Lakers Finish Up with Chinemelu Elonu
Published by Mike Trudell | June 25, 2009 @ 9:04pm PST

The Lakers selected Chinemelu Elonu from Texas A&M (via Nigeria) with the 59th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. A 6-10 junior, Elonu was drafted after the Lakers traded the draft rights to Patrick Beverley - whom they'd selected at No. 42 - to the Miami Heat for a future second round pick.

"Basically it's keeping in line with our philosophy with the draft," said Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak. "We ranked the players in the draft and we ended up getting the guy that we thought would be the 34th best guy in the draft at 59."

Kupchak said that Elonu would likely play for the Lakers in the summer league and have a chance to make the team depending on if he's "as good as we think he is."

"He's a wonderful person," Kupchak added. "Great kid. Plays hard. He's developing, every year he's getting better and better."


GM Mitch Kupchak Talks #29 & #42
Published by Mike Trudell | June 25, 2009 @ 8:24pm PST

A quick transcription of Mitch Kupchak's initial reactions after L.A. traded its first pick (29) and took Patrick Beverley*** (who played in Ukraine this past season) with its second (42). Kupchak talked about why L.A. traded the pick (for cash and a future second rounder) and addressed the move in relation to L.A.'s unrestricted free agents.

***UPDATE: The Lakers traded Beverley’s rights to the Heat for a future second round pick.

- "We think we did the right thing. As I've indicated, there's a chance if we can keep our team together that we really wouldn't have roster space for draft picks. This year's draft we felt was not as strong down in the 29 range. We had made provisions that if a player had dropped ... We could have gotten that player. We didn't feel that would happen, and it didn't happen. We didn't want to committ to a player for two years if there was a chance he wouldn't make the team. The best deal ended up being (with New York).

- On if it helps retain Trevor Ariza, Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown: "I don't know what the market's going to be. After tonight, the draft is behind us and we start to focus on July 1. I don't know what the free agent market is going to hold for us. If a competing team makes an offer that we don't think is a good basketball decision, we won't try to match that offer. We've done that in the past. The fact that you sell a pick and get a future pick doesn't mean it's going to translate into a player on July 1, but it certainly won't hurt."

- On Patrick Beverley: "He played overseas last year, it's something that remains possible (leaving him overseas). At the 42nd pick there may or may not be guaranteed money and we'll see if he can make the team."


Toney Douglas Traded to Knicks
Published by Mike Trudell | June 25, 2009 @ 7:45pm PST

After selecting Florida State’s Toney Douglas with the 29th pick of the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Lakers sent the guard to the New York Knicks for a future 2nd round pick and cash considerations.

Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak had stated prior to the draft the Lakers would look to move at least one if not more of the team’s three picks, which was confirmed early in the second round by the NBA.

For the moment, L.A. retained control of the 42nd and 59th picks in the Second Round. Kupchak added in his pre-draft press conference that the Lakers may either select an international player in the second round and keep him there, or stash a pick in a European league. Kupchak’s primary goal heading into the draft was to maintain a 13-player roster that didn’t necessarily include a draft pick.