Anthony Davis

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Lakers, Davis, Hield, Kings

Draymond Green was on board with the Warriors‘ selections at Nos. 7 and 14, according to president of basketball operations Bob Myers, who said Green texted him with the names “(Jonathan) Kuminga” and “(Moses) Moody” a few spots before Golden State was on the clock for each selection (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

Myers also said in his post-draft press conference that the Warriors will need to add some veteran players in free agency. After weeks of rumors that Golden State was looking into trading its lottery picks for veteran contributors, the team ended up using those selections to draft an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old, making a massive bet on its player development program, Slater writes for The Athletic.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • An earlier report indicated that when LeBron James and Anthony Davis spoke to Russell Westbrook about teaming up in Los Angeles, the Lakers‘ stars expressed a willingness to play more at positions they’ve resisted in the past (power forward for James, center for Davis). Jovan Buha of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that the plan is, in fact, to have Davis play more minutes at center next season.
  • With his deal to land Westbrook, Lakers president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka provided a reminder that he’s one of the NBA’s “most audacious operators,” says Bill Oram of The Athletic.
  • The Kings, who had been in serious discussions with the Lakers about a Buddy Hield trade, will now have to pivot and explore other options for Hield after L.A. chose to use its assets to acquire Westbrook instead, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic.
  • Kings general manager Monte McNair on Thursday when he used the No. 9 pick to add Davion Mitchell to a crowded backcourt headlined by De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. However, McNair isn’t worried about the positional overlap, as James Ham of NBC Sports California relays. “Best player available and Davion just won a national championship in a three-guard lineup,” McNair said, referring to a Baylor team that featured Mitchell, Jared Butler, and MaCio Teague.

Wizards Rumors: Westbrook, Beal, Dinwiddie, Neto, Kispert, Bryant

After spending the 2020/21 season with the Wizards, Russell Westbrook contemplated his future and found he had a growing desire to join the Lakers, according to Shams Charania and Fred Katz of The Athletic.

Westbrook’s desire to play for his hometown team intensified after he spent time with LeBron James and Anthony Davis at LeBron’s home about two weeks ago and the trio discussed the idea of teaming up, according to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Turner says James and Davis spoke in that conversation about changing positions if it’s best for the team, with LeBron willing to play more frequently at the four, with AD at the five.

Westbrook recently informed the Wizards that he’d like to be dealt to the Lakers if they could find a trade that worked, per Charania and Katz, and the two teams did just that on Thursday, reaching an agreement on a blockbuster deal that will send Westbrook and two future second-round picks to L.A. for Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and No. 22 pick Isaiah Jackson. Washington is flipping Jackson to Indiana in a deal that will involve Aaron Holiday and No. 31 pick Isaiah Todd.

One of the primary reasons Westbrook originally wanted to play in D.C. was the presence of head coach Scott Brooks, according to Charania and Katz, who note that the star point guard lobbied for the Wizards to retain Brooks. After the team decided to part ways with Brooks, Westbrook preferred an established coach, sources tell The Athletic, but Washington opted for a first-timer in Wes Unseld Jr.

Here’s more on the Wizards and how the Westbrook trade affects their offseason:

  • Bradley Beal had no issues with the Westbrook deal and hasn’t expressed a desire to leave Washignton, sources tell Charania and Katz. For now, the Wizards remain confident they can keep the All-NBA guard long-term.
  • The Athletic’s duo reiterates that Spencer Dinwiddie is a potential Wizards target worth keeping an eye on, though a source tells Charania and Katz that the Nets wouldn’t be inclined to sign off on a sign-and-trade of Dinwiddie for Montrezl Harrell and Kyle Kuzma alone. Dinwiddie is also expected to receive interest from the Nets, Heat, Knicks, and Raptors, among others, per The Athletic.
  • Elsewhere on the point guard front, a reunion with Raul Neto is a possibility for the Wizards, sources tell Charania and Katz. The team also agreed to acquire Aaron Holiday, having grown “enamored” with him prior to the 2018 draft. Washington tried to trade for Holiday a year ago, according to The Athletic.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, one of Beal’s closest friends in the NBA, is the type of three-and-D player the Wizards have long sought, Charania and Katz observe.
  • Corey Kispert was 10th on the Wizards’ draft board entering Thursday night, and the team considered the possibility of trying to trade up for him before landing him at No. 15, write Charania and Katz.
  • The Wizards are preparing for Thomas Bryant to miss the start of the season as he continues to recover from an ACL tear. A source tells The Athletic the club is hoping Bryant will be able to return by December.

Lakers Notes: Drummond, Vogel, Davis, James, Gasol

Outside of his rebounding totals (11.0 per game), Andre Drummond wasn’t much of a factor in the first-round series against the Suns. He was even taken out of the lineup for Game 6, but Lakers coach Frank Vogel is hopeful the unrestricted free agent will re-sign with the team, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype tweets.

“‘Dre was great for us,” Vogel said. “We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time. He really played well for us and was a good culture fit.”

GM Rob Pelinka, Drummond’s one-time agent, said that signing the veteran center after he cleared waivers was something he’d “do again and again,” Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets. Pelinka added, “We’re proud of some of the big games and big moments he had,” but didn’t make any pledges about trying to bring him back.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Vogel didn’t want to comment about the possibility of getting a contract extension, but confirmed he’s entering the last year of his deal, Goon adds in another tweet. Vogel was hired on a three-year contract in 2019. “Obviously I love it here,” he said. “I love this organization, and I hope to be a Laker for life.”
  • Some of Anthony Davis‘ teammates tried to talk him out of playing in Game 6 but Davis ultimately decided to give it a try, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports. AD lasted a little over five minutes before being sidelined by a groin injury. “I knew the only way I was going to be healthy enough to play was to get some rest, but time wasn’t on my side,” he said. “So, I tried to give it a go. I don’t regret anything.” A lingering high ankle sprain prevented LeBron James routinely attacking the paint, Haynes added, with estimations that James was about 85% health-wise for the series.
  • Marc Gasol knew his role would be diminished after Drummond was signed but family reasons helped convince him to remain on the roster, rather than pursuing a buyout, Goon tweets. His family had settled into the Los Angeles area and he didn’t want to uproot them.

Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Schröder, Free Agents

Although Lakers big man Anthony Davis was cleared to return for Game 6 vs. Phoenix, he clearly wasn’t himself on Thursday night, leaving the game for good midway through the first quarter due to his strained groin. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Davis’ injury didn’t get any worse on Thursday, but his pain intensified whenever his mobility was tested.

It never really felt good, but the competitive nature in me wanted to go out there and help the team as best as I could,” Davis said following the loss that ended the Lakers’ season (Twitter link via Mark Medina of USA Today). “My body didn’t agree.”

The Lakers’ loss on Thursday ended a season of “what ifs” for the franchise, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic. After flying out of the gates to a 21-6 start, the team dealt with lengthy injury absences to its two stars (Davis and LeBron James), while other key players were affected by COVID-19 (Marc Gasol and Dennis Schröder). Los Angeles never regained its early-season momentum. After winning 21 of its first 27 games, the club won just 21 of its next 45 to finish the regular season, then was eliminated in short order in the playoffs.

It was the first time in LeBron’s 18-year career that he has been knocked out in the first round of the postseason, and while the four-time MVP was disappointed with the loss, he’s looking forward to taking full advantage of a longer offseason. According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link), James suggested after Thursday’s game that he won’t participate in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Dennis Schröder reportedly turned down a four-year extension worth over $80MM earlier this year, but he said on Thursday that his desire to remain with the Lakers remains strong and is “not even a question,” as Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times details. “It wasn’t about money, because everybody who knows me, it’s not about money either,” he said. “Of course, you want to be fair. But at the end of the day, not everything is about money — for me and my family. At the end of the day, if everything is good, we gonna come back and win a championship next year.”
  • Sources tell Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that some people in the organization were frustrated by Schröder’s play on the court this season, prompting the team to include him in trade talks for Kyle Lowry at March’s deadline.
  • The Lakers will have to determine which players are their top priorities in free agency, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link), who notes that Schröder is just one of several rotation players up for a new contract. Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Andre Drummond, and Markieff Morris are among those headed for unrestricted free agency, and Montrezl Harrell could join them by declining his $9.7MM player option.
  • The Lakers need to upgrade their supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis this offseason, but don’t have a ton of tools at their disposal to do so, says John Hollinger of The Athletic. The club projects to be over the cap and has already traded multiple future first-round picks.
  • Asked after Thursday’s loss about his history of injuries, Davis replied, “I don’t need to prove anything to anyone that’s outside this Lakers organization,” per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. However, Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times argues that Davis’ health and James’ age are growing concerns for the franchise.

Anthony Davis To Return For Game 6

8:33pm: Lakers team doctors have medically cleared Davis ahead of the team’s must-win Game 6 against the Suns this evening, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

7:54pm: Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has clarified that Davis wants to play through his groin strain if given the green light by team doctors ahead of Game 6, tweets Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register.

7:37pm: All-Star Lakers big man Anthony Davis hopes to return to the floor for LA ahead of the club’s must-win Game 6 in its first-round playoff series tonight against the Suns, per John Gambardo of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register cautions (via Twitter) that Davis’ return has yet to be medically cleared by a team doctor.

Davis hopes to start tonight should he complete his warm-ups without any issue, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Davis did not play in Game 5 after suffering a groin strain in Game 4. The Lakers lost both contests, and are now down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

Power forward Markieff Morris started in Davis’s stead for Game 5, a 115-85 Lakers loss. Across 10 minutes of game action, Morris notched four points, a rebound and an assist. Morris, a valuable floor-spacing reserve during L.A.’s title run last season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

In comments made on Wednesday, Davis indicated that his groin injury was in part a result of a hyperextended knee he incurred in Game 3. “[Team doctors] told me everything is connected and that’s exactly what happened,” Davis said. “The groin happened because of the tightness in the knee from the hyperextension.”

Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Caldwell-Pope, Drummond

Anthony Davis told reporters he’s feeling better today, but the decision on whether he plays in Thursday’s Game 6 will be made by the Lakers‘ medical staff, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Davis was held out of Game 5 with a left groin strain, and L.A. wasn’t able to stay close without him, falling behind by 30 points at halftime.

Davis said the groin injury was a result of overcompensating for a hyperextended left knee that he suffered in Game 3. He is averaging 21.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in four games, but L.A. has been ineffective when he hasn’t been on the court.

Davis had been hoping to play in Game 5, but determined during a second warm-up session that he wasn’t able to go, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Davis said he went through 20 minutes of shooting and the injury still felt the same.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel replied, “We’ll see,” when asked about Davis’ chances of returning for Game 6, saying it will be a game-time decision (Twitter link from McMenamin). “He’s doing everything he can to get back out there,” Vogel said.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • LeBron James cautioned Davis against trying to return too soon, according to Chris Haynes of The Athletic. James had a similar injury during the 2018/19 season that kept him out for several weeks.
  • Vogel also expects Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to be a game-time decision on Thursday night, Rankin adds (via Twitter). Caldwell-Pope returned in Game 5 after missing Game 4 with a sore left knee, but he played just 15 minutes in the lopsided loss. He said the knee tightened up in the second half and affected his ability to move.
  • The Lakers appear determined to keep Andre Drummond beyond this season, McMenamin said this week on Zach Lowe’s podcast (hat tip to Brad Sullivan of Lakers Daily). Drummond was widely considered to be a rental when he signed with L.A. in late March after a buyout with the Cavaliers, but L.A. reportedly believes the 27-year-old center is worth a long-term investment. He’s rumored to be seeking a max deal in free agency this summer, so he would have to significantly scale back those demands for a deal with the Lakers to be realistic. Marc Gasol is the only center L.A. has under contract for next season, although Montrezl Harrell has a $9.72MM player option.

Anthony Davis Won’t Play In Game 5

Lakers star Anthony Davis has been officially ruled out for Game 5 of the team’s first-round series against the Suns, Mark Medina of USA Today tweets. Markieff Morris will start in his place.

Davis suffered a left groin strain in Game 4 on Sunday and was considered doubtful. He did come out onto the court on two occasions to test the injury but the club’s medical staff ultimately decided he wasn’t ready to go.

The Lakers and Suns are tied at 2-2 in their first-round series, and Davis averaged 34.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in the team’s two wins in Game 2 and 3.

Morris has only played 12 minutes in the series and hasn’t made a field goal. He averaged 5.9 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 21 postseason games, including two starts, for the Lakers during their championship run last season.

Lakers Notes: Davis, LeBron, Schröder, Kuzma, Caruso

Lakers star Anthony Davis is reportedly considered unlikely to play in a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday due to a strained groin. But even if they’re missing their second-leading scorer and frontcourt anchor, the Lakers remain confident in their ability to hang with the No. 2 Suns, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times.

“There is plenty of confidence that we have now without AD. That’s not even a question for anybody in the locker room,” center Marc Gasol said on Sunday.

“It’s just gonna be more opportunity for (LeBron James) and obviously we need more guys to step up,” head coach Frank Vogel said. “Not one other guy, but everybody. It’s gotta be a group effort. We need contributions from everyone, and we did have a stretch like this where we played without AD that we’ll draw on to take us into Game 5 if AD’s not available.”

As Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes, the Lakers had a winning record (19-17) without Davis this season, including an 11-7 mark in games that James played and Davis didn’t. The club may have also discovered an effective Davis-less lineup in Game 4, as LeBron, Gasol, Wesley Matthews, Alex Caruso, and Dennis Schröder were a plus-six in seven minutes. All five of those players can make outside shots and are solid defenders, Buha observes.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • James is prepared to shoulder a heavier workload and more responsibilities if the team is missing Davis for the next game or two, as Mark Medina of USA Today relays. “These shoulders were built for a reason,” LeBron said on Sunday. “If it takes for me to put some more on top of it, then so be it. Win, lose or draw. I’m ready for the challenge.”
  • Rival executives expect the Lakers to shake up their roster a little if they don’t make it past the first round of the playoffs, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Dennis Schröder will be perhaps the most important free agent worth monitoring — L.A. probably can’t afford to lose him for nothing, so re-signing him or working out a sign-and-trade will be a priority.
  • Within the same Bleacher Report story, Fischer cites sources who say that the Lakers discussed potential Kyle Kuzma trades with teams at the deadline in March. Prior to Spencer Dinwiddie‘s ACL injury, Los Angeles inquired about a swap involving the Nets guard and Kuzma, according to Fischer.
  • There’s a sense among Lakers officials that Alex Caruso has enjoyed playing alongside LeBron and will be interested in re-signing with the team in free agency this summer, reports Fischer.

Anthony Davis Unlikely To Play In Game 5

Lakers big man Anthony Davis is unlikely to be available for Game 5 on Tuesday, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As Charania explains, although Davis – who suffered a left groin strain on Sunday – may not be ready to go on Tuesday, there’s optimism that he won’t have to be ruled out for the series. He’ll continue to be evaluated on a daily basis this week. If Davis misses Game 5, his next opportunity to suit up would be on Thursday for Game 6.

The Lakers and Suns are tied at 2-2 in their first-round series, and L.A. has been at its best when Davis has been at his best. He averaged 34.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in the team’s two wins in Game 2 and 3. In a Game 1 loss, he put up just 13 points and seven rebounds. Prior to his early exit in Game 4, he had recorded six points and four rebounds in 19 minutes.

If Davis is sidelined for Game 5, frontcourt players like Markieff Morris, Kyle Kuzma, and Montrezl Harrell could see increased roles, while LeBron James and Dennis Schröder will have to take on added scoring and play-making responsibilities.

Anthony Davis Suffers Left Groin Strain

Lakers superstar Anthony Davis missed the second half of Game 4 versus Phoenix after suffering a left groin strain, as relayed by Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link).

Davis will be listed as day-to-day going forward, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Davis, who sustained the injury at the end of the first half, finished with six points, four rebounds and three assists. The Lakers played without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope due to a knee contusion, and LeBron James also admitted this week that he needs around-the-clock treatment to keep his ankle ready.

Davis was dealing with a left knee sprain coming into the contest. He averaged 27 points and 9.3 rebounds per game (39.7 MPG) in the team’s first three games of the series, shooting 43% from the floor.

The Suns will host the Lakers in Game 5 on Tuesday after tying the series 2-2. Davis’ status is naturally uncertain.