The news came in tonight. The Lakers decided not to match the offer sheet the Warriors gave Ronny Turiaf. The backup power forward / center goes to Golden State for $17 million over four seasons.
It matters to the Kings because the Lakers lost a big man who played about 19 minutes a game last season, an important reserve off the bench, and reduces the chances L.A. would deal Lamar Odom to get a small forward, Ron Artest. That's not a certainty and Mitch Kupchak could have another move in the works to add stability inside. But no way around it for now: a Lakers-Kings deal just became less likely.
With Turiaf gone, the Lakers have five players 6-10 or taller. One of those, Vladimir Radmanovic, is a soft, flighty small forward. Another, Chris Mihm, played 59, zero and 23 games the last three seasons, mostly because of injuries. That leaves three real options for inside play: Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Odom.
Plus, Bynum is coming off a knee operation that cost him the second half of the regular season and the entire playoffs, an injury more severe than the Lakers first expected, making them even more vulnerable. If Bynum does not come back well or has additional setbacks and Odom is not there, there's potential for real problems.
So it's especially tough to part with Odom now, a big risk that would leave the Lakers exposed if they made the trade with the Kings. Again, L.A. will make some move and beef up no matter what, but it won't get anyone as good as Odom.
Without Bynum, Gasol is the center, Mihm is his wobbly backup and Odom is the power forward. With Bynum, he's the center, Gasol is the power forward and Odom is the small forward.