Western Notes: Davis, Lakers, Kessler, Garuba, Canales

While the Lakers are certainly well aware of Anthony Davis‘ injury history, they were impressed with how he battled through his foot issues last season and recognized that he spearheaded their defensive turnaround after the trade deadline, with the club advancing to the Western Conference Finals despite a terrible start to 2022/23.

“They understand AD and his work ethic has shown,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told Mark Medina of Sportskeeda on Friday. “He has some injuries, but it wasn’t due to him not working. It’s not like he came into camp overweight or showed any laziness. There were just fluke things. That happens in the game.”

Paul said the two sides are still determining whether Davis will have a player option in his new three-year extension, but it will not contain a team option.

Both Medina — writing for The Sporting Tribune — and Jovan Buha of The Athletic believe it’s a win-win for Davis and the Lakers, though there’s obviously some risk involved for Los Angeles. The two authors note that Davis could potentially have earned more money had he hit free agency in 2024.

Here’s more from around the West:

  • After a standout rookie season, Jazz center Walker Kessler, who will be representing Team USA at the upcoming World Cup, has added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. “A lot of the offseason has been about gaining weight and gaining strength,” Kessler said. “It’s been a lot of hard work. But I’m excited to try and put myself in a position to make a difference on the floor, so the work has been a lot of fun. I love the weight room. I love working on my body. I’m really excited to be a part of Team USA and extremely thankful that I get to be a part of this. I think the amount of talent and the amount of knowledge that’s going to be on the roster is amazing. I’m trying to learn as much as I can and use this experience to try and better myself in every way that I can.”
  • Speaking to Nacho Duke of Spanish outlet Marca, Thunder big man Usman Garuba said he hopes to spend the rest of his professional career in the NBA. “If possible, I intend to play my entire career in the NBA, and I’m going to push it to the maximum,” Garuba said, per BasketNews.com. “I do not think about another thing. Anything can happen, but I only have in mind to continue in the NBA all my professional life.” Oklahoma City acquired Garuba last month via trade.
  • Veteran assistant Kaleb Canales is joining the Texas Legends — the Mavericks‘ G League affiliate — as associate head coach, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Canales, who became the NBA’s first Mexican-American head coach in 2012, last worked for the Pacers in 2020/21. He also had stints with Portland, Dallas and New York over his lengthy coaching career, so it will be a reunion with the Mavs organization.
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