HOOPSWORLD: The Lakers are among the teams with some key free agents to either lock up or let walk. Sasha Vujacic has been vocal about his desire to stay in LA, and the improvements he showed over the 2007-08 season should make him very attractive – both to the Lakers and to possible suitors. On the other hand, the Lakers also have to make a decision about Ronny Turiaf, who is expected to get some love and is rumored to be on the short list for the Utah Jazz. Turiaf was huge in the Lakers’ upset of the San Antonio Spurs, often stepping up and stopping Tim Duncan when Pau Gasol was unable to do so. Turiaf is also one of the more inspiring stories in the league, having overcome open heart surgery to become a significant factor off the bench for the Western Conference champs.
The Jazz would likely have to buy out Jarron Collins to make room for Turiaf, but $2.1 million seems a small price to pay for such an exchange. The Jazz are a fiscally conservative team, but they also understand that some tweaks are needed to get to the next level – especially in the brutal West. Turiaf is someone who could immediately make the Jazz better (and certainly more physical) on the front line. He might be enough to get them back to the Western Conference Finals next season.
Turiaf has expressed his desire to stay in LA, as has Vujacic. The question becomes – if Lamar Odom is dealt, what will the Lakers need to fill in the gaps created by the trade?