But even if the Lakers determine the locker room chemistry can sustain the hits it took from the Irving trade drama, Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million contract is its own issue. As SCNG previously reported, one of the reasons the Lakers decided to go into the 2022-23 season with Westbrook on the roster was to rehabilitate his trade value. But a rival front office executive told SCNG that Westbrook, who is averaging 15.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists this season, still likely requires significant draft compensation to be moved, likely at least one unprotected first-round pick and maybe more.
March 20, 2023 | 8:58 pm EDT Update
But Green so regularly attacked the teeth of the New Orleans defense, he took 14 free throws, hitting all 14. “Just really figuring out how to draw that foul,” Green said. “Just watching guys that get to the free throw line already, like Shai (Gilgeous-Alexander) really helps out, studying their game and doing it on the court.”
Jabari Smith Jr., 19, and Alperen Sengun, 20, the Rockets’ youngest players, speak often about the weight room work they plan for the offseason. The Pelicans’ Jonas Valanciunas spent the two games in Houston showing why. “Jabari, especially, when he gets stronger, he’s going to be a problem, because he’s going to take all that contact and finish at the rim, or not get pushed off his spot,” Silas said. “The same thing for Alpi. He is lower body strong, but he can get stronger and better fit, and when he does that, he’s going to be a problem, as well. They’re going to get some grown man strength as we go here.
Clutch Points: “Keep playing that dumbass defense” – Kyrie Irving to Dillon Brooks 🍿👀 (via @DrewHill_DM) pic.twitter.com/OJGEjJplIL
March 20, 2023 | 7:56 pm EDT Update
LaMelo Ball not sure if he will wear ankle braces to prevent injuries in future
Ball said it’s too early to tell if he will change up anything in an attempt to curtail the lower extremity injuries. He’s unsure if ankle braces are in his future, or if he may need more support in his sneakers. “I have to see how I feel when I come back first,” he said, “and make a decision.”
Drew Hill: More Taylor Jenkins on Ja: “He’s excited to be a part of the group and get back and help his team. I think it is going to be a seamless integration. We know how important he is to us, and he knows how important his teammates are to him.”
Dalton Johnson: Jalen Green is available for the Rockets. He previously was questionable with a left thigh contusion