In Barkley’s view, though, the Lakers, who reportedly offered a trade package that included Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and multiple draft picks, have no reason to hang their heads about their inability to consummate a deal. “At some point Anthony Davis is going to be with the Lakers,” Barkley predicted. “The fix is in. I actually got a call from Rich Paul. I said, ‘Dude, the fix is in, you know he’s going to the Lakers.’ Once [Davis] signed with Klutch, the fix was in.”
Is this Davis’s fault? The decision to take his trade request public backfired, putting the Pelicans in this position. That Davis took this tact is puzzling. Handled quietly, and the Pelicans might have been more open to dealing with the Lakers, sources familiar with the situation told The Crossover. But Davis’s attempt to bully his way to LA, coupled with internal questions about whether the Lakers, who are headlined by LeBron James, who is represented by Rich Paul, who also represents Davis, had a hand in all this only served to cement the Pelicans resistance to dealing with Los Angeles—for now, anyway.
The communication between the Pelicans and Lakers was almost nonexistent leading up to the trade deadline. Saying there were negotiations might not even be accurate. By all accounts it was a one-way conversation, with the Lakers opening up their wallet and the Pelicans turning up their nose.
The Lakers, however, were unable to persuade the Pelicans to surrender Davis during the exclusive negotiating window they had to pursue him in the wake of Davis’s Jan. 28 request to be traded. The front offices of Los Angeles and New Orleans had no discussions about Davis on deadline day, according to two people familiar with the talks, after negotiations broke down Tuesday over what the Lakers deemed to be exorbitant demands from New Orleans.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Nearly 3 hours away from the NBA's trade deadline and ... the Lakers-Pelicans talks on Anthony Davis are dormant, league sources tell ESPN. No communication, nor an expectation that they'll even speak today. Pelicans seem content to run out the clock.
Even if Davis has shown the Celtics no love so far, Boston has the right hand to push in its chips. The front office has some confidence that the Lakers, with LeBron James already at age 34, won’t want to punt cap space until the summer of 2020, when Davis will hit free agency, league sources have said. A trade could be the Lakers’ only realistic chance of acquiring Davis.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The New Orleans Pelicans still haven't responded on the Los Angeles Lakers' most recent trade proposal for Anthony Davis, league sources tell ESPN. Pelicans have yet to engage L.A. on trade talks. Deadline is nearly 24 hours away.
The Lakers have “pulled out” of any more conversations in trying to acquire New Orleans All-Star Anthony Davis because of the Pelican’s “outrageous” trade requests, according to a person with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly.
Magic Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations, told New Orleans general manager Dell Demps Tuesday morning that Los Angeles had made its best offer that the Pelicans had wanted, but that the Lakers were not willing to add anything else and would be moving on, a person said. The Lakers were not going to give the Pelicans the six to eight draft picks they wanted for Davis, the person said, knowing that the four first-round picks and second-round picks were more than the Lakers would offer.
Late Monday night, the Lakers changed their offer at the request of the Pelicans, two people said. The Lakers had agreed to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac to the Pelicans, as well as veteran guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the people said. The Lakers were also winning to also send the Pelicans two first-round draft picks.
“They wanted more and more and more,” said one person. “There was no more to give. They had cap-relief with Hill being in the deal. But the more they wanted the more it because outrageous and unrealistic.” One person said the Pelicans are hopeful that if Davis isn’t traded by the NBA’s Thursday noon (Pacific Time) deadline, that he’ll want to stay and play for the Pelicans going forward. “But that’s not going to happen,” the person said. “AD is not changing his mind.”
The Lakers have been adamant that they will not get into a bidding war for Davis this summer with the Boston Celtics, who are another team that has been associated with Davis, according to one person. The Lakers have even said if the Pelicans revisit the trade during the summer that Los Angeles’ offer will be less than what it is now.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Pels are waiting on Lakers to overwhelm them w/ an historic haul of picks. To Nola, that means Lakers offering 4 first-round and second-round picks as part of a Davis package. Pels want to be compensated - perhaps even overcompensated - to even consider a deal with LA now.
The New Orleans Pelicans are engaging with the Los Angeles Lakers in talks on a trade for All-NBA star Anthony Davis, but president Magic Johnson must still overcome significant support within the Pelicans organization to let Thursday's deadline expire with Davis remaining on the roster, league sources told ESPN.
The Lakers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had hoped to find a landing spot for the sixth-year guard before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday, but he has not been part of the discussions to acquire for Davis. Caldwell-Pope has veto power over any trade he might be involved in, and one person familiar with his situation who was not authorized to speak publicly said it is unlikely Caldwell-Pope will be traded before the deadline.
Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps re-opened their dialogue Monday about working together on an Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers increased their offer to include everything the Pelicans desire: six players, two first-round draft picks and a willingness to take back an undesirable contract. The Lakers’ most recent offer to the Pelicans, according to people with knowledge of the situation, includes Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and two first-round picks in exchange for Davis and Solomon Hill, who is set to make $13 million next season.
Upon learning of that offer, Ball’s camp expressesd concern about the 6-6 point guard winding up in New Orleans if traded. One team with which there was mutual interest was the Phoenix Suns, according to two people unauthorized to speak publicly. Phoenix is a team filled with young players that is desperate for a point guard, but the Suns could only make that work if it were added to the deal as a third team.
Brad Turner: Landed in Indy; update on Lakers-Pelicans talks. Magic Johnson, Dell Demps talked twice today, per source. Lakers willing to give Pelicans cap relief for Anthony Davis by taking Solomon Hill for Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ingram, Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Beasley, 2 1st round picks.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Lakers have offered a new package to New Orleans that includes multiple young players, multiple draft picks and Pelicans salary cap relief for Anthony Davis, league sources tell ESPN. The offer appears to move closer to the objectives that the Pelicans are pursuing in a deal.
This turn of events could be an opening to help spur the Pelicans to find a deal for Davis prior to Thursday's trade deadline, league sources said. The Knicks don't have the assets to make a trade for Davis now, and the Lakers and Pelicans have yet to gain traction in talks. This appears to be an effort on the part of Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, to facilitate a deal prior to Thursday's 3 p.m. ET deadline, and spare a prolonged stay into the offseason for Davis with the franchise.
Marc Stein: "At this point, it's a one-team race [for Anthony Davis]. If anything is going to happen before the deadline, it's pretty much Lakers only. If you forced me right now to lodge a prediction, I would still say a trade is unlikely but by virtue of the fact the Lakers are the only ones in the game right now, or at least that's the impression you get, I guess we gotta give them a chance and maybe New Orleans gets worn down by Thursday with the circus this has become."
With the NBA’s trade deadline approaching, the Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans have yet to discuss the offers the Lakers made for six-time All-Star forward Anthony Davis, but that conversation is expected to take place next week.
The Lakers sent five offers to the Pelicans on Wednesday. One of the options offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick, multiple sources said. The Pelicans have not responded to the Lakers’ initial offers.
The Knicks’ surprising blockbuster trade of Porzingis to the Mavericks essentially wiped clean New York’s payroll, putting them in prime position to sign two superstars, with Kevin Durant and Irving as the primary targets. Thursday evening’s rumor mill suggested that Davis believes Irving will sign with the Knicks. Don’t put too much stock in that, however. For one thing, front-office sources around the league believe that’s a smokescreen scare tactic as Davis’ agent tries to push him to the Lakers. Uncertainty about what the Celtics might offer works heavily in the Lakers' favor.
Currently, the Pelicans don't intend to trade Davis to the Lakers, sources told ESPN, and they rejected a Knicks offer of a package centered on Porzingis before he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne. It seems New Orleans might be content to wait on Boston to be able to make an offer, but that offer wouldn't have to wait until summer if Irving was moved.
Three NBA team executives told USA TODAY Sports they are operating under the premise that the Los Angeles Lakers are Anthony Davis’ preferred destination and that any other team that acquires him from New Orleans will be getting a short-term rental until Davis can become a free agent in 2020.
Tania Ganguli: After learning of the Lakers’ offers to the Pelicans, Lonzo Ball’s camp maintains that New Orleans isn’t the desired destination. Phoenix makes the most basketball sense if Ball were to be traded and according to two sources there is mutual interest.
Brad Turner: Sources: Lakers let Demps know one of trade scenarios would include Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac, No. 1 pick, per source. Eric Pincus: Trying to parse BT's language - if Lakers have discussed multiple scenarios that include all of the listed players - doesn't mean one specific scenario includes all of the players. Tania Ganguli: actually, no. this is one of the options. all together.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Lakers and Pelicans executives have connected on the phone concerning Anthony Davis, league sources tell ESPN. They're expected to talk again prior to next week's trade deadline.
Ramona Shelburne: Regarding the Lakers and Pelicans conversations today, I’m told it’s “common sense to assume no one but LeBron James would be untouchable”
Brad Turner: Lakrs president Magic Johnson and Pelicans GM Dell Demps spoke on the phone Tuesday about to proceed with a deal regarding Anthony Davis, who has requested a trade, per sources
Brad Turner: Lakers president Magic Johnson and the Lakers then presented five different trade scenarios to Demps on Wednesday and are waiting to hear back from Demps about which interest him the most, per sources.
Brad Turner: To clarify, Magic Johnson and Demps spoke about how to proceed on trade talks regarding AD, per sources.
As the NBA trade deadline looms within a week, the Lakers' immediate pursuit of All-Star forward Anthony Davis is fraught with obstacles -- including the fact that New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps has yet to return a call to Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, league sources told ESPN. The sluggish response time is perhaps a message that New Orleans places some responsibility on the Lakers for Davis' trade request, or perhaps an indication to Davis and his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, that the franchise doesn't plan to easily acquiesce on a trade request to partner with LeBron James.
Demps is picking up his phone and returning calls -- just not from the Lakers, sources said. From Paul George to Leonard to Davis, the Lakers' front office is growing accustomed to icy receptions from teams enduring All-Star trade demands with a full year left on their contracts.
With Boston prohibited from trading for Davis this season, going to the Lakers presents Davis a chance to make something of this 2018-19 season. The Celtics and other suitors are curious as to whether the potential Lakers-or-bust stance softens once the deadline passes, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: “Essentially, having Boston in the bidding, who is the team with the most draft picks, several outstanding young players and a really motivated team to try to acquire Anthony Davis it only elevates everyone else’s offers in the trade process and Boston is going to be there. And I think, Boston has sent a message to the Pelicans, ‘Be patient. Wait for us, we are going to be in this and we’re going to be willing to talk about essentially everyone on our roster outside of Kyrie Irving.’ So, I think right now it’s put New Orleans very much in a holding pattern and it’s really dampened the possibility of the [Los Angeles] Lakers being able to do what they’d love to do, is get a deal done prior to the trade deadline. New Orleans has no interest in acquiescing Anthony Davis to the Lakers right now.”
The question is whether the Lakers, the team that drafted the 6-foot-9 kid with the 7-foot-3 wingspan out of Duke three years ago, will continue to be good to him or if he will become part of a package to try to pry Davis from New Orleans by the Feb. 7 trade deadline. Lakers coach Luke Walton did not address the situation with the entire team Monday, a team source told ESPN. However, Walton has had several individual conversations about it with his players, much the same way he did with players last season when the specter of landing James became an elephant in the room and eventually led to the cap-clearing trade at the deadline that sent Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to, coincidentally, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Paul did not give the Pelicans a list of desired destinations, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, but that move could be coming soon. And yes, all signs continue to point to Davis’ strong preference being the Lakers as the leader in that clubhouse.
Chris Haynes first addressed whether he thinks the Lakers might be able to deal for Davis before the NBA trade deadline: “I don’t see that right now. I mean, if you look at (the Pelicans’) statement, they’re still on the league about looking into tampering charges and so there’s bad blood. I was talking with somebody earlier and they brought up Gregg Popovich, how he was not going to trade Kawhi to the Lakers, and I said ‘this is different. It’s a little bit deeper even than that.’
Chris Haynes: “So from that mindset right now I do not see a way (that in the next 10 days) the Pelicans do a deal that will send AD over to the Lakers. I just don’t see that happening. And I don’t know if the league is going to let that happen right now."
The Lakers are expected to talk with the Pelicans soon, league sources said. After agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports told ESPN on Monday that he had informed the Pelicans that Davis wouldn't sign an extension this summer and wanted a trade, multiple league sources expect the agent and star to soon deliver word throughout the league that Davis' preferred destination is the Lakers and he'll become a rental player until 2020 with a trade anywhere else.
There have been rumblings since early January that Davis would request a trade by the end of the month, but front-office executives I spoke with still find the timing to be curious. One factor is clear, though: By requesting a trade now through his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, the window has been pried open for the Lakers to at least have a shot at landing Davis. The longer this drama drags along, the harder it will be for the Lakers, because teams like the Celtics, Knicks, and maybe others will be able to tap into different resources. The Lakers’ brass of Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson will be aggressive in pushing for a deal now, per league sources, knowing that if they wait, they will likely lose Davis.
Shams Charania: Sources: Should Lakers/Pelicans trade talks pick up, point guard Lonzo Ball's camp prefers Ball to be moved to a third team that doesn't have an established point guard.
Teams such as the Knicks and Davis’s hometown Chicago Bulls are among the many clubs expected to join the Lakers in pursuing a trade for Davis over the days leading to the 3 p.m. trade deadline on Feb. 7. Yet it might behoove New Orleans to wait until May to get serious about dealing its best player.
Kyle Goon: Luke Walton said he thinks in general that his younger players have become more comfortable with being discussed in trade rumors, sees more maturity handling that this year than this time last season.
The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks are preparing to make offers for New Orleans Pelicans superstar forward Anthony Davis, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Lakers’ brass had a meeting Monday morning in large part to coordinate the franchise’s plans, sources said.
The New Orleans Pelicans are open to trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers – but it’ll come at a hefty price. According to sources unauthorized to speak publicly on the deal, a Lakers offer for Davis would have to start with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick. Davis requested a trade from the Pelicans last week.
In recent weeks, the Lakers have been adamant internally that they would not trade Ball. It’s unclear if that stance has changed now that Davis could be available. The Lakers’ planned to meet Monday morning to discuss their options. According to sources, Paul has not given the Pelicans a list of preferred destinations, but he will inform interested teams whether or not Davis would sign an extension with them if they were to trade for him.
Incidentally, Paul, who represents LeBron James as well, also represents Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, whom the Lakers signed to a one-year deal worth $12 million. According to sources unauthorized to speak publicly, Paul has been searching for a trade partner for the Lakers to move Caldwell-Pope in search of a better role for the 25-year-old guard. But Caldwell-Pope would have veto power over any trade and it’s unlikely he would approve a trade to New Orleans.
The immediate problem is that Davis is still under contract with the Pelicans, and though he has told the team he won’t sign an extension and has requested a trade, there’s no guarantee the Pels will proceed with that request in the next 10 days, when the trade deadline hits. As one league source told Sporting News on Monday, "I don’t think the guys in New Orleans care that Davis or the Lakers or anyone want to get this done quickly."
"They are not going to hurry through this. There’s no need for that. You have a top-five player in the league. Dell (Demps, the New Orleans general manager) is a pretty careful guy, and even if he gets told from above to make a trade, he can make the case that they should make it in the offseason. "He might get fired in all this, but still, he’d be right to tell them to wait."
This is an opportunity for the Los Angeles Lakers to be aggressive in offering a package for Davis prior to Boston's inclusion into talks. Paul also represents Lakers star LeBron James, and the Lakers have been determined to acquire Davis in a deal, league sources said.
Chris Mannix: There’s really only one reason for AD’s agent to go public with a trade demand this early—to give the Lakers a head start on trade talks before Boston can get into the mix this summer. Why else risk AD spending the next few months as the villain?
If the Lakers’ hoped-for deal for Anthony Davis becomes reality, Lonzo Ball is likely, or all but certain, to go to New Orleans. Assuming the Lakers want a third superstar with LeBron James and AD—from a list starting with Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson—they have to slice more than $20 million off next season’s cap, which could go to New Orleans in a trade for Davis. Aside from James’ $37.4 million, two Lakers will make more than $2.1 million: Ball at $8.7 million, and Brandon Ingram at $7.3 million... making the young players likely, or all but certain, to be in any deal for AD.
In chasing Davis, the Lakers may need a push from his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who also represents James. "I'd say if the [Philadelphia 76ers offer Ben] Simmons, or with the [Boston] Celtics' package of picks and young players, the Lakers would probably be third," the former executive said. "One would think that [Pelicans general manager] Dell [Demps] would want a deal done around the draft [with Boston's picks]."
Warriors. Anthony Davis. I'm throwing this out there, I'm not basing this on anything, but a sleeper team, Golden State for Anthony Davis. Chris Haynes: "That rumor's been around for some time, and I think Tim Kawakami of the Athletic in the Bay Area started the reporting on that. And I think there was something to that. I'll say this: I think things have changed a little bit now that Anthony Davis is repped by Rich Paul, who happens to be LeBron James' agent. So I think [those rumors] had more juice this time last year, to go in that direction. I would be surprised if Golden State would be able to enter the field... to picking up AD. I think the Lakers have a legitimate shot. I think Boston is definitely gonna be in there. I can't see Golden State picking that up. It would be mighty difficult - it's just a lot of things have changed since then."
In the aftermath of LeBron James' public comments on the possibility of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis joining him on the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA sent a memo to NBA teams that warned of consequences for orchestrated tampering campaigns of players under contract elsewhere. In a memo obtained by ESPN on Friday morning, league counsel seemed to be alluding to the James' scenario, saying, "employment contracts are to be respected and conduct that interferes with contractual employment relationships is prohibited.
Several small market general managers told ESPN last week that they reached out to Pelicans GM Dell Demps to express dismay over what they perceive as the NBA's tacit endorsement of James' comments to ESPN that it would be "amazing" and "incredible" if the Lakers could somehow acquire Davis, a five-time All-Star who is currently under contract with the Pelicans through the 2019-20 season. "It's New Orleans' problem today, and a problem with a different player tomorrow for the rest of us," one Eastern Conference GM told ESPN. "It's open season on small markets and our players."
Whatever is happening between Davis and the Pelicans is only a little about market size. Davis has not yet told those close to him that he is dead set on the Lakers or any other specific team should he decide to leave, according to a source familiar with his thinking. He does not appear ready to demand a trade. All of that could, of course, change at any moment. Regardless: There is no denying the importance of this story. Any trade over the next year involving Davis might be the single most important trade of an NBA veteran since the Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar from Milwaukee in 1975. (Kevin Pelton once tackled this question from a more analytics-infused perspective.)
Rachel Nichols: Let's talk about other guys who might want to play with you. You said recently that it would be "amazing" if the Lakers traded for Anthony Davis. Have you talked to Lakers management about putting together a "Godfather" offer to get AD? LeBron James: I have not. I have not, to be honest. And it wasn't brought to me as trading for Anthony Davis; the way it was brought to me was, how would it feel if Anthony Davis was a part of this franchise, and I was, like, duh! It would be amazing. I mean, come on now. Stevie Wonder can see that. Let's not get it twisted. It would be unbelievable to have a 25-year old superstar in the prime of his career come here. We saw what happened when Shaq came here from Orlando. I mean, that's what the Lakers do -- they go get out the big fish.
Combine that with the fact Davis signed with the Klutch agency that also represents James before the start of the season, and it is little wonder that the rumor mill is in overdrive. "I definitely get the sense (it is in the works)," Garnett laughed. "This is the craziest (expletive) I have ever seen. Rich Paul, LeBron’s best (expletive) friend is representing him? Come on, man."
If Davis indicates that he won't extend, the Pelicans may find a trade is the only answer, lest they lose one of the league's elite players without any compensation. The buzz in Las Vegas, where most of the league's executives gathered over the past few days for the NBA G League Winter Showcase, is that Davis will end up with either the Boston Celtics or Lakers before the 2019-20 season. "It's a renewal of the NBA's great rivalries, just not on the court but behind the scenes," one executive said.
The primary link to the Lakers is Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who is the player agent for both James and Davis. That connection is a conflict of interest, at least in the view of several teams. "I'm not worried about James tampering to the media about AD. It's that James and Paul are mafioso mob bosses of the NBA that's the problem," a Western Conference general manager said.
"I wouldn't lock the Lakers in for AD," a front-office executive said. "Davis will have a lot of options if he wants to leave New Orleans." The Celtics may not have the cap space to renegotiate his contract, but by virtue of his trade bonus, they could get within $18 million of the supermax, with Davis re-signing again in 2022. Given the available options, Davis can afford to turn away a massive offer from the Pelicans.
May 28, 2023 | 10:23 am EDT Update
The early around-the-league reaction to Washington’s hiring of Michael Winger to take over its front office: Pretty much every rival team I’ve spoken to is already expecting aggressive activity from the Winger-led Wizards. Don’t forget, though, that Bradley Beal can’t be in play for a trade unless he wants to be. Beal holds the NBA’s only active and full no-trade clause as he enters Year 2 of a five-year, $251 million contract, so Washington can’t send him anywhere without Beal’s consent. Also TBD: Is Kristaps Porziņģis still a near-lock to receive a contract extension from the Wizards, as it appeared earlier this season, or likely to join the in-demand Kyle Kuzma on the Wizards’ list of marquee unrestricted free agents?
Justin Kubatko: Jayson Tatum last night: ✅ 31 PTS ✅ 12 REB ✅ 5 AST It’s the seventh time Tatum has recorded at least 30p/10r/5a in a game in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, tying LeBron James (2018) for the most such games in a single postseason. Read and subscribe: open.substack.com/pub/statitudes…
NBA on ESPN: Al Horford is set to play in his 10th career Game 7. He’ll join Ray Allen (11), Paul Pierce (10) and Bill Russell (10) as players who’ve played in 10+ Game 7s. All of them played for the Celtics 🍀 pic.twitter.com/SNQWBtGTIi
One week after shocking the world in Kaunas with the two-pointer that gave Real Madrid the win against Olympiacos and the 11th EuroLeague in the club’s history, Sergio Llull wrote that history once again. The 35-year-old Spanish veteran just became Real Madrid‘s leading scorer in the ACB. With a three-pointer to give Real Madrid the 25-point lead in the last minutes of the second quarter against Gran Canaria, in Game 1 of the ACB Quarter-Finals between the EuroLeague and EuroCup champions, Sergio Llull overcame Felipe Reyes in this special ranking, crossing the line of 6.019 points.
May 28, 2023 | 7:43 am EDT Update
Mavericks not interested in Kyrie Irving sign-and-trade with Lakers for D’Angelo Russell
A popular topic all week, in the wake of Denver sweeping the Lakers out of the Western Conference finals, was the notion that L.A. could emerge as a potential sign-and-trade destination for Dallas’ free agent-to-be Kyrie Irving. While we await a clear indication about the Lakers’ intentions there, with no verifiable signal to date that pursuing Irving is among their offseason priorities, league sources say that the Mavericks would have no interest in a sign-and-trade with the Lakers that features D’Angelo Russell as the primary Dallas-bound player. All indications are that the Mavericks remain intent on re-signing Irving.
The former No. 2 overall pick has already expressed a desire to return to Los Angeles, but his future with the team remains unclear especially after Darvin Ham decided to bring him off the bench in Game 4 against the Denver Nuggets. Russell acknowledged it was a tough situation for him but wanted to remain as professional as possible about it. “I mean, it was tough,” Russell admitted. “It was tough to agree with it obviously, but in a short period of time to not become a distraction to your teammates and to everybody else that’s preparing just like you to get the one goal done which is win. I knew that was where you had to be professional. You can’t be a distraction at this point of the season and things like that, so that’s kind of how I went about it. I wanted to be professional and try to dominate my minutes when there were minutes for me.”
Lakers preferred offseason course is retaining Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura
Retaining restricted free agents Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura, continues to be regarded as the Lakers’ preferred offseason course. Less clear is the extent of their appetite to re-sign Russell, who averaged 6.3 points per game and shot 32.3% from the field (including 13.3% from 3-point range) during Denver’s four-game sweep.
The Celtics had to find their togetherness and it was his job as the OG to make that happen. Horford told Mazzulla to ditch the film session, organizing a team trip to Topgolf instead. They needed to have fun with each other and feel the joy again. “We completely skipped film,” Grant Williams told The Athletic. “We kept basketball away and we just focused on each other and getting that camaraderie and team back. We disconnected from the actual pressures and we were able to just enjoy one another. We’ve done movies before, we’ve done dinners. But that was our first time doing something active like that. Then we hit the film the next day.”