Pacific Notes: LeBron, AD, Westbrook, Harden, Little, Beal

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Lakers superstar LeBron James declined to elaborate on what he meant by sending out an hourglass emoji after Tuesday’s loss to Atlanta, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

On Friday, Rich Paul, James’ agent, publicly said his most famous client won’t seek a trade and won’t be dealt ahead of the February 8 deadline.

There was no reputable reporting suggesting James would seek a trade, but there had been some speculation from fans and media members about his future, given the Lakers’ middling record (25-25) this season, his age (39), and his contract situation (he can become an unrestricted free agent this summer).

James said he hasn’t thought about whether or not he’s going to exercise his $51.4MM player option for 2024/25, as ESPN’s Dave McMenamin relays.

The Lakers were without James (left ankle peroneal tendinopathy) and Anthony Davis (bilateral Achilles tendinopathy and left hip spasms) for Thursday’s upset victory over Boston, and both players are questionable for Saturday’s contest in New York. James, who said he was “very proud” of the team’s effort vs. the Celtics, is “hoping” to play against the Knicks.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • According to Buha, James also addressed Jarred Vanderbilt‘s foot injury, which is expected to keep him out for several weeks. “Well, honestly, obviously, we took a big hit with Vando last game,” James said. “Our team has always been constructed around how healthy we can be and how much chemistry we can put on the floor. So, obviously, that’s a big-time hit, big-time blow for us. But guys have to pick it up in his absence. If we can play some good basketball, string a couple wins together, and not be so Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on any given night, then we’ll be OK.”
  • Clippers guard Russell Westbrook reached a historic milestone in Friday’s win over Detroit, as he became just the 25th player in NBA history to score 25,000 career points (Twitter link via the league). The former league MVP is also only the second player to record at least 25,000 points, 9,000 assists and 8,000 rebounds — James is the other.
  • Regarding his omission from the All-Star game, Clippers guard James Harden says he’s focused on a bigger prize, per Law Murray of The Athletic. “I’ve got bigger goals,” Harden said. “None of that — scoring titles and assists and All-Stars and MVPs — right now. I’ve done it all. I’m here for one reason. And I think everybody knows what the reason is.” Harden, of course, is looking for his first NBA championship. The 34-year-old is averaging 16.9 PPG, 8.5 APG, 4.9 RPG, 1.2 SPG and 0.9 BPG in 42 games for the Clips this season (34.1 MPG). He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in the summer.
  • Suns forward Nassir Little is nonplussed by hearing his name in trade rumors, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I’m doing good,” Little said. “It’s a normal thing in the league. It’s been like that since I’ve gotten into the league. Your name is always going to be thrown around in trade rumors. It’s part of the business. So I don’t really be seeing it that much, but I just chill until something happens. I get a text from my agent or somebody call me in the office, I’m going to keep doing what I got to do.” Little, 23, is in the first season of a four-year, $28MM rookie scale extension.
  • Suns star Kevin Durant praised Bradley Beal‘s toughness for playing through a broken nose he sustained last week against the Pacers, Rankin tweets. He’s a soldier out there,” Durant said of Beal. “He could’ve easily took a game off in Orlando. Taken the rest of the game off in Indiana. … We’re behind him. We want him to continue to be aggressive.” Beal has missed 24 games this season due to back and ankle injuries and has struggled to get comfortable with the protective masks he’s wearing due to the nasal fracture, averaging 13.3 PPG (on .345/.125/.733 shooting), 7.0 APG and 4.5 RPG in the past four games (37.6 MPG).
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