The Lakers continued to be a franchise in flux, as Phil Jackson mulled his future, Brian Shaw received permission to interview with the Cleveland Cavaliers and, almost a footnote, two players were selected in the second round of Thursday's draft.
Jackson takes off Friday for his Montana summer home, where he will make a decision on his future by the end of next week, but if he retires the pool of L.A. candidates might shrink by one.
Shaw, a Lakers assistant coach the last five seasons, has been officially approached for an interview by Cleveland, The Times has learned, making this week even busier for the NBA champions. Cleveland needs to hire a head coach.
"They did call a couple of days ago and we did grant permission," Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said. "Now it's up to Brian and Cleveland. All of our coaches' contracts run out at the end of the month anyway, so it is accurate."
Shaw, 43, spoke with Cavaliers representatives earlier this week and probably will fly to Cleveland next week for a face-to-face interview with the team's owner and front-office staff.
It has been reported that LeBron James has a strong interest in the triangle offense, something in which Shaw is well-versed because of his four years as a Lakers player who won three championships from 2000 to 2002. James is expected to become a free agent July 1, and there is no guarantee he'll return to the Cavaliers next season, even if Shaw lands the job.
After the sun went down Thursday, it was the Lakers' turn to draft. They added West Virginia forward Devin Ebanks with the 43rd pick and Texas El Paso forward Derrick Caracter with the 58th pick. Neither received a guaranteed contract, standard procedure for all NBA second-round picks.
The Lakers did not have their first-round pick, 28th overall, because they sent it to Memphis in 2008 as part of the Pau Gasol trade. They received the Grizzlies' second-round pick in that deal and selected Ebanks, a rebounder-defender listed at 6 feet 9 who was projected in some mock drafts as a late first-round pick.
"We were surprised he was still there at 43, so we're pleased," Kupchak said.
Ebanks played two years for West Virginia and saw his stock dip after struggling on offense in the Big East and NCAA tournaments, averaging 10.6 points in eight postseason games.
If he makes the team, he could see time at backup small forward if Luke Walton's sore back causes more problems. Walton played 45 games last season and has three more years and $16.7 million left on his contract. "With Luke's back, we're not sure what the future holds for him," Kupchak said.
Ebanks made only three of 30 three-point attempts (10%) last season, dragging his overall shooting percentage down to 45.7%. He said his toughness and length were his biggest assets.
"I don't have a problem guarding the other team's best player," he said.
The Lakers took another 6-foot-9 forward with No. 58, junior Caracter, who transferred to UTEP after two seasons at Louisville. He averaged 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds last season.
A handful of second-round picks have made the roster over the last 10 years. Walton was selected 32nd overall in 2003, Ronny Turiaf and Von Wafer were 37th and 39th overall in 2005, and Sun Yue was 40th in 2007.
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