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NBA vets at Lakers practice facility

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Toyota Sports Center opened its doors last week for any player who wanted to get a workout in -- as long as he signed a waiver first -- prior to NBA training camps starting on Friday.

Nobody expected the open invitation to turn the Los Angeles Lakers practice court into a home for just as many NBA refugees as Lakers players.

On Tuesday, three league veterans -- Leon Powe, Rashad McCants and Marcus Banks -- equaled the amount of Lakers -- Derek Fisher, Devin Ebanks and Darius Morris -- who showed up.

While the Lakers players are looking to get the purple and gold back on the championship track, the other guests at the practice facility are simply looking to revamp NBA careers that have gone astray.

Powe, McCants and Banks combined to play just 33 games in the NBA last season.

Powe, a 6-foot-8 power forward who Lakers fans will remember for his 21-point performance for Boston in Game 2 of the 2008 NBA Finals, played 30 games with Cleveland and Memphis last season and saw his role diminish during the Grizzlies' playoff run.

His career was on the rise until he suffered an ACL tear in 2009. Powe's agent, Aaron Goodwin told ESPNLosAngeles.com that he reached out to the Lakers about his client and the sides are "still talking" about Powe signing with the team to fill the backup big man spot that general manager Mitch Kupchak is looking to fill.

However, Powe attended a Los Angeles D-Fenders' D-League game on Monday as a spectator and when the unrestricted free agent was asked what team he could be signing with, he said he is looking at Boston and Memphis.

McCants hasn't played in the NBA since 2008-09, falling out of the league after averaging 10.0 points per game through four seasons with Minnesota and Sacramento.

The athletic shooting guard had a bumpy ride in the league but started on the comeback trail playing in China and for the D-League's Texas Legends last season.

"Right now this is my focus," said McCants, who resides in Los Angeles and is hoping to secure a training camp invite by the Lakers or Clippers. "This is an ideal team for me to play for, and help, and become a reserve off the bench and do my part."

As a former UNC Tar Heel, McCants has ties connecting him to Kupchak, who is also a Chapel Hill alum.

"Me and Mitch have always been in contact throughout the years and he's always showed interest in me as a player and I've always been a longtime, lifelong fan of the Lakers," McCants said. "There's always that camaraderie of UNC and hopefully it can take us into training camp."

But he also has less-favorable ties connecting him to former girlfriend Khloe Kardashian, who is now married to Lakers forward Lamar Odom.

Should the Lakers not be a fit, McCants could still get a look from "a handful" of other teams according to his agent, Mayar Zokaei, because minimum salary players with legitimate league experience will be at a premium under the constraints of the incoming collective bargaining agreement.

"There's solid interest in him," said Zokaei. "He's in outstanding shape."

Banks, once signed by the Phoenix Suns to back up Steve Nash at point guard, played just three games with Toronto last year before being waived. He was a regular at L.A.'s Drew League this past summer and had the opportunity to play with several of the players on the Lakers current roster.

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.