- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before the NBA free agency period officially begins on Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers took care of some business Wednesday.
The team announced it picked up guard Jodie Meeks' $1.55 million contract option for next season and also made a qualifying offer of $989,000 to center Robert Sacre to make him a restricted free agent.
“Jodie is not only a gifted three-point shooter who helps us space the floor on the offensive end, but he is also a very active and underrated player defensively who continues to work on and improve all aspects of his game,” said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak in a statement.
Meeks averaged 7.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game in his first year in L.A. last season. The 6-4, 208-pound Meeks shot 35.7 percent from deep and was third on the team with 122 made 3-pointers, only behind Metta World Peace's 141 and Kobe Bryant's 132.
Sacre, selected by L.A. with the final pick of the second round (No. 60) of the 2012 NBA Draft, played sparingly as a back-up big man last season, averaging 1.3 points and 1.1 rebounds in 6.3 minutes. The 7-footer out of Gonzaga put up 6.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in three starts at center, however, and fared even better for the Lakers' D-League affiliate L.A. D-Fenders, averaging 11.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 32.6 minutes.
With the luxury-tax laden Lakers only having the mini mid-level exception worth approximately $3.2 million and veteran minimum contracts available to them to fill out their roster for next season, neither offer was much of a surprise.