Press Enterprise: This week the Lakers and Clippers will enter the free-agent market, both teams shopping for players and looking to improve.
The problem is that this year’s free-agent class is not considered strong. The only All-Star-caliber talent available is Gilbert Arenas and Antawn Jamison, both of the Washington Wizards, and they will be commanding the kind of money that the Lakers and Clippers aren’t expected to spend this summer.
The Lakers, who reached the NBA Finals for the first time since 2004, like their young team and aren’t expected to make big changes. Their top priority is to re-sign two of their key backups, guard Sasha Vujacic and forward Ronny Turiaf, and the Lakers’ course this summer largely “is going to depend on the progress we make with Sasha and Ronny,” said General Manager Mitch Kupchak, who will begin negotiations Monday at 9:01 p.m., the opening of the free-agent period. Teams can start signing players July 9.
Because both Vujacic and Turiaf are restricted free agents, the Lakers can retain them by matching any offers they get from other teams.
Vujacic, 24 and coming off a career year in which he averaged 8.8 points and was eighth in the league in three-point shooting (43.7 percent), might get offers from $4 million to $5 million per year. He might be seeking as much as $5.8 million.
Turiaf, who’s 25 and also had career highs in points (6.6) and rebounds (3.9), could command $3.5 million to $4 million.