It’s no secret that the Lakers needed to find talent willing to sign up to play for them at a bargain price to round out their roster for next season, once the plan to convince Dwight Howard to stay fell through and the team still had a payroll north of $70 million staring them in the face.
L.A. was able to get Chris Kaman and Nick Young below market value, and while teams weren’t necessarily clamoring over the services of Jordan Farmar, he too took a significant pay cut to return to play in the NBA for the Lakers.
Speaking at his introductory press conference on Friday, Farmar explained how he’s always wanted to return to Los Angeles, and that at this point in his career, dollars were far from the primary consideration.
The exact amount of money Farmar gave up to leave Turkey is unclear, but estimates range from $5-10 million.
“I was fortunate enough to go away and make some money to set my family up and be comfortable this decision wasn’t really financial,” he said. “Barring major injury, I’m still 26 years old. I feel like I have a long time to play basketball.”
“I just really wanted to make a sacrifice to be here. Not everyone is able to call the Lakers up and they take you,” Farmar said. “I thought it was important to do my part to make that happen. If that was sacrificing some dollars today, it was worth it for me.”
Farmar initiated contact with the team to begin the conversation, and once the Lakers were on board, the rest of the pieces fell into place.
Farmar clashed with Phil Jackson a bit during his first tour of duty in L.A., mainly due to feeling constrained by the limitations of the triangle offense in terms of the opportunities it presents for players at the point guard position. Farmar always was more of an explosive presence than an initiator, so it’s no surprise he’s excited by the prospect of playing in Mike D’Antoni’s offense this time around.
That was just one factor in the plus column for Farmar as he considered the Lakers. Getting the opportunity to showcase his more mature game back in the NBA (and back in the states) was another, and the two together likely helped his decision to return home to play in Los Angeles — even for several million less than he could have made while staying overseas.