Lakers will sign Ratliff.
NBA.com: The Los Angeles Lakers are shoring up the potential loss of forward Josh Powell to the Atlanta Hawks by agreeing to terms with veteran big man Theo Ratliff on a one-year deal for the veterans’ minimum of $1.35 million, according to a league source.
Ratliff, 37, started last season with the San Antonio Spurs, but was traded to the Charlotte Bobcats at the trade deadline for a future second-round pick. He gave the young Bobcats a boost down the stretch as Charlotte made the playoffs, averaging 5.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 22 minutes a game. He has been one of the league’s best defensive players of his era, leading the NBA in blocked shots per game three times.
The 15-year veteran has played for eight NBA teams in his career, which began as a first-round pick for the Pistons in 1995. Ratliff was a key part of the 76ers’ team that went on to make the Finals in 2001, making his lone All-Star team that season, but was traded days after that appearance to Atlanta in a package for Dikembe Mutombo. Ratliff was also part of another major trade, going from Boston to Minnesota in 2007 as part of the Kevin Garnett trade.
The Hawks are expected to sign Powell to a one-year deal at minimum numbers in the next couple of days.
The Lakers’ signing of Ratliff would have no effect on their pursuit of Orlando small forward Matt Barnes, whom they would sign with the remaining $1.8 million of their mid-level exception. Los Angeles signed Clippers free agent guard Steve Blake to a four-year, $16 million deal earlier this month and used about $4 million of the $5.8 million mid-level to do so. Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that Barnes has whittled the list of five teams trying to sign him down to the Lakers and Cavaliers. A league source said the Cavaliers are offering a multi-year deal that averages a little more than $3 million per season, while all the Lakers can offer is the $1.8 million.