Brandon Ingram

L.A. Notes: Leonard, James, Rondo, Rivers

The Spurs continue to seek a high price from the Lakers in exchange for Kawhi Leonard, salary cap expert Larry Coon said in an appearance today on Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter link). Sources tell Coon that San Antonio is asking for Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, two first-rounders and the right to swap two other draft choices. “They’re just saying give us everything,” Coon said.

Coon also outlined the Lakers’ remaining cap situation, noting that the signing of Lance Stephenson with the mid-level exception will probably be the final move in free agency after all other cap space is used up.

There’s more news from Los Angeles:

  • LeBron James‘ decision to join the Lakers may give Leonard more incentive to become a Clipper, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports suggested in an appearance on Colin Cowherd’s radio show (Twitter link).
  • The Lakers are turning their attention to next summer for their next big free agent move, according to Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. The organization’s emphasis on one-year deals helps explain the odd collection of moves that have come down since James committed to L.A. Sunday night. The Lakers re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, then reached agreements with Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo, all on one-year contracts. The team expects to have about $76MM in guaranteed money next summer, possibly less if Luol Deng is waived and stretched, leaving enough to offer another max deal.
  • Rondo, whom Deveney states has wanted to join the Lakers since 2015, could take the starting point guard job away from Lonzo Ball, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. A source tells Amick that the L.A. front office has promised Rondo the chance to compete for a starting spot.
  • During an impromptu interview with TMZ, Doc Rivers explained the decision to trade his son, Austin Rivers, to the Wizards. The Clippers coach called it “the right thing for all of us” and predicts that Austin will excel in Washington.

Poll: Where Will Kawhi Leonard End Up?

There have been plenty of huge NBA headlines during the first few days of July, with LeBron James agreeing to become a Laker, Paul George deciding not to become a Laker, and DeMarcus Cousins lining up a deal with the defending-champion Warriors, among others.

However, for the most part, all has been quiet on the Kawhi Leonard front.

After Leonard’s camp made a public trade request earlier in mid-June, the Spurs forward seemed likely to dominate the offseason rumor mill, but for now, the primary suitors for the two-time Defensive Player of the Year may be playing it safe.

As Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports tweets, the Celtics and Sixers appear to be “playing the long game” on the Leonard front, not wanting to do anything rash with their rosters in great shape and LeBron finally out of their conference.

As for James’ new team in Los Angeles, the Lakers‘ other deals this offseason have suggested the club is retaining flexibility for the 2019 offseason, leaving the door open for Leonard to sign as a free agent and for the Lakers to keep all their young players and picks.

While the Lakers – wary of being too patient after what happened with George – may increase their efforts to land Leonard in a trade at some point, they “aren’t keen” on giving up Brandon Ingram, tweets Schultz. Meanwhile, the Celtics won’t give up Jayson Tatum and aren’t enthusiastic about moving Jaylen Brown, and the Sixers prefer to keep Markelle Fultz, Schultz adds.

While Schultz believes Leonard – who is unhappy in San Antonio and reportedly wants to play in Los Angeles – will be dealt eventually, he’s not sure where the star forward will end up. So we’re opening up that question to you.

What team to do you expect Leonard to be with to start the 2018/19 season? Will he get his wish to join the Lakers? Can the Spurs convince him to stick around a little longer? Will a budding Eastern powerhouse like the Celtics or Sixers go all-in for him? Could L.A.’s other team, the Clippers make a surprise play to land him? Or will a wild-card suitor enter the fray and steal him away?

Vote below in our poll and jump into the comment section to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Leonard, Roster, Outlook

While he didn’t play a part in revealing LeBron James‘ new home this time around, Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated has penned another excellent piece on LeBron’s latest decision. According to Jenkins, James initially narrowed down his preferred landing spots to the Lakers, Cavaliers, Sixers, and Rockets, instructing agent Rich Paul to research those organizations and give him feedback when he returned from a June vacation.

While the Rockets became a long shot after James opted out of his previous contract, the four-time MVP planned communications with the Cavaliers and Sixers at the start of free agency. The Lakers were his primary focus though, according to Jenkins, who notes that LeBron spoke to Kobe Bryant on the phone before meeting with Magic Johnson on Saturday night.

As Jenkins details, despite speculation that a second star like Kawhi Leonard or Paul George might be required to lure James to the Lakers, the future Hall-of-Famer had no problem being “the first headliner through the door.” Per Jenkins, LeBron believes that the Lakers have the recruiters, assets, and cap space necessary to build a lasting contender.

Here’s more on the Lakers’ and LeBron’s arrival:

  • Although he was strongly considering the Lakers before sitting down with Johnson on Saturday night, James wanted to meet face-to-face and see if he and the Lakers’ president of basketball operations could “find a trust” before he made a final decision, sources tells Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times has more details on that Saturday meeting between the former and future Lakers stars.
  • The Lakers‘ status as an iconic franchise and the ability to live full time in Los Angeles with his family were important factors in James’ decision, two people with knowledge of the situation tell Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Zillgitt also notes that the Sixers worked hard to trade for Leonard as a selling point while recruiting James, but never made serious traction with the Spurs.
  • Kevin O’Connor latest article for The Ringer cites multiple league sources who say that the Lakers‘ offers for Leonard have been “underwhelming.” However, O’Connor acknowledges that could change now that the team has secured a commitment from James. A package that sends Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle (via sign-and-trade), multiple first-round picks, and possibly Josh Hart to the Spurs could work, in the view of O’Connor’s sources.
  • James’ business and basketball worlds will come together in Los Angeles, as Sam Amick of USA Today details in his piece on LeBron’s decision.
  • Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com takes a closer look at how good the Lakers can be with their current roster and how they can become legit title contenders.
  • We examined the Lakers‘ cap situation for 2018/19 earlier today.

Spurs Ready To Move On From Kawhi Leonard?

7:58pm: The Lakers haven’t offered Ingram in any deals, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times tweets. She subsequently clarified that this doesn’t preclude them from being willing to include him if push came to shove.

12:58pm: The Celtics are taking a “conservative” approach in talks with the Spurs and have yet to discuss Jaylen Brown, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.

12:12pm: The Lakers are willing to include Brandon Ingram and a future first-round pick in a package for Leonard, according to Wojnarowski, who hears from league sources that the Spurs want a “far more complete haul” of young players and picks.

Meanwhile, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) continues to hear that a Celtics trade for Leonard remains unlikely, given all the question marks related to his health and contract situation. Boston hasn’t received any assurances from Kawhi that he’d want to be a Celtic, tweets Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.

11:15am: According to Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter), “rumblings of a Godfather Lakers offer” for Leonard have other teams wondering if they have any realistic chance to land the two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

10:39am: As recently as last week, Spurs general manager R.C. Buford was telling reporters that the club still hoped to smooth things over with Kawhi Leonard and keep the star forward on the roster. However, San Antonio’s stance appears to be evolving.

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times (via Twitter), league sources are saying that the Spurs are “ready” to move on from Leonard. Stein cautions that the team’s apparent willingness to deal doesn’t mean that San Antonio will send Leonard to the Lakers or any other team within the next day or two. However, it appears to be a major shift if the Spurs’ thinking.

The Spurs are currently “fully engaged” in Leonard trade talks with a number of teams, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Wojnarowski identifies the Lakers and Celtics as two clubs very much involved in those discussions, adding that Boston has the assets that the Spurs covet most in a potential swap.

Even if the Celtics refuse to include Jayson Tatum in an offer for Leonard, they have multiple young players that could appeal to San Antonio, including Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. Adding Marcus Smart via a sign-and-trade could also be a possibility, and the C’s are loaded with future first-round picks, including the Kings’ 2019 first-rounder (top-1 protected).

Still, when Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald addressed the Leonard situation on Wednesday evening, he suggested that the Celtics and Spurs hadn’t gotten anywhere in their discussions so far. Per Bulpett, the Celtics would want assurances that Leonard’s quad injury is healed and that he’d be willing to stay in Boston for more than one year. Without those assurances, it’s hard to imagine the C’s offering the kind of significant package the Spurs will be seeking.

Multiple reports from ESPN on Wednesday indicated that the Lakers are feeling some pressure to finalize a Leonard trade as soon as possible, since landing Kawhi could give the team the strong upper hand in the LeBron James sweepstakes. While the Spurs are under no obligation to adhere to the Lakers’ preferred timeline, rival suitors could feel compelled to increase their offers for the star forward if they sense that the Lakers are going all in.

The Sixers, Clippers, and Cavaliers are among the other teams known to have inquired on Leonard’s availability, though the Clips and Cavs may lack the young players necessary to put together a tempting offer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Leonard Trade Rumors: Lakers, Kings, Knicks, Celtics, Odds

It would be a tight squeeze financially but the Lakers could conceivably acquire Kawhi Leonard in a trade and sign both LeBron James and Paul George as free agents, according to Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. Leonard’s desire to be traded from the Spurs, with Los Angeles being his preferred destination, was made public on Friday. The trade would have to be completed before any free agent signings and the Spurs would have to be willing to take back Luol Deng‘s bad contract, Pelton continues. A package of either Lonzo Ball or Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma might be enough to entice the Spurs to do that, though a third team might be needed in order to match up salaries. The Lakers could then sign James and George, and fill out the roster using their room mid-level exception along with veterans agreeing to minimum contracts, Pelton adds.

In other notes involving Leonard trade chatter:

  • The Kings could be a darkhorse to land Leonard, Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports tweets. Sacramento is desperately seeking a star-level talent and is willing to part with the No. 2 pick in the draft to get one, according to Mannix.
  • The Knicks would have to part with Kristaps Porzingis to have any chance of securing Leonard, Marc Berman of the New York Post speculates. The only other major assets the Knicks possess are their lottery pick (No. 9 overall), their potential lottery pick in 2020 and last year’s lottery selection, point guard Frank Ntilikina. But the Knicks could only trade one of those picks under CBA rules and they’d also have to give up another big salary to make the trade work, Berman notes.
  • The Celtics are expected to express interest in Leonard in their quest to land superstars, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports. However, a league source told Himmelsbach that the timing of the leak might actually be a negotiating ploy to secure a five-year, $219MM maximum extension from the Spurs.
  • The Lakers are the heavy favorites to land Leonard, according to the Bovada Sportsbook as relayed by Adam Zagoria of the New York Times (Twitter link). The Lakers are less than even money at 5-7 to have Leonard in their opening-night lineup. The Celtics are rated at 15-4, a little less than 4-1, to acquire Leonard. The Sixers and Spurs are next as 5-1 proposition, followed by the Cavaliers and Clippers at 10-1.

Central Notes: Love, Van Gundy, Pistons, Parker

The Cavaliers lead the Raptors in their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup, 2-0, as the series shifts to Cleveland. Kevin Love helped his case with 31 points in a Game 2 victory after struggling for most of the playoffs. As the postseason progresses, the Cavaliers’ coaching staff will need to monitor Love’s play at the center and power forward position, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes.

“We’ve been very successful with Kev at the 5, but we have to listen to what Kev needs as well,” teammate LeBron James said. “If there’s times throughout the postseason or a game where he’s feeling a little worn down because he’s battling with a lot of bigs, then we’ve got to make the substitution properly. I think Coach Lue has done that, obviously with the start of Game 7, being able to start Double T at the five and allow Kev to play his natural position.”

Check out more Central Division notes:

  • The Pistons would like to bring back Stan Van Gundy, but with an adjusted role. After missing the playoffs for the past several seasons, it may be time for both sides to part amicably, Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News opines.
  • There were 12 teams that had the chance to draft Donovan Mitchell before he fell to the Jazz and had a historically great rookie season. Looking back, the Pistons not selecting Mitchell is right up there with the Darko Milicic blunder from 2003, Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press writes.
  • After two torn ACLs and a frustrating showing in the postseason, Jabari Parkers value is not at an all-time high heading into the summer. As a restricted free agent, it’s possible Parker’s tenure with the Bucks is over. Frank Urbina of HoopsHype breaks down Parker’s four best choices in free agency.
  • As the Lakers enter the summer with major cap space and an eye on the NBA’s premier free agents, Mark Schanowski of NBC Sports Chicago examines the possibility of the Bulls pursuing Brandon Ingram in a trade.

L.A. Notes: Wallace, Williams, Ball, Ingram

Rather than bringing in an outside free agent to fill the open spot on their 15-man roster, the Clippers opted to elevate one of their players on two-way contracts. According to Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), the Clippers engaged with Tyrone Wallace‘s reps about a possible deal, but weren’t able to get close to an agreement, leaving C.J. Williams as the logical choice.

Williams signed a new three-year deal with the franchise on Monday, and the 28-year-old was emotional when he met with his parents to tell them about his new NBA deal, as Turner writes in a piece for The Times.

“When I got there, I couldn’t get the words out,” Williams said. “I was crying. So my parents are like, ‘What’s wrong? What’s wrong? Oh, my God, what’s wrong? What’s going on? What’s going on?’ I’m like, ‘I got the deal done!’ They were like, ‘Boy!’ I scared them at first. They kind of realized what I was trying to do. It was a great moment.”

Per Turner, Williams’ new contract isn’t fully guaranteed for the second and third years, but he’ll receive some partial compensation beyond this season.

Here’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • A pair of former No. 2 overall picks, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, may not make it back from injuries for the Lakers‘ final two games, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Ball, who is listed as questionable for Tuesday’s contest, appears more likely than Ingram to return for at least one of L.A.’s last two games, but it’s no lock.
  • In an Insider-only article for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks previews the Lakers‘ upcoming offseason, exploring Julius Randle‘s restricted free agency, the cost of trading Luol Deng, and the team’s need for a Plan B if it can’t land a premier free agent. Marks, who has plenty of experience in an NBA front office, believes the Lakers would need to attach two first-round picks to Deng in order to dump his contract.
  • Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times takes a look at the latest developments in a legal battle between Madison Square Garden Co. – the owners of The Forum in Los Angeles – and the city of Inglewood, plus Clippers-controlled company Murphy’s Bowl LLC. The case is related to the Clippers’ interest in constructing a new arena in Inglewood.

Pacific Notes: Ayton, Wear, Caruso, Fox, Thomas

Potential top pick DeAndre Ayton indicated during a radio interview that he and Devin Booker could form a duo similar to Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant during their Lakers years if he winds up with the Suns, the team’s SB Nation blog The Bright Side tweets“Honestly, I could see myself in Phoenix,” the University of Arizona freshman center said in a CBS Sports Radio interview. “I could see a little Shaq and Kobe 2.0.” The Suns currently have the worst record in the league and will likely remain there. If they get the No. 1 selection, they could draft Ayton and then trade the first-rounders owed to them by the Heat and Bucks to move up and draft a point guard, according to Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic. If they fall to the No. 2 pick and Ayton is off the board, they would be happy to land Euro guard Luke Doncic and then move those same picks to get frontcourt help, Bordow adds.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have been forced to recall forward Travis Wear and guard Alex Caruso during the G League playoffs due to injuries, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register  notes. They will likely stay with the Lakers for their game against the Jazz on Tuesday if Brandon Ingram is still recovering from a concussion and Lonzo Ball remains sidelined with a knee contusion.
  • The Kings want to see rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox take ownership of the team and become a better playmaker during the remaining games, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports. Fox needs to realize he can impact the game without having a hot shooting night, coach Dave Joerger told Jones. “He’s got to demand from the rest of his team that he’s the leader, and going forward, set the tone for what he’s looking for,” Joerger said. “And get the ball out faster, or ‘give me some space and I’ll get you a shot.’ Those kinds of things where you go to the next level of leadership or you can kind of just finish the season.” 
  • Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas will be represented once again by Excel Sports Management, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. Sam Goldfeder will be his agent, Mullen adds. Excel had been representing Thomas before signing with Goodwin Sports last fall.

Pacific Notes: Ingram, Booker, Gallinari, Warriors

Lakers forward Brandon Ingram was diagnosed today with a concussion and has been placed in the league’s concussion protocol, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The injury Ingram suffered Friday in Milwaukee was initially believed to be a neck muscle contusion, and preliminary concussion tests came up negative.

Ingram was hit in the neck in the third quarter, but didn’t tell the training staff about his symptoms until overtime, according to Bill Oram of the SoCal News Group (Twitter link).

The Lakers will once again be without the dynamic second-year forward, who was playing his second game after missing 12 in a row with an injured groin. He is averaging 16.1 points in 59 games and shooting .390 from 3-point range.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns may have a new coach next season, but Devin Booker places a higher priority on who’s on the court than who’s running the team, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Booker believes coaching won’t be a concern if the talent level is upgraded. “I’ve had three coaches since I’ve been here and I’ve never blamed anything on one of the coaches as an individual,” Booker said. “I’ve had great relationships with all the coaches. I think the NBA just overall, when you need somebody to blame the first person that you go to is the coach. But at the end of the day you need the right players that match each other. Not just the best players. Chemistry helps.”
  • Booker refused to say if he stands by a statement he made in October that he would sign a five-year, $156MM extension if the Suns offered it this summer, Bordow adds in the same story. “I mean, that’s a whole other discussion,” Booker said. “A lot goes into that. When that time comes I’ll have to make a decision. … I’ve always said this is the place I want to be so if everything works out, yeah.”
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari still had pain in his right hand as he returned to the court Friday, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. He played 24 minutes and scored 11 points, but played with black tape wrapped around the hand. Gallinari had missed 18 games with a non-displaced fracture. “Listen, he was OK,” coach Doc Rivers said. “He was better in the second half. I thought his rhythm may have upset other rhythms. You never know. We need him, and we’re going to use him.”
  • Klay Thompson‘s expected return for tonight’s game will result in the Warriors’ 26th different starting lineup of the season, notes Darryl Matsuda of The San Jose Mercury News.

Injury Notes: Smart, Love, Ingram, Wall

Celtics guard Marcus Smart is making progress in rehabbing a torn ligament in his right thumb and hopes to be available for the second round of the playoffs, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

A cast on his hand was recently replaced by a splint with an opening at the top that allows him to move his thumb, and he has been able to do some light exercises with the injured digit. Smart tore the ligament earlier this month and underwent surgery March 16. His original prognosis had him out six to eight weeks, which sets a potential return about the time of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“Definitely right now, that’s what we’re shooting for,” he said. “The way it’s going now, we’re on the right path. Hopefully nothing happens where it gets delayed.”

There are more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Kevin Love has been placed in concussion protocol and will miss tonight’s game, the Cavaliers announced on their website. He suffered a front tooth sublexation last night and experienced concussion-like symptoms at halftime.
  • After missing nearly four weeks with a strained groin, Lakers forward Brandon Ingram expects to return tonight, tweets Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sports Net.
  • Coach Luke Walton says Lakers rookie Josh Hart has looked good in three-on-three games and may be cleared to play Friday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • John Wall, who has been sidelined since having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late January, may be able to return tomorrow, according to a tweet from the Wizards. Coach Scott Brooks said Wall will participate in the team’s shootaround and a decision will be based on how the knee responds. He is officially listed as questionable.
  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari is targeting Friday to return from a fractured right hand, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. “I hope to play a few minutes against Portland [Friday],” Gallinari said in an interview with Italian outlet Sky Sport. “The hand is not completely healed, but we’ll see how I can help the team in the games left in the regular season. I will try to bite the bullet for the playoff race. The franchise asked me to grit my teeth and play. I will try to do that.”
  • After re-injuring his right ankle Monday, Celtics forward Marcus Morris will sit out tonight’s game, according to a tweet from the team. He will probably return Saturday, according to Himmelsbach (Twitter link).
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens provided an another update on Gordon Hayward, saying he’s still limited to the Alter-G treadmill and hasn’t been cleared to run on the court (Twitter link). “There will be nothing more exciting for him than being able to get back out on the basketball court,” Stevens said (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman may be cleared to return to action after a hip flexor injury. He tweeted an image of himself accompanied by the word, “finally.”
  • Jazz center Tony Bradley has cleared concussion protocol, tweets Eric Woodyard of The Deseret News.