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Lakers backcourt could be on the line

LAKERS FYI

The team could lose Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown this summer, leaving the Lakers with two guards signed to contracts.

March 04, 2010|By Broderick Turner

The Lakers could be in a precarious situation this summer when it comes to their backcourt.

They could have just two guards signed to contracts — Kobe Bryant and Sasha Vujacic.

The Lakers could find themselves without Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown.

Fisher, who will be 36 next season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Fisher has been on record saying he wants to continue his career with the Lakers. He's in the last year of a deal that pays him $5.048 million.

Farmar wasn't offered a contract extension by the Lakers, making him a restricted free agent. The Lakers can match any offer he receives from another team. Farmar is in the final year of his deal that pays $1.947 million.

Brown signed a two-year "Bi-annual exception" last summer that pays $1.99 million this season and $2.149 million next season. But Brown has the option for the second season.

"When you look at our roster, it's obvious one of our needs this summer will be in our backcourt," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said.

The Lakers are expecting Brown to opt out of his contract and seek a longer deal.

Brown and his representative wouldn't talk about his future plans.

But both Brown, his agent Mark Bartelstein and the Lakers know that it would be wise for Brown to opt out and get another deal before this contract is up after the 2011 season.

The collective bargaining agreement will expire after that 2011 season, and there have been threats of a lockout by the NBA owners. The rumor has been that owners want to cut down on the length of some long-term contracts.

If Brown opted out of his deal this summer, the Lakers would own his "Early Bird" rights and could sign him to a deal for up to five years and up to as high as the mid-level exception; the current mid-level exception pays $5.8 million in the first year.

"We'll look at that at the right time," Bartelstein said. "Shannon loves it in L.A., and that's where he wants to be."

Wrong attitude

The Lakers saw how bad Miami's 30-31 record was entering Thursday night's game.

And yet, the Lakers played most of the game in a fog.

Next up is the Bobcats in Charlotte on Friday night. The Bobcats are 28-31 and 11/2 games behind the Heat for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Charlotte has defeated the Lakers at home three of the last four games.

The Lakers finish the three-game trip Sunday at Orlando, which has the second-best record in the East at 42-20.

"We'll play the right way and hard against them," Lamar Odom said. "They've got a good record, so we'll play the right way against them."

Odom said it bothers him that the Lakers play down to the level of their competition.

"That's just our worse habit we've got," Odom said.

Brown's injury update

Brown played with a sprained right thumb Thursday night he injured after blocking a shot by Indiana's Dahntay Jones in Tuesday night's game.

Brown played 16 minutes and scored six points against the Heat.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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