Logan Smith photographed by Emily Smith | Daily TrojanThe Trojan men’s tennis team heads to Malibu, Calif., on Thursday, when Pepperdine hosts the ITA Southwest Regional Championships. The opening rounds of doubles and singles will take place throughout the day beginning at 9 a.m.The Men of Troy are expected to have a strong showing at this week’s tournament: Off the bat, the Trojans have more first-round byes than any other team in the singles main draw. Out of eight players sent to Malibu, five have a bye Thursday in the round of 128, including top-seeded junior Logan Smith, No. 3 junior Jack Jaede, No. 4 senior Thibault Forget, No. 12 junior Laurens Verboven and unseeded senior Jens Sweaney. Sophomore Mateusz Smolicki, redshirt sophomore Jake Devine and redshirt junior Tanner Smith round out the remaining Trojans who will compete in the opening round.Smolicki will get things started for the Trojans, facing off against Chase Masciorini of UC Santa Barbara at 10:45 a.m. Devine and Tanner Smith both play at 12:15 p.m., as Devine takes on Daniel DeLaTorre of SDSU and Smith faces Andrew Whitehouse of Cal Poly.On the doubles side, all three of the Trojans’ duos received opening-round byes, and they will immediately advance to the round of 32. Verboven and Smolicki come in with the No. 5 seed, Jaede and Tanner Smith received the No. 6 seed and Devine and Forget are unranked. All three matches in the round of 32 will begin at 9:45 a.m.In last year’s ITA Southwest Regional, Logan Smith reached the semifinal while Forget forged his way to a defeat in the title match. Smith and Forget also paired up to take on the doubles bracket in 2016 and made it to the quarterfinal. This year, the standings are a little shaken up, with Smith surpassing Forget (No. 96) in the national singles rankings at No. 54. Jaede is also up there with them at No. 82.Both the singles and doubles quarterfinals will be held on Saturday. The semifinal is set for Sunday, and the weekend’s action will conclude with both singles and doubles championships on Monday.
But it represented a pleasant surprise in a week in which very little has gone right. Various Lakers officials took a cross-country flight late Tuesday night for a visit on Wednesday afternoon with Detroit center Greg Monroe. But on Thursday morning, Monroe agreed to a three-year, $50 million deal with Milwaukee. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan considered the Lakers “very professional” and the team delivered a “strong presentation” in their meeting Wednesday night, according to a league source familiar with Jordan’s thinking. But Jordan is expected to choose between either the Mavericks or Clippers.The Lakers also could not retain Ed Davis, who agreed to a three-year, $20 million deal with Portland on Thursday. Davis hoped to stay with the Lakers and expressed gratitude for the opportunity that enabled him to average 8.3 points per game as well as career-highs in field-goal percentage (60.1), rebounding (7.6), blocked shots (1.2) and assists (1.2) in his fifth NBA season.“They wanted me to come back,” Davis told Los Angeles News Group. “But I felt like this was the right decision for me. I didn’t really want to wait around. I was comfortable with everything there. I wanted to go back. Nothing went bad or anything.”Yet, the Lakers still placed higher priority on receiving clarity on the marquee free agents, including Aldridge and Jordan. The Lakers have $23 million in cap space, and would need $18.8 million available for a max contract.“That played a big part of it,” Davis said. “They want to have that cap space open for one of those guys. I felt Portland would help me with my career down the road. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”It seems too early to know what the Lakers’ backup plan will entail. They could look to acquire Golden State forward David Lee, who will likely be traded amid a diminished role. But the Warriors do not want to absorb salary and would like outside shooters. The Lakers have expressed interest in Amare Stoudemire and Jason Smith, according to league sources, but those players are not game-changers.Currently, the Lakers’ summer league roster could represent most of their actual team, including Russell, Randle, Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Anthony Brown, Tarik Black and Jabari Brown. All of which brings the Lakers back to their latest meeting with Aldridge. Will the sequel feature a more compelling script and happier ending? The Lakers’ free-agent fortunes likely depend on it. • Whicker: Why are Lakers unable to attract free agents?How will Kobe Bryant stay durable and effective in his 20th and perhaps final NBA season after suffering three-season ending injuries in three consecutive years? How quickly will the Lakers’ young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson develop? Who else will the Lakers target in free agency?The Lakers’ second meeting contrasted the full cast the Lakers brought to their first meeting, notably featuring Bryant, Scott, Kupchak, president Jeanie Buss, executive Jim Buss and former Showtime Laker James Worthy. The Lakers’ meeting also included assistant general manager Glenn Carraro, senior vice president of business operations Tim Harris, team publicist John Black as well as representatives with Time Warner Cable SportsNet and AEG. Before the first meeting started with Aldridge, the Lakers rolled out the red carpet in Hollywood fashion. The Lakers’ Twitter account began an “LA to L.A.” hashtag campaign. Musical artists Adam Levine and Snoop Dogg also publicly pleaded for Aldridge to change his favorite colors to purple and gold. Did the Lakers’ latest effort work? Who knows. After all, Aldridge also has reportedly attracted interest from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Toronto, Phoenix and Portland. Even if their original performance elicited poor reviews, the Lakers still followed up with a sequel before a willing audience. The Lakers met with free agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge in Los Angeles on Thursday, according to a league source familiar with the situation, marking the second time in just over 48 hours the two parties discussed a potential partnership.Aldridge left his meeting with the Lakers on Tuesday night reportedly believing they stressed the wrong things in their presentation. It apparently focused too much on business opportunities and less on the team’s rebuilding strategy after ending last season with its worst record in franchise history. Hence, a league source said the Lakers centered their second meeting strictly on basketball and general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott were believed to be the only participants. Perhaps then, Aldridge received more clarity on a few things that could determine the Lakers’ success or failure in the 2015-16 season. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error