Arash Markazi: A $10,000 bet just came in on the Lakers at 7/4 to win the NBA Championship at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. The last time that happened Anthony Davis’ trade to the Lakers was reported 30 minutes later.
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When asked how a theoretical big three of Leonard, Anthony Davis and LeBron James would compare to other big threes throughout the history of the league Dudley told Adrian Wojnarowski on “The Woj Pod” that it might be the best such triumvirate ever: “It compares to the Heat, but a little bit more on steroids. And the reason why I say that is because you arguably have three of the top five best players. I think that Wade and ‘Bron were considered that, I think Bosh was a little bit (outside of that)… AD, a year ago you could’ve argued him as being a top two or three best player in the league. Kawhi Leonard this year, taking his team to winning a championship. LeBron, his accolades speak for themselves.
“From what I’ve heard, and I know you trust me with this just because I have these weird relationships, especially living out here in Los Angeles now. The Kawhi pitch, whether it is from the Lakers or LeBron, is this: LeBron basically is saying, ‘Hey, this is going to be your team in two years.’ I have heard this for years, but LeBron at one point wants to play with his son (Bronny). And depending on when that happens, that’s going to be LeBron’s priority and that may not be with the Lakers,” Russillo said on the Woj Pod. “So, I don’t know when that is going to be. LeBron is saying for the first time in his basketball life that he is willing to defer the style of play. They are going to tell Kawhi, ‘You can take all the last shots. We can run the offense through you.’ “
Adrian Wojnarowski: Jared Dudley was determined to play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers. He recruited them. @Jared Dudley makes his case to Kawhi Leonard on The Woj Pod. Listen here: es.pn/2RPPrQA
Windhorst still believes the Los Angeles Clippers are the favorites to sign Leonard, but says the Lakers are lurking. “We don’t know where Kawhi is going,” Windhorst said on ESPN radio. “I am feeling more like the Lakers are a chance. I wouldn’t have thought that was a chance. I thought it was Clippers for a long time and then I thought maybe he’ll stay in Toronto. “I do believe there is some real traction towards the Lakers. I still think the Clippers are the pick, but I admit I don’t know at this point.”
“I’m in total agreement with you, Brian,” said Jackie MacMullan. “Clearly, there’s too much smoke for there not to be a little bit of fire here.”
Colin Cowherd: “You’re tied to the Lakers/Clippers stuff, so what are your sources telling you today about how the Lakers feel?” Arash Markazi: “They’re not nervous right now. They are not as nervous as you would think they would be with all these names they could potentially sign if they don’t get Kawhi coming off the board. They are 100% all in on Kawhi. It doesn’t mean that they know they’re going to get him, but they didn’t create this cap space for a hail mary. They were cautiously optimistic and don’t view themselves as a dark horse pick. They think they have a real chance.”
Chris Broussard: “I’m being told the Lakers are Kawhi Leonard’s first choice. He and his camp spoke with Magic yesterday and laid out what they want from the Lakers. Nothing crazy, just some additions to the staff and asking ‘Is Kawhi going to be treated like LeBron in the organization?’, and all of that. As long as Jeanie doesn’t do anything to screw it up in the meeting I’m told that’s his first choice.”
Kendrick Perkins: Just heard that Kawhi is meeting with the Clippers tonight but the Lakers hold the upper hand, unless Doc work his Magic tonight it’s looking very strong that Kawhi will be in Purple and Gold!!!
During an appearance on Spectrum Sportsnet, Broderick Turner of The L.A. Times laid out some of the details of that conversation, including that Leonard’s camp has spoken with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who may or may not be included in the Lakers’ official free agent pitch meeting with Leonard: “The first thing that I’ll start with is that Kawhi and his uncle, Uncle Dennis, they talked to Magic several times. They’ve also talked with Rob Pelinka. They want to meet with Jeanie Buss and Magic. Magic can’t meet with them when Jeanie is in the room, or if Rob Pelinka is also invited… The NBA rules are kind of stipulating that you can bring anyone with that’s a non-employee, but because Magic worked for the Lakers, because they’ve been hit with tampering fines (he can’t be in there with them).”
“There was one interesting question (Leonard) had for Magic: ‘Did you guys try to trade for me when I was in San Antonio?’ And the answer was ‘yes, but because it was Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and our history, they were asking for 2,000 draft picks — well, not 2,000 — like four draft picks, first-round draft picks, and we just couldn’t do that.’ And that was one of his questions. “The uncle’s questions were ‘what’s really going on in the organization between you, Jeanie, Rob Pelinka, everyone? Is it as dysfunctional as we’re reading and hearing?’ And the response was ‘we had some issues, but we’re past that. I’m past that. We’re still a family, such as you fight with your brothers and sisters sometimes, well, I had somewhat of a disagreement with my sister. And Rob Pelinka, yes, I said he was a back-stabber, but that happened then. Now I want the Lakers to be a championship team. Having Kawhi here would do that.
Chris Broussard: Kawhi to Lakers rumblings getting stronger & stronger. Iguodala likely to join Lakers after Memphis buyout. Danny Green & Seth Curry in Lakers’ scope. Lakers offered Rondo vet minimum & 24 hours to decide. Lakers on verge of building powerhouse.
Trevor Booker: Kawhi to the Lakers 😩
With a shot at Kawhi Leonard, their entire plan for this summer hinges on his decision. They can’t move until he does. Magic Johnson spoke with Leonard and his uncle, Dennis Roberston, on Sunday, Johnson told The Times. According to people familiar with the discussion, they had a positive conversation about the direction of the Lakers.
The NBA won’t allow Johnson, formerly the team’s president of basketball operations until resigning April 9, to function as a Lakers representative, but his perspective matters to Leonard. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka did reach out to Leonard’s camp in an official capacity after the window opened for teams to communicate with players’ representatives at 3 p.m. PDT Saturday.
A second source with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic on Friday that James and Davis were both planning on taking part in the expected meeting with Leonard. But earlier in the day, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Leonard’s uncle and right-hand man, Dennis Robertson, had requested that the Lakers meeting only include Jeanie and former Lakers executive Magic Johnson.
After the disastrous debut season of LeBron in Laker Land, where he missed a career-high 27 games (18 because of a groin strain) and missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 2005 after EIGHT consecutive Finals appearances, he has no illusions about the height of the stakes here or the part that he needs and wants to play. And according to a source close to James, it’s this focus on being an incredible teammate that will be at the center of his message to Leonard.
The timing of all these talks, meanwhile, remains unclear. A second source with knowledge of the situation told The Athletic on Friday that James and Davis were both planning on taking part in the expected meeting with Leonard.
Johnson said Leonard’s camp reached out to him and requested that the Lakers legend be part of the meeting Leonard will have with the team after the All-Star forward becomes an unrestricted free agent Sunday. However, Johnson said he should meet with Leonard privately, one on one, and not with Lakers officials to avoid any appearance of impropriety since he’s not authorized to negotiate a contract.
“I will help the Lakers anyway that I can,” Johnson told The Times on Friday. “If the NBA says I can only meet with Kawhi and it just has to be me and him and not the Lakers being around, I will do that. I love the Lakers and just want to do what’s best for the Lakers and Jeanie Buss.”
Marc Stein: Things change fast in #thisleague: With free agency a day and change away, it’s the Lakers who have convinced Las Vegas — and an increasing number of league insiders — that they are LA’s true threat to limiting Kawhi Leonard’s Raptors career to a single season. Not the Clippers
Johnson told ESPN he has not been asked by the Lakers or Buss to participate in free-agent pitches but that he will help the Lakers in free agency in any way he can. “A friend of mine called and says Kawhi wants to meet with you,” Johnson told ESPN on Friday. “I said no problem. I’m available if that’s what this man wants.”
Johnson said he has left messages for Buss but hasn’t heard back from her on the request from Leonard to meet with him. “Whatever she wants to do I’m fine with it,” Johnson said. “Everyone at this point just wants the Lakers to be good, and it’s from her leadership.
Once the Lakers cleared enough cap space yesterday to get another max or near max player, it was a foregone conclusion that they would set their sights on Kawhi Leonard. But the idea that Kawhi would play for the Lakers has been more farfetched — why would he want to be the second or third wheel behind LeBron James and potentially Anthony Davis when he’s won championships as the focal point of multiple teams? But Stephen A. Smith swooped in on Get Up this morning, and said twice that he has heard that Kawhi is “seriously considering the Lakers”:
But Jalen Rose, who has emerged in the last year or so as someone whose opinions are reliably guided by proprietary information in relationships, didn’t think there’s any way Kawhi chooses the Lakers over the Clippers and Raptors. Stephen A. then clarified that his Lakers intel is not “definitive” and went into a very entertaining monologue.
Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard intends to grant the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers meetings when free agency opens on June 30, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The meetings would be held in Los Angeles, sources said.
While a source with knowledge of the Knicks’ plans said they appear likely to get a meeting with Leonard, the Lakers’ prospects are harder to gauge. This much is safe to say, though: Their ability to not only offer his preferred market, all the business benefits that come with their storied brand and the chance to partner with James and Davis might ultimately play a part here (as our Bill Oram notes here, the Lakers – who are on track to have $23.7 million in cap room if the Davis deal goes down on July 6 as expected – are confident they can make the necessary moves to fit in another max salary).
Lowe: It seems like it’s a two-team race. Is that fair at this point? Woj: Yeah. Toronto, the Clippers, and listen, I think they’ve kept their eye on the Lakers, and what that’s going to look like. The Lakers, financially, what number are they going to get to in free agency in terms of cap space? Is Anthony Davis going to give up that $4 million trade bonus? He still has time to do that before this deal goes through. “But this has been a Raptors/Clippers race. And you gotta give the Raptors and Masai Ujiri, that organization, all the credit in the world, because when they traded for him, he had no intention of ever staying in Toronto, and now it is a serious consideration. “I think he has really given them every opportunity to sell him, and two things that have worked in Toronto: They sold him on health, they proved they could keep him healthy, and they sold him on winning. And those are priorities for Kawhi Leonard. He has shown he is all about winning.”
While the odds-on favorites are the Clippers—fulfilling Leonard’s supposed interest in playing where he grew up—one Eastern Conference vice president says the Raptors still have a “fighting chance” to re-sign him, while a Western Conference VP says the Lakers are operating as if “they think they have a strong shot” at adding Leonard after acquiring New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis to play alongside their incumbent star, LeBron James, in a deal that can’t be officially consummated until next month.
But there are a handful of teams who could secure a meeting with the 2019 NBA Finals MVP, sources said. The appeal of returning home to Southern California is enticing to the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but with the trust the Raptors built while Leonard led the franchise to its first NBA title by upsetting the Golden State Warriors, rival executives view his current team as the favorite to land him when the free-agent negotiating period begins June 30, sources said.
“Kawhi Leonard is now in play for the Lakers.” – @D19J says after having a conversation with someone close to the situation, it’s a possibility.
To even have a shot at Walker—or any other pricey free agent—the Lakers will have to wait to officially complete this deal. If it were to go through before July 6, the Lakers wouldn’t be able to create the $32.7 million necessary to sign Walker or another max free agent, such as Kawhi Leonard, who league sources say the Lakers will pursue.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was a guest for Thursday’s episode of Pardon The Interruption and during his appearance he gave some evidence to what many were already assuming: LeBron is recruiting free agents, namely Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard and Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler.
“From what I understand, he has already begun the recruiting process. I’ve heard he has had contact with Kawhi Leonard. I’ve heard he has had contact with Jimmy Butler. There is no tampering enforcement by players. … The thing about it is, I don’t know if texts and calls and maybe a dinner with LeBron is enough for the Lakers to overcome the hurdles that they’re going to have.”
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, appearing on ESPN Radio L.A. with Jorge Sedano, LeBron was in Philadelphia to meet with Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard during the their series against the 76ers.
The Los Angeles Clippers are expected to make the most aggressive push for Leonard, and they’ve made little secret of it. The Clippers have had representatives at many Raptors games this season, home and away, ranging from scouts, to assistant general manager Mark Hughes – who attended Friday’s game against Oklahoma City – to team president Lawrence Frank and billionaire owner Steve Ballmer.The Clippers – like the Lakers, who some league insiders believe to be less of a draw to Leonard – can offer at least a few things Toronto can’t. They can offer a warmer climate and an opportunity for the California native to play closer to home. If those are the factors that end up powering Leonard’s decision, the Raptors don’t stand a chance and likely never did.
Leonard, of course, is a Southern California guy. It’s no secret that Toronto will always be at a disadvantage in keeping Leonard because of the weather, and while the Lakers were targeting Leonard last summer, talk with folks in the Clippers’ ranks, and there is an obvious confidence that they could lure Leonard into the blue-and-red next summer.
Asked to handicap Leonard’s future, one front office executive from another team said, “I think the Lakers are out, but the Clippers are the ones who think they have a shot at him if they decide to go that route. You hear a lot, he still wants to be on the West Coast. But give that group in Toronto all the credit in the world. They’re making it a tough decision for him. “It might come down to just, ‘All right, how did the playoffs go, and how far are we from a championship?'”
A survey of several league executives this weekend had the Lakers trailing, even among Staples Center tenants, in the competition to get Leonard, with the LA Clippers universally being placed ahead of them. Rather than seeking to team up with James, the thinking is that Leonard would prefer to have control of his own team, which the Clippers would offer, while still giving him the ability to return to his native Southern California.
Eric Smith: When asked about being back home in California and if he grew up a fan of the Lake Show… Kawhi Leonard said his family were fans of the Lakers but he added, “I liked Allen Iverson. I was an A.I. fan. I didn’t like the Lakers.”
Farbod Esnaashari: Ramona Shelburne: The #Clippers are the number one ranked team for Kawhi Leonard next season. The #Raptors are number two, and the #Lakers are number three. Via: 710 ESPN Mason and Ireland
One name that’s flown under the radar to a large extent — despite a seamless fit and connections to the Lakers organization — is Klay Thompson, and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN says his name has come up with those she’s spoken to in an appearance on “ESPNLA Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis”: “In terms of who they target next year, it’s whoever wants to come. “My feeling about it, my sense from just talking to people in and around this (is that) one, it’s a little early, but I think they like Mychal’s boy. I think that would be the guy, in terms of skillset and how that would fit. Obviously Kawhi, he’s a great player as well, but we’ll see if he stays in Toronto now. But I think they like Klay (Thompson).”
So far, Leonard’s preference is to sign in Los Angeles with either the Lakers or Clippers next season, sources told Wojnarowski.
As has been well-documented, the task for Toronto in the coming year is to persuade Leonard to stay in a place and perform for a team for which he had no desire to play just a few short weeks ago. It’s a tall order, and if the Raptors can do it, the massive gamble they took this month will have paid off. Most around the league still expect that Leonard will look to return home to Southern California, either to join LeBron James with the Lakers or bring his star power to the Clippers.
Bruce Arthur: “One thing I was told last night is that Kawhi Leonard has already been planning out his free agency for next year and he’s already been in contact with other star players in the league, saying, ‘hey, where might you want to play with me? What are we looking at?’ And it wasn’t just L.A. he was talking about. Brooklyn was maybe somewhere that’ll have a ton of cap space. That’s a possibility.”
MARC STEIN: But I did hear enough chatter in various Vegas conversations to believe that the Raptors have given legit consideration to gambling on a trade for Leonard, with three obvious problems to contend with: 1) Leonard can leave in free agency at season’s end, even if the Raptors are fortunate enough to trade for him. 2) Leonard’s camp has given no indication to any interested team that he plans to sign anywhere but Los Angeles (with either the Lakers or the Clippers) in July 2019. 3) Leonard’s readiness for next season, thanks to the quadriceps injury that limited him to nine games last season, has to concern teams in Toronto’s position as much as the idea of trading for him and losing him months later.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast, the Lakers don’t appear to feel a sense of urgency in trading for Leonard: “To this point in trade discussions, the Lakers have not shown a sense of urgency to make a Kawhi Leonard trade.”
Peter Vecsey: “Kawhi is seriously prepared to sacrifice $80 million to play in L.A.,” says the same associate. He’s entitled to an extension worth $219M should Pop do the unthinkable and play nice. He could also play hard ass and pay Kawhi what’s on the books — $20,099,188. “He ain’t giving up 80 million to play in Boston or Philly!” the associate asserts.
Peter Vecsey: Before calling Kawhi a wrap, an additional inaccuracy needs to be corrected. Despite what you may have read or been told by two national columnists, Kawhi has absolutely no reservations about playing with LeBron James. “He’d be glad to play with him,” the associate stresses. “If not, he would do the Clippers.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: “I’ve been told that one of the reasons [Kawhi Leonard] looks at going to the Clippers – is a little less motivated [to go to the Clippers] is because initially, the idea of Los Angeles was fine to him – he preferred the Lakers but was all right with the Clippers – but now that LeBron James is there, the idea of going head-to-head with LeBron – to have Kawhi with the Clippers and LeBron with the Lakers, and to maybe feel dwarfed by that – I’m told that’s become far less appealing for him.”
ESPNLosAngeles: “They’ve [Lakers] been willing to offer what they consider to be a fair package but they’ve made it very clear to San Antonio that Kyle Kuzma is off limits…they’re not letting go of Kuzma.” – @stephenasmith on the Lakers not wanting to trade Kuzma
Albert Nahmad: Lakers can still trade for Kawhi Leonard. They’d need to send out at least $14M (or once they reach the cap, $15M) to do it. But it feels to me like they don’t feel as much pressure to do it. They seem to be preserving flexibility for next summer (for Kawhi or whoever else).
Unless the Lakers can acquire Kawhi Leonard in a trade, it’s likely James will be the only marquee star headed to Los Angeles this summer. He’s well aware of that, and according to one source with knowledge of his thinking, James isn’t bothered by it. He is trying to build something sustainable over the twilight of his career and he’s doing it with one of the most legendary teams in sports; it’s the equivalent to playing for the Yankees in baseball.
With LeBron officially agreeing to sign with the Lakers, it’ll be fascinating to monitor what type of leverage the Spurs can create for Kawhi Leonard, who still desires to play for the Lakers, according to multiple league sources—all of whom say offers to the Spurs have been underwhelming. One executive said the proposed packages have gotten worse with each round of negotiations, while another said they’re flat-out unacceptable. That might change if the Lakers are determined to add their second star now. Multiple league sources suggest the Lakers could send a package to the Spurs featuring Ingram, multiple first-round picks, a sign-and-trade involving Randle, and possibly Josh Hart.
Chris Haynes: As @JabariJYoung pointed out, sources say Kawhi Leonard would entertain signing longterm with Philadelphia. However, if Lakers are unable to orchestra a trade of the All-Star, it’s not a given he would sign there in summer of 19.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: As trade talks have unfolded, Kawhi Leonard’s focus is unchanged: He wants to be a Laker.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Woj says Lakers have not been super aggressive with Spurs on Kawhi talks and that Lakers may want to see how things play out with LeBron. Spurs want a ton for Kawhi.
Jordan Zirm: Woj on SportsCenter saying the Lakers haven’t gained any traction with the Spurs for Kawhi. So if LeBron chooses LA, he really could be going alone
Sagar Trika: Woj: The Spurs have not ruled out any team to trade Kawhi Leonard to, and that includes the Lakers. It would be a bad negotiating tactic to remove a bidder like that.
Sources at several teams confirmed tidbits in those stories that the Lakers are reaching out across the league in search of an extra first-round pick, indicating they would take on some unwanted future salary to snare it — a fascinating twist, given L.A.’s need to hoard cap space. That alone indicates the Lakers are at least a little worried, and interested in nabbing Leonard now.
But the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers have been pressing the Spurs to trade Leonard this week, as both teams believe that acquiring Leonard would put them in pole position to try to sign LeBron James away from the Cleveland Cavaliers when free agency starts Sunday at 12:01 a.m., Eastern time. The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Clippers are also known trade suitors for Leonard.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Spurs are fully engaged in trade talks with several teams on Kawhi Leonard, including the Lakers and Celtics, league sources tell ESPN. Boston has long had the assets that the Spurs most covet in a potential Leonard trade.
The stakes on these talks are enormous, because a deal for Leonard would likely clinch a free agent commitment out of LeBron James. James has until late Friday night to opt-out of the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and is watching closely how the Lakers proceed with the Leonard talks.
The Lakers are in no rush to sign the 25th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft, Michigan forward Mo Wagner, to his rookie scale deal, which would allow the Lakers to include his draft rights into a trade package, league sources said. Wagner couldn’t be traded for 30 days once he signs his rookie deal. The Lakers are pursuing an additional first-round pick on the trade market too, offering to incur a salary dump of contracts to get a pick, league sources said.
Tania Ganguli: Can confirm @ramonashelburne’s report that the Lakers and Spurs re-engaged today about Kawhi Leonard. Was told by a source it was a “productive” call.
Ramona Shelburne: Update from this morning’s story. The Lakers re-engaged the Spurs Wednesday in aggressively pursuing Kawhi Leonard. Story w/ @Adrian Wojnarowski coming shortly on ESPN. This is the first contact between the teams since the Spurs “shut the door” on them after an initial call.
As LeBron James remains hesitant to be the first superstar to decide on the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, pressure is mounting for the Lakers front office to execute a trade with the San Antonio Spurs to acquire disgruntled All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard, league sources told ESPN.
Peter Vecsey: Now what? “Emotionally, Kawhi has checked out of the Spurs. He wants the Lakers, even though it means forfeiting $80 million. Everyone is shocked he’d give up that much money. But when it’s emotional, there’s no logic,” said the source. “He’s an artist. When artists know they’re getting jerked, they want out no matter what the cost. He feels the organization didn’t even try to wrap its arms around him. You don’t know anyone until you go through something difficult. Kawhi got to see people’s true colors.
ESPN Los Angeles: “From what I am being told…he’s made it very, very clear that he’s looking to go to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers and he does not care about the $219 million super max he could sign.” – @stephenasmith on Kawhi Leonard
Spurs general manager R.C. Buford said Thursday night that the franchise’s desire is to keep disgruntled All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard in the fold but that the club “will explore all of our options.” Among the issues Leonard has had with the Spurs is his frustration with the team’s handling of a quadriceps injury that kept him out of action for all but nine games this past season. Leonard wants to be traded to Los Angeles, preferably to the Lakers, sources have told ESPN.
According to Robinson, Kawhi has to take responsibility and step up as a leader of the franchise if he wants to be viewed on the same level as LeBron James. “If you want to be a top two or three player in the league, you’ve got to be a leader. LeBron doesn’t sit around waiting for people to talk for him. LeBron gets out there and says ‘hey, this is my team, this is what’s happening.’ And I think that’s where Kawhi is. He’s meant so much for our franchise. We love him, we all want him to be there next year. But we want him to be there and take control.”
Ramona Shelburne: Within the last week the Lakers contacted the Spurs to discuss a Kawhi Leonard trade. As one source put it, “they basically shut the door on us.”
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So now, entering the final season of his contract, he finds himself in a familiar place, looking to acclimate to and impress a new head coach, his fourth in four seasons, and trying to tune out the trade rumors that already are rising through the NBA. And that’s tough. “It is,’’ Ntilikina said in a Zoom interview. “But it’s part of the game. It’s part of the league. The past is the past and we have a new team now and new goals. So we’re focusing on the future, on the present, on how we can get better each and every day. And how we can make our goals be real . . . Work is just going to take care of everything. “That’s what I’m focusing on. Working, doing the best I can do to help this team get better, to help this team complete their goals. But the rest, the business part, is going to take care of itself. I’m here to get better every day, get this team better. but it is what it is.”
However, scouts and executives around the league remain interested in Ntilikina, at least at a low cost. What this season holds for him in New York remains a mystery, too. The Knicks brought back Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr. and grabbed Immanuel Quickley in the first round of the draft, creating a logjam at point guard. It remains to be seen if Ntilikina can win the job over that crew — particularly with some in the organization hoping to increase Smith’s value — or if his best role might be off the bench as a defensive specialist at multiple positions.
The Post and others reported Knicks president Leon Rose had interest in bringing back his former client — along with Anthony’s buddy, point guard Chris Paul. Neither occurred and the Knicks wound up not bringing in a big name. “At this point, it wasn’t really a lot [of consideration],’’ Anthony said on a Zoom call Friday. “The Knicks were making moves and were trying to figure out the direction they wanted to go in. They weren’t done making moves. I’m sure they have a plan. I don’t think me coming in and trying to mess their plan up was good for either party. “They are rebuilding and figuring out what’s in their near future. It was me personally wanting to be part of a situation I was already comfortable with. I just finished playing with these guys two, three months ago. I felt it was the right fit at this point of time where I’m at right now this particular year.’’
Anthony Chiang: Three years ago, Bam Adebayo was working to figure out who he would become in the NBA as a Heat rookie. Now, young big men are working to become the 23-year-old Adebayo miamiherald.com/sports/nba/mia… Adebayo: “That’s how I want to be remembered, to keep changing basketball.”
It has been a dramatic off-season for Doc Rivers. In September, the Clippers coach was fired after seven seasons with the team following a disappointing defeat in the NBA Western Conference semifinals, then was hired as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers less than a week later. The big move is accompanied by a big home sale, as the 59-year-old has unloaded his Malibu beach house for $12.25 million. Spanish in style, the two-story home enjoys an oceanfront spot in Malibu Cove Colony, one of L.A. County’s most expensive enclaves, with owners over the years including “The Brady Bunch” star Barry Williams and film producer Gianni Nunnari.
Scary moment for NBA star DeMar DeRozan … who chased an intruder out of his L.A.-area home after a terrifying encounter with his kids, TMZ Sports has learned. Our sources tell us … the man broke into DeRozan’s home on Nov. 19 and made his way upstairs into a play area where at least one of DeMar’s kids was hanging out. We’re told 31-year-old DeRozan — who’s 6’6″, 220 pounds — heard the commotion and raced to the area to see what was going on, coming “face-to-face” with the intruder in the process.