August 1, 2021 | 1:11 am EDT Update
Mark Schanowski: Watching NBA TVās free agency special. Well respected @ChrisBHaynes reports unless thereās a major āhiccupā, sources tell him Lonzo Ball intends to work out a contract with the Bulls. Pelicans are going hard after free agent PG Kyle Lowry.
On a recent edition of the āSmartless,ā podcast, Jamesā legendary father said he hopes to retire as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. āI truly hope that I can finish my career with the Lakers,ā James said on the podcast, according to CBS Sports. āHowever many years that is, if itās four, five, six, whatever, seven. I hope I can continue to play the game. I love being in L.A., my family loves being in L.A. Being with a historical franchise like the Lakers is something … Itās like me being in āSpace Jamā ā I never thought it would be possible. You think about Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar), and Magic (Johnson), and Wilt (Chamberlin), and Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, Kobe (Bryant), (Shaquille OāNeal) and all of them. The whole list goes on.ā
“I have never said that. I laughed when I saw it cuz I’ve literally never said that. I’ve been seeing a lot of things being said. I’ve been as open about the situation as I could possibly be.” Damian Lillard on rumors that he’d give up money to be traded.
Abbott went through the details of the twoās public sparring on Twitter and the backlash he received before getting into the conversation with Lillard: āI published it and tweeted it, and then he like, retweeted it with the facepalm emoji, and then he talked to reporters and said that none of it was true. And then, I tweeted ā¦ after like a day of epic meltdown, everything in my mentions was a nightmare of people saying Iām a liar and making up stories, Iām bad at my job. And some of that just comes with the business. This was like a lot. Iāve been doing this for a long time. This was a lot. So, then I basically write what you just said Jarod. And then, Damian immediately replied to that saying he doesnāt lie. Then, he started direct messaging me and heās in Tokyo at the Olympics, so weāre direct messaging, just like hammering away, trying to straighten it out. Then my phone rings and itās Aaron Goodwin, who is Damian Lillardās agent. I think Iāve known Aaron Goodwin longer than Damian has. Like, Aaron and I go way back. Weāve been through a lot of stuff, and I hold him in tremendously-high regards in a lot of ways.ā
Abbott said that he wouldnāt be transparent about everything he and Lillard discussed when he requested to speak with him. But, he did share a story of Lillardās positive vibe, even in the middle of the discussion. āMost of what happened on the phone call Iām just not going to share. Itās private. It was Dame and I getting to know each other? Actually at one point, I will tell you this funny part. Iām like, you know, āThis thing happened, this thing happened, Twitterās like a warzone for me now, and itās my birthday. And Aaron starts talking, everyone starts talking, and Dameās just like, āHenry, Henry, Henry, happy birthday, man.ā Iām like āThank you, Dame.āā
Outside of those anecdotes, Abbott said that he called the āDream Teamā of people who would know Lillardās leverage and control, continually insisting that neither party lied. He noted that thereās only one way out of Portland in Lillardās case, and it would be similar to James Harden, skipping training camp, having the front office question if heās going to give 100 percent, etc. The link to the rest of the podcast, for those interested, can be found above.
Tim Reynolds: It’s now Sunday in the US, meaning free agency starts tomorrow there, so it’s probably time to say this: Per source, when it comes to Kyle Lowry, the Miami Heat “have his attention and have had it for a while.” Buckle up, kids.
Would DeRozan realistically consider a pay cut that steep this late in his career? Constructing a sign-and-trade is another avenue but also difficult. Iād be curious to see whether the Clippers would consider placing themselves under a hard cap that would be triggered by a sign-and-trade. BT: The Lakers need shooting. One name that is coming up is Patty Mills. He can shoot the lights out and would be great off the bench. Wayne Ellington is another shooter who has interest in rejoining the Lakers. Trevor Ariza and Andre Iguodala are veteran wings who are candidates.