Will Sasha and Turiaf look for a better offer? Sound-off in the comments…
O.C. Register: Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is expected to be on the phone shortly after 9 p.m. Monday when the NBA free agency period begins.
First he will call Sasha Vujacic’s agent. After getting some idea of which way the restricted free agent is leaning, Kupchak then will dial Ronny Turiaf’s agent.
Both players are restricted free agents, meaning the Lakers can match any offer sheet they sign with another team. Kupchak is hoping to avoid that scenario by re-signing the two.
“A lot of it’s going to depend on the progress we make with Sasha and Ronny” Kupchak said last week. “I think we feel if we can bring those two players back, and we get Trevor [Ariza]and Andrew [Bynum]back, we’d be happy going into training camp with that group. If we run into a roadblock … then we’ll have to look in other directions.
“But right now, based on the free-agent market that’s out there and our existing free agents, we think it’s in our best interest to sign back our free agents. It’s not a great group of players to choose from when you’re comparing them against Sasha or Ronny.”
The Lakers, who are well over the salary cap, will pay nearly $5 million in luxury taxes for last season and aren’t expected to look much into other options beyond Vujacic and Turiaf. The Lakers can only offer a free agent the mid-level exception between $5 million and $6 million.
Restricted free agents can talk with teams but cannot officially sign until July 9.