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Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter begin contract negotiations with the Lakers

Jul 23, 2010, 6:42 PM EDT

While teams all around the league are spending big to keep pace with the league’s elite, the league’s elite is quietly making moves to get better and better. Last year’s Lakers were only good enough to win the championship, and yet with a handful of small, conservative moves, L.A. looks stronger than ever. Kobe seems like such a likable guy in the wake of LeBronanza, but when his team is tromping through January (and February and March…)? We’ll see if his approval rating is quite so high.

The Lakers signed Steve Blake to a modest deal, added Matt Barnes at a major discount, picked up Theo Ratliff for fun, and are likely to retain Shannon Brown. Andrew Bynum will hopefully be heathier, and now, according to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times, the Lakers are negotiating with second round picks (and Summer League standouts) Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks.

Caracter and Ebanks were some of the top performers at the Vegas Summer League, and while they may not be pegged for consistent minutes next season, they could conceivably give the Lakers the depth they need as they pace themselves for the long haul. Ebanks’ offensive game was better than advertised, but he’s still the most intriguing as a wing defender. The guy is long, athletic, and intuitive, and while he has a ways to go before he’s ready for a bigger defensive role, Vegas offered a promising beginning.

Caracter, on the other hand, could be ready to chip in immediately. The Lakers already signed Theo Ratliff to fill in for Josh Powell, but that spot on the depth chart may be more fitting for Caracter. If Ratliff could instead push D.J. Mbenga down a notch (should he return) and give Caracter some room to stretch his legs, the Lakers could have a rookie beast on their hands, capable of competing with NBA 4s on the boards while chipping in a few garbage buckets.

Regardless of whether Ebanks and Caracter are significant players in ’10’-’11, both would be fantastic additions for a veteran team like the Lakers. If L.A. eases them into comfortable roles while working on their weaknesses, they could be rewarded in a few seasons with surprisingly consistent role players at a very affordable cost.

  1. Mike - Jul 23, 2010 at 7:08 PM

    Kupchak from today’s presser: “obviously DJ (Mbenga) won’t be returning, so to have a player that will take that position with (Ratliff’s) experience (15 years), ability to defend, rebound, he’s good in the locker room.”
    So Caracter is likely taking Powell’s spot.

  2. Mike - Jul 23, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Kupchak from today’s presser: “obviously DJ (Mbenga) won’t be returning, so to have a player that will take that position with (Ratliff’s) experience (15 years), ability to defend, rebound, he’s good in the locker room.”
    So Caracter is likely taking Powell’s spot.

  3. XAV - Jul 24, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    I guess Phil was agreeing one thing with Buss and Kupchak before free agency, the bench would be boosted after its poor display last season!
    Knowing how injuries are seemingly plagueing the Lakers lately, we need a good bench. Kupchak is doing an AWESOME job!

  4. John - Jul 24, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Devin Ebanks WILL make a great NBA player… Eveything in this article is accurate… He is a hard worker and will be an asset… I wish he would have stayed with the mountaineers for another year… Mountaineer nation wishes him nothing but success..

  5. King Laker - Jul 26, 2010 at 2:59 AM

    Definitely the 2 rookies will be an upgrade to the Lakers roster this season. Welcome aboard Ebanks and Caracter to the LA Lakers, the soon to be 2011 NBA world champions!

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