After taking his physical Monday at the Lakers’ training facility, forward Devin Ebanks will sign the Lakers’ qualifying offer that entails a one-year deal worth a little more than $1 million, according to his agent, David Bauman.
The deal doesn’t exactly elicit the same headlines as the Lakers’ acquiring Steve Nash or Dwight Howard this off-season. But it is yet another move the Lakers have made to shore up a bench that finished near the last in the league in scoring.
Ebanks, 23, averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in his second season with the Lakers last year, and earned a few unexpected promotions. He started the season’s first four games at small forward. Ebanks started five games at shooting guard while Kobe Bryant nursed a left shin injury in the season. And Ebanks started in place of Metta World Peace during his seven-game suspension for elbowing Oklahoma City guard James Harden two games before the playoffs. As a starter, Ebanks averaged 6.4 points on 47.8% shooting and 3.2 rebounds. Bauman said four other unspecified teams made “serious calls” about Ebanks, but sensed he’s going to keep developing with the Lakers.
Ebanks “feels they know him now and what he’s capable of and can contribute,” Bauman told The Times in a phone interview Sunday evening. “He’s going to be given a chance to get a role on the team.”
Ebanks had originally agreed to the offer on July 10, but he never signed the contract. The Lakers wanted flexibility in case they needed more roster space during a trade. Meanwhile, Ebanks wanted to avoid being thrown into a possible deal. He also nursed a knee injury that caused him to miss Summer League.
Bauman also represents reserve shooting guard Jodie Meeks, who recently accepted a two-year, $3-million deal with the Lakers that includes a team option on the second year. Meeks also plans to take his physical Monday and then sign his contract. Bauman said that around 12 to 14 teams expressed interest in Meeks, including the Washington Wizards, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies.
The 6-foot-4 Meeks, who played for the Philadelphia 76ers in three of his four NBA seasons, averaged a career-high 37% from three-point range in the last two years.
He averaged 8.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 25 minutes a game last season, when he played in all 66 games, starting 50. Meeks is expected to relieve Kobe Bryant and provide outside shooting when Bryant, Howard, Nash and Pau Gasol draw double teams.
“For a team like the Lakers, the ability to hit an open three is crucial,” Bauman said. “The Dwight deal definitely put the scale in favor of the Lakers. There was no question at that point.”