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Lakers Sign Salley, Benjamin

Seeking depth in the frontcourt, the Los Angeles Lakers signed veterans John Salley and Benoit Benjamin to contracts on Wednesday.

They also signed rookie guard Melvin Levett.

Salley, 35, hasn't played in the NBA for three seasons, but brings extensive playoff experience to the Lakers, should he make the team.

The 6-foot-11 Salley, a first-round draft choice of the Detroit Pistons in 1986, most recently played for new Lakers coach Phil Jackson with the Chicago Bulls in 1996.

He played for three championship teams two in Detroit along with the 1996 Bulls. He also played for Miami and Toronto before joining the Bulls.

Benjamin, a 34-year-old 7-foot center, is a 14-year veteran who has played with eight teams. He has career averages of 11.4 points and 7.5 rebounds.

Benjamin was the third pick in the 1985 draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. He was traded to Seattle in 1991 and was dealt to the Lakers two years later. He averaged 4.5 points in 28 games with the Lakers.

Benjamin later played for New Jersey, Vancouver, Milwaukee and Toronto before a brief stint with Philadelphia.

The Lakers acquired the rights to Levett last week for guard Derek Harper. The Pistons chose Levett in the second round of last June's NBA draft.

Levett averaged 9.3 points and 2.9 rebounds at Cincinnati. As a senior last season, he averaged 14.2 points and 3.5 rebounds.

The Lakers open training camp in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Tuesday.

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