But in this same process, the Lakers are stalling out smaller talent in this chase, mainly players whom they failed to renounce coming into free agency. Jordan Farmar, the latest Clippers signee (deal can’t be made official until July 10th), was a victim of circumstances, noting in an interview with ESPN.com that his former team failed to commit to the seventh year point guard.
“They didn’t want to commit to me,” said Farmar on the Lakers. “I understood the situation with them, what was going on and would I be willing to wait. What am I waiting for? There was no real definitive answer. It was, ‘Yeah, we like you, we’d love to have you here,’ but I didn’t know what I was waiting for. You don’t know who the coach is. You don’t know who I am going to be playing with.”
“They made no commitment to me on that part.”
Coming into the off-season, the Lakers were equipped with enough cap space to offer a full max contract if they chose to. In their free agency meeting with Carmelo Anthony, the four-year, $96 million was offered to the small forward, and according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the same would be offered to four-time MVP LeBron James.
This leaves the coup of free agents who played for the Lakers last season in limbo. Do they wait on the Lakers to make their move, hire their coach, and then negotiate, or do they jump at the first offer that comes their way?
Jodie Meeks (DET), Chris Kaman (POR), and Farmar (LAC) have jumped ship. Pau Gasol surveys the free agent landscape, drawing interested from New York, Chicago, Miami, and Oklahoma City, his move possibly being dictated by what Anthony and James do. Kent Bazemore is drawing closer to signing a deal, currently in Atlanta to meet with the Atlanta Hawks. But the rest? There’s been little news on Jordan Hill, Wesley, Johnson, etc.
And in the Lakers waiting period, Doc Rivers swept in and grabbed his backup point guard, using a comfort and scenery as the drawing pitch.
“[The Clippers] came the hardest basketball-wise; it’s probably the best situation situation out there for me,” Farmar said. “I turned down more money elsewhere. I get to stay home in L.A. and play for a contender, which is important to me.”
Farmar has shown he can be a key contributor on a championship team as he’s the owner of two rings, is arguably a better fit within the system than Darren Collison while costing the Clippers a fraction of the price.
It’s a match made in Los Angeles.