Los Angeles Lakers Rumors

Los Angeles Lakers trade, free agent, and draft rumors, updated constantly by the NBA experts at HoopsRumors.com.

And-Ones: Jennings, Wizards, Jerebko

February 26 at 10:12pm CST By Dana Gauruder

Brandon Jennings might not have been thrilled the Pistons traded for another point guard but after meeting with coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, he understands why the move was made, according to David Mayo of MLive.com. Jennings, who suffered a season-ending torn left Achilles tendon January 24th at Milwaukee, could wind up sharing time with recently-acquired Reggie Jackson next season if Jackson signs with the club as a restricted free agent, Mayo continues. Jennings, who has one year and approximately $8.34MM remaining on his contract, will be tough to trade this summer as he tries to return from the injury, Mayo adds.

In other news around the league:

  • The Wizards indeed used part of their Trevor Ariza trade exception to absorb Ramon Sessions‘ salary in last week’s trade, allowing them to create a new $4.625MM trade exception equivalent to Andre Miller‘s salary, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). There had been conflicting estimates about how the Wizards handled the exceptions, as I noted earlier this week. The Ariza exception is now worth $2,252,089.
  • The Pacers, Knicks and Lakers are eyeing 28-year-old Lithuanian shooting guard Mantas Kalnietis, with Indiana showing the most interest, agent Tadas Bulotas tells Lithuania’s Sport 1 (YouTube link; transcription via TalkBasket.net). Kalnietis went undrafted in 2008, so no NBA team holds his rights.
  • Jonas Jerebko, who is in the final year of a four-year, $18MM deal he signed with the Pistons in December 2011, believes his time with the Celtics is an opportunity to showcase his true potential, reports Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. After spending his first five-plus NBA seasons with the Pistons, Jerebko was traded with Luigi Datome to Boston last week in exchange for Tayshaun Prince.
  • Monty Williams is acting like a coach with his job on the line even though he has a year left on his contract, John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reveals. The Pelicans coach has been forced to deal with injuries to his star player, Anthony Davis, but he is still under heavy pressure to win because of a frustrated fan base, Reid adds.

Will Joseph and Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Rondo, Lakers, Harden

February 26 at 8:14pm CST By Dana Gauruder

Rick Carlisle and Rajon Rondo have begun to take steps to repair their relationship, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. The Mavs coach and veteran point guard held a lengthy meeting to iron out their differences, most of which involved play-calling responsibilities, Sefko continues. Rondo, an unrestricted free agent following the season, was benched after a heated exchange with Carlisle in Tuesday’s win over Toronto and was suspended for Wednesday’s loss to Atlanta. Even if their relationship improves, Rondo’s stay with the Mavs is extremely unlikely to extend past this season, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com opines.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Kobe Bryant, in a one-on-one interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, said that superstar players are unwilling to leave millions of dollars on the table to sign with the Lakers. Bryant added that it was unrealistic to believe All-Stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony would sign with the Lakers last summer at less than the maximum salary at this stage of their careers and the franchise would run into the same problem with other free agents in the future, Amick notes.
  • The Rockets have become over-reliant on James Harden because of their failure to acquire a top-notch point guard, Fran Blinebury of NBA.com contends. Harden might wear down by the postseason and the Rockets could have eased the burden on him by acquiring a player like ex-Rocket Goran Dragic before the trade deadline, Blinebury adds.
  • Kevin Gar­nett could remain with the Timber­wolves organization as a team executive even if he does not become part owner of the franchise after his playing career is over, according to Sid Hartman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Garnett was traded by the Nets to his original team last week and though Garnett has not made any commitment beyond this season, Garnett says in the story that he plans on being there beyond the next year or two.

Ronnie Price To Miss Rest Of Season?

February 26 at 8:18am CST By Chuck Myron

THURSDAY, 8:18am: Scott cast further doubt on the notion that Price would return, saying there’d probably be no need to bring him back for the handful of games that would remain on the schedule if he meets the front end of his recovery timetable, Turner notes in a full story.

WEDNESDAY, 1:41pm: Price will miss six to eight weeks, the team announced, as Mike Trudell of Lakers.com tweets. The regular season ends in seven weeks. Regardless, the Lakers will still be eligible to apply for an extra roster spot once Price misses three games.

TUESDAY, 3:03pm: Ronnie Price will miss the rest of the season after surgery to repair a bone spur in his right elbow, Lakers coach Byron Scott told reporters, including Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). The surgery will take place Wednesday, the team announced (on Twitter). He’s the fourth player on the Lakers roster expected to miss the balance of 2014/15, joining Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Julius Randle. That means the Lakers, with a full 15-man roster, will be eligible to apply for a 16th roster spot via hardship once Price sits out the next three games.

The 31-year-old Price made the Lakers regular season roster on a non-guaranteed invitation to training camp and wound up starting 20 games, more than he’d started in any single season during his previous nine years in the NBA. The newfound playing time has allowed him to average career highs nearly across the board, and he’s been more efficient than usual during that time, posting a 10.2 PER, his first double-digit mark in that category since 2009/10. The injury won’t help the Mike Higgins client as he heads back into restricted free agency, but this season has done much more help than harm to his value.

The deadline to apply for a disabled player exception was more than a month ago, but the Lakers already have two of them, one worth $4,850,500 for Nash and the other worth $1,498,680 for Randle. Still, GM Mitch Kupchak and company haven’t shown an inclination to use those exceptions, which expire March 10th. The Lakers might not even bother with apply for the extra roster spot, given that they’d only have two days to sign someone into that slot if the league were to grant it, and since there’d be little consequence to simply waiving Price, whose salary became fully guaranteed earlier this season. The team let the chance to add a 16th player expire earlier this season.

And-Ones: Embiid, Johnson, Spurs, Thomas

February 24 at 12:16am CST By Zach Links

The Sixers were willing to trade rookie center Joel Embiid for a high draft pick, according to Mark Heisler of Forbes.com. Philadelphia drafted Embiid third overall last June, but he had offseason surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot and has yet to take the court for the Sixers. Philadelphia was unable to work out a deal for Embiid, but did send reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks in a three-team deal that brought back the Lakers‘ top-five protected first round pick for this year.

There’s more news from around the league:

    • The Rockets announced that they have recalled Nick Johnson from the D-League, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26 (via Twitter).  Johnson’s assignment was his fourth trip down this season, as our assignments/recalls log shows.  The 22-year-old guard has seen time in 18 games for the Rockets this season, averaging 3.1 PPG and 1.3 RPG in 10.3 minutes per contest.
    • Some people, like Charles Barkley, aren’t so wild about analytics.  However, Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express News writes that the Spurs are undeniable proof that analytics can help to build a tremendous roster.
    • New Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas did his best to squash rumors that he was unhappy with his role while with the Suns, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe tweets.  “The guy that complained, you seen it in the media. I didn’t say anything,” Thomas said.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Griffin, Knight, Nash, Karl

February 23 at 9:10pm CST By Arthur Hill

Blake Griffin has reached a significant milestone in his recovery from a staph infection in his right elbow, tweets Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. The Clippers star is out of his elbow brace and his stitches have been removed. Woike also reported that Griffin can start working out, but he won’t be joining the team on its upcoming road trip (Twitter link). Griffin, the Clippers’ leading scorer at 22.5 points per game, had surgery on the elbow February 9th.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Suns guard Brandon Knight has moved around quite a bit, but he sees that as a positive, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes.  “I know if I would’ve been playing terrible or not playing as well as I was, I wouldn’t have been able to be moved for three players,” Knight said. “It’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing. I’m never going to try to play bad, but playing as well as I did put me in this position to be traded.”
  • The LakersSteve Nash hasn’t lost his desire to play, reports Scott Stinson of The National Post. Nash had planned for this to be his 19th and final season in the NBA. but nerve damage in his back prevented him from ever stepping on the court. Instead, Nash has become involved with projects such as filmmaking and a fitness center, and it’s uncertain whether he would give the league another try next season at age 42. “It’s tough,” he said. “I still wanted to play, but my body wouldn’t let me.”
  • George Karl has returned to coaching with the Kings because basketball is his calling, according to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Karl still has a desire to teach the game the “right way,” which is  the Dean Smith way he learned at North Carolina. That’s especially true with a talented but volatile young player like DeMarcus Cousins, who evokes memories of the relationship Karl had with Gary Payton in Seattle two decades ago.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Barnes, Davis, Kings, Lakers

February 22 at 8:59am CST By Chris Crouse

Harrison Barnes has improved this season and the North Carolina product could have a greater role on the team going forward, writes Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group. Barnes is making more than $3.87MM this season and slightly over $5.19MM during the 2015/16 season, after which he will become a restricted free agent. If the forward continues to improve his play, Barnes may get a significant raise on that figure, something the Warriors should keep in mind if they decide to hand a hefty contract to restricted free agent Draymond Green this offseason, although that is just my speculation.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers failed to make any noise at this year’s trade deadline and the team’s faith in reserve forward Glen Davis was part of the reason it didn’t add a piece to the frontcourt, writes Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times. “His energy, I stay on him all the time because it’s contagious,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul said this week. “When he brings that, he brings a different element to our team.” The Clippers have gone 4-1 since Blake Griffin exited the lineup because of an elbow injury. The team currently sits in fifth place in the Western Conference with a record of 37-19.
  • New addition Andre Miller believes coach George Karl will succeed in Sacramento, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. “He knows how to deal with players and egos,” Miller said of Karl, “and that’s why he’s been so successful in this league.” The Kings acquired Miller from the Wizards in exchange for point guard Ramon Sessions at Thursday’s trade deadline.
  • The Lakers are looking at their final 28 games of the season as a chance to evaluate their young players to see who can fit into the team’s long-term plans, writes Bill Oram of Orange County Register. Coach Byron Scott believes their current starting point guard may have a chance to be one of those players. “I’m still really excited about Jordan Clarkson,” Scott said. “I keep getting excited about that kid because his growth is getting better and better. I’m excited with the way he’s played so far, he’s come a long way in a short period of time.”

Atlantic Notes: Prince, Celtics, Sixers

February 21 at 9:01pm CST By Arthur Hill

Pistons president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy says Tayshaun Prince should blame the Celtics, not Detroit, if he is unhappy about not receiving a buyout, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. The Pistons acquired Prince in a deal shortly before Thursday’s trade deadline, sending  Jonas Jerebko and Luigi Datome to Boston. Now there are rumblings that Prince would like a buyout, even though he would be giving up money, so he can join a contending team. “The reason Boston made the trade was to save money,” Van Gundy said. “We’re paying Tayshaun more money. If he was going to get bought out, he should have done it in Boston. … We weren’t told of this until after we made the trade by Tayshaun’s agent.” In a separate story, Ellis noted that Prince didn’t seem thrilled when he learned he was going back to Detroit. “Reggie [Jackson] was really, really excited,” Van Gundy said. “I think Tayshaun was — not unhappy, but he was sort of trying to figure out what the hell happened, and I understand that.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics‘ trade deadline deals brought the number of players who’ve been on Boston’s roster this season to 39, notes Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com. Since July 2014, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has made 11 trades involving 25 players. The constant change, it’s certainly a challenge,” said coach Brad Stevens. “But it was anticipated, too, [20] months ago when I took the job. I didn’t know it would be quite this much, or quite this consistent.”
  • Even Ainge was surprised by the trades the Celtics made Thursday, reports Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The GM said two deals materialized within an hour of the deadline. In addition to the trade with Detroit, Boston sent Marcus Thornton and Cleveland’s first-round pick in 2016 to Phoenix for Isaiah Thomas“Things were quiet for us, and then some opportunities opened up,” Ainge said. “There was the possibility of the Detroit trade, but I just didn’t think the Phoenix deal was going to happen. I think it was just the other stuff going on there [the Suns’ dealing of Goran Dragic to Miami and their pick-up of Brandon Knight from Milwaukee] that changed that.”
  • The Sixers‘ desire to take “big leaps” was behind Thursday’s deal that sent Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. GM Sam Hinkie moved the reigning Rookie of the Year in a three-team trade that saw Phoenix send Philadelphia the Lakers’ 2015 draft pick, which is top-five protected. “We don’t think it’ll necessarily be linear, that each year you will add five wins and after 10 years you will get to 50,” Hinkie explained. “… You have to be prepared to put yourself in a position where you might be able to take big leaps.”

Western Notes: Bryant, Anderson, Prigioni

February 21 at 9:00am CST By Eddie Scarito

The Lakers don’t intend to focus on building around the aging Kobe Bryant, and won’t mortgage their future to give Bryant one final shot at a championship, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes. “To jeopardize the next five or seven years,” GM Mitch Kupchak said, “To bring in old veterans that make a lot of money, just to win one more year, because that’s Kobe’s last year or could be his last year, I’m not sure that fits into doing it the right way.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Spurs have recalled Kyle Anderson from their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. In two trips to Austin this season, Anderson has appeared in 10 games, averaging 22.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.10 blocks in 41.0 minutes per contest.
  • The Timberwolves used a tiny portion of their mid-level exception rather than the minimum-salary exception to sign Lorenzo Brown to his two-year deal, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Brown makes $283,367 this season and a non-guaranteed minimum salary next year, as Pincus shows on his salary page for the Wolves.
  • There’s a very good chance that Pablo Prigioni, who was acquired by the Rockets on Thursday, will play in Spain next season, a league source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Prigioni is under contract for 2015/16, but only $290K of his $1,734,572 salary for next season is guaranteed, making him a candidate to be waived or reach a buyout arrangement, though that is merely my speculation.
  • The Suns‘ deadline deals were made in an effort to improve the team’s chemistry, Matt Petersen of NBA.com notes. “This is a team sport,” Suns GM Ryan McDonough said. “We’re looking for team-first guys. This isn’t singles tennis. The guys who will be here are the guys who will buy in and play the right way. Those that don’t will be gone.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Sixers Notes: McGee, Carter-Williams, Hinkie

February 20 at 9:01pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Sixers haven’t decided on what the future holds for newly acquired big man JaVale McGee, Tom Moore of Calkins Media writes (Twitter link). Speaking about McGee, GM Sam Hinkie said, “We’ll see what happens. He may have a fresh start here but he was moved in large part because of the pick.” Philadelphia received the Thunder’s 2015 first-round draft pick in the trade.

Here’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Hinkie indicated that the Sixers had not been actively looking to deal Michael Carter-Williams, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “The only way we would ever move him was if someone blew us away … and something came along,” Hinkie said. The the Sixers garnered the Lakers’ top-5 protected 2015 first round pick in the deal for MCW.
  • The Sixers’ personnel strategy is focused on having options, Pompey writes in a separate article. When asked if he cared more about acquiring assets than developing players, Hinkie said, “I believe a lot in optionality – a lot. I believe a lot in flexible. I believe a lot in making a decision as late as you possibly can to gain as much information as you can.
  • The GM spoke further on the decision to deal Carter-Williams, saying, “He only left here because there was a way to move our program forward,” Hinkie said. “Not for any other reason, and he did nothing wrong. It is possible for two things to be really valuable, both Michael and something else,” Pompey relays.
  • Hinkie has proven once again that he’ll trade any player if a team meets his asking price, Moore writes in a separate piece. If the Sixers didn’t believe Carter-Williams was a player who they could build around, the trade was a smart move, Moore opines. But the team continually dealing younger players away for future picks is just delaying the rebuilding process even further, Moore adds.
  • The Sixers’ front office needs for Joel Embiid to develop into a very good player and a number of their acquired draft picks to turn into stars, Rich Hofmann of The Philadelphia Daily News writes. After the last two seasons of perceived tanking, the Sixers’ fan base will turn on the team if Hinkie’s rebuilding plan fails, Hofmann adds.

Lakers Remain Free Agent Contender For Dragic

February 20 at 12:22pm CST By Chuck Myron

12:22pm: The Heat were believed to be the No. 1 team on the list of preferred destinations that agent Bill Duffy reportedly gave the Suns before the trade, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com.

10:12am: New Heat trade acquisition Goran Dragic views the Lakers as a “perfect fit” and would love the opportunity to join the team in free agency this summer, a source with knowledge of Dragic’s thinking told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Still, the point guard will probably re-sign with the Heat this summer, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News heard Thursday, and the expectation is that the Heat will make a five-year max offer, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com also reported Thursday.

Miami’s ability to offer that fifth year gives the team a financial edge on the other 29 clubs who are limited to offers of no more than four seasons, though USA Today’s Sam Amick heard before the trade that the fifth year wouldn’t hold sway over his decision on where to sign. The Heat also have the ability to offer more money through 7.5% raises instead of the 4.5% raises to which the Lakers and other teams are limited. Dragic has a $7.5MM player option for next season, but he’s said he plans to turn it down.

The Lakers made a hard push to trade for Dragic in advance of Thursday’s deadline, as Medina confirms. The team has reportedly been eyeing him for months for free agency as well as a trade, and Dragic has said it would be “cool to play with” Kobe Bryant. Still, Rade Filipovich, one of Dragic’s agents, told Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that there’s no question Dragic will like playing with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and Filipovich also praised Heat team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra.

“It’s a great fit,” Filipovich said of the Heat. “Goran and Wade to bring the ball up, create offense, very good shooters –– very interesting team. A playoff team. He feels lucky he ended up in Miami. He’s very happy.”