Los Angeles Lakers Rumors

And-Ones: Dragic, Whiteside, World Peace, Kobe

January 25 at 4:59pm CST By Charlie Adams

Goran Dragic reportedly feels better about his situation with Phoenix now than he did during the 2013/14 campaign, but he admits that there’s no guarantee he’ll return to the Suns once he becomes a free agent this summer, as he tells Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle“Every team in the NBA is an option to me, because it is a privilege to play for any team in the NBA,” Dragic said. “When the time comes I’m going to sit down with my family and my agent and try to make the best decision for myself.” We’ll round up more from around the NBA below:

  • Hassan Whiteside is opening eyes with the Heat, having posted a triple-double today with 14 points, 13 boards, and 12 blocks. The Knicks had some interest in the big man last year but eventually signed Lamar Odom instead, tweets Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.
  • Metta World Peace‘s stint in China has come to an end, as the veteran forward passed along on Twitter. The Clippers were rumored to have interest in inking World Peace to a late season deal.
  • Kobe Bryant spoke and said he would be a major part of the Lakers’ recruiting efforts this upcoming summer, observes Michael Lee of the Washington Post“It’s a pretty simple message. It’s the best organization in the world, best brand in the world,” Bryant said of the Lakers. “We win championships. That’s what we do. It would be much more than … X’s and O’s and style of play, things of that nature. There’s no place like winning in Los Angeles, man.”
  • Jonathan Givony of Draft Express released his latest prospect rankings, with Jahlil Okafor unsurprisingly still topping out the list.

Cavs Interested In Will Bynum, Bobby Brown

January 25 at 9:18am CST By Eddie Scarito

SUNDAY, 9:18am:  The interest between Brown and the Cavs is mutual, reports Jorge Sierra of Hoopshype. “I will say this about Cleveland: How could anyone not want to play with LeBron [James]? First off, he is the best player in the league and second, you have a chance to be a part of a championship team. Plus, playing in Europe, I was a big fan of [David] Blatt] and always wanted to play for him. Also, I have known [David Griffin] since I was in the draft and have always been a huge believer in him,” Brown said.

SATURDAY, 8:43am: With the Cavaliers still seeking to add depth at the point guard spot, Will Bynum and Bobby Brown are two players whom Cleveland is keeping an eye on, Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal reports. Both are currently playing in China, and neither will be available until after the Chinese Basketball Association’s playoffs conclude in March, Lloyd notes. If the Cavs are unable to land a player via a trade before then, either Bynum or Brown could be brought aboard, Lloyd adds.

Bynum, 32, is a seven year veteran who will likely have a number of NBA offers to choose from, Lloyd writes. The Cavs will only be able to offer the guard the prorated veteran’s minimum, but a shot at an NBA title could be a strong draw for Bynum, Lloyd notes. Bynum has been playing for the Guangdong Southern Tigers since early December after being signed to replace the injured Emmanuel Mudiay, who is a likely 2015 lottery selection.

The Celtics had waived Bynum and his guaranteed contract, worth nearly $2.916MM, in order to free up roster space shortly after acquiring him from the Pistons in a preseason trade. Bynum’s career numbers in 353 NBA appearances are 8.2 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. His career slash line is .443/.280/.800.

Adding Brown would be a more complicated matter for the Cavs, Lloyd notes. The 30-year-old still has two years remaining on his contract with DongGuan, but there have been reports that Brown’s deal contains an NBA out clause. Brown went undrafted back in the 2007 NBA draft, and he has played for four NBA teams during his career. Brown had worked out for the Lakers prior to the season, but he had already inked his deal to head overseas prior to that display. Brown’s NBA averages over 113 career games are 5.1 points and 1.8 assists. His career slash line is .384/.311/.810.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Bogut, Thompson, Bryant

January 24 at 10:00pm CST By Arthur Hill

With the NBA’s best record in the first half of the season, Golden State GM Bob Myers isn’t planning any major moves before the February 19th trade deadline, according to Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle. The Warriors are off to a franchise-best 35-6 start and are beating teams by an average of 12.1 points per game. “I don’t think anybody wants roster turnover,” Myers said. “You want to keep the group together as long as you can, and the players have earned the right to grow together and see what they can do in the playoffs.”

There’s other news from the Pacific Division:

  • Andrew Bogut isn’t complaining about the way the Warriors are handling his rest and physical condition, even though it may cost him money, tweets Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group. Reduced playing time hampers Bogut’s ability to reach a $1.9MM incentive bonus.
  • No one enjoyed Klay Thompson‘s 37-point third quarter Friday more than his father Mychal, who told Scott Ostler of The San Francisco Chronicle he hopes his son retires as a Warrior. The elder Thompson, who works as a commentator for the Lakers, said Golden State made the right move last summer by not breaking up the “Splash Brothers” to acquire Kevin Love from the Timberwolves. “I’m very happy they decided to keep that special backcourt together,” he said. “When you have someone like Stephen [Curry] and Klay, you let those guys retire together in a Warriors uniform.”
  • Although he’s likely done for the season, it’s not time for the LakersKobe Bryant to retire, argues Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. Bryant may undergo season-ending surgery after having his shoulder re-examined on Monday, but Plaschke contends that’s no way for such a brilliant career to end. He wants to see Bryant return in 2015/16 for the final year of his contract with a better team that should include a healthy Julius Randle, a high pick in this year’s draft and possibly a quality free agent addition.

Western Notes: Bryant, Jerrett, Stokes

January 24 at 10:03am CST By Eddie Scarito

There has been speculation that Kobe Bryant‘s shoulder injury could mark the end of his career, something that Lakers coach Byron Scott doubts will be the case, Greg Beacham of The Associated Press writes. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around as far as dealing with injuries and things like that, and being able to come back,” Scott said. “Everybody said he was done after the Achilles, and he came back pretty strong. Knowing him the way I know him, I know he doesn’t want to go out this way. I think he will rehab it if that’s the case, and then we’ll wait and see.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Thunder have re-assigned Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Blue, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced (Twitter link). This will be Jerrett’s eighth sojourn to the D-League this season. The 21-year-old has only made four NBA appearances thus far this season, and has averaged 1.8 points in 6.0 minutes per contest for the Thunder.
  • Blazers GM Neil Olshey insisted that he won’t rush to make up for the absence of LaMarcus Aldridge, and that any deals the team makes at the trade deadline will be with the playoffs and not the regular season in mind, Grantland’s Zach Lowe notes.
  • Grizzlies rookie Jarnell Stokes is still trying to adjust to not seeing regular minutes after having been the star on every team that he played for prior to arriving in Memphis, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. “It was hard for me at first,” Stokes said of not playing. “The first couple games, even just in the preseason, I was like, ‘Man, I’m going to have to do this all year?’ It was tough. I was coming home just mad and I had to learn that this is the way it’s going to be and that I can learn from this and that God has me in this position for a reason. I’ll have my opportunity [eventually] and I feel like there are some things I can work on now, so I can get better. I’m just working on those things so I’m ready the next time my name is called.” Stokes spoke with Zach Links of Hoops Rumors last August.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Lakers Expect Kobe To Miss Rest Of Season

January 23 at 2:33pm CST By Chuck Myron

2:33pm: Bryant wants to pursue any avenue he can to play again this season, but there isn’t believed to be any reasonable way for Bryant to remain in the lineup given the significance of the injury to his shooting shoulder, Wojnarowski writes in a full story.

1:47pm: The Lakers and Bryant will wait until Monday to make a decision on his treatment, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Electing surgery would end his season, and there’s still “significant belief” within the organization that he’ll need the operation, but they’re holding off on that call for now, Wojnarowski adds (on Twitter).

1:17pm: A final determination on the prognosis for Kobe Bryant‘s torn rotator cuff is still to come, but the Lakers expect Bryant will miss the rest of the season, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). The Lakers announced Thursday that Bryant had suffered the injury to his right shoulder during Wednesday’s game. Still, there’s no fear that the setback will prompt Bryant to retire, and he’s instead more likely to play out his contract in the wake of the injury, Shelburne reported overnight (on Twitter). Bryant recently said he had considered retiring this coming summer, but he’s long been expected to at least play until the end of next season, when his deal expires.

The Lakers can’t apply for a disabled player exception, since the deadline to do so was last week, though the team already has a pair of such exceptions for Steve Nash and Julius Randle. Still, the team has a full 15-man roster, and without others expected to miss a significant amount of time, the Lakers can’t apply for another roster spot via hardship. The team applied for a hardship exception earlier this season, but it expired.

Coach Byron Scott said today that he was worried the injury was a result of his decision to give Bryant heavy minutes earlier this season, notes Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com (Twitter link). Scott added that he reached out to apologize to the 36-year-old star in the wake of the injury and that Bryant told him not to worry about it, tweets Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Bryant saw 37.1 minutes per game in December, but that’s tailed off to 30.9 MPG in games thus far in January.

Bryant’s injury can’t do much more harm to the Lakers in the standings, since the team is 12-31 and 13 and a half games out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, the loss of the league’s ninth-leading scorer this season seemingly strengthens the chance that the team will keep its first-round pick this year. The Lakers must relinquish it to the Suns if it falls outside the top five, and the purple-and-gold are currently fourth in the Reverse Standings.

The perennial All-Star had never missed 17 games in a single season until he tore his Achilles tendon late in the 2012/13 season. He came back to make only six appearances in 2013/14 before succumbing to a fractured knee, and he’s so far played in only 35 of the Lakers’ 43 games this season.

Latest On Goran Dragic

January 23 at 7:43am CST By Chuck Myron

FRIDAY, 7:43am: Dragic feels better about his situation in Phoenix this year than he did last, a source tells Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype. He’s happy where he isn’t thinking much about free agency, but he’s confident that he’ll attract strong offers this summer, the source also said.

MONDAY, 1:09pm: The Rockets have tried to trade for Goran Dragic this season, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick. It’s unclear how recently GM Daryl Morey has sought the Suns guard, and whether it came before or after Houston’s trade for Corey Brewer and signing of Josh Smith, but the Rockets’ interest in Dragic appears to be longstanding. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported in September that Houston was considering a free agent run at Dragic next summer, when the seventh-year veteran has said he plans to turn down his $7.5MM player option for 2015/16. Dragic reiterated recently to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News that he intends to opt out, and he wouldn’t rule out playing with any team, including the Lakers, who are known to be interested in pairing Dragic with Kobe Bryant, as Zillgitt and Amick write.

“Any player that is one of the best players in the league would be cool to play with. Kobe is a legend,” Dragic said to Medina. “I know how awesome it is to be around those superstars. If you’re patient enough and you listen, you learn a lot.” 

Dragic has had similar praise for the Knicks, as it seems the point guard doesn’t want to close off any potential avenues in free agency, which jibes with what Sean Deveney of The Sporting News heard in November. GMs from around the league told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher earlier this season that the Suns were open to trading the 28-year-old native of Slovenia. However, rival executives have had the impression that Phoenix would be more willing to part with Eric Bledsoe or Isaiah Thomas amid multiple inquiries on all three, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, who wrote last month.

Dragic’s numbers have tailed off this season after a career year in 2013/14, though that’s no surprise given the crowded situation in the backcourt for the Suns, who signed Bledsoe and Thomas to long-term deals this past summer. Suns GM Ryan McDonough said after the Bledsoe signing that he and the Suns “fully anticipate taking care of” Dragic, who’s in his second stint with the Suns after leaving the Rockets to sign with Phoenix in 2012.

Pacific Notes: Bryant, Suns, Farmar

January 22 at 4:44pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The results of an MRI exam performed earlier today showed that Lakers icon Kobe Bryant has suffered a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, the team has announced. Bryant will return to Los Angeles to be examined by team doctors on Friday, and an update will be given on his condition at that time. This marks the third season in a row that Bryant has suffered a significant injury.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Bryant didn’t appear too worried about his latest malady after Wednesday night’s game, the contest during which the injury had occurred, Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. “I’ve played on a torn labrum before,” Bryant said. “I’m not too concerned about it.” Prior to receiving the MRI results, coach Byron Scott had stated that Bryant could potentially continue to play this season in spot duty and on a minutes limit, Holmes notes.
  • The Suns have assigned Tyler Ennis and T.J. Warren to the Bakersfield Jam, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This will be the third trek to the D-League of the season for both players.
  • Jordan Farmar relinquished $949,998 in his buyout deal with the Clippers, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). He’ll draw nearly $1.765MM of his $2.077MM salary this season, and the rest of his buyout fee is deducted from the more than $2.17MM he would have made if he’d exercised his player option for next season. The team used the stretch provision on Farmar’s remaining salary for next season, so it’ll be spread in equal amounts of about $511K each season from 2015/16 through 2017/18, as Pincus shows on the Basketball Insiders salary page for the Clips.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Rondo, Karl, Allen, Turner

January 21 at 10:11pm CST By Eddie Scarito

George Karl still wants to return to coaching in the NBA, and he had thought that the opportunity to do so presented itself when the Kings fired Michael Malone, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. But Sacramento promoted assistant coach Tyrone Corbin for the remainder of the season instead. “There’s obviously been communication,” Karl said. “But have they ever talked to me about being the head coach? We’ve talked around it, but we’ve probably never talked about that situation. Do I feel I’m on their list? Yes, but I think they made it very clear when they made the decision to give Corbin the opportunity to coach that that was what they were going to do.” Karl is indeed likely to be among the candidates for the Kings head coaching position, unless the team performs unexpectedly well under Corbin, according to Amick, who also notes that Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry is also expected to be a candidate. Sacramento has discussed Mark Jackson‘s potential candidacy internally, but he appears to have a minimal shot at landing the job, Amick writes

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Though the Mavs are said to be the favorites to re-sign Rajon Rondo when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, Kobe Bryant hasn’t given up on recruiting Rondo to come and join the Lakers, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes. “No way,” Bryant said. “I’m not done. I’m not stopping until he signs an extension.”
  • With the Celtics now fully in rebuilding mode, veteran swingman Evan Turner said that Boston’s situation is markedly different from what he experienced as a member of the Sixers last season, Bulpett adds in the same article. “This isn’t anything like it was with the Sixers,” Turner said. “They traded everybody, and on top of that they’d just go and get new players every 10 days. So this is sweet compared to that. When we make trades this year and get new players, I’ve actually heard of them. In Philly, they’d bring somebody in, and you just never heard of the person in your life. They’d introduce me to them, and I’d just go about my business. This is kind of typical. I can deal with these type of trades. The other stuff was crazy. I guess this is new to a lot of guys here, but this is small compared to what I was going through last year.
  • Ray Allen has been leaning toward retiring instead of returning to action this season, but the veteran sharpshooter is hinting that he may have changed his thinking regarding suiting up to play, Dave Brousseau of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.

Western Notes: Young, Clippers, Lin, Waiters

January 21 at 12:14pm CST By Chuck Myron

Nick Young wants to help the Lakers recruit marquee free agents this summer, but he was worried that there wouldn’t have been room for the club to re-sign him this past offseason if the Lakers had landed a star then, as he tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. 

“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Young said. “I was nervous and scared. I wanted to be here, but I kept hearing all the Carmelo [Anthony] rumors and Kobe [Bryant] having dinner with Carmelo. I knew once they paid him all that money, there would be none for me.”

Young, who inked a four-year, $21.326MM deal with the Lakers in July, told Medina that the Pelicans, Mavs and Bulls also had interest in him, and agent Mark Bartelstein told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com this summer that there had been contact with the Hawks. There’s more from L.A. amid the latest from the Western Conference:

  • Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers expects to use his pair of open roster spots on veterans next month, writes Arash Markazi of ESPN.com, suggesting that the team will again target the post-buyout market as it did last year.
  • Dion Waiters, who’s up for a rookie scale extension this summer, says he “couldn’t ask for a better situation” than the one he finds himself in since the trade that sent him to the Thunder, as he tells The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry. “They brought me in since Day One with love,” Waiters said of his new teammates. “It seems like I’ve been here forever. It seems like I’ve been playing with them forever, too. When I came here, we clicked right away.”
  • Jeremy Lin has his moments for the Lakers, but he continues to struggle to live up to the backloaded three-year, $25.124MM deal he signed with the Rockets in 2012, much less his dazzling “Lin-sanity” run with the Knicks, as Bill Oram of the Orange County Register examines. Lin is set for free agency this summer.

Pacific Notes: Rivers, Green, Lin, Boozer

January 19 at 5:29pm CST By Chuck Myron

The back-and-forth that preceded Doc Riversjump from the Celtics to the Clippers in 2013 was the product of a careful approach Rivers took to his Clippers contract, as Rivers tells Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The coach knew then-owner Donald Sterling had resisted paying guaranteed salary to coaches he’d fired in the past, as Bulpett details.

“That was the delay, the contract,” Rivers said. “People don’t realize it, but the deal could have been done three weeks before it happened. … It’s the longest written contract in coaching history. Five different lawyers had to look at it. Even my lawyer sent it to another lawyer. That tells you the hesitation in who I was going to be working for.”

Rivers is on a different contract with the Clippers now after striking a five-year deal worth more than $50MM with new owner Steve Ballmer. There’s more from Rivers and Bulpett amid the latest from the Pacific Division:

  • Rivers, who also serves as president of basketball operations for the Clippers, won’t hesitate to admit a mistake and reverse course on a personnel move he’s made in the past if necessary, a lesson he learned from Danny Ainge, as Rivers says to Bulpett.
  • All signs point to the Warriors matching offers this summer for soon-to-be restricted free agent Draymond Green, even if it means shelling out a little more than they’d like and crossing the luxury tax line, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick write.
  • The Lakers probably won’t be re-signing offseason acquisitions Jeremy Lin and Carlos Boozer when both enter free agency this summer, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.
  • Austin Rivers has split with agent David Falk, notes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Rivers, whom the Clippers acquired via trade last week, hits unrestricted free agency this summer.