Knicks acquire 29th pick from Lakers
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak followed through on his intention to deal the pick after saying Wednesday the pick had generated a lot of interest.
"Certain teams, they may want to preserve cap space for the next year or two and they may need to add players," Kupchak said. "A good way to add talent at a fixed price is to have a lot of draft choices and then you can still maintain cap space a year from now."
The Lakers selected Florida State shooting guard Toney Douglas with the 29th pick.
The Lakers still have the 42nd and 59th picks in the second round of the draft.
The Lakers are hopeful they will re-sign Trevor Ariza, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom, all of whom become unrestricted free agents on July 1. If so, that would bring the roster to 13 players, making it unlikely the team would add another player.
"With our situation, you don't want to draft players that can't make your team because your roster's full," Kupchak said Wednesday. "So we may look to move or to exchange our draft picks for future picks or whatever we choose to do."
With point guard Derek Fisher approaching 35, Kupchak acknowledged the team has been preparing to find his successor. Leading up to the draft, the team has worked out about 30 players.
"We have Jordan [Farmar], who's had moments when he looks like the guy who could assume that position and Shannon Brown did a great job as well, but I think that position in the future is still undetermined," Kupchak said. "We need to figure out who is going to take over that position when Derek retires."
Kupchak anticipates finding out whether Phil Jackson will return as coach by mid-July after Jackson checks out his health issues.
During his two stints with the Lakers, Jackson has had two hip replacement surgeries, an angioplasty and gout. He missed two games last season with swelling and soreness in both legs.
Jackson said in an interview with ESPN Radio on Tuesday that "we've toyed around with that idea" of having him coach home games and having assistant Kurt Rambis coach road games next season.
But Kupchak said Wednesday that Jackson wouldn't return unless he's able to coach the entire 82-game schedule.
"What he said, he didn't mean it to sound the way it sounded," Kupchak said. "If he comes back to coach, he will come back and coach both home and away games. During my discussion with him it was pretty clear that that type of scenario doesn't work and that's his opinion as well."
Kupchak believes there is a good chance of Jackson returning.
"I think he wants to come back, I think he likes our team, he's excited, he's very energized with what took place this year," Kupchak said. "I think it solely rests on his ability medically to come back and coach. I've got no indication there's been a red flag yet."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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