Los Angeles Daily News: Karl Malone is prepared to join the Lakers -- with or without Gary Payton at his side -- and it might be only a matter of days before the 14-time All-Star makes an oral commitment, according to sources close to the situation.
Malone was the first free agent to meet with Lakers officials last week, and it appears he will be the first piece of their rebuilding project to fall into place. He has given Lakers officials every indication he is ready to end his 18-year relationship with the Utah Jazz and accept a major pay cut to play alongside Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal.
Nothing can become official until July 16, the first day of the NBA's signing period, and there's nothing to prevent Malone from changing his mind, if sentiment and emotion intervene.
But Lakers officials are quietly confident Malone has already made his decision to come to L.A. and pursue the championship that has long eluded him. One source went so far as to call it "a done deal."
The Lakers continue to woo Payton as well -- he was expected to meet Monday with general manager Mitch Kupchak -- but his decision will not necessarily affect Malone's, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
Malone offered to play for the $1.5 million exception, thus enabling the Lakers to use their midlevel exception, about $4.7 million, to sign Payton or another impact player.
But the notion that Malone's decision to play here is contingent on Payton's has been "way overplayed" in news reports, said a source close to the situation. If Payton declines the Lakers' offer -- and the Lakers fail to entice another impact player -- Malone will simply ask for the full $4.7 million exception. He also would be willing to split the exception with another free agent. Scottie Pippen or Tyronn Lue are possibilities
http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413 ... 08,00.html
Damm!! I still want GP also!!!