Last week, Devin Ebanks agreed to terms with the L.A. Lakers to return to the team for around $1.1 million for one-season. The agreement makes Ebanks a restricted free-agent. The Lakers have the right to match any other contract offered to Ebanks from another team.
However, there’s a catch…
Ebanks has yet to sign the agreement.
We spoke to the L.A. Times Lakers blogger, Mark Medina, about Ebanks situation.
At the beginning of free-agency, the Lakers made a splash to their starting 5 by signing future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash. Barring a swap of Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard, the Lakers starters for next season is set. The Lakers are now trying to upgrade their bench. As a team, the Lakers bench had the lowest ppg of any team in the NBA last season.
The Lakers are close to signing PF/SF Antawn Jamison. *UPDATE: The Lakers did sign Jamison on Wednesday* They worked out Jermaine O’Neal on Monday. Metta World Peace, who finished last season as the starting small-forward is under contract for the next two seasons.
“I spoke with David Bauman (Devin Ebanks agent) on July 10th,” Medina told us, “and he said Ebanks agreed to a deal worth about $1 million. He [Ebanks] is with the Lakers’ Summer League team in Las Vegas this week, but is not playing. He is sitting out due to injury. He has a sore knee.”
Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak acknowledged on Monday that Ebanks’ contract is being held up because of the knee injury according to ESPNLA.
The GM (Kupchack) said that by Ebanks not signing his name on the dotted line just yet, both Ebanks and the Lakers are provided extra flexibility at the moment — Ebanks to pursue other offers and the Lakers to have an open roster spot to accommodate taking back extra players in a trades.
We showed you last week that Ebanks has drawn interest from a number of other NBA teams.
“Bauman sent out a Matrix to all the NBA teams,” Medina said, “that outlined various statistics he believes illustrates how Ebanks contributed when given the chance to play. Several teams contacted him after that.
“He has received no formal offers from any other team,” Medina told us.
Last season, Ebanks started the first four games of the regular season for the Lakers, but didn’t make a splash in those games. Then new Lakers head coach Mike Brown pulled Ebanks in favor of Matt Barnes. The move relegated the former Mountaineer to the end of the Lakers’ bench because Brown tabbed SF Metta World Peace as the first man off the bench. Ebanks then went through periods where he played sparingly, in the D-League, or not at all.
“He never was fit to be a starter,” Medina said. “but he was underutilized because the team felt he was good enough to start, but then his role varied throughout the season.”
“It will affect Ebanks,” Medina said when we asked about the potential of signing Jamison. “They’re going to tweak the bench regardless. They likely will not re-sign Barnes. If the team makes a trade for someone like Dwight Howard, small pieces might be included to make it fit financially. I’m not aware of Ebanks being in the trade discussions.”
“The team really likes [Ebanks] though,” he informed. “They like him because he’s a quiet, nose-to-the-grindstone type of guy. He doesn’t blow you away. His progression is like a line graph: steadily improving. He’s fundamentally sound.
“When he as on the court last season, whether as a starter or reserve, he minded his role and stayed in his lane. The Lakers want role players who mind their roles.”