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Shannon Brown is weighing his options with Lakers

L.A. probably can't match offers from other teams for the athletic shooting guard. But his agent hasn't ruled out a return.

December 03, 2011|By Ben Bolch
  • Lakers guard Shannon Brown beats Clippers center Chris Kaman for a reverse dunk during a game last spring.
Lakers guard Shannon Brown beats Clippers center Chris Kaman for a reverse… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Twice before, Shannon Brown has pondered leaving the Lakers through free agency.

Twice before, he has spurned others to continue wearing purple and gold.

That's not to say past actions can always predict future behavior.

Mark Bartelstein, Brown's agent, acknowledged Saturday that the shooting guard's priorities may have changed heading into his sixth NBA season.

"We're certainly not ruling it out," Bartelstein said of returning 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."

Saddled with a NBA-high $91-million payroll and more severe luxury tax penalties on the horizon, the Lakers are not expected to match the offers Brown will receive from other teams in terms of compensation and length.

Nothing new there.

"Every year, he's had the ability to structure something that financially was more attractive than he could get with us," said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, who on Friday sounded almost resigned to losing Brown.

There appears to be robust interest in Brown, 26, who averaged a career-high 8.7 points in 19.1 minutes last season before declining a player option for $2.37 million for this season. Bartelstein said he had been in discussions with "probably six or seven teams."

"Right now we're going through the process of getting a feel for what the market is and what we think the best situation for Shannon is," Bartelstein said.

Teams can discuss general contract terms with free agents and their representatives but cannot reach agreements until Friday, the day training camps open. Bartelstein said he expected Brown, a part of the Lakers' championship teams of 2009 and 2010, could reach a deal with a team "fairly soon" after that period begins.

If Brown opted to stay with the Lakers, he would be reunited with his first NBA coach. Mike Brown coached Shannon Brown during his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006-07. The following season, the Cavaliers traded Brown to the Chicago Bulls to create more playing time for Daniel Gibson.

"They were two young guys and if we kept them both they might have hindered each other," Mike Brown, the first-year Lakers coach, said of Shannon Brown and Gibson, "so we kind of set one free because the other one had fit into what we were trying to do in terms of Daniel being more of a spot-up shooter with a guy like LeBron [James], who wanted to the ball in his hands all the time."

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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