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Lakers' Mitch Kupchak adds guards, muses on Shannon Brown

The general manager speculates that veteran Brown could become a free agent, and drafts Darius Morris of Michigan and Andrew Goudelock of College of Charleston.

June 23, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Michigan guard Darius Morris goes for a layup against Illinois center Mike Tisdale (54) and guard D.J. Richardson (1) during a Big Ten Conference tournament game.
Michigan guard Darius Morris goes for a layup against Illinois center Mike… (Michael Conroy / Associated…)

A week before NBA owners are expected to lock out players in a labor dispute, there was a tranquil setting Thursday night at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo as the NBA draft took place.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak said he wasn't going to blow up the team despite suggestions by a "prominent member of the media [Magic Johnson]" that he should. And Kupchak said his guess is that guard Shannon Brown will opt out of his contract and become a free agent.

The Lakers used their first two second-round draft picks in Thursday night's NBA draft to select guards, taking Michigan's 6-foot-4 point guard Darius Morris with the 41st pick and College of Charleston's 6-2 combination guard Andrew Goudelock with the 46th pick.

"We think and we're hoping that they both can make the team," Kupchak said. "We're hoping at the least one of the players can make the team."

The Lakers finished their draft by taking forward Chukwudiebere Maduabum of Nigeria with the 56th pick and center Ater Majok with the 58th pick.

Rights to Maduabum, listed at 6-9, later were traded to the Denver Nuggets for a future second-round pick.

Majok, listed at 6-10, is from Sudan and left the University of Connecticut last September. He averaged 2.3 points and three rebounds in 26 games with the Huskies before leaving after one season to play professionally in Turkey and Australia.

Kupchak said the team will try to develop one of those players overseas.

The Lakers drafted for help in the backcourt because of the uncertainty regarding Brown.

"My guess is — and it's only a guess — is that he will decide not to extend one more year," Kupchak said.

Brown has to let the Lakers know of his decision by next Thursday. Brown is scheduled to make $2.374 million next season if he decides to stay with the team.

Late Thursday, Brown said he hadn't made a decision yet.

"I'm still trying to figure it out," Brown said. "I'm trying to make sure it's the right decision for me and my family. It's not an easy thing."

As for rumors about trades, "I think we've been pretty consistent over the last month or so that it's not our goal right now to look to break up this team," Kupchak said. "Certainly we'll explore opportunities, but we're not out there dialing 27, 28 teams and saying, 'What would you do for these players?' That's not what we're doing."

Morris, who is from Los Angeles and attended Windward High, averaged 15 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists during his sophomore season at Michigan.

"According to my agent, [the Lakers] didn't think I was going to be around" to be picked 41st, said Morris, who led the Big Ten in assists. "But that's how things fall and I'm very excited to capitalize on the opportunity."

Goudelock averaged 23.7 points on 45.5% shooting as a senior last season.

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