L.A. Notes: AD, LeBron, Conley, Zubac, Clippers

Lakers big man Anthony Davis is expected to begin running on Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic said in an appearance on FanDuel TV (Twitter video link). Charania adds that Davis will start contact work shortly after he starts running, and the Lakers hope the 29-year-old will return to the lineup in early February.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported a week ago that the team was hopeful that Davis, who has been out since December 16 after suffering a stress reaction in the navicular bone in his right foot, could return return in a couple weeks. Based on Charania’s report, it sounds like that rough timeline may have been pushed back a little bit, but there’s no indication that Davis had a setback.

Here’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • Lakers star LeBron James is not trade-eligible this season after signing an extension in August. James recently turned 38 years old and is in his 20th NBA season, but he’s still playing at an extremely high level and would have a long list of suitors if he did ask for a trade in the offseason. With that in mind, David Aldridge of The Athletic comes up with six hypothetical trades and ranks the possibility of each deal, though he acknowledges that James ending his career with the Lakers is still the most likely outcome. The highest ranking trade on Aldridge’s “Possibility Scale” (5.5 out of 10) sends James to Atlanta for a package headlined by Dejounte Murray.
  • Marc Stein reported this morning that the Clippers are interested in Jazz point guard Mike Conley. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the Clippers’ interest in Conley is not new, as the team considered trading for the 35-year-old this past summer prior to signing John Wall.
  • Ivica Zubac‘s production has slipped in the past few weeks and Clippers coach Tyronn Lue is aware that the starting center is feeling the effects of a career-high 29.1 minutes per game, writes Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. “He’s not going to admit that, but you know, I think he’s getting worn down a little bit with the overuse and playing him a lot because like you said, when he is on the floor, we are effective,” Lue said. “We’re able to run our offense and do different things. So, I have to find a balance between that. He’s been great for us all year. He’s a guy that plays every single night and we just can’t run him into the ground, which I have, I think early on. But I mean, I really don’t have a choice.” Zubac averaged 10.3 points and 11 rebounds in his first 35 games (29.8 minutes), including 17 double-doubles, but he’s only posted one double-double in the past eight contests (26.1 minutes) while averaging 9.3 points and 7.3 boards.
  • The Clippers‘ depth was supposed to be a strength this season, but injuries have derailed the team from having any type of consistency, according to Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. “I mean, it’s hard, but, you know you can’t do anything about that,” said Zubac. “Guys get hurt and we got to give them time to get healthy … we don’t want to rush anyone … it is what it is.” The Clippers are just 23-22 after entering the season with championship aspirations, and have gone 9-6 in the 15 games that Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have played together, Plaschke notes.
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