Kupchak has said he hopes to add two front-court players and a guard, at least, and that he believes he can accomplish it despite the financial restrictions. Although the mid-level might not be enough for some — Brown, Payton and Howard appear to be hedging — the Lakers believe others, Malone, for one, might come for less, freeing dollars to fill out the roster with players such as Scottie Pippen, Reggie Miller, Eric Piatkowski, Kendall Gill, Sean Rooks or Tyronn Lue. There may also be some interest in re-signing Mark Madsen. The Chicago Bulls contacted Pippen on Tuesday about returning to the city of his championships. In fact, Bull General Manager John Paxson called the signing of Pippen the team's first priority, and Pippen could be lured with a promise of a post-career management position.
The Lakers spoke to Bartelstein about free agent center-forward Brad Miller as well, and Bartelstein said he might also bring clients Walt Williams and Eddie House into future discussions. However, some in the organization believe Brown, primarily a rebounder and defender, is the best of all free-agent fits for the Lakers.
The Lakers' L.A. Pro Summer League roster will include draft picks Brian Cook and Luke Walton, second-year Lakers Kareem Rush and Jannero Pargo, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jr. and former Kansas player Eric Chenowith. Players report Friday, practice twice Saturday and open their schedule Sunday at the Pyramid in Long Beach. Kurt Rambis is coach.