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Lakers add power forward Troy Murphy to the mix

Also, second-year small forward Devin Ebanks is ready to battle for a starting spot.

December 17, 2011|By Mike Bresnahan
  • The Lakers are hoping Devin Ebanks, left, makes a big jump in his second season. "He's got a nice stroke from the perimeter," Coach Mike Brown says.
The Lakers are hoping Devin Ebanks, left, makes a big jump in his second season.… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

The Lakers continued to tinker with their roster, agreeing to terms with veteran power forward Troy Murphy on a one-year, $1.4-million contract.

Murphy, 31, was a top-notch rebounder and smooth shooter until his production dropped through the floor last season.

He sustained a back injury two weeks before the season opener and averaged only 3.1 points and 3.2 rebounds with New Jersey and Boston. The previous two seasons, he averaged 14.4 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana while shooting a commendable 41.8% from three-point range.

The Lakers will rely on him primarily for depth, but they need a starting power forward their first five games. Pau Gasol will move to center to replace the suspended Andrew Bynum, leaving an opening for Murphy or, more likely, recent free-agent signee Josh McRoberts.

"I'm not sure how much playing time he would get here or how much the coaching staff will use him, but we definitely need some more depth inside," Gasol said Saturday. "He can shoot the ball consistently from outside and he's a player that's been around, so he's experienced."

The Lakers were also mulling a one-year contract offer for veteran guard Baron Davis, who was waived Wednesday by Cleveland but would miss several weeks because of a sore back.

Davis, 32, would be paid $28.7 million over the next two seasons from Cleveland but, like Murphy, could receive only the veteran's minimum of $1.4 million from the Lakers.

Miami and New York are also interested in Davis, who averaged 13.1 points and 6.7 assists last season for Cleveland and the Clippers.

Right entrance?

Devin Ebanks was definitely a rookie last season. He didn't know the location of the players' entrance at Staples Center, so he entered with hordes of fans before his first game.

"Nobody even knew who I was back then," Ebanks said, smiling.

Now he might be a starter for the Lakers on opening night. He is battling veteran Matt Barnes for the starting spot at small forward.

A second-round pick in 2010 from West Virginia, Ebanks played only 20 games last season, averaging 3.1 points.

"Coach Phil [Jackson] was a great guy and great coach, but he feels like rookies should wait their turn," Ebanks said. "I totally understood it so I watched and learned from my teammates."

Lakers Coach Mike Brown likes what he sees of Ebanks, whose shooting has improved dramatically. Ebanks said he took 1,000 shots a day while living in Washington during the off-season.

"He's got a nice stroke from the perimeter," Brown said. "With a young guy like that, you hope the confidence is there all the time."

Ebanks had 12 points on four-for-six shooting in an intrasquad scrimmage Friday at USC's Galen Center.


The Lakers sent rookie guard Andrew Goudelock to the Development League for a brief stay. Goudelock played for the Los Angeles D-Fenders on Saturday against Bakersfield but was expected to be recalled Sunday by the Lakers. He was taken with the 46th overall pick in last June's draft….There was one main reason why guard Derek Fisher, 37, did not play in Friday's scrimmage. "Fish had a tough summer," Brown said. "He didn't have the time to train as much as he normally does. In a situation like this, I don't want to risk him getting hurt when I already know what he can do."

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