Former Lakers guard Darius Johnson-Odom has signed to play for the Russian club Spartak St. Petersburg, Sportando's Emiliano Carchia reports. The deal covers the rest of this season and includes an option for 2013/14, though it's unclear whether that's a player or team option.
The Lakers waived Johnson-Odom earlier this month after making him the 55th pick in the draft this past June. He appeared in only four NBA games and failed to score a point in six total minutes. He saw more extensive action with the Lakers' D-League affiliate, notching 20.6 points, 5.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game in 12 contests with the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
Tbe 6'3" product of Marquette replaces Patrick Beverley, who left Spartak to sign with the Rockets. Coincidentally, Beverley finalized his deal with Houston the same day the Lakers let go of Johnson-Odom.
The Lakers have waived Darius Johnson-Odom, the team announced today in a press release. Johnson-Odom was one of two Lakers on non-guaranteed deals, along with Robert Sacre. Given the injury woes plaguing the team's frontcourt, Sacre's job appears safe.
Johnson-Odom, 23, was drafted 55th overall in last June's draft, with a pick L.A. acquired from the Mavericks in exchange for cash. The Marquette product didn't see much action for the Lakers, failing to score his first NBA point in four games (six total minutes).
The move opens up a roster spot for the Lakers, which may be useful -- with Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, and Jordan Hill all ailing, the club could decide to bring in a big man on a 10-day contract. For now though, the move is just about today's guarantee deadline, rather than clearing a spot for another player, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Tomorrow at 5PM EST marks a significant deadline in the NBA, as players who are currently on non-guaranteed contracts kept after that point will have their deals guaranteed for the rest of the season. While the official deadline for contracts to become fully guaranteed is listed as January 10, ESPN's Marc Stein pointed out yesterday that teams who decide to release a player on a non-guaranteed contract will have to do so by tomorrow in order for them to clear waivers by Thursday. We've seen quite a handful of teams release some of their non-guaranteed pacts today, and with less than 24 hours left to go, there could be more of those types of transactions to come. With that in mind, you can find tonight's miscellaneous links from around the NBA here:
The Lakers have re-assigned Darius Johnson-Odom to their D-League affiliate, the D-Fenders (according to a tweet from Mike Trudell of Lakers.com). The 6'2 guard has only appeared in four games and played a total of six minutes thus far. Trudell adds that with no limit on how many times a player can be sent or recalled from the development league, the Lakers may often consider this option.
This will be the second time since November 10th that Johnson-Odom has been sent to the NBDL, and it could certainly provide him with an opportunity to continue developing with ample playing time. During a pre-season game between the D-Fenders and the Bakersfield Jam just over a week ago, Johnson-Odom tallied 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in 39 minutes of play.
With the Lakers' scheduled to tip off against the Mavericks tonight to start the 2012/13 season, general manager Mitch Kupchak spoke to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com about the team's roster, its second-round picks, and his thoughts on the Thunder trading James Harden. Here are a few of the highlights from the conversation:
On how the team decided which players to keep on its 15-man roster:
"In conjunction with our coach (Mike Brown) and (executive VP of player personnel) Jim Buss, we hashed it out. There is a strategic approach to what you do involving (positions and salary), and amongst the three of us this is where we ended up. I wouldn't think Robert Sacre (being on the roster) is a surprise to anybody; he certainly showed that he deserved an extended look. On the other hand, he's gotten more of an opportunity than anyone else because of the injury to Dwight (Howard), and if you talked to some guys that have been here, they'd say they wish they'd had that opportunity. With that said, they've been here almost 28 days, and we feel like we know them pretty good. We're not always right, and we had to make decisions, and by and large the decisions have to be done at the end of camp."
On the decision to carry the maximum 15 players, including two second-round picks:
"As a later second-round draft pick like (Darius) Johnson-Odom, that's the lowest number that you can be paid of anybody in the NBA. When you look at our payroll, which is approaching $100MM, as a percentage of payroll, it's really not that much. On the other hand, I don't expect ownership to expand payroll, and these contracts do have some flexibility to them in the fact that they are not guaranteed. (Sacre and Johnson-Odom) are going to have to continue to perform at a high level, but for the time being, it gives us some roster flexibility going forward."
On using the Lakers' D-League affiliate to develop Sacre and Johnson-Odom:
"I'd hope with the D-League coming up soon, we'd be able to put one or both of our second-round picks in that situation. You used to be limited to sending a player down three times, but they can go an unlimited number of times now. You could have them practice with the Lakers every day and then still have them play in every D-Fenders game. We intend to take advantage of the new rule with one or both of those players. It's a good development for us, and you're starting to see some more synergy with the D-League and the NBA."
On how the Harden trade will impact the rival Thunder:
"On the surface, the Thunder had a team that was very successful as a group, as a unit. There's a piece of that group that's moving on, so you might take something from that. At the same time, I think by adding Kevin Martin they have a piece that they can use, that's going to get minutes, and he can certainly score. They picked up a lot of (draft picks), plus a kid (Jeremy Lamb) we all liked in college. So you can argue that this year there may be a ding to their chemistry because they'd been together for three years, but Martin could fit right in and Lamb could have a (positive) impact."
On whether any Lakers stood out in training camp:
"I think you saw some flashes of good play from Jodie Meeks, both with his shooting and the other things he can do like get to the bucket to draw fouls and play defense. I think Devin Ebanks had a good preseason and continues to develop. Sacre has been a pleasant surprise. And with Antawn Jamison, I've seen no decline in his athleticism, which you wonder about when you get older guys."
Perhaps the most surprising training camp cut was Quentin Richardson, whom the Magic waived despite $5.438MM worth of guaranteed money on his contract for the next two seasons. The surprising play of DeQuan Jones, who appears to have made the team on a non-guaranteed deal, pushed Richardson out the door, writes John Denton of Magic.com. There's plenty of other news about players coming and going today, in advance of the 4:00pm Central time deadline for teams to let go of camp invitees so that they clear waivers before rosters must be down to 15 players.
The Lakers have waived Andrew Goudelock, Mike Trudell of Lakers.com tweets. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports the team will also waive fellow camp invitee Darius Johnson-Odom, who has a deal lined up with the Ukrainian club Azovmash Mariupol. The subtraction of both players, who were on non-guaranteed deals, will leave the Lakers with a roster count of 14, one fewer than the regular-season limit.
The Lakers took Goudelock with the 46th overall pick in the 2011 draft, and the 6'3" guard was in the team's rotation early last season, when he wound up averaging 4.4 points in 10.5 minutes per game with an 8.4 PER. A deeper backcourt in L.A. this year squeezed him out, however. Johnson-Odom, also a 6'3" guard, was the 55th overall pick in this year's draft, but didn't get much time in the preseason, averaging just 1.5 PPG in 4.8 MPG over four contests.
The moves appear to signal Robert Sacre, the team's only other player on a non-guaranteed deal, has made the team. The Lakers could opt to carry only 13 players, though, and if they do so, or decide to sign someone else, they could cut Sacre anytime between now and January 10th without being on the hook for a full season's salary.
Back in August, when we asked Hoops Rumors readers for their Rookie of the Year pick, over 44% of about 1,050 voters selected Anthony Davis, making him the top choice by far. Davis is off to a promising start, averaging a double-double in five preseason games and making a strong impression on Hornets coach Monty Williams.
"He’s just a coach’s dream," Williams said, according to Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld. "He handles the situations with wisdom that’s beyond his years. He listens, he’s humble, and yet he still has an edge.... He’s going to be pretty special if he continues to work and allow himself to be coached the way he has so far. He’s just an amazing kid."
Here are a few more of today's notes from around the Western Conference: