Thursday, July 15, 2004

Lakers say Bryant no sure bet to return

The Associated Press

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. - Kobe Bryant may indeed join the Clippers. That's the word from the Lakers.

"We have no idea whether Kobe will come back," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Wednesday after completing the Shaquille O'Neal trade. "We're hopeful that he'll re-sign, but we don't even know that.

"I think (signing with the Clippers) is a real possibility with the cap space they've created."

So after being blessed with two of the league's few true superstars for the past several years, the Lakers may soon have none.

"Kobe's a free agent," Kupchak said, also reiterating what he said last month - that the Lakers won't do a sign-and-trade deal involving Bryant. "There exists the possibility we'll get nothing."

SPURS: Free agent forward Bruce Bowen re-signed with the team, and signed top draft pick Beno Udrih.

The team would not release contract details, but the San Antonio Express-News has reported Bowen's deal to be worth an estimated $12 million over three years.

The 6-foot-7 Bowen, one of the NBA's team perimeter defenders, was named to the All-Defensive first team last season after being on the second team the previous three years.

Bowen, 33, averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 2003-04, his third year with San Antonio.

Udrih, a 21-year-old from Slovenia, was the 28th pick in last month's NBA draft to back up Tony Parker at point guard.

GRIZZLIES: Memphis signed free agent Brian Cardinal, adding size and experience.

Cardinal, a 6-8, 245-pound forward, played in 76 games for Golden State last season, starting 11.

The Commercial Appeal of Memphis cited sources in saying Cardinal signed a six-year deal for part of the $5 million midlevel allowance.

RAPTORS: New general manager Rob Babcock would like Vince Carter to stay in Toronto. He just isn't sure if Carter wants to.

"It certainly would be nicer if I knew he definitely wanted to be here, but I can't control Vince," Babcock said .

Carter is said to be unhappy that the Raptors didn't involve him in their search for a general manager. Babcock was hired in early June.

New coach Sam Mitchell and Babcock hope to meet with Carter.

BOBCATS-CLIPPERS: Expansion Charlotte made four additions to its roster, acquiring Melvin Ely and Eddie House in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers and signing free agents Jason Hart and Tamar Slay.

Charlotte sent the Clippers second-round draft picks in 2005 and 2006 in the deal, which frees up $2.5 million in salary cap money.

SUNS: Phoenix signed free agent guard Quentin Richardson to an offer sheet, leaving the Los Angeles Clippers with 15 days to match the $45 million, six-year offer. Bonuses could push the total to $48 million.

BUCKS: Washington center Etan Thomas signed an offer sheet with Milwaukee, giving the Wizards until July 29 to match it.

MAVERICKS: Dallas re-signed guard Marquis Daniels to a reported five-year deal that includes a team option for a sixth season that will pay the point guard $30.625 million.

SIXERS: Brian Skinner is back after a year's absence, adding size and depth to the frontcourt for a team he never wanted to leave.

Skinner, 6-foot-9, 265 pounds, signed a deal that could be worth $25 million over five years.

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