Friday, December 2, 2011
Shannon Brown unsure about Lakers
By Dave McMenamin
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- At the end of each of the three seasons since he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers from the Charlotte Bobcats in February 2009, Shannon Brown has become a free agent.
The last two times it's happened, Brown ended up re-signing with the Lakers. His decision to stay paid off with a championship in 2009-10 and a career year in 2010-11, when Brown averaged a personal-best 8.7 points a game.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak does not believe he'll be able to get the 6-foot-4, 210-pound shooting guard to come back in the fold this time around, however.
"We've been in touch with Shannon Brown's representatives," Kupchak said during a news conference Friday. "... I would think that this year he would look for, and he would probably get, a package financially that's much more attractive than we can offer under the present rules. I don't know where it's going to play out or how it's going to play out, but that would be my guess."
"That's probably the truth," Brown told 710 ESPN's Mark Willard and Mychal Thompson when informed of Kupchak's comments later on Friday afternoon.
When asked if he would take less money to stay with the Lakers, Brown said, "I really don't know yet. ... I can't even give you an answer on that."
Brown opted out of the last remaining year on his contract with the Lakers back in June, prior to when the lockout began. It would have paid him approximately $2.4 million for the season. After playing for four teams through the first five years of his career, Brown wanted to find a multiyear deal through free agency.
The Lakers have Brown's "Bird Rights," meaning they are allowed to dip further into the luxury tax than they already are to retain Brown. But, with harsher luxury tax penalties in store in the next collective bargaining agreement beginning in 2013-14, Kupchak and the rest of the Lakers' brass will be extra careful with every free agent dollar they spend moving forward.
"It's all happening really fast," said Brown's agent, Mark Bartelstein, in a telephone interview with ESPNLosAngeles.com on Friday. "We'll see what happens. We're not saying definitely, 'Yes,' or 'No,' on anything. I think it's an opportunity for Shannon to really take a look and see what's available to him."
Bartelstein said there were "a bunch" of teams that have expressed interest in his client. Brown declined to identify any of the other suitors by name.
"I choose not to say nothing at this point because I don't want to start a frenzy of false rumors and false thoughts," Brown said. "We haven't gotten into the negotiation process as deep as we want to thus far. When everything starts to come together a little bit, I'll be able to speak on it a little bit better."
Bartelstein would not shut the door completely on the possibility of Brown returning to the Lakers.
"We're just going to see what happens," Bartelstein said. "I don't want to characterize it in any particular way yet. We're going to take it a day at a time and see what happens. We'll see where it goes."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.