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LAKERS FYI

Lack of playing time may affect Devin Ebanks' future with Lakers

The small forward becomes a restricted free agent July 1, and his agent says he would look for an opportunity elsewhere if Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace return to the team.

March 20, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan and Mark Medina

Reporting from Houston — The Lakers might have found their point guard of the future in Ramon Sessions, but the search for a small forward could be underway in a few months.

Matt Barnes is in the last year of his contract, Metta World Peace might be a candidate to be waived after the season via the one-time "amnesty" provision, and Luke Walton is now in Cleveland.

There's also the strange case of the disappearing Devin Ebanks.

Ebanks' agent said a lack of playing time could affect his Lakers' future after the second-year player becomes a restricted free agent July 1 … especially if the incumbents returned.

"If [Coach] Mike Brown is going to play with Matt Barnes and [World Peace] next season, Devin's not going to come back and do that," agent David Bauman told The Times. "He'll find an opportunity where he'll have a better chance to break into a rotation."

Ebanks, 22, was expected to be a sleeper for the Lakers but was removed from the starting lineup after four games. Since then, he's either at the end of the bench or in the Development League.

"Just staying a professional at all times," said Ebanks, averaging 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds in only 13 games.

He makes almost $789,000 this season, and the Lakers can match any offer sheet he signs during the off-season.

Meanwhile, the Lakers seemed happy with Sessions, who still hadn't started a game but had 14 points and four assists in a 107-104 loss Tuesday to Houston.

"He got into the lane, he made plays for others and he's not even completely comfortable yet," Kobe Bryant said. "When he gets really, really comfortable in our offense and what we like to do, he's really going to be a problem for teams."

Sessions was acquired by Cleveland last week for Walton, Jason Kapono, the Lakers' first-round pick in this year's draft, and under $1 million in cash.

Unmasked wonder

Bryant ditched the protective plastic mask he wore for 12 games after sustaining a broken nose in the All-Star game.

"It's still a little tender but it'll probably be like that for the remainder of the season," he said. "Do I think I can take a hit on it and be OK? I think so. Just have to wait and see."

What will happen to the mask?

"I might donate it, see if anybody's dumb enough to buy that sweaty mask," Bryant said. "I could use it for a lot of the homeless causes that we've got going on."

What about Fisher?

Former Lakers guard Derek Fisher finds out Wednesday whether he clears waivers and becomes a free agent, able to sign with any team but the Lakers.

Miami forward LeBron James said he would welcome Fisher to the Heat because of "his leadership and his commitment to winning," but Oklahoma City was also in the mix for the 16-year veteran.

Houston bought out Fisher's contract after acquiring him from the Lakers last week.

Bresnahan reported from Houston and is a Times staff writer. Medina reported from Los Angeles and is a Times correspondent.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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