The Lakers are waiting out Bryant’s extension. Laugh at their tarnished brand if you want, but these guys still get meetings with everyone. Aldridge had serious interest in them when free agency started, per several sources, and the Lakers will eventually learn from three straight summers of unrequited free-agency love. In the meantime, swallow another awful season, develop all the fun young guys, and give yourselves at least a chance of being bad enough to keep the top-three protected pick you owe Philadelphia.
The former Jazz center was back in Utah to preview the first night of the Utah Jazz Summer League, sign autographs, pose for photos and even give some advice to Utah’s latest crop of young talent. “I’m blessed, coming out here,” Okur told KSL Sports. “Believe it or not, from the first time I got here, to get to see the same fans and new faces, it’s great to be back, get to know them and sign pictures and basketballs. “I’m excited. I’m really looking forward to seeing them play in the coming season. They’ve been incredible, fun to watch, and we’ve got new draft picks that should be a lot of fun.”
The Trey Lyles contract situation may be quickly headed toward a resolution. “We’ll have some news for our fans here real short, so no worries,” Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey told 1280 The Zone on Monday evening. Lindsey has previously said that, while there were some ongoing negotiations, the primary the hold-up in getting the team’s first-round draft pick signed lay with Jazz management, who wanted to keep the player temporarily out of contract in order to maintain a small amount of extra cap space.
Andrew Harrison heard his name called on NBA draft night. Brother Aaron Harrison, of course did not. The Kentucky basketball products are nonetheless now back in the same boat, set to fight for roster spots during NBA summer league play given Andrew’s draft choice at No. 44 overall — in the second round — doesn’t guarantee a contract. This time last year, he was projected as a first-rounder. “To be honest, all that really doesn’t matter,” Andrew Harrison said Monday while introduced as a Memphis Grizzlies guard. “I’m here now. I’m just happy to be here. You can’t really go back on the past. I’m just happy that I made the decision I made. I enjoyed college for two years, and now I’m just trying to make the team.”
Carmelo Anthony reached out to Kristaps Porzingis, the New York Knicks’ first-round draft pick, on Saturday after reports surfaced that the Knicks star was unhappy with the organization’s decision to select the 19-year-old Latvian. “Carmelo reached out to Kris after all of that. It was beautiful that a player of that profile can do something like that. It’s great,” Porzingis’ older brother, Janis, said Monday during an appearance on ESPN 98.7 FM’s “The Hahn and Humpty Show.”
On Monday morning, Sixers head coach Brett Brown spoke with Malik Rose and Jared Greenberg of SiriusXM NBA Radio about the talented young big man, among other topics. “To think that in three drafts you got Nerlens [Noel], and Joel [Embiid], and Jah (Jahlil Okafor), it’s quite an amazing accomplishment when you look at the quality of those bigs,” he said. “We always went into [the draft] saying, ‘Whoever the best player is, that’s who you want.’ You really can’t get tricked on trying to draft for position, I feel. And if Nerlens hadn’t gotten injured, they say [he goes] #1, if Joel hadn’t gotten injured, they say #1, and Jahlil, all year, was #1, so the [outlook] of the 2015-16 season is quite positive.”
Sources repeatedly have told The Post that Shea and former Knicks scout Scott McGuire tried to steer Tapscott away from Weis. Shea admits he was against drafting Ron Artest because of hometown distractions, but won’t confirm his feelings on drafting Weis. “I’m always going to be associated with Frederic and I’m never going to say publicly what happened,’’ Shea said. “We made a team decision. We were seven people and we all voted and I’m not telling who voted for whom. Scott had an opinion. Kenny Williamson, may he rest in peace, had an opinion. Ed had an opinion and you’re not going to get that from me. What happened later to him in summer league had much more an effect on Frederic than who decided to draft him.’’
Several team sources said Celtics point guard Marcus Smart — whose name was widely reported to be a part of trade discussions in the days leading up to the draft — was never offered in a deal on Thursday. “If we’d thrown in Marcus Smart, we probably could have done some deals,” a team source said. “But we probably would have taken a step back.”
White, however, may begin his professional basketball career elsewhere. The 6-foot-8 Ohio native is a “draft-and-stash” candidate, meaning he could sign with a team in a league overseas while Washington holds his rights should he return to attempt to make the Wizards’ roster in the future. A decision has not yet been made. “Aaron will play Summer League with the Wizards and then we will evaluate if it is best to go overseas or not this season,” White’s agent, Chris Emens, wrote in an e-mail. “Aaron is open to doing whatever the Wizards think is best for his development.”
The Sacramento Kings introduced Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein, their first-round draft choice, to the local media on Saturday. He was on a day-long, meet-and-greet Sacramento tour. “He’s somebody who can really help us improve our team,” said Kings executive Vlade Divac at the news conference introducing his new player. He said Cauley-Stein brings skills to help the team on both offense and defense. “He’s fast. I wouldn’t like to play against him,” said Divac, who was pretty quick for big man himself when he was in the NBA with the Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Charlotte Hornets.
On Thursday, Christian Wood became one of the most worst stories of the NBA Draft: He went undrafted, despite thinking he would hear his name called, resulting in disappointment captured in a heartbreaking photo. But on Twitter on Saturday, Wood delivered some good news: His dream of going to the league is still alive with a spot on the Rockets’ summer league team. Christian Wood: Excited to be apart of @HoustonRockets cant wait to start summer league and begin to work and grind thanks @dmorey #RedNation #JustWait
One day after he ignored the seemingly-endless threats from the DeMarcus Cousins’ camp and drafted a big man in Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein with the sixth pick who should fit quite nicely alongside his disgruntled big man if he suits up for the Kings next season, Divac made it clear that he’s not about to be bullied in his new role. “I just was tired last week, or days, of these rumors, and putting a lot of stuff on our back, making this even harder than it is,” Divac said in an interview with Sacramento radio station KHTK 1140 Friday morning. “I try to be who I am, and try to do my job best I can and try to do the best I can for the franchise. I’m not going to let somebody change my mind because they’re putting (threats in) the paper or putting the pressure on me. I’ll do the best I can to improve this team.”
So when Fegan tried to orchestrate a trade that would send Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers in the days leading up to the draft – one that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive gave him permission to pursue when he made it clear that Cousins wanted out – it wouldn’t have shocked anyone if Divac decided to do the deal just to quiet this storm. Instead, he’s trying to fix a fractured situation on his terms.