Lakers forward Ronny Turiaf, a restricted free agent, is expected to sign an offer sheet with the Golden State Warriors today, according to a league source with knowledge of the negotiations. It would be a four-year deal for about $17 million.
The Warriors had no comment Wednesday, and Mark Bartelstein, Turiaf's agent, did not return a phone call.
Once the offer sheet is relayed to the Lakers, they will have seven days to match it, a move they are not expected to make. The Lakers just paid nearly $5 million in luxury taxes for the 2007-08 season. The tax for 2008-09 will be triggered at $71.15 million. The Lakers payroll is at $75.1 million for 10 players.
The 25-year-old Turiaf, coming off the best of his three seasons with the team, made $770,610 last season. The Lakers retained the right of first refusal last week by giving Turiaf a one-year qualifying offer of $1 million.
They also made a $2.6-million qualifying offer to guard Sasha Vujacic, who is also exploring his options.
Turiaf averaged career bests of 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 18.7 minutes, appearing in 78 games last season. But his playing time was drastically cut in the postseason, when he averaged 9.8 minutes, 2.0 points and 1.4 rebounds.
Against the dominating frontcourt of the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, Turiaf had only 11 points and four rebounds, none on offense, in the six games and averaged 10.3 minutes.
The NBA traffic has already moved up and down the California coast since the start of free agency. After failing to land Clippers forward Elton Brand, the Warriors signed another Clippers forward, Corey Maggette. But Golden State lost free-agent guard Baron Davis to the Clippers.