Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers Contract Notes: Yi Jianlian, Tarik Black

The Lakerscontract with Yi Jianlian is very team-friendly in its structure, and could make the Chinese big man a solid trade chip this season, writes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Although he has already provided a few details on Yi’s unorthodox contract, Pincus gets a little more specific in his latest piece, writing that the new Laker will earn $2.3MM incentive bonuses when he reaches 20 games played, 40 games, and 59 games.

Because those incentives are considered “likely,” Yi currently counts for $8MM against the salary cap, but he won’t receive his full salary unless he remains on an NBA roster beyond January 10, 2017, and appears in at least 59 games. If the former lottery pick fails to make an impact early on with the Lakers, he could be traded after December 15 and before his salary becomes guaranteed in January, since his cap hit would significantly outweigh the money owed to him, and he could easily be waived.

  • Tarik Black‘s new two-year deal with the Lakers is worth about $12.85MM in total, but the second year is fully non-guaranteed, tweets Pincus. Los Angeles will have to make a decision on Black’s 2017/18 salary by July 4 or three days before the end of the July moratorium, whichever happens later.

Jason Terry Talks Free Agency Process

Veteran guard Jason Terry recently inked a one-year contract with the Bucks, and while it’s only a minimum-salary deal, it’s fully guaranteed, which is something of a rarity at this point in the NBA offseason. In an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio (SoundCloud link), Terry admitted that the free agency process can be tough at this late stage in his career (he’ll turn 39 next month). He also identified several of the teams he considered before landing in Milwaukee.

“I had a couple contenders that I was really seriously looking at. Two of them were in the Finals, so that tells you right there who they were,” Terry said, referring to the Cavaliers and Warriors. “I made a call to [Gregg Popovich]. San Antonio’s another one. They were my arch-enemy for eight years when I was in Dallas, but that’s another phone call — if they call, you pick up, there’s just no question about it. … I always thought about going back and trying to finish off where I started in Atlanta. I like what they did. And then I seriously considered Boston, though we did not have a conversation.”

Based on Terry’s comments, it’s not clear how many of those teams he reached out to, and how many reached out to him, so it’s possible that interest wasn’t mutual in all those scenarios. Terry also admitted that while he had some interest in the Lakers, that interest wasn’t reciprocated, since Los Angeles already had a good idea of what its 15-man roster would look like.

“I called my good friend Luke [Walton],” Terry said. “I told him if he needed any help — veteran leadership, in that capacity, with an ability to coach at the end of my deal, then that was something I would be looking forward to. He utterly declined, and I respect him for that.”

Although he’s not the scorer he was early in his career, Terry was still a solid contributor in Houston over the last two seasons, averaging 19.5 MPG in 149 regular-season contests, and averaging 6.5 PPG, 1.7 APG, and 0.8 SPG while shooting 37.5% on three-pointers. In both of his seasons with the Rockets, Terry received a bump in playing time during the postseason.

Lakers Re-Sign Tarik Black

AUGUST 24: More than a month and a half after agreeing to terms with Black, the Lakers have officially re-signed him, the team announced today in a press release. The delay was a result of the Lakers using all their cap room before going over the cap to sign Black using the Early Bird exception.

“Tarik is a player whose strengths are well-suited for the style of play we envision for our team going forward,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “He plays the game with a mix of athleticism, energy, and physicality that make him a valuable frontcourt contributor in today’s NBA.”

JULY 4: The Lakers have reached an agreement on a new deal for restricted free agent center Tarik Black, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Charania, the two sides agreed to a two-year, $12.85MM pact. Within his full report on the agreement, Charania writes that Black’s new deal will feature a trade kicker and won’t be fully guaranteed in the second year.

[RELATED: Lakers, Timofey Mozgov agree to four-year deal]

A former undrafted free agent, Black made his NBA debut with the Rockets during the 2014/15 season, appearing in 25 games (12 starts) for Houston before being cut. The Lakers nabbed Black off waivers, and he played well for Los Angeles in 2014/15, starting 27 of his 38 games with the team and averaging 7.2 PPG and 6.3 RPG, with a .589 FG%, in just 21.1 minutes per contest.

Black was used exclusively in a reserve role in 2015/16 for the Lakers, and saw his minutes reduced to just 12.7 per game, but the team apparently still liked what it saw from him enough to lock him up to a multiyear deal.

As Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets, based on the numbers, it looks like it will be an Early Bird signing, which means that the Lakers won’t have to allocate any extra cap space for Black. Currently, his cap hold is worth $1,180,431, which is the amount of his qualifying offer. The Lakers will be able to keep that number on the books until they run out of cap room (if they do so), at which point they can exceed the cap to finalize Black’s new deal.

More Yi Jianlian Contract Details

  • We passed along the general details of Yi Jianlian‘s unusual contract with the Lakers on Tuesday, but in a series of tweets, Pincus goes into more detail as he attempts to figure out exactly how the deal will work. Jianlian has nearly $7MM in likely incentives on his one-year deal, and Pincus believes those incentives will be tied to how many games the Chinese big man plays, with multiple checkpoints along the way.

Lakers Sign Yi Jianlian

AUGUST 23: Jianlian’s one-year deal is only guaranteed for $250K, but it counts for $8MM against the Lakers’ cap, according to Bobby Marks of The Vertical. The base salary, partially guaranteed for $250K, is worth the minimum ($1,139,123), while the deal features another $6,860,877 in likely incentives.Yi Jianlian vertical

AUGUST 22: The signing is official, the team announced.

AUGUST 17, 3:55pm: The proposed deal will pay Jianlian the veteran’s minimum, but incentives could push the total value upwards of $8MM, Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times tweets.

10:41am: The Lakers and Jianlian are finalizing a one-year deal that will pay him approximately $8MM, Stein tweets.

AUGUST 16: The Lakers and Yi Jianlian are in advanced talks to bring the big man to the NBA, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times notes (Twitter link) that the Lakers had representatives at the Staples Center during USA’s exhibition game against China last month.

Yi was selected by the Bucks with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. After an up-and-down rookie season, he was traded to the Nets in a deal for Richard Jefferson. The 28-year-old last played in the NBA for the Mavericks during the 2011/12 season. He averaged 2.6 points and 1.6 rebounds in just 6.8 minutes per game.

The Lakers have 14 players under contract, as the team’s depth chart at Roster Resource indicates. Yi would have competition for minutes. However, if Timofey Mozgov‘s groin injury lingers, he could possibly end up starting a few games for Los Angeles should he sign.

Lakers Sign Brandon Ingram

12:15pm: The Lakers have made it official, announcing in a press release that they’ve formally signed Ingram to his rookie contract.

8:31am: Heading into Tuesday, 29 of 30 first-rounders from the 2016 draft have either signed their NBA contracts or elected to play overseas for the coming season. Number two overall pick Brandon Ingram will make it 30 out of 30 later today, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that the Lakers are poised to sign their rookie forward.Brandon Ingram vertical

[RELATED: 2016 Draft Pick Signings]

The Lakers will sign Ingram exactly two months after he was drafted, having waited this long because it gave the team a little extra flexibility. While the odds of packaging the No. 2 overall pick in a trade for a star were slim, keeping Ingram unsigned allowed the club to move him such a deal — once he signs his rookie contract, the former Duke standout can’t be traded for a month.

The delay also gave the Lakers the opportunity to make the most of their leftover cap room. Ingram’s cap hold of $4,401,400 has been on Los Angeles’ books for the last couple months, but that number will increase to $5,281,680 once he officially signs his deal, since he’ll get the maximum allowable 120% of his rookie-scale amount.

[RELATED: Salaries For 2016 First-Round Picks]

The difference between those two figures only works out to about $880K, but there was no reason for L.A. to give up that extra flexibility early. That flexibility appears to have allowed the Lakers to max out their cap room with deals for Yi Jianlian and Zach Auguste this week, though we haven’t yet seen the official numbers on those contracts.

Ingram, who will turn 19 next month, averaged 17.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.4 BPG, and 1.1 SPG while shooting 41.0% from three-point range during his first and only college season. He was viewed as the consensus No. 2 prospect in this year’s draft behind first overall pick Ben Simmons.

Lakers To Sign Zach Auguste

The Lakers have reached an agreement with former Notre Dame power forward Zach Auguste, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Auguste played for the Lakers’ summer league team in Las Vegas, averaging 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Terms of the deal were not available.

When Auguste signs, he will be the 16th player on the roster, and Pincus speculates that he could either be ticketed for the D-League or L.A. is planning to open a roster spot by getting rid of Nick Young (Twitter link).

The 6’10”, 240-pound Auguste was a double-double machine with the Irish, averaging 14.0 points and 10.8 rebounds during his senior season. He was rated as the 76th best prospect by DraftExpress and was not selected on draft night.

Western Notes: Thunder, Spurs, Lakers

Thunder lead assistant coach Adrian Griffin, who joined the team in July, has developed a reputation as a defensive-minded coach with a knack for fostering relationships with players, and his presence should impact Oklahoma City in a positive way, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. Griffin served as an assistant coach on Scott Skiles‘ staff in Orlando last season and was under consideration by the Magic to replace Skiles before Frank Vogel nabbed the post.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • With Tim Duncan retired, there is no better fit for Pau Gasol than the Spurs and San Antonio should benefit from the all-star’s presence on both ends of the floor, Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders writes. With Gregg Popovich, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard still on board, the addition of Gasol will likely help the Spurs legacy live on, Hamilton adds.
  • Former Lakers player Jordan Farmar, who ended last season with the Grizzlies, said he has no doubt that first-year head coach Luke Walton is the best fit for the job in Los Angeles, Serena Winters of Lakers Nation relays. “He really has a high basketball IQ and understands the game,” Farmar said. “He’ll make it fun, enjoyable, easy and he’ll be on their team. It’s not going to be like a dictatorship with Luke, he’s going to lead with positive energy.”

Luke Walton Fills Out Coaching Staff

The Lakers have hired Jud Buechler, Brian Keefe and Theo Robertson as player development coaches, BA Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Casey Owens has also been hired as an assistant coach/advance professional scout, while Will Scott has been named a video coordinator to round out Luke Walton’s staff. Brian Shaw, Jesse Mermuys and Mark Madsen had previously been named as assistants by Walton.

  • Veteran coach Del Harris believes Yi Jianlian’s second foray into the NBA will go much more smoothly than his first one, Kevin Wang of ESPN.com reports. Jianlian signed a one-year deal with the Lakers this week that could be worth as much as $8MM. Yi bounced around the league for five seasons before returning to China in 2012. Harris, who is familiar with Yi after coaching the Chinese national team, said Yi’s style of play fits Walton’s offensive scheme. “I think that is the right team for him,” Harris told Wang. “He should be able to play for them and will really fit the style Luke employed so well last year [with the Warriors].”

Nance Jr.'s Wrist Injury Almost Healed

  • Lakers forward Larry Nance, Jr. is “close to completely healed” from a right wrist sprain, Mike Trudell of TWCSportsNet tweets. Nance Jr. been shooting at the team’s practice facility, Trudell adds. He suffered the injury while playing a Summer League game last month.
  • Former Lakers small forward Devin Ebanks has signed with Reales de La Vega in the Dominican Republic, Sportando.com tweets. Ebanks played in Puerto Rico last season. The 26-year-old Ebanks played three seasons for the Lakers, appearing in 63 games, but hasn’t played an NBA game since 2012/13.

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