Avery Bradley

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Klutch, Carmelo, Offseason

The Lakers‘ front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group for last summer’s acquisition of Russell Westbrook, multiple sources tell Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As has been reported by several outlets since last August, Klutch clients LeBron James and Anthony Davis played a part in recruiting Westbrook, helping convince the Lakers to go after the former MVP instead of trying to sign-and-trade for DeMar DeRozan or acquire Buddy Hield from Sacramento.

Still, while James, Davis, and their agency may have had a hand in the Westbrook trade, VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and the rest of the Lakers’ front office ultimately had the final say. Pincus, who suggests that assigning the blame to Klutch Sports “may be an epic level of passing the buck,” writes that NBA front offices should consider their stars’ input but that the top basketball executives are responsible for making the decisions they feel are best for the team.

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Dean Wade, Two Lakers To Receive Full Salary Guarantees

The Cavaliers intend to retain forward Dean Wade through the salary guarantee deadline, ensuring that he receives his full-season salary, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The decision will lock in Wade’s $1,782,621 cap hit for 2021/22.

Wade, 25, is in his third season with the Cavs. He has been a regular rotation player for much of this season, averaging 5.1 PPG and 3.5 RPG on .432/.329/.769 shooting in 28 games (20.3 MPG). Assuming he finishes the season in Cleveland, the team will have to decide whether or not to pick up his $1,930,681 team option for ’22/23.

A pair of Lakers players will also have their salaries for this season become fully guaranteed, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that guards Austin Reaves and Avery Bradley will remain with the team.

An undrafted rookie out of Oklahoma, Reaves initially signed a two-way contract with the Lakers, then was promoted to the standard roster prior to training camp. He has appeared in 20 games so far, recording 5.6 PPG and 2.5 RPG on .494/.370/.900 shooting in 20.3 MPG. His rookie-minimum salary of $925,258 will now be fully guaranteed, while his ’22/23 salary ($1,563,518) remains non-guaranteed.

Bradley initially signed with Golden State during the offseason, then was claimed off waivers by the Lakers in October after the Warriors cut him. He has been a crucial part of Los Angeles’ backcourt rotation, starting 26 games and averaging 23.8 MPG in 31 total contests. He has put up 6.4 PPG on .425/.394/1.000 shooting while playing solid perimeter defense. He’ll now earn his full $2,641,691 salary, while the Lakers lock in his $1,669,178 cap hit.

Despite hanging onto both Reaves and Bradley, the Lakers still have an open spot on their 15-man roster, having recently traded away Rajon Rondo.

The remaining players on non-guaranteed contracts can be found right here. At least of the players on that list – Jabari Parker and Miye Oni – are reportedly being waived.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Reaves, Nunn, Monk, Bradley

The Lakers exhibited some “covert interest” in discussing a possible Russell Westbrook trade with rival executives earlier in the season, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Amick is the second reporter in the last month to suggest the Lakers have considered the possibility of a Westbrook trade. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report previously stated that the team had internally discussed the idea and made at least one outgoing call.

Still, as Fischer pointed out in December and as Amick reiterated today, the odds of the Lakers actually making a pre-deadline deal involving Westbrook are slim. His contract, which includes a $44MM+ cap hit for this season and a $47MM+ player option for 2022/23, remains a significant obstacle.

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  • Rookie guard Austin Reaves originally entered the Lakers’ rotation out of necessity, but even with a healthier roster, head coach Frank Vogel has felt compelled to keep playing him, writes Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group. “Me trusting him was more brought onto me because he was forced into action due to injuries,” Vogel said. “You get shorthanded and it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s see what he can do.’ And he excelled in those opportunities to the point where when other guys came back, we still wanted to keep him in there.” Reaves’ 2021/22 salary will become fully guaranteed if he remains on the roster through Friday.
  • Within the same story, Goon writes that Kendrick Nunn may finally be nearing a return. Vogel cautioned there’s still no precise timetable, but said Nunn is “getting close” to make his Lakers debut. “Kendrick’s going to get a ton of minutes when he gets back healthy,” Vogel said. “It’s gonna be at the expense of somebody else, at least for that time being, to see how he fits in our system along with our stars. All that stuff will play out.”
  • Following Malik Monk‘s sixth consecutive strong showing on Tuesday night, LeBron James said the Lakers wanted Monk “last year” before eventually signing him over the summer as a free agent. As Bill Oram of The Athletic tweets, James explained that he wanted to find a way to get the former lottery pick to Los Angeles back when his role in Charlotte was inconsistent.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores the Lakers’ options for bringing back Stanley Johnson and suggests that Avery Bradley will likely have his 2021/22 salary guaranteed later this week.

Lakers Notes: Johnson, Collison, Rondo, Bradley, Monk

There’s mutual interest between the Lakers and Stanley Johnson to reach a contract agreement, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets.

Johnson has been playing on a 10-day contract under the hardship exception but that expired on Monday. The Lakers currently have no players in the protocols but traditional 10-day contracts can be signed as early as Wednesday. Johnson could sign up to two traditional 10-day contracts, since the hardship contract didn’t count against those deals. The team could also bring back Johnson on a standard contract.

Johnson has averaged 6.8 PPG on 45.8% shooting, 2.8 RPG and 1.2 SPG in five games, including three starts. He has also made a strong impact with his defense.

Darren Collison‘s 10-day hardship deal also expired on Monday.

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  • The club has an open roster spot due to the three-team deal that sent Rajon Rondo to Cleveland. That deal was made official on Monday. Los Angeles wasn’t eager to move on from Rondo but needed the roster flexibility, McMenamin writes. “It wasn’t like we wanted to depart from Rondo,” coach Frank Vogel said. “But it’s just one of those front office decisions that you have to make difficult decisions and to lose a guy like Rondo is obviously very difficult.”
  • The Lakers could also open up another roster spot if they waive Avery Bradley before Friday, when his veteran’s minimum contract becomes fully guaranteed, McMenamin notes in the same story.
  • Malik Monk, who is on a one-year, minimum-salary contract, has been making the most of his recent opportunities, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. Monk, who has averaged 20 PPG over the last five contests, was motivated by other teams’ lack of interest in the free agent market. “It kind of hit me hard when nobody really wanted me besides the Lakers, man,” he said. “So I just put fuel in my tank and just held it in until the time until I get time to play, man, and prove I can play for a long period of time. That’s what I’m doing right now.”

COVID-19 Updates: Celtics, Lakers, Raptors

Celtics reserve point guard Dennis Schröder has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will not play in today’s Christmas game against the Bucks, the team has announced (Twitter link). He joins eight other Celtics in the protocols.

In a more positive twist, Juancho Hernangómez, Jabari Parker, and Brodric Thomas have exited the league’s COVID-19 protocols and are available for today’s game, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (via Twitter). Guards Marcus Smart, who has been dealing with a hip injury, and Romeo Langford, who has missed time due to an Achilles injury, are also available. Boston center Al Horford is out of the league’s coronavirus protocols but is still working on his conditioning and has been ruled out for the contest.

Here are more COVID-19 protocol updates from around the NBA:

  • Lakers guards Avery Bradley and Malik Monk have left the league’s COVID-19 protocols and will be able to suit up today for Los Angeles against the Nets, per Bill Oram of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Raptors players Khem Birch, Isaac Bonga, and Justin Champagnie have entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, though Dalano Banton has apparently exited, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN (Twitter link). A total of 10 Toronto players are now in the protocols. Toronto’s previously-scheduled game on Wednesday, against the Bulls, was canceled as a result of the Raptors not having enough players available. The team’s next game is scheduled for tomorrow against the Cavaliers. Lewenberg adds (via Twitter) that Raptors rookie shooting guard David Johnson (calf) and veteran point guard Goran Dragic (personal) also continue to be unavailable.
  • Keep track of all the NBA players within the league’s health and safety protocols on our tracker here.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Thomas, Westbrook, Ariza

Lakers forward Anthony Davis suffered a left knee injury in the team’s 110-92 loss to the Timberwolves on Friday and he’ll undergo an MRI today after the team flies to Chicago, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“So far all is in good structure, but (we) want to take another image,” a source familiar with the injury told McMenamin.

Davis had already been dealing with soreness in the same knee. He underwent an ultrasound on Monday and was examined by the Timberwolves’ team doctor after Friday’s game. Officially, the Lakers are calling Davis’ injury a knee contusion. He struggled to make it to the locker room, collapsing to the ground in pain going through the tunnel.

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  • Isaiah Thomas made a heartwarming return to the NBA after signing a 10-day contract via the hardship exemption. He scored 19 points and received an ovation from the Minnesota crowd when he entered. Thomas expressed gratitude and said he feels healthy, McMenamin tweets. “I just never thought I would feel this way again,” he said. “Like, I have no limitations with my body, with my hip and that’s why I just smile so much because I’m in a great place mentally and I’m in a great place physically.”
  • It’s unlikely that Thomas will wind up remaining on the 15-man roster, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. The team would likely have waive Avery Bradley or shed the guaranteed contract of Rajon Rondo or DeAndre Jordan to make that happen.
  • Russell Westbrook had 14 points in 29 minutes on Friday. He entered health and safety protocols briefly but didn’t miss any games after producing multiple negative tests. Westbrook had three negative tests after testing positive, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets. He arrived in Minneapolis in mid-afternoon from Dallas, where Los Angeles played its previous game.
  • Trevor Ariza was in uniform on Friday but was the only player on the active list to record a DNP. The team will ease the veteran forward back into action, Bill Oram of The Athletic tweets. Ariza has yet to make his season debut after undergoing ankle surgery.

Lakers’ Westbrook, Cavs’ Okoro Enter COVID-19 Protocols

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). Lakers guard Avery Bradley has also been placed in the protocols, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Westbrook and Bradley are the fourth and fifth Lakers to enter the protocols within the last three days, joining teammates Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, and Malik Monk.

It’s unclear if the two Lakers guards have registered confirmed positive tests for COVID-19, but if they have, they’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

The news of Westbrook and Bradley entering the protocols coincides with reports that the Lakers have agreed to sign Isaiah Thomas to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception. Westbrook’s and Bradley’s absences should open the door for Thomas to get some run at the point guard spot.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro has entered the health and safety protocols, sources tell Kelsey Russo of The Athletic (Twitter link). No other Cavs players are currently in the protocols, so we’ll have to wait to see if Okoro is a one-off or if any of his teammates join him in the coming days. If Okoro tested positive for COVID-19, he’ll be in the protocols for at least 10 days or until he returns two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, that Coby White and Javonte Green are the only two players on the team who have cleared the health and safety protocols and have been conducting individual workouts. That leaves eight players in the protocols, and many of them – including Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Alize Johnson, and Troy Brown Jr. – may not be back until after Christmas, according to Donovan.
  • Raptors big man Precious Achiuwa has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Koreen also provides a few injury updates on Raptors players — Dalano Banton (illness) is good to go, while OG Anunoby (hip) and Khem Birch (knee) will be listed as questionable for the club’s game vs. Golden State on Saturday.

L.A. Notes: Westbrook, Howard, THT, Mann, Batum

Before squaring off against Paul George in Friday’s Lakers-Clippers matchup, Russell Westbrook spoke to the media about the way their partnership with the Thunder ended, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. They developed a friendship in Oklahoma City that still exists, and Westbrook was one of the reasons that George decided to re-sign with the Thunder in 2018.

According to ESPN and The Athletic, Westbrook approached free agent Kawhi Leonard the following summer about possibly teaming up in L.A., with Leonard signing and Westbrook being traded. Leonard reportedly took that idea and presented to George, which resulted in them both joining the Clippers.

When asked about the situation Thursday, Westbrook challenged the media to reveal the source of the report, then cast doubt on its veracity.

“That’s a lesson for all y’all,” he said. “Just always remember, just because somebody writes something … you don’t know where they got it from. That’s the truth. That’s the problem. That’s how rumors and things get started.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers used their 12th starting lineup in 24 games Friday, with Dwight Howard and Talen Horton-Tucker replacing DeAndre Jordan and Avery Bradley, notes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. It’s a clear upgrade based on performance, Buha adds, but the group was minus-7 in its 11 minutes on the court. “Dwight changed the game for us in Sacramento,” Anthony Davis said. “He was really good for us, and Coach wanted to go back to that. And I think he played well tonight as well. Protecting the paint, rebounding, setting screens, doing everything he’s supposed to do.”
  • Clippers swingman Terance Mann tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that the two-year, $22MM extension he received in training camp was meaningful because of how hard it was to get NBA scouts to notice him. Mann took part in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and the G League Elite Camp, then received a last-minute invitation to the draft combine.
  • Clippers coach Tyronn Lue is optimistic about Nicolas Batum, who has missed the past seven games while in health and safety protocols, tweets Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. “I don’t know (when he’ll return),” Lue said. “… but it was good seeing him back in the building, I can tell you that. It’s getting close and we definitely need him.”

Pacific Notes: Ariza, Bradley, Howard, Jordan, Lee, Iguodala, Kerr

Lakers forward Trevor Ariza participated in his first non-contact practice since preseason ankle surgery on Thursday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Coach Frank Vogel says Ariza will need a “build-up” period before he’ll play. Ariza was projected as a starter after signing a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Avery Bradley will not need surgery on his sprained right thumb, Bill Oram of The Athletic tweets. Bradley will be available to play on Friday but he’ll require a splint to protect the injury. Vogel is unsure whether he’ll play Bradley or to give him more time to recover.
  • It’ll be one veteran center or the other in the foreseeable future for the Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets. Vogel plans to use either Dwight Howard or DeAndre Jordan on a game-by-game basis. Howard will get the start against the Clippers on Friday, so Jordan probably won’t play.
  • Damion Lee will return to action on Friday for the Warriors, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Lee, who last appeared in an NBA game on November 24, left the team for the birth of his first child. Andre Iguodala will miss his eighth consecutive game due to right knee soreness.
  • Despite winning multiple championship, Warriors coach Steve Kerr hasn’t lost his competitive spirit, as he told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “Part of what allowed me to stay in the NBA for 15 years as a player is that losing humiliates me, you know? My competitive desire drives me,” he said. “But like a lot of players at this level, the fear of losing is an even bigger motivator. So even though I don’t stop and think about legacy or anything like that, I just want to (bleeping) win, you know? It burns in me.”

Pacific Notes: Anthony, Fizdale, Bradley, Bjelica

When he joined the Lakers, Carmelo Anthony knew he’d be coming off the bench, just like he did last season with the Trail Blazers. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times wonders if Anthony might be a candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award this season.

For his part, Anthony is more focused on team success than individual accolades at this point in his career.

[It’s] understanding what I have to do in those roles in order to help this team,” Anthony said. “So, in my mind, it’s not about winning the Sixth Man of the Year award. It’s about being the best sixth man for our team, if that’s the case. Knowing that, I have something to look forward to night in and night out, knowing that I got to come in fully prepared and ready to go.

I think having that mentality kind of forces you or pushes you to play at a high level every night. Right?” Anthony said. “And not look in front of you or besides you and say, ‘I got so-and-so, I got this, I got that, I got that.‘”

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers assistant coach David Fizdale is back home in Los Angeles and happy to be there, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Goon takes an in-depth look at the veteran coach, who grew up in the L.A. area rooting for the Lakers.
  • Avery Bradley, whom the Lakers claimed off waivers, recently opened up to Bill Oram of The Athletic about missing the team’s title run during the 2019/20 season. Bradley wanted to be with the club, but chose to opt out of the bubble to protect his son, who had a severe case of pneumonia in 2019. “We play this game for our family,” Bradley said. “Of course I love the game of basketball. That’s how I take care of my family is this game. It would be backwards if I didn’t focus on my family first.” The interview is worth reading in full.
  • The Warriors‘ Bob Myers recently stated that the team tried to trade for free agent acquisition Nemanja Bjelica last season, writes Alex Didion of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We tried to trade for him a few times last year and just couldn’t find the right deal for (the Kings) and us, and then he got moved to Miami and never really got a foothold there,” Myers said Thursday morning on 95.7 The Game. “We’ve always liked him because we thought he could fit what we do, which is what you guys see, it’s a lot of read and react stuff, lot of randomness.