September 27, 2022 | 8:06 am EDT Update
“Facundo Campazzo gave his heart and soul when he was here. He was loved in the locker room,” said Calvin Booth on Monday at a press conference for NBA media day in Denver. “We wanted to try to be a little bigger team and we didn’t think it was absolutely necessary to have a real point guard like Facu so we made the decision to move in a different direction,” he added. “I know he probably wanted to have played more. But these are things that happen throughout a season,” Booth said.
Adam Zagoria: The Nets signed RaiQuan Gray to complete their training camp roster pic.twitter.com/8hyD2PSl4a
With reams of championship banners hanging above him, a couple of surefire Hall of Fame teammates present in the gym with him and a team roster that will cost the Los Angeles Lakers a hair under $175 million, Anthony Davis’ statement about the upcoming season sounded almost unthinkable. “We’re treating this season like we have a chip on our shoulder. We’re the underdogs,” Davis told ESPN during the team’s annual media day on Monday. “Obviously, the world is looking to see what we do. But … they’re not talking about us, and that’s fine. You know, we’d rather be under the radar.”
For his part, AD is just taking it all in. He understands that there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him coming into the new season. However, he just isn’t going to let all this get into his head (h/t NBA TV on Twitter): “I look at it the same as I was in New Orleans,” he said. “My first year here, I feel like I was kinda the focal point even then. … For me, it’s just approaching it as any other season coming in. Just being myself. I think the more pressure you start to put on yourself, that’s when people start getting flustered and doing things they’re not used to doing. “For me, come in, play basketball. If I be who I am — the Anthony Davis I know I can be — the rest will take care of itself. I’m not putting any extra pressure on myself.”
Pelinka said Westbrook is a “great part of our team,” but the Lakers executive added, “If we have to continue to upgrade our roster throughout the season, we will.” Pelinka explained that if that means parting with the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round draft picks in a trade that involves Westbrook, he will be open to it for the right deal. “Let me be abundantly clear: We have one of the great players in LeBron James to ever play the game, and he committed to us on a long-term contract, a three-year contract,” Pelinka said, alluding to the contract extension James signed in August that will keep him in L.A. through the 2024-25 season. “So of course, we will do everything we can, picks included, to make deals to give us a chance to help LeBron get to the end. He committed to our organization. That’s got to be a bilateral commitment, and it’s there.”
None of us knows what will happen next. That’s the beauty of sports, though: You know you want to watch. “Whatever unfolds, unfolds,” he said. “I’m just happy and blessed to be able to play a game I love again. … Whether they want me here or not doesn’t really matter. Honestly, my job is to be a professional, show up to work like I’ve always done thus far, do my job the best way I know how to, and that’s it. I mean, we all have jobs (where) sometimes people at our jobs don’t like us, or they don’t want us there, as you guys probably can attest to in many other jobs across the world. And as a professional, as a working man, I have to do my job and do it the best way I know how to be able to support and take care of my family, and that’s what I will do.”