As the Lakers head into a potentially franchise-changing offseason, their front office is keeping its options fully open. While they like their young core and would prefer to keep those players growing together, they have told teams no player is untouchable in trades, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of trade and free-agent negotiations.
To be clear, the Lakers are not actively shopping any of their players. They are willing to listen to offers and could move one of them — even a member of the talented young cadre of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart — if an offer blows them away.
The Pacers did talk to the Los Angeles Lakers about a package starting with Brandon Ingram, but the 19-year-old forward is exactly the kind of athletic player Magic Johnson wants on his team. He averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 rebounds as a rookie last season.
The Lakers have also fielded trade inquiries in recent weeks that include their No. 2 pick. The Lakers have listened to offers, but they maintain that second-year forward Brandon Ingram is not available. The Lakers like Ingram’s steady growth with his defense, shooting and aggressiveness as he strives to add more muscle to his wiry frame. Meanwhile, the Lakers have heard from prospects that they would like to play alongside Ingram.
Serena Winters: Magic Johnson is on Mornings w/ @keyshawn @SedanoESPN and @Locs_n_Laughs...said he doesn't want to speak in untouchables, but also says... Magic Johnson when asked about untouchables: "Brandon (Ingram) is a guy we probably won't think about moving, ever." (On @ESPNLosAngeles).
Jake Fischer: As detailed yesterday, several sources suggested Lakers didn't offer Ingram-for-Boogie to chase Paul George instead http://on.si.com/2lGKStV
The Lakers called about Boogie, but ultimately valued Brandon Ingram too much to reel in the Kings center. Several league sources also suggested the Lakers aren't offering Ingram as they chase other superstars (George and Butler) too.
Ramona Shelburne: The Kings told the Lakers that without Ingram, they weren't interested. Sources said talks didn't get much farther than that
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Kings, Lakers discussed parameters on Cousins deal in past 48 hours, but Sacramento ended talks in late afternoon. Pels are focus.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kings wanted Brandon Ingram in a trade package for Cousins, but Lakers refused to include him, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Indeed, it looks like there will be a good deal of time. That’s because the Lakers are not moving any of the three, even as we enter the silly season of NBA trade discussions. According to league sources, the Lakers have not included any of the three into trade discussions, and do not figure to change that. They’re unlikely to consider moves involving their two other young role players, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., who figure to be key parts of the rotation in the near future.
That doesn’t much matter. Here’s what one Western Conference scout said about the state of the Lakers: “If you made a list of the 20 best players who are 22 or under, I think you’d have to have all three of the Lakers’ young guys on there. They’re three of the best young guys in the league. There’s really not a lot of teams can say that, and I think a lot of mediocre teams would like to swap rosters with the Lakers right now.”
Most encouraging, though, has been the way that Ingram has begun to break through, scoring in double digits in each of his past four games and shooting 50 percent or better from the field in five straight. Ingram is loaded with talent, and sometimes displays so much versatility that he doesn’t know on which area of his game he should focus. But, the scout said, “He is probably going to be the best of the three. When you look at his physical assets and what he is capable of just from a raw potential perspective, the sky is the limit. He has to be developed; that’s obvious. He looks to me like he is learning to assert himself more out on the floor. He’s got to figure out where he fits between Randle and Russell. But they’re so young, there will be plenty of time to make that smoother.”
June 12, 2021 | 1:33 pm EDT Update
After more than six months on the sidelines due to an ACL injury, Dinwiddie is eyeing a return to play if the Nets make it to the Finals, the Daily News has learned. A source close to the Nets’ combo guard also says after spending most of the regular season rehabbing in Los Angeles, Dinwiddie is planning to return to the team “sooner than later.” “He’s going to be in Brooklyn to support his team,” the source said. “He definitely is.”
Justin Kubatko: Chris Paul has 61 assists and six turnovers over his last six games. Since the NBA started tracking individual turnovers in 1977-78, Paul is the only player to record 60 or more assists with six or fewer turnovers over a six-game postseason span. He also did so in 2008 and 2015. pic.twitter.com/B4aQFCrQAc
Chris Grenham: Ohio State guard Duane Washington Jr. participated in the Celtics’ pre-draft workout on Thursday, per source. He has received a G League Elite Camp invite, which begins next weekend in Chicago prior to the NBA Draft Combine.
June 12, 2021 | 8:31 am EDT Update
Sergio Scariolo is a strong candidate for Virtus Bologna head coaching job, as reported by Il Corriere dello Sport and confirmed to Sportando. Sasha Djordjevic’s departure from Virtus Bologna was almost certain when Serie A playoffs started, also considering the elimination in EuroCup semifinals against Unics Kazan and the missed chance to play in EuroLeague next season.
In the locker room after the Nets’ 86-83 loss, there were lots of “atta boys” and “pick your head ups” and “we’ll live with that shot” from teammates, but Irving had a little piece of extra advice. Be like dad. Dunk it. “Kyrie was like, ‘Hey, you gotta try and dunk it, get a foul or something,’” Brown said. “That’s definitely what I should have done. I had the lane and the angle too, so maybe if I did that I’d have gotten a foul call, gotten to the line. If I had taken my two steps toward the rim, I probably could’ve dunked the ball.”
The available replays call into question this very idea. Lopez is 7-feet tall, and he’d recovered quickly from where he was on the sideline to get in Brown’s way. Brown faded left as he shot the ball, and, “I shot it too hard, I was trying to get it up a little higher, but he was nowhere near the ball, looking at the pictures and the film. “I could’ve just really did a simple layup and made the shot,” he said. “I made it difficult for myself just thinking too much during the shot.”
Harris wasn’t the only one misfiring in the Nets’ 86-83 loss. Add in Landry Shamet (1-for-4) and Mike James (1-for-5), and three Nets who can make a defense pay for double-teaming Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were a combined 3-for-20 from the field, including 2-for-11 from 3-point range. If those supporting cast numbers are repeated Sunday in Game 4, the series soon could be tied. “If you look at it, only one or two buckets in the last three or four minutes that we needed to fall and they just didn’t,” coach Steve Nash said. “I thought plenty of opportunities. Now, would I want Kevin or Ky shooting every single ball? Of course, but that’s not always the way it works out. We can learn from it.”
Phoenix went on a 14-2 run to build a 20-point lead on the way to a 116-102 win Friday to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in this best-of-7 conference semifinal series. “We have our eyes on the prize,” All-Star guard Devin Booker said.