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Draft day passes relatively quietly for Lakers

- Associated Press - Friday, June 24, 2011

EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. (AP) - The NBA draft came and went, and the core of the Los Angeles Lakers remains the same.

Despite rumors of potential trades that would have altered their roster, the Lakers didn't make any significant moves Thursday. Instead, Los Angeles drafted two guards and a pair of forwards with its four second-round selections.

The Lakers took Michigan point guard Darius Morris at No. 41 and guard Andrew Goudelock from the College of Charleston with the 46th pick.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was pleased that both were available when the team selected and was hopeful one, if not both, could make the crowded roster.

"You know what you get when you draft a player in the 40s or 50s," Kupchak said. "Which is a player you hope makes your team. We don't know that, it's not like drafting in the lottery."

Los Angeles picked Chukwudiebere Maduabum out of the NBA Developmental League at No. 56 and Ater Majok from Sudan two picks later. Maduabum was later traded to the Denver Nuggets for a future second-round pick.

The Lakers didn't have a first-round pick for the second straight year. The pick was sent to New Jersey with guard Sasha Vujacic in exchange for Joe Smith and a pair of second-round choices.

The Lakers fortified the point guard position by taking hometown product Morris with the first of those picks. He was named to the All-Big Ten third team as a sophomore, setting a Michigan record with 235 assists.

Morris averaged 15 points and 6.7 assists last season.

"It was always my goal to play in the NBA," Morris said "But I never thought I'd be playing for the Lakers in my hometown. It's a dream come true."

The team added a sharpshooter in Goudelock, who holds the College of Charleston career scoring record with 2,571 points. He averaged 23.7 points and 4.2 assists as a senior and will attempt to fill the role of 3-point specialist for the Lakers.

"I got a little junk in my game. So I like to do a lot of different things," Goudelock said. "People know I can shoot, so I try to create a lot of things for myself."

Kupchak had mentioned during the draft that the Lakers were looking for backcourt help, particularly given the uncertainty of Shannon Brown.

Brown has provided energy and athleticism off the bench the last 2 1/2 years but has yet to decide whether to exercise his $2.7 million option for next year. Kupchak said if he had to guess, Brown would not extend his contract.

The Lakers were linked to a number of trades in the days leading up the draft, including a rumored proposed swap of forward Lamar Odom for Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala. Kupchak shot down the rumors, while stopping short of saying the roster would remain the same heading into next season.

"Based on the rumors we've heard the last week or so," he said, "I don't anticipate any of those things to take place today, tomorrow, or the next day."

Kupchak called much of the trade speculation that has surfaced "agent-driven."

"I think other teams have been exploring major moves with us," Kupchak said. "I think we've been consistent over the last month or so that it's not our goal to look to break up this team. Certainly we'll look to explore opportunities, but we're not out there dialing 27, 28 teams. That's not what we're doing."

One person who wasn't actively involved in the draft process was new head coach Mike Brown.

Brown was hired in May and is currently finalizing his coaching staff and settling his family in Southern California. He said he trusted the front office to handle the draft responsibilities.

"For me to come in and try to influence my opinion on this draft doesn't make sense," Brown said. "Those guys have been at it for many years and have been at this particular draft for the whole year, if not the last couple years."

Brown has slowly begun meeting with his new players and said he's comfortable moving forward with the current roster.

"I love this team," he said. "And I think this team is built to win championships. I'm excited about coaching the guys we have."

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