NBA rumors: Teammates optimistic about LeBron James' recovery

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Said Harrell: "This guy is a pro, man. I don't think it's going to set him back too much, but he is human, man." Coming into Saturday, James was averaging 25.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.0 assists and played in all but one game for the Lakers this season, keeping his name atop the MVP conversation. L.A. lost the game James missed for rest, 123-120 to the Sacramento Kings, right before the All-Star break.
James' initial attempt to remain on the court after the injury (he even made a 3-pointer on the next possession) recalled his strong track record of playing through more common ankle sprains, which involve a different group of ligaments. As Stotts noted on Twitter on Saturday, his database showed James missing just three games total with eight previous ankle sprains. In this case, there's reason for the Lakers to be more cautions with James' health -- certainly as compared to Thompson's desire to rush back during the NBA Finals. Where the Lakers finish in the Western Conference standings is less important than having their stars healthy for the postseason.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT: Last thing on Bron’s injury for tonight (I swear 😂). The “indefinite” tag reads to me as a good sign bc it indicates there’s likely some nuance to the injury & the med staff wants to see how it evolves. If it was major, you’re more likely to see an initial “x week out” timeline.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT: One of the reasons Bron puts in so much work is to have an athletic reserve and resilience. His physio said he came back from the serious adductor injury in 6 weeks when she’s seen many athletes take 6 months. The 👑 will be back and with a vengeance. Believe that.
"A guy dove for a loose ball, took his leg out from up under him," Montrezl Harrell said. "I really don't feel like it was one of those loose-ball plays. He had to go through his leg to get the ball, man. He was turned sideways. The ball was behind him. I mean, you're jumping at an angle, going across this way, I mean, I don't know how you feel that's a loose ball." Dennis Schroder concurred. "That's an unnecessary play to dive in the leg like that," he said.
The Lakers have three tough games this week when their next-man-up mantra will be tested. They play Sunday at Phoenix and Tuesday at New Orleans before playing host to Philadelphia on Thursday. The Lakers are percentage points behind the Suns for second place in the Western Conference, both 2½ games behind league-leading Utah. Backup center Montrezl Harrell did his part Saturday, when he led the Lakers with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Veteran forward Markieff Morris contributed 12 points and six rebounds. “It’s next man up,” Morris echoed. “We been dealing with injuries and the COVID all year, so we got to figure out how to get wins and figure out how we’re going to play, players in different positions, be team players and be aggressive.”
The impact of injuries is a key reason it's dangerous to start to draw MVP conclusions too early in the season. Staying on the court is a key part of value within an individual regular season. Historically, 10 games missed has been about the cutoff for MVP consideration. The last player to miss more than 10 games in an MVP season was Allen Iverson in 2000-01 (11). Before that, you have to go back to Bill Walton in 1977-78 (an unprecedented 34) for the previous example. (No MVP between Walton and Iverson missed more than seven games.)
Adrian Wojnarowski: X-rays negative on LeBron James’ right ankle, source tells ESPN. MRI results still pending.
Kyle Goon: Montrezl Harrell on Solomon Hill's dive into LeBron: "We don't feel like it was one of those basketball-type plays." On follow-up: "He had to go through his leg to get the ball." Says he didn't think he intend to hurt James but that it's something that the league should look at.
Bill Oram: With the corner 3 he buried after the injury, LeBron secured his 1,036th game with at least 10 points. It is the record by far. Michael Jordan second on that list with 866.
Jovan Buha: Solomon Hill went for a steal and collided with LeBron James' left leg/knee area. LeBron fell and was screaming in pain -- you could hear it from a couple hundred feet away -- but he just got up on his own and limped to the bench. Unclear yet if he's going to return.
Bill Oram: Lakers call timeout and LeBron heads to the locker room, knocking down a stool on his way off the court. You have to understand how much it takes to get LeBron to go to the locker room after getting hurt.
Jovan Buha: Lakers’ injury report for tomorrow vs. Philadelphia: — LeBron James (left ankle sprain) is questionable. — Anthony Davis (right ankle contusion) is probable. — Jared Dudley (sore right calf) and Kostas Antetokounmpo (right knee patellar tendonitis) are out.
Lakers Nation: Lakers injury report for Game 2: Dion Waiters (sore left groin) is doubtful. LeBron James (sore right groin) and Rajon Rondo (back spasms) are probable.
Melissa Rohlin: LeBron James (sore groin) is out for tomorrow’s game against Golden State. Anthony Davis (sore left elbow) is probable.
Mike Bresnahan: Anthony Davis is listed as questionable for tonight’s game vs. Dallas because of soreness in his right shoulder. LeBron James (sore groin) and Kyle Kuzma (sprained ankle) are listed as probable for the game.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will play Saturday night against the Portland Trail Blazers despite dealing with a groin injury, league sources told Yahoo Sports.‬ The Lakers had ruled James’ status for the Portland game as questionable.
Mike Bresnahan: Lakers Coach Frank Vogel said a decision hadn’t been made yet on whether LeBron James would play tonight vs. Portland. Some of it depends on how he fares at today’s upcoming shoot-around. James is listed as questionable because of a groin injury.
Good news for the Lakers: LeBron James (groin) will travel with the team to Portland and is on track to play on Saturday against the Trail Blazers, league sources say. James is said to be feeling fine enough to play after receiving treatment on Thursday. He re-aggravated his groin injury in the Lakers’ Christmas Day loss to the Clippers.
A collision with Patrick Beverley in the first quarter of the Lakers' 111-106 loss Wednesday night to the Clippers caused LeBron James to aggravate a nagging groin injury and could cause the Lakers star to miss some game time moving forward. "I felt healthy going into the game," James said after finishing with 23 points on 9-for-24 shooting, with 10 assists and 9 rebounds. "I got kneed in the groin taking a charge from Pat Bev, and it kind of set me right back to where I was five days ago."
James missed his first game of the season Sunday while dealing with a thoracic muscle strain -- a pull in the rib cage area -- as well as a nagging groin issue, sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst. He is listed as day-to-day by the Lakers with the Christmas game on the horizon. However, a source close to James told ESPN he expected the star to be in the lineup. While James' presence would certainly buoy this Lakers group, Anthony Davis pointed to a more pressing need than the four-time MVP: team defense.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is doubtful for Sunday's home game against the Nuggets with a thoracic muscle strain, coach Frank Vogel announced Saturday. LeBron James first sustained the injury, a pull in the rib cage area, against the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday and played through it during Thursday's loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. James didn't require an MRI, but this is a significant issue and not just a load management situation, sources told ESPN.
Earlier this week, James said he didn't plan to miss any games this season for rest. James has also been dealing with a nagging groin issue recently, sources said. Last season a groin strain on Christmas Day derailed James and the Lakers' season.
The Lakers announced this weekend that James would be held out of the final six games to allow his strained left groin to fully heal. "He wants to play," Walton said before the Lakers played the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday. "My understanding from the medical staff, they finally said, 'Look, it's just not worth it anymore. Let's make sure you have a healthy summer.' So that's the decision that was made, and we'll move forward without him on the floor for the final six."
Why wasn't that decision made sooner? "Well, I think that goes back to him wanting to compete," Walton said. "Even though it's over, he wants to be out there playing with his guys. Eventually, as that time goes on and on, it's easier to tell someone like that, 'Let's take care of your health right now.' So that's kind of how the decision came."
Walton said that the final stretch of the season will be difficult without James, but will present an opportunity for the rest of his young team. "It's going to make it a challenge, but you know, it can be exciting if guys step up," he said. "This group, it's been fun, for where we're at, it's been fun to coach this group lately, and the way they've been playing out there. LeBron's been a key part of that. We'll have to figure some things out differently, but again, everyone's getting a chance to play and try to help us win some more games."
Dave McMenamin: Lakers statement: “After consulting with our team doctors and medical staff, we have decided to hold LeBron out of games for the remainder of the season. This decision will allow his groin to fully heal, and is best for the future success of both LeBron and the Lakers.”
Harrison Faigen: The Lakers are listing LeBron as probable for tomorrow. Mike Muscala is also probable. Reggie Bullock and Tyson Chandler are questionable
Kyle Goon: Josh Hart is already listed as OUT for tomorrow's game against the Wizards. Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala are QUESTIONABLE. LeBron James is PROBABLE.
Mike Trudell: LeBron James is listed as probable with a left knee contusion for tonight’s game vs. SAC, while Josh Hart (knee tendinitis) is out, and Mike Muscala (tibialias posterior tendinitis) questionable.
Dr. Karen Joubert: As a PT for 27 years I have had the good fortune to work with some of the top athletes in the world ... then came Lebron. I want you all to know how bad his injury was and is, the pain he endured. Along with his amazing trainer, Mike Mancias, he was on the court in 6 weeks, it should have been 6 months. Unselfishly, he endured pain, pain, pain. He did not want to let the Lakers down, the fans down. But I know what he went through! I learned about determination, the will to win, how to get the job done. He is a force to be reckoned with. @kingjames @mikemancias1 #lebronjames #lakers #basketball #lebron

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Mike Trudell: LeBron - listed as probable/expected to play tonight - said after shootaround that missing last game due to the sore groin was about managing it and not taking a step backwards. “At this point of the season that’s the last thing I’d want is to take a step backwards.”
Mike Trudell: Luke Walton said Josh Hart won’t play tonight (sore knee). LeBron will play, Tyson Chandler is available and Lance Stephenson is questionable.
Mike Trudell: LeBron’s been shooting 3’s with Kuzma for a good 30 minutes plus now. From afar, he’s been vocal and encouraging. Kuz has struggled from 3 all season, a source of frustration for him after a solid rookie year from 3, though his overall FG% is still up a bit.
When I crossed paths with James before Sunday night’s tipoff, in my weekend cameo with ESPN Radio, he acknowledged that hauling the Lakers to the playoffs will be a daunting assignment. But he also insisted that he’s starting to feel better physically at the most important time after missing a career-worst 17 consecutive games with a groin strain he sustained on Christmas. “It’s going to be tough, but we shouldn’t want it any other way,” James said. “I look forward to the challenge — and I’m getting healthy, too.”
Mike Trudell: LeBron confirmed that he’ll play tonight in Indiana after missing the previous contest due to load management.
Kyle Goon: I thought it was interesting that no Lakers player seemed to have any inkling before the game that LeBron might not be available tonight. Several said their first indication was when they heard as they arrived to the arena.
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June 14, 2021 | 12:15 pm EDT Update

Mavs concerned about Luka Doncic's desire to remain in Dallas long-term

But a high-level power broker within the league says the Mavericks recognize that there’s urgency to build a contending team around Doncic after losing in the first round in each of the past two seasons. The clock is ticking. Internally, there are concerns the front office’s dysfunction has hurt its ability to do so — and that poor relationships Doncic has with key members of the franchise, including Voulgaris, could impact his current desire to remain in Dallas long-term. The team’s most recent postseason defeat against the LA Clippers served as a direct indictment on the roster constructed around him. Can Mavericks management remedy that in time? Or, as some team sources fear, will they pay the price for the dysfunctional dynamics that exist in some corners of the organization?
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It’s not that Doncic’s situation with the team is at a critical inflection point right now. Multiple team sources simply fear that it’s heading that direction. Those concerns mostly center on Cuban and the decisions he makes regarding who he trusts and imbues with power. Sometimes, it’s examples like Voulgaris, a sports gambler with no league experience being given near total control of the team’s roster. Other times, it’s the relationships he doesn’t sever: The Mavericks’ front office has come to be known around the league for its long-existing power structure that, Voulgaris aside, has barely changed.
In early February, during the second quarter of a home game against the Golden State Warriors, Luka Doncic carelessly turned over the ball and received feedback from a Dallas Mavericks employee he didn’t care for: Haralabos Voulgaris, a well-known sports gambler hired by team owner Mark Cuban in 2018. Voulgaris, sitting with an open laptop in his typical courtside seat across from the Mavericks’ bench, motioned downward with his hands, which Doncic specifically interpreted as Voulgaris telling him to calm down, multiple team and league sources tell The Athletic. Doncic snapped back, telling Voulgaris, according to one source’s recollection, “Don’t f—— tell me to calm down.” The same sources say Voulgaris later professed that his motion wasn’t solely directed at Doncic, but regardless of intent, it only worsened an already inflamed relationship between the two.
Multiple league and team sources point to the 2020 draft as a particularly egregious example of Voulgaris’ power, an evening one source described as “embarrassing.” Most members of the scouting department joined the team’s war room remotely through Zoom and were surprised when Voulgaris, attending in person, didn’t consult them for either of the team’s first two selections (Josh Green and Tyrell Terry) despite disagreements they held with at least one of the players he picked. “What did (he) sell to Mark to make him believe (he) can do this?” asks one source with an intimate knowledge of the situation. “Nobody knows.”
Like Porter, Gordon is set to enter the last season of his contract and could leave as a free agent next summer, a risk the Nuggets knew when they acquired him for Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a future first-round pick. When the Magic structured the four-year, $76 million contract that Gordon signed in 2018, they did so with the salary declining in each year. As a result, the maximum extension that Gordon can sign for is four years, $88 million. The $19.7 million cap hit in year one is a 120% raise off his $16.4 million salary in 2021-22.
Storyline: Aaron Gordon Free Agency