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Category: Shannon Brown

Shannon Brown appreciates time with the Lakers

Strolling the Staples Center hallways brought back a flood of memories for Shannon Brown.

How he collected two NBA championships in his time with the Lakers. How his time there helped him develop as a player. How he still shares a kinship with an older mentor in Kobe Bryant or a reserve sidekick in Matt Barnes.

But as a Phoenix Suns guard, Brown refused to look up at the banners as he prepared at the team's morning shootaround Tuesday before its game with the Lakers. On a night that would bring plenty of conflicted feelings, Brown didn't want to further spark his emotions. 

But then a fan approached Brown outside Staples Center with a picture of him holding the Lakers' championship trophy after beating the Orlando Magic in the 2009 NBA Finals.

"I definitely reflected," Brown said. "I know everybody was watching me too so I definitely tried not to do stuff too out of the ordinary."

In the Lakers' eventual 99-83 victory Tuesday over the Phoenix Suns, Brown managed to keep his cool early in the first quarter when the Staples Center Jumbotron featured a Brown highlight footage, followed by a message, "Thanks Shannon" while music from "Welcome Back, Kotter" played over the loudspeakers. Brown couldn't help but smile at the ovation he received from the announced crowd of 18,993. 

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Lakers shouldn't re-sign Shannon Brown

Nothing will become official until free agency begins Dec. 9, but the rhetoric alone suggests the Lakers won't re-sign Shannon Brown.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak sounded almost as if he expected Brown to go elsewhere when he spoke with reporters Friday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. Brown's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told The Times' Ben Bolch that Brown could return to the Lakers, "but he's also at a point in his career where he's maybe ready to take the next step in terms of playing time and with Kobe [Bryant] there that's going to be hard."

The Lakers shouldn't fret too much about Brown leaving. As much as he would help the Lakers with his youth and athleticism, it can't mask the glaring inconsistencies that plagued his game last season. After averaging 10.83 points on 48.6% shooting and creating a buzz as the league's most improved player through 18 games, Brown finished the remaining 64 games posting 8.07 points a game on a 40.61% shooting clip. Brown also appeared neither capable nor interested in compensating for his streaky shooting by improving his defensive play. 

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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

Lakers reach out to free-agent Shannon Brown

ShbrownThe Lakers made contact Wednesday with the representative for free-agent guard Shannon Brown on the first day NBA teams could talk to agents.

Brown has been the main backup to Kobe Bryant in recent seasons. Brown opted out of a contract that would have paid him $2.37 million this season; he made $2.15 million last season with the Lakers.

"We talked about Shannon but it's a little early to see where it goes," agent Mark Bartelstein said Wednesday.

Brown, who turned 26 on Tuesday, averaged 8.7 points and 19.1 minutes last season, his third with the Lakers.

The Lakers have only one free-agent tool, the "mini mid-level" for three years and $9.4 million, but they wouldn't have to use it to re-sign Brown.

Teams are allowed to talk to players' agents but can't reach verbal or written agreements until Dec. 9, when training camps are scheduled to open. The Lakers begin the season Dec. 25.

The NBA collective-bargaining agreement is expected to be ratified next week by a majority vote of 450-plus players and 30 owners.

RELATED:

Kupchak confident as Lakers get back to work.

Lakers may be at disadvantage bidding for amnesty players.

NBA free agency frenzy will be caused more by time than talent. 

 

--Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Shannon Brown in a Lakers game in November, 2010. Los Angeles Times / Luis Sinco.

Five things ensuring Shannon Brown a successful season for Lakers

Five things for Shannon Brown to ensure a successful Lakers season.

This is the 10th in a series of reports that focus 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.Shannon Brown opted out of his $2.37-million contract to test the free agency market, but he won't spur much interest. He received lukewarm responses last season, and his 8.7 points per game on 42.5% shooting hardly impressed the Lakers' coaching staff. My hunch is the Lakers won't keep him as they tweak their roster. In Brown's case, sticking with the Lakers would be his best option.

2. Improve shooting. His 2010 off-season centered on his shooting. After a sizzling first month (10.83 points on 48.6% shooting in the first 18 games), Brown's production dipped the rest to a 8.1 points per game clip on 40.61% shooting. It clearly highlighted Brown's stubborness in wanting to be a shooter even if his shooting percentage didn't warrant it.

Brown wouldn't say whether he experienced mechanical issues or struggled against tighter defenses, but he refused to adjust his game as his shooting percentage plummeted. If his shot doesn't fall next season, Brown needs to take shots closer to the basket.

3. Become more committed on defense. As much as Brown wanted to become a more complete player last season, that hardly translated defensively. He was often caught sagging on his man or getting mixed up in rotations. Any defensive stops mostly attributed to his speed and less on his defensive discipline. 

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Lakers' Shannon Brown opts out of contract; becomes free agent

Fabforum Lakers backup guard Shannon Brown informed the team Thursday that he was exercising his option to terminate the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.

Brown and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, said this was the best time for the 6-foot-4 guard to test the free-agent market, even though the NBA is about to impose a lockout and no one knows what the future collective bargaining agreement will be.

Brown had to let the Lakers know of his decision by Thursday's deadline.

"We made the best decision for me and everybody around me," Brown said in a telephone interview. "It's an interesting time to do this because of the lockout, but I think this is the best thing for me to do right now."

Brown signed a two-year, $4.5 million deal with the Lakers in 2010, even though he was offered more money and a longer deal by several teams. He was due to make about $2.37 million next season.

Brown and Bartelstein said the player wants a longer-term contract, and both said the Lakers remain in the mix.

"I haven't ruled out the Lakers," Brown said. "I don't know if they will rule me out. I'm staying open."

Brown averaged 7.2 points on 45.9% shooting, 28% from three-point range, in 16.6 minutes in 10 playoff games.

He averaged 8.7 points on 42.5% shooting, 34.9% from three-point range, in 19.1 minutes during 82 regular-season games.

"All I want to be able to do is have options," Brown said. "I'm excited about this and what the future holds. I still love the Lakers because they gave me an opportunity. But I'm going to test the market and see what happens."

RELATED

Lockout will be here for some time

Lakers fans: How will you fill the time if season is delayed or canceled?

David Stern says there is still time for a deal

 -- Broderick Turner

Photo: Shannon Brown. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Weighing the pros and cons of Shannon Brown likely opting out of his contract

61048003Unless he suddenly has a change of heart within the next 24 hours, Lakers guard Shannon Brown is expected to opt out of his $2.37-million contract.

Brown has to let the Lakers know his decision by Thursday, but General Manager Mitch Kupchak made it clear before the NBA draft last week that they're proceeding as if he doesn't plan to return next year.

"My guess, and it's only a guess, is he will choose not to extend one more year," Kupchak said during the NBA draft last week at the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo. "Not knowing the answer to that at this time, we're probably going to look to add a player to our backcourt."

The Lakers did just that. With their 41st pick, they drafted Darius Morris, a 6-foot-4 guard and former Windward High player who finished as the Big Ten's leader in assists (4.2 per game) his sophomore season at the University of Michigan. With their 46th pick, the Lakers drafted Andrew Goudelock, a 6-foot-3 combo guard who finished as College of Charleston's all-time leading scorer (2,571) and shot 45.5% from three-point range in his senior season. And whenever the impending lockout comes to a close, the Lakers plan to add "tweaks" to their roster, presumably addressing the team's backcourt. 

Meanwhile, Brown remains uncertain about his future. 

"I'm still trying to figure it out," Brown told The Times' Broderick Turner last week. "I'm trying to make sure it's the right decision for me and my family. It's not an easy thing."

Likewise, it's not an easy thing to assess whether this would be a good thing or a bad thing for the Lakers because there's plenty of variables in play. Below the jump are a look at some of those.

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Assigning Buddhism-related names to Lakers roster

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In nearly two months, Lakers forward Ron Artest will officially find out whether he can legally change his name to Metta World Peace.

He filled out papers Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court requesting the name change, citing "personal reasons." It remains uncertain if Laker fans would throw away Artest jerseys in favor of a "World Peace" one. In addition to the ongoing question of what name Artest will actually choose to have on the back of his jersey, the L.A. County Superior Court has to approve the name change, which Artest won't know until Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. 

Metta, a Buddhist term, is defined as a "strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others," which certainly jives with Artest's advocacy for mental health charities. Should other teammates feel compelled to follow suit and request Buddhist-inspired names (probably not), there's no need to brainstorm ideas. I already consulted this website and did it for them. Below the jump are the results and a possible explanation for each name. 

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Lakers stay busy during the offseason

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--The Times' Mike Bresnahan analyzes the chances of each current Laker returning next season.

--The Times' Chris Dufresne details how the Lakers became the marquee Los Angeles sports franchise over the Dodgers. Dufresne also ranks the L.A. sports teams, with the Lakers, of course, finishing first.

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick gives the Lakers a "B" for their draft picks. 

--ESPN.com's Viv Bernstein believes Ron Artest wants to legally change his name to promote his upcoming reality show.

--The Journal Register News' David Borges explains what interested the Lakers in Ater Majok.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding looks at 10 things Derek Fisher could've done better to ensure a Lakers' three-peat.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer hopes the Los Angeles Superior Court will approve Artest's request to have his name changed to "Metta World Peace." Dwyer also gives the Lakers a "B" for their draft picks. 

--Fox Sports gives the Lakers an "A-" for their draft picks. 

--The Daily News' Tom Hoffarth muses about Artest's name change.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky as well as Dave McMenamin talk about the Lakers' draft picks and Artest's name change.

--Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears argues Darius Morris left University of Michigan too early. 

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell sums up the Lakers' 2011 NBA draft. 

--The Orange County Register's Randy Youngman lists a few other sports figures who should change their names. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's DexterFishmore provides details on the Lakers' future second-round pick they acquired by trading Chukwudiebere Maduabum to the Denver Nuggets. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano looks at what Morris might provide for the Lakers. 

--Lakers Nation's Elizabeth Benson lists five things Shannon Brown needs to improve on to help the Lakers. 

Tweet of the Day: "I'll be the king of LA one day" -- RebuildCaracter (Lakers backup center Derrick Caracter obviously having a delusional moment)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "Did anyone besides me see this guy shooting 3's in the NIT championship? I've never seen a player spot up from 5 ft over half court and drain shots like that! His range as a shooter is crazy. If players have to defend him from there it opens the court for Kobe! Good pick!" -- Victor Jesus on the Lakers selecting Andrew Goudelock.

--Mark Medina

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

Photo: Lakers veterans Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant  and Pau Gasol  won two NBA championships together but could not pull off the three-peat this last season. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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