Los Angeles Notes: Smith, Free Agents, Russell

The Lakers have whiffed on signing big name free agents over the past few years, but Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers still believes the franchise is a prime destination for players, Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. “I think they’re always going to be an option,” Rivers told Holmes. “I think the two teams in L.A. will always be an option for everyone else. You see the traffic every day, right? People like living here. Really. Despite the taxes, they still like living here. It tells you something, and the Lakers have a ton of money. So I think they’re a free agent destination for a lot of people.

When asked about the Lakers’ recent history of coming up empty in free agency, Rivers said, “First of all, a lot of guys don’t leave at the end of the day. Not as many as you’d think would leave. A lot of them don’t. Some change their mind, which is terrific. It’s tough. It’s tough getting guys. But they’ll end up doing it right, eventually. They just have too much money. And they’re in L.A.”

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Josh Smith has had difficulty cracking Rivers’ rotation with the Clippers and admits that while he’s not pleased with his current amount of playing time, he is striving to remain upbeat, Robert Morales of The Long Beach Press-Telegram relays. “I’ve had my ups and downs, but for the most part I’m a positive individual,” said Smith. “There aren’t a lot of things that can keep me down. When I feel myself getting into the slumps, I just think about my kids, my wife; my father is out here with me. A lot of that takes the weight off my shoulders, getting myself into a place where negativity doesn’t sink in.” The combo forward is currently averaging 14.6 minutes per contest on the season, which is well shy of his previous career-low of 25.5 minutes per appearance.
  • Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell has argued that increased playing time and freedom in the team’s offense would hasten his development, a notion that his coach, Byron Scott, disagrees with, noting that Russell has to earn any extra minutes, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. “If I let him run the show, you would have four other guys pretty [ticked] off every time they’re down the floor,” said Scott, who also noted that Russell looks more for his shot off pick-and-rolls than running the offense. “I want this to be more collective. Then, everybody can try to touch the ball and everybody feels a part of scoring.”

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