15-year veteran Ratliff signs with Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers added depth along the front line by signing Theo Ratliff, the team announced on Thursday.

The 37-year-old played 49 games last season with San Antonio and Charlotte, averaging 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds. He revived his career while starting 26 games with the Bobcats, averaging 5.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.54 blocked shots. He has averaged 7.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.45 blocks and 25.5 minutes in his 15-year NBA career with the Pistons, 76ers, Hawks, Trail Blazers, Timberwolves, Spurs and Bobcats.

"I've had a long and very rewarding career, and joining a storied and legendary franchise such as the Lakers adds an even more special element," Ratliff said in a statement released by the team. "I look forward to playing for Coach Jackson and with great players such as Kobe [Bryant], Derek [Fisher], Pau [Gasol], Lamar [Odom] Ron Artest, Andrew Bynum and all my other new teammates, and hopefully to helping the Lakers win a third straight championship."

Ratliff said he'll join the two-time defending NBA champions as a backup to Gasol and Bynum.

Ratliff has always seemed to find a home due to his shot-blocking ability. He ranks 18th in NBA history with 1,963 blocks and led the league three times.

"Theo has long been considered to be one of the best defensive big men in the league," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. "He is a consummate professional and a welcome addition to our team. Together with Bynum, Gasol, Odom and Artest, he gives us a formidable and deep front line."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.