Lakers let Turiaf go to Warriors, will look to Bynum in middle
LOS ANGELES -- With great reluctance, the Los Angeles Lakers decided at Friday's deadline they wouldn't match Golden State's offer for Ronny Turiaf, meaning the former second-round draft choice will move up the California coast to play for the Warriors.
ESPN.com's J.A. Andande first reported the Lakers would not match the offer.
"There are emotional ties with Ronny that go beyond basketball," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said on a conference call. "I think that makes it difficult. I think organizations that draft players who turn out to be good players, it's hard for them to let go of those players. And if you know Ronny, you know he's a special kid."
The Warriors signed Turiaf, a restricted free agent, to a four-year, $17 million offer sheet last week. By rule, the Lakers had seven days to decide whether to match it. The three-year veteran from Gonzaga averaged 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds in 78 games with the Western Conference champions last season, making 21 starts.
The Lakers played much of last season without starting center Andrew Bynum, giving Turiaf the opportunity for more playing time than he would have had otherwise. But, Kupchak said, Bynum is expected to be healthy when training camp begins in early October, and Turiaf's opportunities figured to be diminished significantly.
Kupchak said Bynum has been in New York and underwent physical therapy in 19 of the last 21 days and has been cleared to work out and play.
"He's basically on his own to begin conditioning and basketball activity, starting today," Kupchak said. "It's a process. Based on what he did last year, I would expect him to come in in mid-September basically in great shape. I know that's his goal. He's coming back this weekend, we're going to meet with him Monday. He will go to Atlanta late next week to begin his training for the upcoming season."
With frontcourt players like Bynum, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Vladimir Radmanovic, Luke Walton, Trevor Ariza and Chris Mihm on the roster, that wouldn't appear to leave much playing time for Turiaf. Kupchak said he believes that Mihm, who missed most of the last two seasons with ankle problems, will also be fully healthy at the start of training camp.
"We will miss Ronny, we will miss his contributions on and off the court, the emotion and the energy he brought, whether he's playing or not," Kupchak said.
Kupchak said he met with Turiaf for about an hour Thursday.
"It was a very emotional meeting because he loves the city, he loves the organization, there are certain bonds here," Kupchak said. "He feels it's in his best interests to move on. The last thing you want is a young player like Ronny no matter what he's being paid is being on the bench at 25 years old and not playing.
"We discussed it yesterday, he wants to play, and sees an opportunity to play in Golden State at least twofold what he can play here."
The Warriors certainly have a much greater need for big men than the Lakers.
Kupchak said the Lakers will now focus on re-signing guard Sasha Vujacic, another restricted free agent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
MORE NBA HEADLINES
- Sources: Love trade talks narrowed to Cavs
- Riley says Heat OK after LeBron's departure
- Sources: 76ers fighting new lottery proposal
- Stern praises Silver for handling of Sterling
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
FREE AGENCY 2008
The NBA offseason has been busier than expected, thanks in part to Elton Brand's joining the 76ers. Keep up with the latest moves. Transactions
News• George's deal with Mavs made official
• Brown returns to New Orleans to back up Paul
• Veteran Finley re-signs with Spurs
• Nuggets re-sign Smith to multiyear deal
• Miles signs with champion Celtics
• George, Mavs agree to two-year deal
• Clips re-sign free-agent center Paul Davis
• Iguodala signs six-year deal with Sixers
• Sources: 76ers, Iguodala agree to multiyear deal
• Hawks match Grizzlies' $58M offer, retain Smith
• Heat's Williams reaches terms with Clippers
• Bobcats' Boykins signs European contract
• Restricted free agent Williams re-signs with 76ers
• Cavs shore up backcourt, sign ex-Grizzly Kinsey
• Arroyo signs with Maccabi Tel-Aviv
• Ex-Clipper draftee Skinner signs deal with team
• Bulls sign Deng to six-year extension
• Sources: Deng, Bulls on verge of deal
• Hawks sign ex-Magic G Evans to contract
• Sources: Okafor, Cats agree on new deal
• Nets lose Krstic to Moscow team
• Clippers sign swingman Davis from Heat
• Vujacic officially signs multiyear deal with Lakers
• Agent: Brown, Pistons agree to deal
• Warriors re-sign Biedrins to 6-year, $62M deal
• Sources: Biedrins, Warriors agree to 6-year deal
• Wolves agree to deal with Gomes
• Lakers, Vujacic agree to 3-year, $15 million deal
• Ellis inks $67 million deal to stay with Warriors
• Summer star Roberson signs with Knicks
• Andersen bolts Hornets to return to Denver
• Telfair re-signs with Timberwolves
• Childress leaves NBA for Greece
• Spurs re-sign Kurt Thomas
• Suns sign ex-Warrior Barnes to one-year deal
• Turiaf to play for Warriors
• Jazz, Williams agree to 4-year extension
• Sources: Clippers, Azubuike agree to offer sheet
• Bucks add veterans Allen, Lue
• Posey agrees to 4-year deal with Hornets
• Arenas signs six-year deal with Wiz
• Mason's hard work pays off in contract with Spurs
• Wright re-signs with Mavericks
• Clippers officially sign Davis to multiyear contract
• Family ties: Brent is 3rd Barry to play for Rockets
• Warriors ink forward Maggette to deal
• Magic sign, introduce ex-Warrior Pietrus
• Nets agree to terms with forwards Najera, Hayes
• Sixers give frontline big boost, sign Brand to deal
• Agent: Bucks to sign Bogut to $60M extension
• Diop rejoins Mavs on 5-year, $31M contract
• Gasol in Memphis: Marc, not Pau, signs contract
• Kings re-sign point guard Udrih to five-year deal
• Heat sign 3-point specialist Jones to 5-year deal
• Sources say Brand will sign with 76ers
• Sources: NBA cap at $58.68 million
• Sources: 76ers confident of getting Brand
• Sixers making run at Brand
• Hawks free agent Smith visits 76ers
• Brand opts out, and Clippers await decision
• Calderon reaches agreement on new Raps deal
• Wizards hang on to Jamison
• Reports: Arenas agrees to six-year contract
• For 2nd year in row, Cats, Okafor to discuss deal
• Artest not opting out of final year of deal
• Paul agrees on four-year, $68M deal
• Davis leaving Warriors for Clippers
• Free Agents: 2008 | 2009 and 2010
Analysis• Hollinger: Hornets pay heavily for Posey's ring
• Martin: Najera's 3-point skills help seal Nets deal
• Stein: Which teams in hot pursuit of free agents?
• Adande: Why Brand left the Clippers
• Broussard: Crushing blow for Clippers
• Arnovitz: Clipper Nation in world of hurt
• Adande: Brand's departure is business as usual
• Hollinger: Brand new Sixers are East challengers
• Hollinger: Five big questions on free agents
• Stein: Davis verbally agrees to go to Clippers
• Broussard: The Clippers' other free agent
• TrueHoop: What is Corey Maggette Worth?
Podcast• Stein on Elton Brand and Baron Davis
• Hollinger on players who may switch teams
• Broussard on the money given to Arenas
• Sheridan on Brand, Davis, Artest and Smith
Video• Bucher on how the Brand deal got done
• Bucher on the latest NBA news
• Arenas agrees to six-year extension