Jordan Farmar was always a fan favorite for the Lakers in his time on the squad. His departure, which came after multiple seasons of frustration as a bench player, left fans frustrated and conflicted. On Friday, his return to the Lakers became official. After many days of deliberations between the Lakers and his Turkish club on a buyout, the deal has been finalized and Farmar is back home.
“It feels very familiar,” Farmar said in his presser. “It feels like I never left. It feels very comfortable being around here.”
Farmar’s deal has been a complicated one, which Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak detailed prior to introducing Farmar. According to Kupchak, he received a call from Farmar’s representatives a little over two weeks ago expressing his interest in getting back in the NBA, specifically for the Lakers. Kupchak met with Farmar in person for a couple hours, but called it a “re-acquaintance type meeting” and said he “didn’t think something would come of it.” Jordan, however, would have none of the pessimism.
“Within the next 2 or 3 days, due to Jordan’s persistence that this can get done, he convinced me that it could happen,” Kupchak said. “We did sign Jordan to a contract about a week ago.”
However, Farmar and the Lakers couldn’t finish the deal until the buyout was complete with his Turkish team.
“For the last week, we’ve worked on this night and day, he was able to complete the buyout,” Kupchak said. “Something that seemed simple was not that simple, it was pretty complicated. It would not have taken place if Jordan had not been so aggressive and business-like in his approach.”
Farmar, who has spent four years away from the Lakers, talked about his growth since leaving LA.
“For me, it’s been a bit of a journey,” Farmar said. “Last time I sat here, I was 23 years old and part of back-to-back championship teams. I was looking at ways to advance my career and I feel I’ve done that. I’ve grown tremendously as a person and basketball player. The opportunity to come back was something I was going to make happen.”
Farmar, who grew up in California and played college at UCLA, always felt like the Lakers were his home and where he belonged.
“To be honest, I’ve been watching the Lakers since I left. I stayed up at night overseas till 2 or 3 in the morning thinking ‘That’s where I belong’.” Farmar said. “I’ve thought that for a while now. This decision wasn’t financial. I just really wanted to make a sacrifice to be here. It’s not often you call up the Lakers and say ‘I want to be here’ and they take you.”
Farmar, who battled for the starting spot with Derek Fisher for many years before finally leaving on a bit of a sour note, says there’s no other motives for him with the Lakers now.
“This time around, I’m really not looking for anything other than to help where I can,” Farmar said. “I don’t have an agenda. I’m not trying to take Nash’s spot.”
Farmar made it known he felt constricted in Phil Jackson’s triangle system. With Mike D’Antoni, though, Farmar sees a lot more freedom offensively.
“I didn’t get a chance to play pick and roll in the triangle,” Farmar said. “I didn’t come into the NBA as a catch and shoot player, I developed that. Screen and roll, we did that a lot in Jersey. All we did in Turkey was a lot of pick and roll, lot of repetition. I’ve dreamed of playing in the D’Antoni system: to be free and push the ball.”
“I think it was good it worked out this way,” Farmar said. “I feel like I’m a much better player now than I was first free agency. I’m much more ready to help in a bigger way this time around.
In the end, everything worked out for Farmar, who finally returns to a Lakers team that is in need of his athleticism and youthful energy. But Farmar needed the Lakers as much as the Lakers needed Farmar.
“For me, I’ve always been a Laker.”