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Los Angeles Lakers

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/14/17

Here are the D-League transactions for the day:

10:32pm:

  • The Spurs recalled guard Bryn Forbes from their D-League affiliate in Austin before today’s game with the Suns.
  • The Lakers sent center Ivica Zubac to the D-Fenders following their afternoon game, giving him a chance to play for both teams in the same day, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News.

2:56pm:

  • The Warriors recalled Kevon Looney and Patrick McCaw from their D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team has announced in a press release. Both were assigned on Friday. In a victory over Salt Lake City, Looney dropped 18 points and 20 rebounds.
  • The Rockets have assigned rookie center Chinanu Onuaku to their D-League affiliate, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Onuaku has averaged 11.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in 19 games for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers so far this season.
  • The Cavaliers have assigned point guard Kay Felder to the D-League, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The rookie expected to be back with the big league club as soon as Sunday.
  • After clearing waivers last week, former Hawks forward Ryan Kelly has rejoined the Maine Red Claws, tweets Chris Reichert of The Step Back. Kelly was called up by the Hawks before suiting up for Maine, but they still held his returning rights.

Rookie Center Showing Promise

  • One positive in the Lakers‘ blowout loss to the Spurs on Thursday was the performance of rookie center Ivica Zubac, writes Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Zubac, who was taken with the second pick of the second round in 2016, had a season-high eight points to go with four rebounds in nearly 15 minutes. Zubac has seen most of his action in the D-League this year, and the Lakers want him to drop weight to become more mobile. “When you can run more, you can do everything better on the court,” Zubac said. “It definitely helps to stay in shape. I’m not playing a lot with the Lakers. It’s easy to get out of shape. Playing in the D-League really helps.”

Lakers Rumors: Young Core, Millsap, Noel, Odom

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak indicated last month that he’d be perfectly happy not to make a trade this season, since he’s pleased with the young talent on his roster. So far, the Lakers’ discussions with teams have reflected that stance. League sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that Los Angeles hasn’t included Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, or D’Angelo Russell in any trade talks, and that isn’t expected to change in the coming weeks. According to Deveney, young role players like Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson are also unlikely to be moved.

While the Lakers aren’t eager to break up their young core, there are indications that the team is still exploring possible trade options. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Lakers were among the clubs to express interest in Paul Millsap before Atlanta pulled him off the market. L.A. would also have interest in Nerlens Noel if and when the Sixers get serious about moving him, Deveney writes. For now though, the club appears content to exercise some patience and move forward with its current roster.

Here’s more from out of L.A.:

  • One Western Conference scout who spoke to Deveney had high praise for the Lakers’ young trio of Ingram, Randle, and Russell. “If you made a list of the 20 best players who are 22 or under, I think you’d have to have all three of the Lakers’ young guys on there,” the scout said. “They’re three of the best young guys in the league. There’s really not a lot of teams can say that, and I think a lot of mediocre teams would like to swap rosters with the Lakers right now.”
  • Asked by TMZ about whether he had any interest in returning to the NBA as a coach, former Lakers forward Lamar Odom admitted that he has thought about it, acknowledging that he even contact head coach Luke Walton to convey his interest.
  • The idea of Odom joining the Lakers’ staff under Walton probably isn’t a realistic one at this point, according to Mark Medina of The Orange County Register, who notes that the team is mindful of Odom’s continuous recovery. Nonetheless, Walton isn’t shutting that door. “Lamar would be great,” the Lakers’ head coach said of his former teammate. “Anyone who knows Lamar, when he’s right, he is one of the most likeable people they’ve been around. He has a great knowledge of the game and has a great way of communicating with people.”

Nance Jr. Ahead Of Schedule; Clarkson Fined, Not Suspended

Though he’s been sidelined since December 20, Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. thinks that he could be back in action sooner than the team’s current timetable.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/7/17

Here are the D-League assignments and recalls from Saturday:

10:11pm:

  • The Bulls have recalled forward Bobby Portis from their Windy City affiliate, the team announced in a press release. Portis had 32 points and nine rebounds in Friday’s game.
  • The Spurs have recalled rookie guard Dejounte Murray from their affiliate in Austin, the team posted on its website. Murray is coming off a 25-point performance Friday and is averaging 16.6 points per game in 12 D-League contests. He has played 18 games for San Antonio, getting 5.6 minutes per night.
  • The Pacers have recalled Georges Niang from their Fort Wayne affiliate, according to the team’s website. He connected on five 3-pointers and scored 23 points in his last game for the Mad Ants.

2:07pm:

  • The Suns have recalled Derrick Jones Jr., according to a team-issued press release. Jones comes off of his fourth assignment to the club’s D-League affiliate this season.
  • The Lakers have assigned center Ivica Zubac to the D-League, reports Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times via a team press release. Zubac has already played 11 games for the team’s affiliate, averaging 15.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
  • The Nuggets have recalled Juan Hernangomez from their D-League affiliate, the team announced in a press release. Hernangomez appeared in just one game for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

11:30am:

Walton Recommends Lakers Keep World Peace Past Deadline

When Metta World Peace racked up three fouls in two minutes on Friday night there was an ominous undertone that the performance may be the veteran’s last. It’s unclear whether the 37-year-old’s leadership will be enough to convince the Lakers brass to retain him after today’s deadline, writes Mark Media of The Los Angeles Daily News.

January 7 marks the last day that teams can release players on partially guaranteed contracts and still have them clear waivers. The Lakers have the option to release both World Peace and 25-year-old Thomas Robinson should they wish to free up a roster spot for an acquisition later on down the road.

World Peace has played sparingly in his sixth season across two stints with the Lakers, but will forever hold a spot in team history after winning a title alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2010.

  • Lakers head coach Luke Walton knows what today represents for World Peace and has voiced his desire to keep the veteran forward. “I like him with us,” Walton tells Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times, “but that’s a front office decision. My recommendation is to keep him.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/4/17

Here are Wednesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

4:25pm:

  • The Lakers have re-assigned rookie big man Ivica Zubac to the D-League (Twitter link). Zubac will be in uniform for the L.A. D-Fenders tomorrow night for the team’s game against Iowa.
  • The Pistons officially announced in a press release this afternoon that they’ve sent Henry Ellenson to the Grand Rapids Drive. As Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets, fellow rookie Michael Gbinije likely would’ve joined him, but he’s battling a forearm injury.
  • Forward Troy Williams has been recalled by the Grizzlies from his assignment with the Iowa Energy, per a team release. Williams averaged 24.3 PPG in three games during his D-League stint, including 32 in 28 minutes on December 27.

2:28pm:

  • Richaun Holmes, who has completed and passed all the elements of the NBA’s concussion protocol, has been assigned to the D-League by the Sixers, the team announced today in a press release. While some NBADL rehab assignments don’t include game action, the Sixers suggest that Holmes is expected to suit up tonight for the Delaware 87ers.

12:55pm:

  • A pair of Nuggets rookies, Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez, have been assigned to the D-League, according to a press release. Despite having a fairly young roster, Denver hasn’t used the D-League much this season, since the team doesn’t have its own affiliate. Beasley and Hernangomez will join the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s NBADL squad.
  • The Raptors have sent Bruno Caboclo and Fred VanVleet back to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). The duo has bounced back and forth between the NBA and NBADL all season — it’s the 13th D-League assignment for Caboclo and the ninth for VanVleet.
  • Maurice Ndour is headed to the D-League, having been assigned to Westchester today by the Knicks (Twitter link). New York’s D-League affiliate is in action tonight against Grand Rapids, and Ndour is expected to suit up for the game.
  • The Suns have assigned rookie forward Derrick Jones to the D-League, the team announced today (Twitter link). It’s the fourth NBADL assignment of the season for Jones, who has averaged 14.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 14 games for Northern Arizona.

Lakers Intrigued By Robinson/Black Pairing

Lakers Notes: Trades, Development, Calderon

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak indicated in mid-December that he expects to look at trade opportunities that arise before February’s deadline, but that he would be fine with standing pat and not making an in-season move. According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), that seems to be the team’s private stance as well as its public one. Kyler suggests that the Lakers aren’t “overly interested in change,” and if they make a major trade, it’s more likely to happen during the offseason than at the deadline.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Kupchak has been staying patient with the development of some of the Lakers’ promising young players, and he’s pleased with what he has seen so far, writes Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News.
  • After missing some time with a hamstring problem, veteran point guard Jose Calderon returned to the Lakers’ active roster in late December. However, he has received a few DNP-CDs in a row, and head coach Luke Walton says it has been “tricky” to integrate Calderon into the lineup. Medina has the details and the quotes in another Daily News report.
  • The Lakers have lost 15 of 17 games since the start of December, prompting Bill Oram of The Orange County Register to suggest that the team’s lack of fight may stem from an absence of on-court leadership on the young roster.

Injury Notes: Stephenson, Payne, Black

Free agent guard Lance Stephenson is ahead of his schedule and could be ready from a groin tear by mid-January, barring a setback, Chris Haynes of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). The Pelicans waived Stephenson in early November after he suffered the injury. The Pelicans drew criticism at the time for the move, but it seemed like the team would be open to re-signing him when he gets healthy. Stephenson was expected to miss about 10 weeks following his groin surgery in early November, so Haynes’ reports suggests his return is a couple weeks ahead of schedule. Stephenson, who won a roster spot after the preseason, averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 assists in 27 minutes per game in six contests this season.

Here is more from around the league:

  • Cameron Payne has been assigned to the D-League for the next few days to complete his rehab and his unofficial targeted return date is January 7th, Royce Young of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Payne has yet to make his 2016/17 debut for the Thunder because of a broken foot.
  • Lakers backup center Tarik Black is available to play, but has not been on the court since mostly recovering from an ankle injury suffered in early December because coach Luke Walton wants to ease him into the rotation, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times relays. Black was was an integral part of the Lakers’ second unit before his injury, as Ganguli points out, so once Black is fully healthy, it would seem reasonable to expect a return to action.

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