- Dave McMenamin, ESPN.com
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Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak put his phone down long enough to see his team's 33-point halftime deficit en route to a 106-56 loss to the Miami Heat in the Las Vegas summer league Monday before dialing and texting away for most of the second half.
Kupchak was far less concerned with the Lakers' summer league squad suffering its second drubbing in the last four days by more than 40 points than he was with getting beat on the free agency front as he tries to round out the roster for next season.
The rumor mill was stirring with the Charlotte Observer reporting that free agent forward Antawn Jamison had chosen to play for the purple and gold over his hometown Bobcats.
Kupchak acknowledged Jamison is a player the team was interested in but said nothing was imminent when reached for comment at halftime.
"We're not about to do anything," Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I would know."
Kupchak confirmed an earlier report by ESPNLosAngeles.com that the team did not plan on using its mini mid-level exception, starting at $3 million a year, to fill out its bench, and would likely only offer veteran minimum contracts to prospective free agents.
The Lakers have until end of business Tuesday to use their amnesty provision during the regulated July 11-17 window to use it during this offseason. The most obvious target for the Lakers to amnesty would be Metta World Peace, who turns 33 in November and is owed $15 million over the next two seasons. However, Kupchak said the Lakers would hold off on using the one-time option saying it would be "unlikely" for them to exercise it on Tuesday.
Kupchak cleared up the team's stance on another small forward, Devin Ebanks. Ebanks has not signed the offer sheet presented to him by the Lakers worth approximately $1.1 million and is not playing with the Lakers' summer league team because of a bone bruise in his knee, according to Kupchak. The GM 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.
All in all, Kupchak said things have quieted down considerably since free agency opened on July 1 and the Lakers agreed to terms with Steve Nash shortly thereafter.
When given the chance to reflect on the changes that have occurred already, however, Kupchak was satisfied.
"I haven't had a lot of time to envision how our team will play together next year," Kupchak said. "But when I envision it now, it's exciting. Steve will make the game easier for everyone."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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