Pacific Notes: Ibaka, Lakers Trades, Christie, Kuminga

Serge Ibaka hasn’t received regular playing time as of late for the Clippers, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein have received the bulk of the minutes in the post since Ibaka returned to action after recovering from back surgery.

“Especially with that second unit, not having guys who can create shots from that second unit, Isaiah pretty much becomes our point guard and so we kind of run our offense through him,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “He makes great passes, and just I think we need him with that second unit – so he’s been great.”

Ibaka has extra incentive to get a boost in playing time — he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Bill Oram are skeptical the Lakers can make a significant move before the trade deadline due to the configuration of their roster, plus luxury tax issues. Even combining the salaries of Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn along with a first-round pick isn’t all that enticing for potential trade partners, Hollinger opines. Nunn hasn’t played this season due to a mysterious injury and Horton-Tucker has an opt-out after the 2022/23 season. The Lakers can’t offer a first-round pick earlier than 2027 due to the picks owed to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis trade.
  • Doug Christie has been mentioned as a head coaching candidate for the Kings even though Alvin Gentry was named interim head coach. Christie, an assistant with the club, is non-committal regarding his interest in the job, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “If you know me, you know I’m more of an in-the-moment person, like this is where I’m at,” Christie said. “I don’t think like that. AG (Alvin Gentry) has done a hell of a job and he’s been so productive with helping me try to be better, and that’s really all I’m going to try to be. If they see more and they want more and that opportunity presents itself, that’s what you have to face when the opportunity comes and you deal with it, but I like to stay in the moment and I don’t say that tongue in cheek. That’s just kind of how I try to live.”
  • Steve Kerr’s tendency to lean on his veterans has made it tougher for Jonathan Kuminga to gain a rotation spot. However, the Warriors could use more of what the lottery pick brings, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic opines. Kuminga can be a force defensively and on the offensive glass. Offensively, he can muscle his way to the basket and has a nice finishing touch.
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