Speaking on Tim and Sid on Sportsnet on Monday, Williams admitted he was “kind of a little disappointed I wasn’t allowed to stay in Toronto, but things happen, you move forward.” Williams said he even offered the Raptors a chance to match the Lakers deal, but Masai Ujiri and Co. told him to take the offer. “I think the playoffs just left a sour taste in everybody’s mouths,” Williams said, before adding, “we were all disappointed with how the playoffs ended. When things like that happen, you don’t know what to expect. I really wanted to be a part of what they were building there.”
The Lakers did not accumulate the talent they wanted, striking out on free agent bigfish named LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe and DeAndre Jordan. But the Lakers collected a decent consolation prize in Lou Williams, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year who could ease Bryant’s workload because they both share the same position and love for scoring. “When he goes out, I’m sure I’ll be coming in,” Williams said of Bryant in a phone interview on Monday with Los Angeles News Group. “That’s how it will work. We won’t have too many lapses. We’ll be able to keep the scoring level going and give him an opportunity to get a breather and then he’ll come back in.”
Randle then had graded himself a “C,” believing the lack of training stemmed from a contract delay and rehab surrounding his right foot slowed his progress. But Randle also followed through on the Lakers’ insistence, led by strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco, to cut out sweets in place of grass-fed food. Randle reported those efforts ensured that he lost 15 pounds in fat, resulting in a slimmed down and chiseled frame that can adapt both to Byron Scott’s conditioning-heavy practices and actual games. “The credit goes to my coaches for staying on me and not letting this down time being injured be a step in the wrong direction,” Randle said. “I’m taking advantage of it the most that I could. It’s also me with my drive and will and people supporting me. The credit goes to all of them.”
Basketball Insiders: How did this deal come together? When did the Lakers start showing interest in you? Louis Williams: “Well, they were one of the first teams to reach out to me once free agency began and they just started to touch base with us. At that point, we weren’t sure what direction we were heading in because we wanted to see if [returning to] Toronto was going to work out. Then, yesterday, the talks got a little bit more serious and it just looked like a good opportunity for me to take. It really only took, like, five minutes to get done once we entered serious talks.”
Basketball Insiders: This is a great opportunity for you, but you’re also leaving a situation in Toronto where you were successful, won Sixth Man of the Year and got name-dropped in Drake songs (laughs). Was it tough to move on from the Raptors and leave that organization? Louis Williams: “Just to speak candidly, it caught me by surprise that we didn’t get something done. I made it clear that I wanted to be there and I thought, with the type of year that I had, the feeling would be mutual. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. I think they wanted to go in a different direction and become more of a defensive-minded team. With the way that the playoffs ended, I think it left a sour taste in management’s mouth and they went out and picked up defensive players. They got DeMarre [Carroll], they got Cory Joseph, they got [Bismack] Biyombo – guys who they feel like can help them on the defensive end. They told me, basically, that I could walk. That was unfortunate, but it’ll work out for both sides. They got a guy who is from Toronto, Canada who will replace me in Cory and now I have an opportunity to continue my career as well, so it worked out for everybody.”
But the Lakers will have to make their biggest improvements internally, far from the cameras. They have to decide if they’re going to join the Brave New NBA World of 3-pointers, small ball and analytics — Russell could fit right into that kind of style of play, which should provide some hope for Lakers fans. And they have to know how to sell their post-Kobe world to the free agents of the future, and who will lead them there.
This just in: They never had a shot at LaMarcus Aldridge, which insiders knew for months. Even if he talked to them, and six other teams, his likeliest destination all along was San Antonio. Coming of a 21-61 season, they had little more chance at getting DeAndre Jordan or Kevin Love to play alongside old Kobe Bryant, young Jordan Clarkson and unproven D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.
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As the Lakers work to clear cap space to sign free agents and absorb Hibbert’s contract, Nick Young is a strong candidate to be unloaded, sources told Yahoo Sports. The Lakers are finalizing details to acquire Hibbert, and there remains a possibility Los Angeles could send a player to the Pacers in the agreement, sources said. The Lakers and Pacers had agreed on a future second-round pick as compensation for Hibbert and his $15.5 million 2015-16 salary getting absorbed into Los Angeles’ salary-cap space. The Lakers are exploring trades for Young, Ryan Kelly and Robert Sacre. Sacre and/or Kelly are possibilities to go to Pacers, sources said.
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