Through Purple and Gold Frames
Episode #8: 27 Win pace?
Tue, November 17, 2015
These young guys are playing checkers. I'm out there playing chess.
Gold Ticket Matchup
Towns vs Russell
The Future is Now!
Faigen believes his site’s coverage of the Anthony Davis trade saga performed better because the articles were accompanied by Davis Photoshopped into a Lakers jersey. “That’s something that Lakers fans want to see and want to share,” he said.
Draymond Green had just told DeMarcus Cousins that he hadn’t seen him look this fit and slim since his college days at Kentucky. He was ready to see the big man wreak havoc on the NBA this season. That was just last week. On Thursday, Green and the rest of the NBA learned that Cousins had suffered yet another crushing setback with a torn left ACL, leaving Green uncertain of what to say or text to his good friend and former Golden State Warriors teammate.
“One of my goals coming into this season was for DeMarcus to destroy everybody and come back and show how great of a player he is and get what I think he deserves,” Green told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “I’m really at a loss for words about it. It’s one that really hurt me for sure.”
Green says that if anyone can overcome this series of injuries, it’s Cousins. “He made it out of Mobile, Alabama,” Green said. “The NBA is tough, very tough to get to, very tough to stay in. “But he made it out of Mobile, Alabama. If he can do that, he can do anything.”
However, Durant isn’t the only one that left the league, a group that buys in for $10,000 apiece, as current Los Angeles Lakers superstar forward LeBron James previously participated as well. It appears as though James left a few years back after coming in last place, according to Rose.
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Demetrius Jackson, it was announced today.
McGee’s career season with the Lakers earned him a two-year, $8.2 million contract and an opportunity to compete for a third championship ring alongside James and Davis. While McGee isn’t ready to promise Los Angeles a title just yet, he told Omar Raja of House of Highlights that he thinks the Lakers can make a meaningful run next season: “I feel like the GM, they went on 2K and cheated and just put a whole bunch of good players on the same team. It’s definitely going to work out. I feel like we’re going to make a deep run.”
His early trials have been well-publicized by college recruiting sites and breathlessly quoted in anonymity by awestruck scouts, but for the unindoctrinated, Bates, a 6’8” guard from Ypsilanti, Mich., has been crowned by many as the best NBA prospect since LeBron James (or Kevin Durant, depending how you feel). He faced arguably the stiffest test of his fledgling career last week at the Nike Skills Academy in Thousand Oaks. Bates was the youngest player and only rising sophomore in attendance at the prestigious camp, which brings together the most promising prospects from the sneaker giant’s youth circuit and throws them into drills and scrimmages for NBA scouts to evaluate and pick apart. After playing in his own 15-under age group all summer, Bates held his own in a key proving ground against older players and stronger bodies, though not without some ups and downs. And while you can hedge and qualify everything while trying to guess at the future, it’s now impossible to deny the fact that Bates is on the way.
Do you see the similarities in your game to Porzingis’ game? I know that is something a lot of people have said before. Bol Bol: That’s the main reason I watch so much of him. I try to take pieces from his game. I take a little bit from his game and a little bit from KD, too. I try to watch a lot of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis. But yeah, I’d say Porzingis and I have a pretty similar game.
LeBron James: SHEESH?????? So HONORED and GRATEFUL to be apart of GREATNESS. P.S. Man o Man that STARTING 5 vs any franchise All-Time. Let’s Get it!! #LakeShow???????? #KingMe???? #Mamba???? #Diesel??????????? #Magic???? #KingSkyHook???? View this post on Instagram SHEESH?????? So HONORED and GRATEFUL to be apart of GREATNESS. P.S. Man o Man that STARTING 5 vs any franchise All-Time. Let’s Get it!! #LakeShow???????? #KingMe???? #Mamba???? #Diesel??????????? #Magic???? #KingSkyHook???? A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Aug 10, 2019 at 10:00am PDT View this post on Instagram
New York Post
The 2020 free-agent pool is short on stars, but they could be one of the favorites for big fish Anthony Davis if the Lakers implode. Rich Paul, Davis’ agent, likes the idea of his client in New York, according to a source.
Los Angeles Times
Lakers center Javale McGee is shooting his shot in Encino, where his Mediterranean-style home of four years is on the market for $3.3 million. The two-time NBA champion isn’t the only big name tied to the place. He bought it from Grammy-winning singer Marc Anthony in 2015 for $2.425 million, The Times previously reported.
Following four days of training and Friday night’s USA Blue-USA White intrasquad exhibition game in Las Vegas, USA Basketball announced 17 finalists for the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Team. The 17 include 13 athletes from the USA National Team roster and four players from the USA Select Team. Finalists include 2016 Olympic gold medalist Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); 2014 World Cup gold medalist Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
This summer, Kuzma is also a shoe-deal free agent and has received strong interest from endorsement companies, including Nike, Jordan Brand and Puma, sources said. Kuzma’s business manager, Vin Sparacio, has held ongoing discussions with interested companies.
“Bench, whatever, I’m still going to get my game off regardless,” Kuzma told The Athletic. “My past two years, I’ve come off the bench every single year. I just proved myself and made it known that I’m a player. A coach’s job is always to put the best players on the court, and that’s what I’ve showed the past two years. “I’ve started the year coming off the bench, and just prove myself. I’m always going to find my way no matter who’s on the court. I think every time I step on the court, I’m one of the better players on the floor. For me that’s always been my mentality. I’m never worried about things that I can’t control.
“My motivation is there to be that third guy,” Kuzma said, “for the simple fact that playing with LeBron, with AD, I got high dreams for myself to do some pretty special things in my career. So that’s motivation in itself. It’s a testament to my work ethic and laying down the groundwork for my past two years being in the league. “From an individual standpoint, I have to focus on myself. I’ve had a chip on my shoulder my entire career, so I’m ready just from that standpoint. It won’t change.”
This year’s footwear class could feature the most potential since 2012, when Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, James Harden and Dwyane Wade were all up. Of the four then-Nike athletes, two switched to Jordan Brand, Wade opted for a lucrative deal with Li-Ning, and Harden re-signed with Nike for just two years, before bolting for a 13-year deal with Adidas in 2014. Once again, each of the top five players in this year’s class are currently under contract with Nike. The brand would ideally like to keep all five: Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Kyle Kuzma, D’Angelo Russell and PJ Tucker.
“I hate when people talk about certain guys and say they can’t work together,” Tucker said. “It may not work with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard [on the Los Angeles Clippers]. It may not work with Anthony Davis and LeBron James [on the Los Angeles Lakers]. It may not work with anybody. [Westbrook] is another super aggressive guy who can attack the rim and score the ball. That opens everything up for everyone else. [Harden and Westbrook] know each other’s games. They’ve played together when they were young and they’re excited to play together again. If they’re excited, I’m excited.”
Kuzma, now the final young Laker standing from the core group Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka assembled, says he’s ready to become that third star LeBron James and Davis will need after free-agent target Kawhi Leonard opted to join the LA Clippers in free agency. “I don’t feel no pressure, but I believe that I am capable of being that superstar,” Kuzma told ESPN. “I put a lot of work in. My progress through my journey shows that I can be there. I developed every single year, dating back to college, and I don’t see that development stunting at all.”
The three Antetokounmpo brothers will be focused on one thing – leading Greece as far as they can in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, where the table has been set for what seems like one of the most wide open races for the title of world’s best. “We’re just trying to encourage each other and get better,” Giannis shared. “It is an incredible feeling that all three of us are together. We have worked very hard to get here and to achieve this. That’s why I know that our mother is proud, as is our father, who I’m sure is watching us from the heavens.”
Market Force Information, a customer experience management company, conducted a survey of over 7,600 American adults to find out their favorite fast-food restaurants — and in the pizza category, one restaurant was the clear winner. Blaze Pizza, a pizza chain backed by NBA champion LeBron James, took the top spot as America’s overall favorite fast-food pizza.
After bouncing around so much, is there part of you that wants to stay with the Lakers beyond one season and make this your home long-term? Tory Daniels: For sure. I mean, I’m human. I don’t want to keep bouncing around. I have a family and nobody wants to keep doing that. It is always good to be wanted, though. That’s how I try to look at it. That’s something I’ve learned over the years after moving a bunch and getting traded here and then getting traded there. When I was in Houston, I got traded to Minnesota and I cried. I sat there and cried because I didn’t want to leave. Everything was going perfect in Houston. I was playing well, I was coming off a good playoff run, I had signed a nice deal with them and I knew everybody.
I know it’s only been about a month, but is life as a Laker a bit different? Tory Daniels: It’s way different. I’m friends with a guy who used to be on the Lakers’ coaching staff and he always told me that being part of the Lake Show is very different and that there a lot of perks and things that come with it. He just told me to take advantage of everything I can. That’s what I’m going to do. I call them “America’s Team” because everyone knows about the Los Angeles Lakers and everyone knows about Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James. When you come play for this organization, you got to come correct. That’s what I’m going to do.
Jason Clarke is suiting up for the HBO drama pilot “Showtime.” The one-hour series focuses on the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers. Clarke has been cast as Jerry West. West first joined the Lakers as a player in 1960, being named an All-Star in all of his 14 seasons with the team before retiring in 1974. He was then named head coach in 1976, a position he held for three seasons. He went on to become a scout and then general manager in 1982. Clarke’s West is described as the cantankerous tortured genius of basketball. West ought to be the perfect man to build the Lakers into a dynasty, if only he can get past his own worst enemy: Jerry West.
The Greens are hoping to make basketball championships a family affair. After Danny Green captured his second NBA title this past season, this time with the Raptors, his father, Danny Sr., is set to coach the K/S Elite All Stars in the second Jr. NBA Global Championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Disney World Resort.
Being center stage on social media for others to praise, scrutinize or just have a little fun with, though, has taken a little adjustment. It is something he’s learning to enjoy just as much as if he was the one creating the posts. “My Twitter feed is going crazy.” Caruso said. “It’s like a cult following. The same thing as at A&M, Laker fans are die-hard, and they took to me. It’s definitely fun, something I’m trying to get used to.”
There also was the night James passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list and Caruso, who was on the floor at the time, was the first to congratulate him. Social media had a lot of fun with memes portraying James as having no idea who Caruso was. “To be honest, most of the memes I enjoy. Not many of them someone sends me I don’t laugh at myself,” Caruso said. “I don’t have to find them because we have group texts, Laker groups like in college, and they text and throw jabs when they find stuff online.”
None. Zip. Zero. That’s the number of complaints AAU tournament director Gary Charles says he received about LeBron James after the NBA superstar went crazy celebrating on the court at Bronny’s game. Of course, the media went WILD over the footage … with some people saying Bron was acting inappropriately over the weekend and taking the attention away from the kids. Some people suggested any other parent would have been reprimanded.
Gentry says there’s a right way and a wrong way to request a trade. If a star agrees to work privately with the franchise, and agrees to wait until the offseason, he says, it avoids high-profile disruptions that hurt both the player and the team. “I’m a realist,” Gentry says. “When Anthony signed with Klutch Sports, I knew what was going to happen. They told me, ‘No, we’re not trying to get him traded,’ but we all realized it was just a matter of time. “I understand that some players feel the need to move on. With Anthony, it could have and should have been handled differently. If it was, I would have been OK with the situation.”
They of course found vindication in 2016, historically overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The following season, however, brought that fantasy summer crashing back to reality. James’ contagious hunger to deliver a championship for Northeast Ohio dissipated. “There wasn’t a lot else for him,” Griffin says. “I don’t think he’s the same animal anymore about winning.” Many in the NBA now suggest James harbors two priorities: enduring to team with his eldest son, Bronny, and one day owning a franchise. The rest of the Cavaliers, in kind, hibernated on their laurels. After sporting the league’s 10th best defense the season prior, Cleveland plummeted to dead last as defending champions. The Cavs believed they could sleepwalk through the Eastern Conference—although to be fair, they practically did. “There was somebody better than me at keeping them on task after we won,” Griffin says. “I did a really s****y job of bringing enough urgency to the next year.”
James’ teammate Kyle Kuzma told ESPN’s Cari Champion on Thursday that James’ offseason — the lengthiest he’s enjoyed since the Cavs missed the playoffs his season season in the league — has given the superstar time to refocus for 2019-20. “This offseason, you see just, people slandering his name and saying this about him, saying that,” Kuzma said. “But you know, he’s been super motivated this offseason working, between shooting movies he’s in the gym. He’s in the gym early, night, whatever. So just being locked in. That’s the biggest thing … being ready for it all.”
Drake and LeBron James are joining forces to reshape the sports media landscape in Canada. The music superstar and the Los Angeles Lakers forward announced on Tuesday a partnership to bring Uninterrupted, a digital platform for athletes, to Canada. Drake is a part owner and promoter for the platform which James began in 2015, while Scott Moore serves as chief executive officer and Vinay Virmani works as chief content officer.
Uninterrupted Canada will focus on the interests of athletes outside their field of play. When the Drake-James partnership was announced it was also confirmed that Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka would have a fashion-based property on the platform and that Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman — who was traded to New York by the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday — will have a motivational series.
Maccabi Rishon LeZion penned Johnathan Williams for the 2019-20 season, the Israeli side announced on Tuesday. The 24-year-old American forward will help his new team in the 7DAYS EuroCup. Williams played for Missouri and Gonzaga in the NCAA. Despite not making the cut in the 2018 NBA draft, he took part in 24 NBA matches with the Los Angeles Lakers averaging 6.5 points and 4.1 rebounds, also saw G League action with the South Bay Lakers.
Of his time working with Bryant on Kobe’s “Muse,” Chopra describes an intense working relationship during the guard’s recovery from a torn Achilles. “He would send these texts messages at three in the morning and be like, ‘Hey, dude you got to come down. I have something to say,’ and he would stay up all night,” Chopra said.
Bryant had production go from Los Angeles to Newport Beach, even offering to move Chopra there to keep a closer eye on the project. “We built, essentially, a studio in his office in Newport,” Chopra added. “As we got into post-production, Kobe was like, ‘Hey, so I want to like have the post process done in Newport.’ And he was like, ‘We can get you a house in Newport, and I was like, you can get me a house, but you can’t get me a family.’ “
Curry, according to Chopra, is speaking out with his actions. “He’s got this motto ‘teach, don’t preach,’ ” Chopra said. “He’s not LeBron in that same way — like LeBron is very outspoken, and he’s out there and there are these principles. … It’s almost like a purposeful communication strategy, in terms of what he’s trying to say. Steph is more, passive is probably the wrong word, but he wants to live like his principles, and that’s a process.
Anthony Davis already has six All-Star appearances, an NCAA championship and an Olympic gold medal to his name, but the newly minted Los Angeles Lakers forward admits there’s still something missing.
“I don’t think I have a failure that I’ve had yet,” Davis told ESPN as a guest on That’s What She Said with Sarah Spain. “Obviously at the end of my career if I don’t win a championship that would be, I would feel that’s one of my biggest failures. But right now, I still have a lot to do in this world on and off the court. So I don’t feel like I’ve failed in anything. I think I just continue to do it over until I succeed at it.”
You mentioned at the introductory press conference for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram that you received trade inquiries from NBA teams for those players in the days after the Anthony Davis deal. How close, if at all, did you come to pulling the trigger on any of those deals? David Griffin: “There was interest but nothing that really spoke to us to any degree. From the very beginning we were excited about the potential of our group, but we certainly did have interest shown in them by many, many other teams in the NBA. We felt really fortunate that we were able to land the players we did, and it became really evident that we were fortunate because of the interest in them that was shown by several other teams basically immediately after the deal was announced. It was fascinating to go through the experience, but we didn’t acquire them to move them, so nothing was even close.”
Los Angeles Times
“They made their pitch to Kobe and it was a very strong one because it seemed apparent to everyone at that point that Kobe and Shaq just could no longer co-exist,” Lawler said. “Then it’s time for Kobe to excuse himself and go and Donald Sterling walks him to the door expressing concern. ‘Is this really going to happen?’ “Kobe turned to him and — this is an exact quote that I’ve had repeated to me by multiple people — he said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m a Clipper.’ So he walked out the door and [the Clippers] are all high-fiving each other thinking, ‘By God, we’ve done it.’ “If anybody denies any of that,” Lawler added, “ they are of faulty memory or they just don’t want to acknowledge it because that is what happened in that meeting in that hotel room.”
Los Angeles Times
A second Clippers employee also told The Times that Baylor directly told him Bryant had verbally committed. (That employee has since left the team and agreed to speak only under the condition of anonymity.) There was enough confidence within the team that preliminary discussions began about how to best welcome Bryant at a ceremony in Staples Center.
That has put the Lakers among the favorites to win the NBA championship but it’s not something Kuzma is ready to talk about just yet. “We got to make the playoffs,” he said Thursday at Powers Catholic on the opening day of his second annual free basketball camp for local youngsters. “That’s the most important thing. We haven’t made the playoffs in a couple of years. That’s the No. 1 goal now.”
He’s established himself as part of the club’s Big Three along with James and Davis, who was acquired in a trade with New Orleans and Kuzma feels fortunate to be part of a contender so early in his career. “I always love being in the spotlight,” said Kuzma, a 6-foot-9 power forward. “For me it’s all about winning. We’ve got a lot of vets and they come by and say ‘You don’t really have to an opportunity to play for a genuine contender right away.’”
“Y’all kept saying that me and Paul’s favorite team growing up was the Lakers. I’m not going to say [Yahoo Sports], but whatever media outlet was out there saying that Kawhi prefers the Lakers over the Clippers, or Paul loves the Lakers, was wrong,” Leonard told Yahoo Sports. “I wasn’t a fan of the Lakers growing up. Not saying that’s why I didn’t choose them, but that’s not what it is. I wasn’t a fan of them, and [Paul] just told you guys he was a Clippers fan.”
Magic Johnson, the Lakers legend who abruptly resigned as president of basketball operations in late May and proceeded to torch owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka on national television weeks later, thought it wise to broadcast that Robertson had called to pick his brain about the purple-and-gold before free agency had even begun. “I truly believe that when Magic started telling the media about the meeting he had with Kawhi and Dennis, that sealed the fate of the Lakers,” a person involved in the process told The Athletic. “I think that right there was when Dennis and Kawhi decided we can’t trust the Lakers as an organization. And that was it. I think that was it for them.”
Though that act alone didn’t eliminate the Lakers — Leonard still met and communicated with them before his decision — Johnson’s leakage certainly didn’t help his former employer’s pitch. On a fundamental level, the idea of forming a Big Three with James and Davis didn’t appeal to Leonard’s core sensibilities. He forged his legacy taking down super teams — like the 2014 Miami Heat and the 2019 Golden State Warriors — rather than joining them. “Elite players like Kawhi earn their stripes, and he was not going to be a guy who joins a so-called ‘super team,’” one source close to the situation told Charania. “Now, if a super team forms around him, there is nothing he can control. The Clippers were the best long-term fit.”
Hanson spent the last four season on the Pelicans staff and according to the Pelicans’ website, Hanson worked “extensively” with All-Star Anthony Davis when Davis was in New Orleans. Hanson’s potential hiring would come after the Wolves brought in David Vanterpool from Portland to be Saunders’ associate head coach, Pablo Prigioni from Brooklyn to be an assistant and Bryan Gates for his second stint as an assistant with the Wolves.
Morris has seen the speculation surrounding him turning down the Clippers’ three-year offer, but makes it clear that this was his decision and that he wanted to go through his process. “All this stuff that (Paul) didn’t want me to go to the Clippers and didn’t want me to go against LeBron, that’s not true,” Morris said. “He never told me not to take the deal. For as long as I’ve known Rich — and that’s still someone I have love for and that’s still my guy — he has been great in terms of advice. He told me he wanted me to take the Clippers deal. He gave me his advice. “It was my decision and I had to make the best decision for me and my family.”
The Los Angeles Lakers have been awarded Kostas Antetokounmpo on a waiver claim, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka. Antetokounmpo, who is currently signed to a two-way contract, appeared in two games for the Dallas Mavericks last season and played 40 games (25 starts) for the Texas Legends of the NBA G League, where he averaged 10.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 1.0 steal in 25.4 minutes. Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 60th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Antetokounmpo was acquired by the Mavericks in a draft-night trade.
Quinn Cook: I think that’s a big reason why they wanted me to come here, just the fact that I’ve been on a championship team. I contributed on a championship team, playing well at key moments in the Finals and in big playoff moments and things like that. I think that’s a big reason why they wanted me. And that is a big reason why I wanted to come here too. With my experiences over the last two years, I know there’s no better feeling as a basketball player than to play well at the highest level and on the biggest stage. That was definitely a big reason why I wanted to come to the Lakers. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m just blessed to be part of a great organization with so much winning tradition. And I’m still young, like you said, so I just want to keep learning from all of these vets who I’ll get to play with.
Quinn Cook: He’s always been a great, reliable vet and mentor to me. I know I can always rely on him. Like I said, he and Kobe were two of my favorite players when I was growing up, so it’s sort of surreal to even have a relationship with him. Playing against him in the Finals was a dream come true for me. Now, getting the chance to be his teammate again is great and another dream come true. I’m really excited for this opportunity. I know he called [the front office] on my behalf to help get me over here to the Lakers, so I’m very appreciative of that. Ever since I’ve been in Los Angeles, we’ve been working out together and staying in contact. I just think I’m very blessed, and I’m very thankful to have this relationship with LeBron.
Most executives I chatted with wish teams caught tampering would be punished by the removal of first-round draft picks. “Basketball operations needs to get hit the hardest, not an owner’s wallets,” said another executive. Someone else went further and suggested that in addition to losing a pick, teams should be barred from trading any picks for some amount of years. Had a penalty been that harsh, the Lakers wouldn’t have had the assets to trade for Anthony Davis—obviously a much heavier penalty than what they did receive.
Turner also provided the first details we’ve gotten to this point regarding what specifically Leonard and his camp wanted to learn from their conversation with Johnson: “There was one interesting question (Leonard) had for Magic: ‘Did you guys try to trade for me when I was in San Antonio?’ And the answer was ‘yes, but because it was Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and our history, they were asking for 2,000 draft picks — well, not 2,000 — like four draft picks, first-round draft picks, and we just couldn’t do that.’ And that was one of his questions.
And speaking of reducing Leonard’s load and managing his health, according to Turner, Leonard also wanted to know if he was going to be able to have some say over who the Lakers hired to take care of that and his other needs. It seems like the team is amenable to such an arrangement: “LeBron James was able to bring on his own trainer, his own medical people. (Kawhi) wants to know if he can do that as well. LeBron James brought on some people that weren’t with the Lakers, and he wants to know ‘can I bring with a couple of my guys?’ … And as far as I know, the Lakers would be willing to do that, because you do those things for superstar players.”
Los Angeles Times
Davis said he wouldn’t talk about the specifics of his trade from the New Orleans Pelicans until the transaction was complete and approved by the NBA, but he laughed when asked about James’ Instagram post of the two of them wearing Lakers uniforms after news of the deal broke on June 15. “It was cool,” Davis said. “I always looked up to him. As a kid, [James] and Michael Jordan were the two guys I [admired]. I didn’t get a chance to watch Michael Jordan live, but I watched LeBron a lot after he entered the league and he was the guy that I looked up to.”
Los Angeles Times
Davis doesn’t know exactly what the Lakers will look like next season. The team has only James, Davis, Kyle Kuzma and rookie Talen Horton-Tucker under contract at the moment. But Davis’ expectations are clear as he enters his eighth season. “My goal is to win a championship,” Davis said. “I expect to win every time I step on the court, every game. I want to win a title. That’s what it’s about — winning titles. That’s the only thing on my mind.”
Los Angeles Times
Anthony Davis won’t officially become a Laker until Saturday, but he already is getting comfortable in Los Angeles, spending time with new teammate LeBron James and getting acclimated to his new home. “The weather is amazing. The city fits me,” Davis told The Times in his first interview since being traded. “It’s more slow motion, and that’s kind of how I am. … I live out here in the summers. L.A. is one of my favorite cities. I love to live here. ”
Los Angeles Times
With a shot at Kawhi Leonard, their entire plan for this summer hinges on his decision. They can’t move until he does. Magic Johnson spoke with Leonard and his uncle, Dennis Roberston, on Sunday, Johnson told The Times. According to people familiar with the discussion, they had a positive conversation about the direction of the Lakers.
Los Angeles Times
The NBA won’t allow Johnson, formerly the team’s president of basketball operations until resigning April 9, to function as a Lakers representative, but his perspective matters to Leonard. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka did reach out to Leonard’s camp in an official capacity after the window opened for teams to communicate with players’ representatives at 3 p.m. PDT Saturday.
New York Post
In Monday’s explosive interview on ESPN’s “First Take,” Johnson acknowledged that after Russell had surreptitiously recorded teammate Nick Young’s confession of infidelity — and shared it on Snapchat — he knew he had to deal away the young guard. “I said let’s trade some people, get some draft picks, so on and on. D’Angelo, great guard, but had a problem when Shaggy P and the whole Nick, the whole thing went down,” Johnson said. “So I knew we had to get him out.”
New York Post
It’s the first time Johnson had acknowledged Russell’s social media gaffe as the driving force behind the deal. Up until now, he and the Lakers had always cited on-court reasons. “He has the talent to be an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader,” Johnson claimed at the time. “I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also [somebody] that players want to play with.”
“I think if people take a look at where this franchise is right now, again we have a great coach, we have a high draft pick. We have a great young core, maybe one of the best in the league. We have a superstar on our team, and an open slot,” Pelinka said Monday during Vogel’s introductory news conference. “So I think people can look at this as an opportunity to win a championship possibly next year.”
Vogel and Kidd did not have a previous relationship, but the Lakers’ head coach laughed off the notion that some might view Kidd as a potential successor. “No, I am very good at blocking out noise,” Vogel said with a chuckle when asked about how some in the media have already deemed Kidd as a successor. “I have been around this business a long time. I really don’t give that a second thought. You can say that about every coach in the league about their assistant coaches. It happens from time to time. I believe if you treat people with the right respect and do the job at the highest level, build an environment of positivity and collaboration, you can’t worry about that stuff. “You can’t worry about looking over your shoulder. You got to worry about getting good damn coaches, and that is how I feel about this hire.”
I’ve noticed that today’s NBA stars try to promote the WNBA and its stars. I see some NBA players tweeting about the league and attending games. Have you noticed increased support from today’s NBA players? And when you played, what was your experience with the guys? Lisa Leslie: It’s interesting because I’ve always had great relationships with the NBA players. I’d train with them during the offseason. Derek Fisher and I would shoot together all the time before the Lakers’ practice when I’d be training in the morning. Kobe Bryant . I don’t think it’s the players who have adjusted, I think it’s the fans. I think social media has allowed to see that, because the guys have always been very, very supportive of us. They’d come to our games and cheer for us. They supported us when we won championships. They’d bring their children to games. Plenty of Lakers and plenty of Clippers always supported the LA Sparks. Even going back to Magic Johnson and the old-school Lakers, they allowed me to train and play with them.
If Pelinka was telling people that Magic was mostly MIA, he wasn’t exactly spilling state secrets. This had been a topic of great discussion for quite some time, with innumerable other sources who saw it first-hand saying the same thing. One agent who deals with the Lakers, for example, found all the handwringing about Magic’s exit comical at the time because – duh – Pelinka had been running the front office without Johnson the entire time as it was.
But Pelicans owner Gayle Benson fired Demps and said the new lead executive would report directly to her, not to Loomis. So, will anyone left in New Orleans stop a trade of Davis to the Lakers? Jackie MacMullan of ESPN: We have been told, I think, through channels – most of us have heard this same scuttlebutt – that Gayle Benson has basically told him, “To the Lakers, over my dead body.”
The Los Angeles Lakers seemed like they might have the inside track on acquiring Davis after the two teams’ reported trade discussions earlier this season. However, the Pelicans came away from that debacle unhappy with how business was done. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week on “The Russillo Show” podcast that he thinks the Pelicans are still ticked about that and won’t make a deal with the Lakers, especially after New Orleans landed the No. 1 pick. “I don’t think the Pelicans want to make a deal with the Lakers — when I say I don’t think, I know that’s how they feel,” Windhorst told Ryen Russillo. “Had the Lakers won the lottery and had Zion and had an opportunity to offer something like that, it would have been so overwhelming that I think it might have removed that impediment. There’s a lot of animosity and scar tissue built up between these two organizations. I feel very strongly that New Orleans does not want to make a deal with LA.”
New York Post
It looks like RJ Barrett won’t be singing the Memphis blues. According to an NBA source, the 6-foot-7 Duke swingman prefers if he drops past Memphis, to No. 3 or No. 4, to get to play with either the Knicks or Lakers. Memphis has the No. 2 pick, but the source told The Post the Grizzlies are leaning toward Murray State point guard Ja Morant.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. has been making his rounds as he prepares for this years NBA Draft. After working out with the San Antonio Spurs, he made his way to Los Angeles for a workout with the Lakers.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, whose coast-to-coast rivalry in the 1980s propelled the NBA to a new level of popularity, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The league and Turner Sports announced Wednesday that the Hall of Famers and 1992 U.S. Olympic teammates will receive the award June 24 at the NBA Awards.
There’s understandably a lot of buzz heading into the lottery to see which team secures the No. 1 pick and the right to choose Williamson, who is the most heralded draft prospect in years. But nothing compares to the drama of the 2003 lottery, when LeBron James was the ultimate prize and the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the teams in the mix for the Akron, Ohio, native. “It’s not even close, even with social media today,” James’ former agent Aaron Goodwin told The Undefeated. “I can only imagine what it would have been like for James with social media because he was a game-changer.
Stu Jackson, who was NBA executive vice president of basketball operations at the time, remembers watching James during his senior year. “I said to myself that I have never seen anything like that from a player that young to be that dominant both physically and skillwise at that age,” Jackson said. “That is no reflection on my evaluation skills, because the great ones are easy to pick out. But this was a different level.” Joe Dumars, who was the president of the Detroit Pistons and had a particular interest in the lottery (more on that later), marveled at James’ maturity, body and athleticism. Simply put, “I saw a transcendent player,” Dumars said.
Rajon Rondo said as much when he appeared on Wednesday’s NBA Countdown on ESPN. He stated it about as clearly as he could at the 6:30 mark of the interview: if the Lakers don’t have a head coach soon, he isn’t interested in returning to the team. “At this point in my career, a head coach is big for me,” Rondo said. “It’s all about a relationship. So if they don’t have one, it’s a no go for me.” In a vacuum, this would not be the worst thing to hear. The Lakers probably don’t plan to bring Rondo back next season anyway. Lonzo Ball is the starting point guard of the future, and Alex Caruso earned a backup job with his strong play down the stretch. The Lakers aren’t going to make a major investment in a non-shooting point guard that is aging quickly.
In light of the failed pursuit of former Cleveland Cavaliers head Tyronn Lue by the Los Angeles Lakers, disgruntled fans are planning to stage a protest outside of Staples Center on Friday at 12 p.m. The protest was organized by Reddit user Charlie Rivers (u/C-P-R) in an effort to get the attention of Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss, who he says doesn’t care about the fans but “cares what the media says.”
Los Angeles Times
The Lakers are moving fast to try to fill their head-coaching vacancy by setting up an interview with former Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel on Thursday, according to people not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. In an event-filled Wednesday in which sources from the Lakers camp and Tyronn Lue camp said both parties had moved on from the other in the hiring process, the Lakers quickly targeted Vogel as a candidate and he will have a sit-down at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, appearing on ESPN Radio L.A. with Jorge Sedano, LeBron was in Philadelphia to meet with Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard during the their series against the 76ers.
New York Daily News
For Odom, just making it this far is an accomplishment considering his prognosis after he overdosed on drugs inside a Vegas brothel and slipped into a coma. “All my doctors say I’m a walking miracle,” Odom said. “They couldn’t really believe how I came back so fast. When I woke up I couldn’t walk or talk.” Odom said he was driven to a basketball comeback by watching LeBron James achieve greatness during his last season with Cleveland in 2017-18.
Larry Nance Jr: Just got a chance to read some of these articles about Rob Pelinka supposedly promising me I’d stay in LA.. Wanted to clear the air and say that is not the case. This league is a business and we all know it. Rob and I had and still have a great relationship.
Sports Business Daily
Not surprisingly, the biggest ratings decline came in Cleveland where the departure of LeBron James from the Cavaliers caused Fox Sports Ohio ratings to drop 58 percent. Conversely, James’ new team, the Los Angeles Lakers, posted a 31 percent ratings increase on Spectrum SportsNet — the team’s highest since 2013.
Ask people in the NBA which teams might come after Walker, and the responses are what you’d expect: The Knicks, especially if Irving remains in Boston. The Lakers, who will be desperate to surround LeBron with talent and might be stuck choosing between second-tier stars like Walker, Jimmy Butler and DeMarcus Cousins. There are whispers around the NBA that the Mavericks are intrigued by Walker, but it’s hard to discern where that rumor arose and if it’s anything more than another game of NBA telephone.
And now, with less than three months remaining before free agency formally begins and with the Anthony Davis trade talks with New Orleans expected to re-start as well, this question remains: Is Pelinka capable of steering the Lakers out of this abyss — hiring the right coach to replace the departed Luke Walton, closing a deal or two along the way — and fulfilling their title-contending dreams? It depends on whom you ask, but the vast majority of agents and executives polled by The Athletic have serious doubts. Pelinka has no shortage of detractors around the league, with the issues raised ranging from his trustworthiness to his communication style and relatability. The question of trust has dogged Pelinka since 2004, when his then-client Carlos Boozer reneged on a verbal commitment to re-sign with Cleveland and took a more lucrative offer with Utah.
But there are also respected power brokers who say they’ve had functional and positive experiences dealing with Pelinka, and who believe that his background as a player (he went to two Finals Fours with those Fab Five Michigan teams), attorney and prominent agent who built and ran his own agency is a fit for the Lakers. What’s more, Pelinka was widely known to be handling the lion’s share of the daily duties before Johnson’s departure. He was, in essence, running the front office already.
Los Angeles Lakers assistant Mark Madsen has been hired as the new men’s basketball coach at Utah Valley, sources told ESPN. Madsen flew to Utah on Sunday, where he is expected to meet with his new players on campus Sunday, sources said. A formal announcement of Madsen’s hiring is planned on Sunday, sources said.
Madsen, 43, has been a recognizable fixture on the West’s basketball landscape for years, including as a member of two Lakers championship teams and later as an assistant coach under Byron Scott and Luke Walton. Madsen brings a coaching career that has included six seasons on the Lakers staff, a year as the Lakers G League head coach and a season as a college assistant at his alma mater, Stanford. Madsen replaces Mark Pope at Utah Valley, which is a member of the Western Athletic Conference. Pope was hired at Brigham Young after a 25-win season at Utah Valley.
Me: What are you doing here today? Bob: What do you mean? Me: Shouldn’t you be having lunch with (Lakers controlling owner) Jeanie Buss? Bob: Oh, right. Almost forgot. (Looks at his watch) I’m supposed to meet her at 2. Myers then laughed a laugh that suggests he’s not eager to go anywhere anytime soon, even if there are days and nights when he probably wouldn’t mind.
While there’s no love lost for the Lakers’ front office, Buss carries a fair amount of goodwill around the league. Unlike some of her big-market brethren and sistren, Buss has recognized the plight of the small-market franchise as central to the core mission of the NBA. Her noblesse oblige has conveyed that what’s good for the NBA is good for the Lakers, and it’s a sentiment that hasn’t been lost on fellow owners and executives.
New York Times
The academic results are early, and at 240, the sample size of students is small, but the inaugural classes of third and fourth graders at I Promise posted extraordinary results in their first set of district assessments. Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math, outpacing their peers across the district. “These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” Mr. James said in a telephone interview hours before a game in Los Angeles for the Lakers. “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”
New York Times
The 90 percent of I Promise students who met their goals exceeded the 70 percent of students districtwide, and scored in the 99th growth percentile of the evaluation association’s school norms, which the district said showed that students’ test scores increased at a higher rate than 99 out of 100 schools nationally.
While the fiasco surrounding Big Baller Brand and Alan Foster, Lonzo Ball has endured plenty of emotional turmoil in the recent month. Forced to sever ties with the co-founder of the company, Ball has since sued Foster and begun moving on from the company and Foster himself. During his exit interview on Wednesday, Ball discussed publicly the situation for the first time. “We just put so much trust in him. So, when that came out in October – like I said, he’s like my second dad – I just talked to him and I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it when he gave me his story. Looking back at it, obviously I wish we would have jumped on it back in October. But I’m glad we still caught it.”
Los Angeles Times
“Honestly, they need to hire an experienced general manager with credibility and let him fire Rob,” the agent said. “Let that president that come in, let him have the authority to hire his staff and to hire their head coach if he doesn’t want Luke Walton.”
With LeBron James missing the playoffs altogether for the first time since the 2004-05 season with the Los Angeles Lakers eliminated from contention, Curry and the Golden State Warriors will see something this postseason that the NBA hasn’t experienced in 14 seasons. “It’s different but what is it? [Eight] straight Finals he went to?” Curry said at the Warriors’ morning shootaround before facing the Lakers for the final time this regular season. “I’m sure it’s a different experience for him, for better or worse.”
After facing James in the last four NBA Finals, Curry fully expects his rival to “regroup” with the Lakers for next season. “Obviously, the rest of the league continues to go, a lot of talent, a lot of great storylines, people chasing championships,” Curry said. “But he’s had an amazing run. Pretty sure he’ll be able to reset for next year and regroup. It’s just different [with James not in the postseason].”
Sources familiar with the BYU basketball head coaching job search have confirmed that Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen has interviewed for the vacant position.
Madsen received permission from the Lakers organization to sit down with BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and senior associate athletic director Brian Santiago, who oversees the basketball program. According to Deseret News sources, the meeting took place in Los Angeles last weekend.
Sources said Madsen is passionate about coaching at BYU and returning to Utah County to be closer to family.
Vlade Divac knew he wanted De’Aaron Fox after watching him light up UCLA — and Lonzo Ball — for 39 points in the Sweet 16 in 2017. Six weeks later, Brandon Williams, now the Sacramento Kings’ assistant general manager, was part of a Philadelphia 76ers contingent interviewing Fox at the NBA’s draft combine. Someone asked Fox if he had taken special pleasure in outdueling Ball. Fox gave the polite answer, they recall: Every game mattered. But he sensed the Sixers’ brass might enjoy the real response. “But yeah,” he continued. “That s— was personal.” Everyone loved it. “It wasn’t necessarily because it was Lonzo,” Fox clarifies today. “It was that he was one of the only NBA-level point guards we played. I didn’t get to play Dennis [Smith Jr.] or Markelle [Fultz].”
Ramona Shelburne: “Ball in the Family” will minimize Alan Foster’s role in previously shot footage after Lonzo Ball cut ties with the former BBB co-founder last week. A Facebook spokesman tells ESPN, “We support the family. Alan Foster will not be a member of the cast moving forward.”
Kyle Goon: Josh Hart is already listed as OUT for tomorrow’s game against the Wizards. Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala are QUESTIONABLE. LeBron James is PROBABLE.
Orange County Register
Of the four, Ball and Ingram are done for the season, and Hart might be on the way there dealing with knee tendinitis that has refused to go away. All that’s left is Kuzma, soldiering on in what is already a lost campaign, trying to glean the fringe benefits in these final games. “Those are my guys,” Kuzma said. “We all have great chemistry with each other, we all play well together. It’s kind of just tough.”
Orange County Register
Kuzma doesn’t see the last nine Lakers games as fruitless time, either. He’s sought to use those minutes as a workshop for his game. He’s noticed that defenders are treating him as a scorer and less as a passer – giving him a lane to become more of a distributor in the absence of Ball, Ingram and other important playmakers on the roster. “We have guys who need the ball, and I’m a guy who creates a lot of attention out on the court because of the way I score and shoot the ball,” he said. “I think it’s my job to just continue to develop and become a playmaker, and just grow an all-around game.”
Orange County Register
But Kuzma gets it: Winning is serious business. Pressure comes with the territory. And if there’s anything he’s learned during this season, it’s that he doesn’t want the pressure to conquer him. “It’s just all about learning from this year, and it’s all about always having fun,” he said. “You can’t worry about high-pressure situations or let the stakes of something take the joy and fun away from you, no matter what circumstance, no matter the situation just always having fun.”
Basketball-Reference: Last night was LeBron’s 8th triple-double since joining the #Lakers, passing Kobe for 2nd most for LA by a player in his 30s or older (since ’83, the first year we have complete triple-double) bkref.com/tiny/5schO pic.twitter.com/o5QT0aEDQ4
Michael Wilbon of ESPN is reporting that Rivers was told to not take the Lakers job because of superstar small forward LeBron James and his refusal to be coached. “There are people in Southern California right in that environment telling Doc, ‘You don’t want do this.’ And one of those reasons is simply LeBron James. He’s been told by people – and I know this – LeBron doesn’t want to be coached.”
Kobe called up Dirk during Free Agency: “I remember calling Dirk back when he was a free agent, I said ‘Dirk, listen, I know you’re not leaving Dallas, I get it, but I gotta make the call, what do you think?’ He says ‘Yeah man you’re right, bro, I’m a lifer like you man, we don’t leave”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
A Cleveland Heights tattoo artist who inked LeBron James, Tristan Thompson and other basketball stars won what his attorney called a “helpful” decision Wednesday in his lawsuit against the makers of the “NBA 2K” video game series. Jimmy Hayden said in a lawsuit that the makers of the popular game infringed on copyrights he holds for tattoos he created for James, Thompson and Toronto Raptors player Danny Green. The game makers included those tattoos on the computer-generated versions of the players without obtaining his permission.
In the event they are relegated to pursuing second-tier free agents, ESPN’s Tim McMahon said on the “The Hoop Collective” podcast there are rumblings of DeMarcus Cousins being a possibility for the Lakers, in addition to DeAndre Jordan: “That’s definitely a rumor out there. DeAndre Jordan, too.”
While Buss has been an ardent backer of Walton, she has also empowered Johnson, who has been less resolute in his support. His efforts have all worked against his coach rather than with him. After delivering James in July, Johnson ignored the pleas of the coaching staff that he retain Brook Lopez and Julius Randle. Instead, he signed controversial and limited journeymen JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson. When a fiery early season meeting between Johnson and Walton became public, Johnson responded not by saying he supported Walton but that he would allow him to “finish the season.” After the season? All bets would presumably be off.
The exchange between Van Gundy and fellow analyst Mark Jackson went like this: Van Gundy: I think in the offseason, they [Lakers] need to rebuild this roster, right? And to me, it could be a trade for an Anthony Davis, or I think they need to explore trading LeBron for getting as much as they can. Jackson: What are you doing, seriously? No, seriously, what are you doing? Van Gundy: You’ve got to get on the right timeline. I’m going to say, if I could trade him for the Clippers into cap space, which would give me a better chance to get Durant or Kawhi Leonard, would I not do that? Jackson: OK, LeBron James is not getting traded. OK? Van Gundy: You’ve got to put everything on the table. Jackson: No, you can’t.
Walton has a year left on the four-year contract he signed in 2016, and firing the 38-year-old would cause considerable heartburn for officials within the organization who, according to team sources, continue to advocate for him.
While he presumably will garner some interest from other teams, Bullock already expressed interest in re-signing. “I would love to be back here with the Lakers,” he said. “I was a fan of this organization pretty much my whole life, and the connection me and ‘Bron are building, it’s continuing to build trust. We’ll see how it plays out in the summer.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Love believes the end to this lengthy postseason streak may make James even more dangerous – if that’s even possible. “He’s so strong physically and so strong mentally but just having that break, being able to reassess and come back really, really highly motivated is going to be big for him,” Love said recently. “If you get Bron highly motivated anything can happen.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Cavs head coach Larry Drew was an assistant for the four years James spent in Cleveland before leaving for Los Angeles. Drew agrees with Love’s assessment. “I think it’s going to motivate him even more,” Drew said Sunday afternoon. “I think it’s going to fuel him even more. That’s the kind of player he is. He is a driven player.”
New York Times
James came into the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Denver Nuggets needing 13 points to surpass Jordan for fourth place on the all-time list. Five minutes 38 seconds into the second quarter, he managed to force his way to the basket for a layup, giving him 14 points for the game and 32,294 for his career. For good measure, he was fouled on the play. After a short stoppage to acknowledge the moment, play resumed as the Lakers, clinging to the last shreds of their playoff hopes, tried their best to overcome a huge early deficit at home against a heavily-favored opponent.
“For a kid from Akron, Ohio, that needed inspiration and needed some type of positive influence, MJ was that guy for me,” James said after the game. “I watched him from afar. I wanted to be like MJ, wanted to shoot fadeaways like MJ, wanted to stick my tongue out like MJ, wanted to wear my sneakers like MJ. I wanted kids to look up to me at some point like MJ. And it’s just crazy, to be honest. It’s beyond crazy.”
Just days after the NBA ruled that Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson did not commit a tampering violation for answering a question about Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons, Johnson wasn’t taking any chances when asked for his thoughts on Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker.
“You know I can’t answer any questions about no players, because every time I do it, I get fined,” Johnson told Carolina Blitz at an NBA All-Star event Thursday. “But anybody else do it, they don’t get fined. So, I’m going to stay away from that one.”
The pecking order for cable ratings held true on Thursday, for the most part. It should surprise nobody that the NBA was on top, with the Minnesota Timberwolves playing the LA Lakers on Turner Network Television to take a 0.7 rating in adults 18-49. This was a decrease of one-tenth of a point in comparison to last week’s top game, where the Lakers faced off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Los Angeles Times
Lakers coach Luke Walton noticed how Kyle Kuzma’s body movement looked restricted and removed his young forward to determine how much longer Kuzma could be effective against the physical play of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kuzma acknowledged after Thursday night’s game that he’s been “dealing with a little hip strain” for the past week that has impeded his motion. He rejected thoughts of resting because the Lakers have been shorthanded and he figured he could play through the pain. “I just don’t like to sit out games,” said Kuzma, who hopes to play Sunday against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center. “But it’s a little give and take. I’m a little hard-headed sometimes, but I gotta see what’s right and what’s wrong.”
For now, though, because of Damian Jones’ season-ending injury and the unknown of Cousins, sources maintain the priority remains adding a big. But there’s also been a push for patience. Cousins’ return, three weeks before the deadline, gives them plenty of evaluation time. The candidates: Dating back to early July, there was mutual interest between Tyson Chandler and the Warriors. Both sides began sniffing then, sources said, and again before he was bought out by the Suns and chose to sign with the Lakers a few months back. But that option is gone.