Printer Friendly

LAKERS NOTEBOOK: LAKERS GM, MALONE MEET.

Byline: Howard Beck Staff Writer

Mitch Kupchak's search for a top-tier power forward took him Wednesday to Orange County, where he met with Karl Malone and his agent for several hours on the second day of the NBA's free-agent negotiating period.

No one involved would comment on the meeting, but a source confirmed it took place in the early afternoon. Malone is represented by Dwight Manley, who is based in Newport Beach.

The Lakers have a gaping hole in the frontcourt after cutting loose Robert Horry on Monday. Their top three power forwards last season - Horry, Samaki Walker and Mark Madsen - are all free agents.

Malone, a future Hall of Famer, is considering leaving the Utah Jazz, the only team he has known in 18 NBA seasons. He is among the top free agents on the market and one of the Lakers' prime targets.

They also are making pitches to Gary Payton, Juwan Howard, P.J. Brown, Brad Miller and Derrick Coleman. But after two days of talks, it has become clear most of them are out of the Lakers' price range.

Payton is demanding considerably more than the $4.7 million the Lakers can pay, and will only come to the Lakers in a more lucrative sign-and-trade deal. The Lakers do not have the assets to swing a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks and therefore have little chance of landing Payton.

Miller, Brown and Coleman all figure to get better offers from their current teams. In preliminary talks, none has indicated a willingness to take a pay cut to play for the Lakers.

Malone and Howard are the only two high-profile free agents who seem willing to sacrifice dollars for a shot at a championship.

``I want to win,'' Howard told Sporting News Radio on Wednesday. ``I am not trying to go out and go with the highest bidder. It's about being in the right situation where I have a chance to win.''

Malone and Manley are conducting conference calls with a number of interested teams, but Kupchak was the first to meet with them in person. Jazz officials have yet to schedule a meeting.

Malone earned $19 million with the Jazz last season. But he turns 40 later this month, has only two or three years left in the league and wants badly to win a championship before he retires.

``The priority is the winning ability, the championship caliber of the team,'' Manley said. ``So when you make that the priority, it makes it a lot easier to weigh the different situations. You put money as the secondary issue.''

Manley would not say which teams are pursuing his client, although Malone previously has listed the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Sacramento Kings as possible destinations.

Malone was in Hollywood on Wednesday night attending a movie premiere with his family and told a TV news crew ``I'd be very interested (in playing for the Lakers). I have a lot of respect for Kobe (Bryant) and Shaq (O'Neal).''

He also has not ruled out returning to the Jazz, which is what many NBA insiders believe he ultimately will do. Malone is beloved in Salt Lake City, and he has threatened to leave many times before eventually re-signing with the Jazz.

If the Lakers strike out on the top free agents - Kupchak admits it's a possibility - they will try to split the midlevel exception between two lesser players.

Kupchak declined to say who he has spoken to so far but said the first two days of talks were ``pretty typical'' - a feeling-out period in which everyone tries to size up the market.

No contracts can be signed until July 16. The Lakers plan to add three or four players, including at least two big men.

--Also: Draft picks Brian Cook and Luke Walton were introduced to the media Wednesday. Cook, who wore No. 34 in college, found that number unavailable and inverted the numbers for his Lakers jersey. Walton will wear No. 4. ... The Lakers expect to have both rookies signed by Saturday. As a first-round pick, Cook is eligible to receive a three-year deal worth about $2.4 million. Walton, a second-round pick, will receive the rookie minimum, $367,000. ... Cook and Walton will join last year's rookies, Kareem Rush and Jannero Pargo, on the Lakers' summer-league team, which begins play Sunday at Long Beach State.

Howard Beck, (818) 713-3613

howard.beck(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

photo, 2 boxes

Photo:

KARL MALONE

A source confirmed the free-agent forward met with Mitch Kupchak.

Box:

(1) LAKERS SUMMER SCHEDULE

L.A. Summer Pro League at Long Beach State

(2) ROSTER
COPYRIGHT 2003 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2003, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 3, 2003
Words:768
Previous Article:NFL UPDATE: COLISEUM BEING CAREFUL PRESERVATIONIST CONCERNS PROMPT TALKS.
Next Article:SWIMMING NOTEBOOK: RULE KEEPS FARRELL FROM IRISH WATERS.


Related Articles
MIRROR, MIRROR; DODGERS, LAKERS: CAN BIG-LEAGUE CLUBS HAVE TWIN PSYCHES?
ALL THAT'S LEFT IS DELIVERY CONFIRMATION MALONE, NBA'S `MAILMAN,' APPEARS HEADED TO LAKERS.
WE CAN ALL USE TROUBLE LIKE THIS.
FANS JAZZED ABOUT FORMER BAD GUY.
STARS' FATE TO BE MATES PAYTON, MALONE JOIN AT LAKERS CROSSROAD.
STOCKTON'S RETIREMENT SET THE STAGE.
LAKERS NOTEBOOK: MALONE CAN'T WAIT TO PLAY JAZZ.
SHIRT HEARD 'ROUND THE WORLD MALONE'S ROUGH PLAY IRKS ROCKETS, BUT HIS FORTITUDE HELPING LAKERS.
SPURRED BY FATE PLAYOFF LOSS LAST SPRING LED MALONE TO LAKERS.
LAKERS NOTEBOOK: 'SAMURAI,' NOT FISHER KING.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters