“The Lakers (have) always been a team I wanted to go to, I mean desperately – before I was on the Celtics,” Thomas said in the A to Z interview. “My Dad, being a Laker fan (growing up in Tacoma, Wash.), I was brainwashed as a kid of being a Laker fan, so that’s all I looked up to. I definitely (wanted to go there), especially in the draft (when) they had four second-round picks. “And when I did work out for the Lakers, they were interested in me and they thought they would pick me – which, they didn’t. And also, when I was a free agent, they were showing interest but that was the year they were waiting on, like, Carmelo (Anthony) and those types of guys to decide if they would come to LA, so I wasn’t like the first option. And then they ended up getting Jeremy Lin, so…”
First, NBA teams will be navigating uncharted waters with two-way contracts. Speaking to a number of NBA front office people, some suggest two-way deals will be offered nearly immediately after the NBA Draft, while some suggest teams might wait it out through training camp. Whatever the case may be, teams will need to establish credibility with this first year of two-way contracts. Teams may bring two-way players up to NBA rosters for up to 45 days, but there is no guarantee they will do so. The minimum a two-way player can earn is $75,000, while they can cap out at approximately $275,000 if they are on an NBA roster for the maximum allotment.
It won’t be enough to sidetrack what could be a one-year relocation. One NBA front-office talent evaluator says Markkanen “for sure” should be a top 10 pick. “His ability to shoot is what’s going to get him in this league,” the evaluator says. It’s ironic that Markkanen mostly eschewed the NBA until the last couple of years, as the time difference would’ve required him to rise before dawn to watch games; the mindfulness that had him ignoring the league will help vault him into it.
Sean Marks: Where we’re at, we’re going to be systematic with our approach, whether it’s free agency, the draft, acquisitions from Europe or wherever it may be and build the team that way, it’s about hitting singles and doubles. We’re going to be looking for where we can find undervalued players. That can be anywhere, that can be from the D-League, the NBA, leagues in Europe, Australia, you name it.
Neil Olshey: “We wanted to build more for the future. We added Jusuf Nurkic, a young big guy. We like his potential. He came along with a first round pick, so having three picks in this draft — having all of our players offer cost-certainty because they’re all under contract — gives us a lot of flexibility to make deals when we get into the offseason.”