LOS ANGELES -- In the wake of their third player being lost to a season-ending injury, the Los Angeles Lakers are working on finalizing a one-year, pro-rated veteran minimum deal with forward Earl Clark, league sources confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Clark, who started 36 games with the Lakers in the 2012-13 season, has been averaging nearly 29 points per game in four appearances with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League.
Clark's arrival would come after the Lakers (3-11) lost reserve swingman Xavier Henry to a season-ending Achilles injury earlier this week. Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg) are also out for the season, and Ryan Kelly (hamstring) is currently sidelined with a hamstring tear.
Lakers coach Byron Scott said Tuesday that team officials were in contact with the league office about applying for a hardship exception from the NBA to add a 16th player to the roster, one more than the regular-season maximum. Once Kelly returns, the Lakers would need to trim their roster back down to 15.
The Lakers have already been granted two disabled player exceptions this season, one each for Randle ($1.5 million) and Nash ($4.8 million). The team can use the exception to sign or trade for a player, but the exceptions, which expire March 10, cannot be combined.
RealGM first reported on the Lakers and Clark working on a possible reunion.
The injury-ravaged Lakers, who are 3-11 for the season, can use the exception to sign or trade for a player. They were previously awarded a $1.5 million disabled player exception for rookie Julius Randle, who is out for the season with a broken leg.
The two exceptions, which both expire March 10, cannot be combined.
Nash, who only played 65 games in two-plus seasons with the Lakers because of injuries, has not announced his retirement but is in the final year of his contract that pays him $9.7 million this season. He can still be used in a trade.
"It took me right back to that place again," Bryant said after practice Tuesday.
Henry's injury occurred during a non-contact drill in Monday's practice.
"It was just like mine, same thing," Bryant said. "[He] just tried to take off, drive to the basket and it just popped."
Since the injury, Bryant said, he's been in close contact with Henry, who averaged 2.2 points per game in nine appearances this season.
"Just trying to keep him positive," Bryant said. "It's an uphill battle. It's a long hill, at that. But he'll have us and he'll have me every step of the way."
"It's a fine balance at 36 [years old], trying to find the rhythm of strengthening your legs as the season goes on without wearing them out," Bryant said after his team's practice Tuesday. "We're in uncharted territory in terms of trying to figure this out, but we will."
Bryant shot 4-of-14 in the fourth quarter and overtime of Sunday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, and he shot just 3-of-10 in the second half of a blowout loss to the Dallas Mavericks last week.
"The second half of games for me have been a struggle lately with my legs," Bryant said. "My shot's just been really short even though my legs feel good."
Lakers coach Byron Scott said Bryant, who is leading the league in scoring (26.7 points per game), might also play fewer minutes in an effort to conserve energy.
"It's a work in progress," Scott said. "He's played 19 years. He knows his body better than anybody, but we can see also watching the tape that everything was a tad short, which tells me that the legs were a little fatigued."
Bryant is averaging a team-high 35.7 minutes per game entering Wednesday's contest against the Memphis Grizzlies.
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- LeBron James said the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer responsible for the shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, "hit home for me" and spoke out about the violent aftermath of the announcement Monday night.
"That's not the answer," James said Tuesday on reports of rioting in Ferguson. "What does that do? What does that actually do? Just hurt more families, hurt more people, draw more attention to things that shouldn't even be going on instead of people going to the family's household and praying with them. And saying, 'Things are going to be great.' You know, 'Mike Brown is in a better place now,' and 'Trayvon Martin is in a better place now.' That's where it should be. I mean, burning down things and shooting up things and running cars into places and stealing and stuff like that, what does that do? It doesn't make you happy."
James initially responded to the news on Monday night by posting a cartoon depiction on Instagram of Brown with his arm wrapped around Martin walking toward a heavenly light.
Back in March 2012, James and then-teammate Dwyane Wade organized a photo including the entire Miami Heat team wearing hooded sweatshirts -- the same style of hoodie Martin was wearing when he was shot by George Zimmerman -- and posted it to social media along with the hashtag #wearetrayvonmartin.
James said that the Brown case only touches on larger societal problems that must be addressed.
Scott, the Lakers coach, said Bryant did light shooting and little else during practice here Monday. Scott added that Bryant would have a similar off-day Tuesday in advance of Wednesday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The move to rest Bryant more during practices -- a tactic that Bryant has done several times in previous seasons -- comes after Bryant has mentioned his legs feeling heavy after recent games, which Bryant said had affected his shooting.
Bryant, now in his 19th season, is averaging 35.7 minutes per game, the 13th-most in the league entering Monday.
"You try to kind of work your way through it a little bit, but everything's short," Bryant said after a 6-for-22 night in a loss against Dallas on Friday. "It's just one of those 36-year-old [hiccups]."
Scott said Monday that Bryant “was upset with himself” because many of his shots were short in Sunday’s overtime loss to Denver, when Bryant shot 4-of-14 from the field in the fourth quarter and overtime after shooting 6-for-10 in the first three quarters. Bryant tied his season-high with 44 minutes in the loss.
Scott said fatigue is normal, given that Bryant missed all but six games last season after fracturing his knee.
“I said, that’s expected when you haven’t played that long, you miss that length of time, being a year off,” Scott said, “and then you come back basically with a bang because that adrenaline is flowing.
“Then sooner or later, during the season, it’s going to catch up to you. We've just got to rejuvenate and get back there. He will. I think that this week at home, getting a couple days off here and there will definitely help him.”
Henry suffered the injury during practice, and an MRI confirmed it shortly thereafter.
"Results revealed a completely torn Achilles," a source told ESPN.com.
Henry is scheduled to have surgery Tuesday morning with Dr. Neal ElAttrache and Dr. Steve Lombardo of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.
Though the team is just 14 games into its 2014-15 campaign, Henry is already the third Laker to be declared out for the season because of an injury, joining point guard Steve Nash (back) and rookie forward Julius Randle (leg). Reserve forward Ryan Kelly is currently sidelined because of a hamstring tear.
Injuries plagued the Lakers dating back to last season, when their players missed a league-high 319 combined games because of injuries.
Lakers coach Byron Scott said Henry suffered the injury during a three-on-three drill.
"Nobody hit him or anything like that," Scott said after practice. "He went down and pretty much said to us that he heard a 'pop.'"
The oft-injured Henry has had knee injures the past two seasons and even went to Germany this offseason for treatment. In nine games with the Lakers this season, Henry averaged 2.2 points over 9.6 minutes.
Arron Afflalo added 15 points for the Nuggets, who have won five of six following a 1-6 start that was capped by consecutive double-digit losses to Portland.
The Lakers, coming off a 140-106 drubbing at Dallas, began a four-game homestand with their seventh straight loss to the Nuggets, despite 27 points from Kobe Bryant. The NBA's No. 4 career scorer made only four of 14 shots after the third quarter and finished 10 for 24.
The losing streak against Denver matches the Lakers' longest against any club since an eight-game drought against Portland from Feb. 18, 1993, through Jan. 9, 1995.