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Thursday, July 1, 2010
Report: Lakers talking with Mike Miller

By Brian Kamenetzky

Reports ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin:
The Lakers have opened discussions with free-agent swingman Mike Miller although no contract has been offered, a source close to the situation said Thursday... Miller earned $9.8 million last season and would need to take a significant paycut to join the Lakers, but it could be worth it to him to erase a pitiful postseason resume. It would be similar to his former teammate in Memphis, Pau Gasol before he was traded to L.A.. Miller's teams are 5-22 in the playoffs in his career, the 6-8 shooter never having made it out of the first round in six appearances.

Miller, an unrestricted free agent, would provide bench scoring and a consistent outside presence the Lakers badly need. He can shoot off the catch or on the move, is able to put the ball on the floor, and has solid court vision as a passer. Plus, he's a great rebounder at his position, always a bonus. Basically, Miller is a very good player who has been put in a state of mini-limbo since being traded out of Memphis in '08 as part of the O.J. Mayo deal on draft night. But on paper, at least, he seems like an awfully nice fit.

The Lakers can't offer him any more than a full mid-level exception ($5.8 million for up to five years), likely less than Miller can earn on the open market, but he has expressed a desire to play for a contender. It's hard to get more contender-y than the two-time defending champions.

McMenamin delivers some other nuggets (really, go back and click on the link at the top of the post) of interest to Lakers loyalists:



-The agent for Earl Watson says there is mutual interest between his team and the Lakers, but expects no real action from the Lakers until after the Derek Fisher negotiations are complete.

-Along those lines, McMenamin reports "preliminary talks" between the Lakers and shooting guard Anthony Morrow, a career 46 percent three-point shooter in 136 career games. Salary has not been discussed, which is probably good because once it is I imagine the Lakers won't be able to afford him. Morrow is a restricted free agent, and will draw plenty of interest around the league. Undrafted out of Georgia Tech, the 24-year old is looking at his first big contract, and doesn't seem a likely candidate to leave a pile of money on the table.

-Raja Bell is also on the radar.

Among L.A.'s FA's, Fisher and Shannon Brown are (no surprise) hoping to return but are (again, no surprise) answering if other teams call. To reiterate my forecasts on both: Fisher will be back, but there's a good chance the Lakers could be priced out on Brown. If, though, they can stay in the ballpark, the Lakers might look to bring Brown back in part because their cap situation makes it tough to replace him. My guess, though, is he'll get a Ronny Turiaf-esque offer. Not Rudy Gay cash, but too much for the Lakers to match. Josh Powell, McMenamin writes, is still a possibility. Like Brown and Fisher, he'd like to return.