Los Angeles Lakers Rumors

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

Pacific Rumors: Kings, Granger, Thomas

April 19 at 4:46pm CDT By Dana Gauruder

The Kings have several decisions to make regarding their backcourt, Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press reports. Starting shooting guard Ben McLemore only showed slight improvement in his second season while backup Nik Stauskas struggled during his rookie campaign, in part because the team had two coaching changes during the season, Gonzalez continues. The club also has to decide whether to retain backup point guards Ray McCallum and David Stockton. McCallum’s approximate $947,000 contract for next season is not guaranteed, while Stockton has a non-guaranteed salary of $845,059 for next season.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Danny Granger has not decided whether to exercise the approximate $2.17MM player option on his contract for next season, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Granger, who was acquired by the Suns from the Heat during the trade deadline, has been working with the team’s athletic training staff to overcome health issues associated with his twice-surgically repaired left knee, Coro continues. Granger is building a house in the area, Coro adds, a potential sign that he’s planning to return to the team next season.
  • Isaiah Thomas learned quickly that he made a mistake when he signed with the Suns as a free agent last summer, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes. Thomas, who was dealt to the Celtics at the trade deadline, was sold on the idea of joining Phoenix after getting advice from Jason Terry, Himmelsbach reports. Thomas realized once the season started that sharing playing time and the ball with fellow point guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe was not going to work out, Himmelsbach continues. “I was taking a step back,” Thomas said to Himmelsbach. “We all wanted the ball and are all talented, but somebody ended up upset every night. It’s something that everyone thought would work, but it just didn’t.”
  • Jeremy Lin views a return to the Lakers as a possibility despite a tumultuous season, Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times reports. Lin, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, believes the prospects of remaining with the club improved after a productive exit meeting with coach Byron Scott and GM Mitch Kupchak, Pincus adds. “That would be great,” Lin said to Pincus about re-signing with the Lakers. “There’s so much that needs to happen, but that’s definitely an option for me.” Lin averaged 11.2 points on 42.4% shooting this season, his lowest output in both categories since his rookie season in 2010/11.

Lakers Notes: Scott, Free Agency, Johnson

April 19 at 2:14pm CDT By Dana Gauruder

Lakers coach Byron Scott is taking an optimistic view of the future, even though the team may lose its lottery pick to the Sixers, Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times reports. Scott was impressed by the development of rookies Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black and expects more help to come his way, Pincus continues. “We have a lot of room to improve as a basketball team,” he said to Lakers beat reporters. “We have a lot of room under the cap, some picks and free agency in July.” Scott admits he is sweating out the results of the draft lottery, Pincus reveals. The Lakers — who finished with the fourth worst overall record — will have to surrender their first-round pick to Philadelphia if they drop out of the top five, and there is a 17.2% chance of that happening, Pincus adds. The Lakers owed a pick to the Suns as part of the Steve Nash deal and it was later forwarded to the Sixers.

In other Lakers news:

  • The Lakers need to strike this summer on the free agent market because many teams will have ample salary-cap room the following summer, Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report opines. When the revenue for the league’s new TV deal kicks in during the summer of 2016, the Lakers will have to compete much harder for free agents than they will this offseason, Ding explains. Signing a star player like Kevin Love or another quality piece like Greg Monroe would be ideal but even if they can only land a pair of above-average players, they should make those moves, Ding adds. By improving the team for next season, the Lakers can attract top-level free agents the following summer, Ding concludes.
  • Forward Wesley Johnson is hoping to finally get a multi-year contract this summer, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Johnson will enter the free agent market for the third consecutive year and is weary of settling for one-year deals, Bresnahan reports. Johnson signed one-year deals with the team the last two summers and hopes it leads to more security, since he’d prefer to stay in Los Angeles, Bresnahan adds. “I definitely don’t want to leave,” Johnson said to Bresnahan.
  • Black is one of the few returning players expected to be on the team’s opening-day roster next season, Bresnahan reports in a separate article. Black has a contract for approximately $845K next season, though the money is not guaranteed. He impressed Lakers management after being acquired on waivers in late December from the Rockets, averaging 7.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, and both Scott and GM Mitch Kupchak praised Black during their end-of-the-season meeting with him, Bresnahan adds.

Pacers Win Tiebreaker For 11th Lottery Position

April 17 at 2:25pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Pacers won a random draw with the Jazz today that gives Indiana the 11th lottery position and Utah the 12th, reports Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (Twitter link). The teams finished with identical 38-44 records this season. Indiana will have an eight-in-1,000 chance at the No. 1 overall pick, and Utah will have a seven-in-1,000 chance, but while the extra chance the Pacers have probably won’t matter, the Pacers are in line to pick one spot in front of the Jazz if, as is most likely, neither team wins any of the top three picks.

The Lakers, who hold Houston’s first-rounder, won a random draw with the Celtics, who have the Clippers’ selection, for the 27th pick, so Boston will pick 28th, Washburn also reports (Twitter link). The Mavericks have the 21st pick and the Bulls the 22nd after winning the random draw between those teams, and the Grizzlies won their draw with the Spurs for pick No. 25, leaving San Antonio pick No. 26, according to Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk.com. We’ve updated our post showing this year’s draft order and lottery odds with the latest news.

The procedure for two teams tied for lottery spots dictates that they split the odds for the two positions they occupy, and that the winner of the tiebreaker receive the extra chance if there’s an odd number of them. But since the 11th team in the lottery receives eight chances out of 1,000 and the 12th gets seven chances out of 1,000 to win the lottery, the Pacers simply take over the odds of the 11th spot. There’s less than a 10% chance that either team will move up or back in the lottery.

The tiebreaker comes with a slight financial consequence for next season, since the Pacers will have the rookie scale amount for the 11th pick instead of the 12th counting against their cap, and the Jazz the opposite, a difference of nearly $100K. That difference will be slightly larger once the draftees sign for the usual 120% of those scale amounts. The teams could remove those respective cap hits if they and the players they pick agree in writing not to sign next season, but that’s an unlikely outcome.

Latest On Goran Dragic

April 17 at 10:45am CDT By Chuck Myron

Goran Dragic today confirmed that he’ll turn down his $7.5MM player option for next season, as he’s long planned to do, tweets Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The point guard continued to talk up his affection for the Heat during an exit interview with the media today while stopping short of commiting to a return. The Heat can offer a fifth year this summer because they have his Bird rights, and that extra year will be “huge,” Dragic said, according to Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post (Twitter link).

“I had a great time in Miami and I want to come back, but we’ll see what happens,” Dragic said, as Lieser tweets.

Dragic said the Heat meet all of the criteria he’s looking for in a team from the basketball standpoint, and he already named Miami his favorite U.S. city, as Lieser relays (Twitter link). Still, the BDA Sports Management client said that he’ll consider every offer this summer, Winderman notes (on Twitter).

The 28-year-old Dragic, who turns 29 next month, reportedly had the Knicks and Lakers in addition to the Heat on his list of preferred destinations as he pushed for a midseason trade from Phoenix. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News reportedly briefly after the trade that Dragic viewed the Lakers as a “perfect fit” and would relish the chance to join the team in free agency this summer. Still, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News heard at about the same time that Dragic would probably re-sign with the Heat, and the expectation was that the Heat would make a five-year max offer to bring him back, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra made it clear to the media today that he wants to retain Dragic as well as Luol Deng, as Lieser relays in a full story. Deng also has a player option for next season.

“We love them; hopefully they love us,” Spoelstra said. “I love working with them and our staff loved working with them. They’re two pros. From an objective point of view, they’re not difficult guys to work with. They’re absolute pros, the kind of guys you want to build your team around, the guys you want to go to work with, the guys you want to be in a foxhole with. The next two months [the playoffs], what that feels like, you want to have guys like that. When this thing kicks off this weekend, you have to have reliable professionals, and both of those guys’ resumes and careers scream that.”

Kupchak On Buss, Kobe, Free Agency, Draft

April 17 at 9:39am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Lakers finished the season 21-61, their worst winning percentage of all-time, but GM Mitch Kupchak is just a year removed from having signed an extension that takes him through at least the 2016/17 season. Kupchak wishes last offseason had gone somewhat differently, telling reporters Thursday that he wishes the team had been able to Pau Gasol, who’s experiencing a renaissance in Chicago, notes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Still, the GM believes the Lakers can quickly right themselves in spite of “a terrible year,” notes Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com. He confirmed the team wants to retain Ed Davis, who plans on opting out but would like to return to the Lakers, Holmes also notes, and he had plenty more to say about the months and years ahead for the purple-and-gold. Holmes, Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News and Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) relay Kupchak’s comments, and we’ll pass along a few of the GM’s most noteworthy remarks here:

On the pledge Jim Buss made last year to step down if the team didn’t make the Western Conference Finals within three years (Kupchak said he wasn’t aware of the remark):

“What’s my sense of being in the conference finals within three years? I think it’s possible. But what if you get to the conference semifinals, you lose in seven [games] and you have a great team that you know is going to get better and better? So I don’t think there is anything etched in stone that would determine any change in direction. Three years from now is forever.”

On Kobe Bryant and retirement:

“I have assumed that he has one year to go and is 36 now. That’s all I can plan on. That’s all he’s planning on. A year from now, maybe different. But right now, that’s all we’re planning on.”

On summer spending plans:

“We’re not going to use cap room just to use cap room and maybe improve. I can use the expression 20 games because we won so few games this year. We don’t want to end up using our cap room and winning 40 games. That year doesn’t get you in the playoffs. Oklahoma City won 45 games, and they still didn’t make it in the playoffs. You work hard to create a future, whether it’s draft picks or an opportunity to make a trade or free agent dollars, and you don’t want to give it away just because you have it. But you do have to weigh anticipation and your fans wanting to see some improvement. That is a challenge. That’s not to say the only player we’ll spend our money on is a max player. There may be better opportunities out there. We don’t know that right now. We do have to balance how you use that money, and two years from now there’s a dramatic change in the landscape in terms of the cap.”

On the draft:

“This would be a good draft to participate in. Two months out, I’m pleased with the players that will be in this draft.”

Western Notes: McDaniels, Duncan, Brooks

April 16 at 8:30pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Rockets rookie K.J. McDaniels will likely miss the playoffs due to a fractured wrist, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle relays (Twitter link). McDaniels has played sparingly since being acquired from the Sixers, appearing in 10 games and averaging 1.1 points in 3.3 minutes per night. The swingman will be a restricted free agent this summer if Houston extends him a qualifying offer worth $1,045,059.

Here’s more news out of the Western Conference:

  • Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link) believes that Tim Duncan will put off retirement to return to the Spurs for his 19th NBA season. The 38-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
  • Carlos Boozer said he would like to return to the Lakers if the team makes additions to the roster that would allow it to be a playoff contender, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The unrestricted free agent also indicated that he would be open to a role off the bench, Pincus adds.
  • Both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook offered support to embattled Thunder coach Scott Brooks, whom the team is reportedly evaluating prior to making a decision on his future, Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman relays (Twitter links). When asked about his coach’s performance, Westbrook said, “He did a great job. I don’t think he gets enough credit behind the scenes. Obviously he can’t make players do things they don’t want to do. With the group of guys we have on our team and the guys that wanted to be here, I thought he did a great job of keeping the boat afloat.
  • Trevor Booker, whose $4,775,000 salary for next season is non-guaranteed, indicated that he would like to remain with the Jazz, Jody Genessy of The Deseret News tweets. The forward appeared in 79 contests for the Jazz this season, averaging 7.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 19.8 minutes per game.

Lakers Notes: Hill, Johnson, Clarkson

April 16 at 6:15pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Lakers still have a decision to make regarding Jordan Hill‘s team option worth $9MM for 2015/16, and for his part the big man wants to return to Los Angeles, Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times writes. “It’s going to be a big off-season for the Lakers,” said Hill.  Of his option, he said “it’s up in the air right now. I definitely would love to come back here, but everybody understands the business.” The 27-year-old appeared in 70 games this season, averaging 12.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 26.8 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Rookie Jordan Clarkson has a chip on his shoulder regarding being passed over in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft, he told reporters during his exit interview. “I’m a second-round pick — 46th pick,” Clarkson said. “It’s always gonna be on my mind. … I’m never going to forget draft day. It’s motivating for me. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to play for this organization in this league. I think I watched the draft maybe like 10 times throughout the year. … I don’t look at it like, ‘I should’ve been drafted there.’ Everything happens for a reason.
  • Unrestricted free agent Wesley Johnson during his exit interview also indicated his desire to be a member of the Lakers next season. “Obviously things haven’t been going the way we wanted it to, but that’s a reason to stick around,” Johnson relayed. “You want to be here when we turn it around.
  • Johnson said that his priority was to secure a long-term deal somewhere, and that the Lakers told him they would first focus on the draft before making a decision regarding re-signing him, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News tweets.
  • Ed Davis isn’t sure if he will be playing for the Lakers next season, Medina relays (Twitter link). The forward intends to opt out of his player option worth $1,100,602 and test free agency, but the big man would prefer to return to L.A., Pincus tweets.
  • Vander Blue , whom the team recently inked for the remainder of the 2014/15 season, says that he would love to be a part of the Lakers’ future, Pincus tweets. Blue indicated that he is more than willing to play for Los Angeles’ summer league squad if it would help him earn a roster spot next season, the Times scribe relays.

And-Ones: Drummond, Price, Afflalo

April 15 at 10:35pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Pistons owner Tom Gores gave Andre Drummond a vote of confidence during tonight’s contest against the Knicks, calling the big man a “max player,” David Mayo of MLive.com relays (Twitter link). Drummond, who is set to earn $3,272,091 next season, is eligible to ink an extension this summer, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the Pistons will offer him one, since the team would have the right to match any offer sheet the big man were to sign as a restricted free agent in 2016. Detroit could be wary of taking that chance given how the team is likely to lose Greg Monroe, who reportedly declined to ink an extension of his own with the club, as a free agent this summer, though that is merely my speculation.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Arron Afflalo will let his playoff performance dictate whether he picks up his $7.75MM player option for next season with the Blazers, as a source close to the swingman tells Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops that he’ll opt out if he plays well.
  • One executive who spoke with Scotto, who in a separate piece pegged Danny Green‘s value at $6MM a year. The Spurs swingman is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Ronnie Price indicated that his desire is to remain with the Lakers, even if it is as a third-string guard, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. “I enjoyed being a voice in the locker room. I enjoyed being able to help younger guys. I helped great veterans that can help me. I’d be selfish not to extend that knowledge to players that are younger than me,” Price said. “Of course you want to play. That’s why we do what we do. You want to play. You never know what’s ahead. Whatever role is my role, I’ll embrace it whether it’s being here or the third guard.” Price will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
  • Suns forward Markieff Morris believes that the team needs to add players with more experience to its roster, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic tweets. “Veteran leadership for sure,” Morris responded when asked about Phoenix’s needs. “We have to have more older guys around so we can keep this thing intact.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Ellington, Lin, Cousins

April 15 at 11:04am CDT By Chuck Myron

Suns GM Ryan McDonough admits the team had no intention of reshaping its roster as much as it did this season, but while he’s disappointed with the way this year has gone, he feels the Suns are still better off than they were two years ago, when he took over, as he tells Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.

“We’ve tried to do something that’s not easy to do,” McDonough said. “We tried to turn over the roster with talented, young players who have some potential but probably aren’t ready to win yet at the highest levels. But we also tried to stay competitive in a brutal Western Conference. Usually, teams try to do one or the other. They load up on veteran guys and trade draft picks and go all in or they completely blow up and gut the team and try to acquire and play a bunch of young guys.”

Phoenix will look to achieve more roster balance, among other goals, this summer, McDonough added. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The sense is that Wayne Ellington will largely favor the Lakers in free agency this year, but he’s mindful that the market is uncertain for both himself and the team, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter links), who’s identified mutual interest between the sides. Ellington backed up his end of that, referencing coach Byron Scott and GM Mitch Kupchak during his exit interview with the media Tuesday when he said, “I flat out told coach and Mitch I want to be back,” Medina notes.
  • Jeremy Lin seemed lukewarm to the idea of returning to the Lakers during his exit interview, saying that he has “definitely not ruled out” the possibility and that the Lakers wouldn’t be a “last resort.” He said that losing his starting job in December “hurt,” but that his respect for Scott has grown throughout the season. Medina (separate piece), Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles (Twitter link), Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding (Twitter link) and Bill Oram of the Orange County Register (Twitter link) have the details.
  • Trade rumors are partly to blame for the sour mood DeMarcus Cousins has been in of late, but Kings executive Vlade Divac, who’s in charge of the front office, is in awe of Cousins’ talent, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Voisin advises Cousins to get away from the noise now that the season is ending.

Medina On Lakers Offseason, Roster

April 14 at 8:07pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News reported earlier today that the Lakers will explore potential trades for swingman Nick Young this summer. In a separate piece, Medina runs down where each of the players on Los Angeles’ roster stands as the team heads into the offseason. Here are some of the highlights…

  • Ed Davis is almost assuredly going to opt out of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent this summer, Medina notes. The Lakers are interested in inking him to a long-term deal as long as the cap hit is a reasonable amount, Medina adds.
  • There is mutual interest between the team and Wayne Ellington in having the player return to Los Angeles next season, Medina notes. While Ellington views the Lakers as his top choice, he desires long-term security in his next deal, Medina adds. The guard will be an unrestricted free agent when the season ends.
  • Los Angeles has little interest in bringing back Carlos Boozer, and the player is likely to seek out a team on which he can have a larger role, the Daily News scribe relays.
  • Wesley Johnson‘s potential continues to intrigue the Lakers, but the team is frustrated with his inconsistent play, Medina notes. How well the team fares in the draft and free agency will dictate whether or not the swingman is re-signed, Medina opines.
  • The Lakers don’t view Jeremy Lin as a great fit for the team’s system, and it’s not clear yet if Los Angeles has any interest in re-signing the point guard. For his part, Lin will consider returning to the Lakers if the team has interest, but he will place a higher priority on finding a team that runs a pick-and-roll oriented offense, the Daily News scribe notes.
  • Los Angeles still hasn’t made a decision regarding Jordan Hill‘s team option worth $9MM for next season. The big man’s time with the Lakers could be at an end if the team decides it wants to maximize its cap space, Medina writes.
  • The team expects injured rookie Julius Randle to play in this year’s summer league, Medina notes. Randle’s rookie campaign ended 14 minutes into his first regular season contest when he suffered a broken leg.
  • Ryan Kelly did not feel comfortable with the Lakers using him as a small forward at times this season, and the team plans to use him at power forward, his natural position, more often next season, Medina relays. Kelly appeared in 51 games and averaged 6.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per contest this season.