View Full Version : Sabonis Return Would Intrigue the Lakers

08-02-2002, 04:48 PM
Sabonis Return Would Intrigue the Lakers
By Tim Brown

Arvydas Sabonis' return to the NBA after a year away appears to be a possibility and therefore he is at least a curiosity for the Lakers, who would like a backup to Shaquille O'Neal but don't have much to spend for it.

Sabonis, the hulking 7-foot-3, 37-year-old Lithuanian, was last seen fleeing the Portland Trail Blazers, one of whom, Rasheed Wallace, had thrown a towel in his face during a regular-season game at Staples Center against the Lakers. He was said to have been in Los Angeles this week, though the Lakers neither met with Sabonis nor planned to.

General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Coach Phil Jackson are out of town.

Laker management has had discussions with Sabonis' agent, Chicago-based Herb Rudoy, to investigate the chance Sabonis would restart his career as a reserve in Los Angeles.

Sources in Portland said Sabonis would meet as early as Tuesday with Trail Blazer President/General Manager Bob Whitsitt and Coach Maurice Cheeks, though Whitsitt would not confirm that, and that the Trail Blazers already had offers of $6 million for one year or $10 million for two years on the table.

Though those close to Sabonis regularly claim he has not played since retiring after the 2000-01 season--a career choice for which O'Neal gleefully takes credit--Sabonis apparently has worked out with a professional team in Malaga, Spain, where he resides, and with a team he partly owns in Lithuania. In March, Sabonis told a Lithuanian reporter that he was only 15 pounds over his playing weight and that he was swimming and shooting regularly.

The Trail Blazers, overmatched with Dale Davis at center against O'Neal, retain their rights to Sabonis, and therefore can offer far more than the Lakers can, despite being well over the salary cap. The Lakers have only their $1.4-million exception, and apparently would have to sell Sabonis on a chance for a championship.

Tim Brown

First-round pick Chris Wilcox signed a three-year contract with the Clippers worth about $5.16 million under the rookie wage scale.

The 6-10, 221-pound forward was the eighth selection in the draft.

Phoenix Sun forward Shawn Marion agreed to a $79-million, six-year contract, according to a team official who did not want to be identified.... The New Jersey Nets brought Chris Childs back into the fold, signing him to a two-year, $3.5-million contract as a backup for point guard Jason Kidd.... The Denver Nuggets acquired forward Don Reid and a future first-round selection from the Orlando Magic for a second-round draft pick in 2004.

Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Times

Article received on Friday, August 02 2002 at 10:37 EDT
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08-02-2002, 05:35 PM
This is like New York papers thinking someone wants to trade them a young All-Star for Sprewell. Someone is going to have to wave a lot of money at Sabonis to convince him to leave his very comfortable life in his home land to come back here and put his knees through another NBA season. Since LA "don't have much to spend for it." why would anyone with half a brain think they have a chance to get Sabonis?

08-03-2002, 12:36 AM
<< why would anyone with half a brain think they have a chance to get Sabonis? >>

because some half brains might think wearing an NBA Championship ring is the greatest thing a basketball player could possibly hope for?

08-10-2002, 08:56 PM

Blazers: Sabonis contemplates return
Added: 10th August, 2002

The Associated Press reports that Arvydas Sabonis was in Portland this week to chat with Trail Blazers president Bob Whitsitt and could be contemplating a return to the team. He went out to dinner with Whitsitt and the coaching staff on Wednesday night and worked out with Damon Stoudamire and Ruben Patterson on Thursday according to the Oregonian.

``The fact that he came over here shows he is definitely thinking about it,'' Whitsitt said. ``Can I tell you that he's decided yes? No, he hasn't. But I can tell you he is seriously thinking about it because he is doing his homework.''

Because Sabonis did not play for another team last season, and because the Blazers did not renounce their rights to him, Portland retains what is referred to as his ``Larry Bird rights.'' That means the Blazers are not limited in what they can offer Sabonis. It is thought that Sabonis will ask $6 million to $8 million for one season. He made $11.25 million in his last season with the Blazers.

Whitsitt said money never came up during Sabonis' visit.

``The first thing I need to hear from him is that he really wants to play in the NBA again,'' Whitsitt said. ``Then we can talk about putting something together.''

08-11-2002, 01:17 PM
InsideHoops.com has learned that Gerald Wallace and Trajan Langdon are out of the NBA and will be playing overseas this season