The Lakers have zeroed in on Jahlil Okafor for the No. 2 pick, multiple league sources tell Chris Mannix of SI.com, who writes in his latest mock draft. Chad Ford of ESPN.com wrote a couple of weeks ago that he didn’t get the sense that Okafor wasn’t a surefire Lakers pick at No. 2 the way that Karl-Anthony Towns would be if the Timberwolves took Okafor first overall, so perhaps Okafor’s workout with the Lakers this week swayed the team’s thinking. Mitch Kupchak is choosing his words carefully, but Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding has heard enough from the Lakers GM to become convinced that either Towns or Okafor will be the team’s choice. Kupchak made it clear to reporters, including Bill Oram of the Orange County Register, that there need not be a consensus within the front office and that the decision, with the support of the team’s ownership, rests with him (Twitter link). Here’s more on the Lakers’ Pacific Division rivals:
- Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby, who will become an adviser on August 1st, didn’t originally intend to remain with the team as long as he has, but the 64-year-old has found it hard not to stay involved, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic details. The role reduction, which will make him a part-timer but leave him involved in negotiations and cap management, suits Babby just fine, Coro writes. “This is a perfect outcome,” Babby said. “When I came here, I made it clear to everybody that I thought one of my major responsibilities was to develop a succession plan and prepare the next generation. When I hired [GM] Ryan [McDonough], I made it clear. I said, ‘You don’t need to worry about your career path here. I’m not going to do this forever.’ That was my commitment to him.”
- Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk is believed to be among the potential candidates to fill the vacancy that Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro will reportedly create in Sacramento upon his departure for the Nuggets, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Lakers assistant scouting director Ryan West is another apparent candidate, as Sam Amick of USA Today reported.
- David Lee saw playing time for the Warriors in Game 3 of the Finals, but he sat out the first two games and admitted to Mannix, writing in a separate piece, that his lack of minutes has been frustrating. Still, Lee takes pride in being a supportive teammate and insists he won’t agitate to play more, and he said that he’s not concerned about the notion that he’ll be a trade candidate this summer, as Mannix details.