in the FIBA European Championships.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer provides an evenhanded take on the non-relationship between Jerry West and Phil Jackson.

--Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin pokes fun at Lamar Odom publicly tweeting his plans to possibly play in Europe after next season.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky as well as 710 ESPN's Dave Miller debate which Laker would suffer the most from an extended lockout.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin reports that Derek Fisher plans to skip the Impact Basketball Academy's Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas next week because of his responsibilities as president of the National Basketball Players Assn.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell details the Lakers' 33-game winning streak during the 1971-72 season.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano notes the importance the Competitive Training Series will have on Derrick Caracter.

Tweet of the Day: "While I fully support the Impact League and all the players, I have NOT committed to playing, nor can I at this point." -- derekfisher (Lakers guard Derek Fisher)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "Why would Lamar choose such a public way of reaching out to Pau? A text or phone call would seem more appropriate unless he is trying to stir something up here. The soap opera continues..." -- baytola2

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Magic Johnson talks about possibly owning an NFL team or the Dodgers

Magic Johnson appears in Quicken Loans commercial

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Magic Johnson. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Derrick Caracter to play in Impact Basketball Academy league

Derrick CaracterAfter spending most of his summer training with IMG to improve his post moves, Lakers backup center Derrick Caracter will spend the next two  weeks playing for the Impact Basketball Academy league.

Dan Barto, the IMG's pro/college training coordinator who has worked with Caracter for the last three summers, confirmed the report from Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy that stated Caracter would be one of 40 NBA players competing in that league beginning Sept. 12 and ending with a championship game on Sept. 23.

Caracter's playing career appears uncertain considering the Lakers can't officially decide whether they'll exercise their $788,872 option to retain him. He averaged two points on 48.5% shooting in 5.2 minutes a game his rookie season. He was arrested at a New Orleans IHOP and was detained and booked in connection with charges of battery, public intoxication and resisting arrest. In a video that instantly went viral, Houston Rockets forward Terrence Williams posterized Caracter early August at a charity basketball game in Louisville.

Barto acknowledged the importance of Caracter replicating the improvement he's seen during training in his defense, rebounding and post position in the Las Vegas-based summer pro league.

"If he tried to block Terrence Williams, knocked him to the ground and Terrence Williams tears his ACL, people would be, 'What the hell is this guy thinking?' It’s a charity game," Barto said regarding Caracter getting posterized. "Now in the summer league, if he’s just as slow, then there’s the problem. If he comes with the same mentality in this lockout-league games and he’s still not getting to where he needs to be and not taking pride in that, then there’s an issue."

RELATED:

IMG's Dan Barto explains how he helped Derrick Caracter lose weight

Derrick Caracter gets posterized in summer league game

Lakers Report Cards: Derrick Caracter

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / Oct. 16, 2010

NBA lockout: Which Lakers will spend their time wisely?

Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom

For all the concern that the NBA lockout might eat into all or part of the 2011-2012 NBA season, it'd be misguided for players to think that's simply extended vacation time.

Sure, it might prompt them to rest more, tap into more endorsement opportunities or engage in the cliched exercise this off-season by "remaining open to playing overseas." But the smart NBA players will remain prepared just in case the season starts on time. That naturally leads to questions of who on the Lakers will be ready for that scenario. Click below the jump to find out.

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