Brandon Ingram

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.

Injury Updates: Irving, Theis, Matthews, Ingram

After leaving Sunday’s game against Indiana with knee soreness, Celtics star Kyrie Irving suggested that an extended rest period could follow, writes ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. Irving sat out last Monday’s game vs. Chicago due to knee pain, but it sounds like he’ll miss more than one game this time around.

“I think [rest] will probably be the best thing, just instead of kind of hoping it gets better over the two or three days that it usually does,” Irving said. “It’s aching a little bit more than I wanted it to now, so I’m taking the necessary time.”

Irving’s knee injury is a cause for concern, but probably not a reason to panic, writes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. The Celtics now trail Toronto by four games in the loss column (3.5 overall), but remain ahead of the No. 3 Pacers by a full seven games. In other words, they’re all but locked into the No. 2 spot in the East, so they can likely afford to rest Irving and some other ailing players down the stretch without fear of compromising their seeding.

Here are a few more injury notes from around the NBA:

  • The Celtics, already missing Irving and Jaylen Brown, will also see big man Daniel Theis – a key part of the club’s frontcourt rotation – undergo an MRI on his left knee on Monday, Blakely writes for NBC Sports Boston.
  • A right knee injury may sideline Mavericks swingman Wesley Matthews for at least the next handful of games. According to Dwain Price of Mavs.com, head coach Rick Carlisle said Matthews won’t travel with the club on its upcoming four-game road trip, though Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News suggests Matthews could join the team on the trip if a Monday MRI comes back clean.
  • Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, on the shelf with a left groin strain, will miss at least a couple more games before being re-evaluated on Thursday, says Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com.
  • With Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, and Cedi Osman all unavailable on Sunday, the Cavaliers fell in Los Angeles to the Lakers. After the game, LeBron James said those injuries are his biggest concern at the moment, adding that it’s hard to judge the roster when it’s so banged up. “We have pretty much five guys out of our top nine or top 10 of our rotation not playing because of injuries,” James said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. “It’s next man up, but sometimes you just fall short.”

L.A. Notes: Ingram, Lakers, Clippers, Kilpatrick

The Lakers will be without former No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram for at least the next two or three games, the team confirmed today, announcing in a press release that the second-year forward has been diagnosed with a left groin strain. Ingram, who sat out Saturday’s contest vs. San Antonio, will be re-evaluated in about a week, according to the team.

Here are a few more Lakers and Clippers notes from out of Los Angeles:

  • While the Lakers‘ playoff chances are extremely slim, the progress they’ve made this season is “undeniable and significant to their future,” says Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. As Oram notes, the team’s growth is important not just for its young players but for its ability to attract free agents in the offseason.
  • Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN also examines the growth of the Lakers‘ young players, who have done well pushing through adversity.
  • It sounds like the Clippers haven’t entirely ruled out the possibility of signing a two-way player like Tyrone Wallace or C.J. Williams to an NBA contract, but the team didn’t want to wait on those negotiations, opting to fill its open roster spot with Sean Kilpatrick, as Elliott Teaford of The Daily Breeze writes. “We’re trying to make the playoffs here,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “We’re going to try to sign who we think is the best fit for our team. If Sean comes in and earns it, it’ll be his job. Or we’ll go back to the C.J.s or the Tys. We like them all. We just have to figure out who’s the best fit.”
  • The Clippers are $545K below the luxury tax line after signing Kilpatrick to a 10-day deal, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That gives the team some breathing room to eventually sign someone to a rest-of-season contract without going into the tax.

Pacific Notes: Ingram, Lakers, Bell

Lakers second-year forward Brandon Ingram has displayed improvements through the team’s first 19 games. Last year’s second overall pick in the draft is averaging 14.7 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 3.0 APG in 33.8 minutes — all of those numbers up from his rookie season. As Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes, Ingram feels there is a lot more progress to be made.

“I think I have some more to show,” Ingram said. “This summer I was super confident in what I wanted to do this season, and I don’t think it’s all came yet.”

Oram mentions in the article that while rookie Lonzo Ball has generated most of the Lakers’ headlines, Ingram has generated most the team’s efficiency. At 8-11, the Lakers occupy 10th place in the Western Conference and are not considered a playoff team. However, if the Duke product develops into the player the team believes he can be, they will have at least one reliable anchor in the lineup.

Check out other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Mark Heisler of the Orange County Register outlines the Lakers’ rebuilding approach, likening it to the 76ers mantra of “Trust the Process.” The team has secured several first-round picks in recent years, including Ingram, Ball, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, Larry Nance Jr.and Kyle KuzmaRussell was traded to the Nets over the offseason but the other young assets remain in the fold. Heisler notes that the Lakers’ plan to compete will have to include luring a big name free agent such as LeBron James. For that to happen, he adds, the current roster will have to show it has sustainable potential.
  • Warriors rookie Jordan Bell has played sparingly this season but after the Warriors paid $3.5MM to acquire him from the Bulls after the NBA Draft, he has used it as motivation, Mark Medina of The Mercury News writes. “I use it as motivation as far as me playing for this team, and how much effort and money they spent to try to get me,” Bell said. “They already have such a great team over here and are so deep. But they obviously want me. I use that as motivation. So, now I got to show people that I’m worth the $3.5 million they spent to get me.”

Pacific Notes: Ingram, McGee, Deng

Could Brandon Ingram be the next great Lakers closer? Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register thinks so. On a roster filled with promising young player and role-playing veterans, Ingram could be uniquely qualified to step into the role that Kobe Bryant vacated in 2016.

He definitely has the ability and confidence to make those kind of plays,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said of Ingram. “He definitely wants it. One hundred percent he wants it. Some people, they say they want it. But in their eyes you can tell they’re just saying it because they’re supposed to say it. Brandon, he truly wants those types of moments.

Teaford cites Ingram’s role in the Lakers’ recent comeback victory against the Wizards, chipping in with 11 points in the fourth quarter and tapping in the game-tying bucket at the end of regulation.

In four games as a Lakers sophomore, Ingram has averaged 15.8 points and 4.8 rebounds.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Despite his emergence as a valued rotation piece for the Warriors last season, JaVale McGee has been used sparingly thus far in 2017/18. Anthony Slater of The Athletic caught up with the center about his usage. “I don’t feel like I’ve been struggling the first few games,” McGee said. “I haven’t really played a lot, so there’s really no room to struggle. But even from last year, I don’t play a lot during games that go small. All I can really do is work on the things that keep me from playing a lot.
  • In a preview of what could be their backcourt of the future, Kings fans saw Bogdan Bogdanovic and De’Aaron Fox connecting in the final minutes of their loss to the Pelicans Thursday. “I can talk to him and tell him about the mistakes I made,” Bogdanovic told Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee. “And hope he can learn without having to make those mistakes.”
  • Having seen just 13 minutes of action so far this season, it’s safe to say that Luol Deng is at the bottom of the Lakers‘ depth chart. An ESPN report states that the veteran will likely continue to draw DNP-CDs.

Lakers Exercise 2018/19 Options On Ingram, Nance

One week ahead of the October 31 deadline, the Lakers have picked up their 2018/19 team options on forwards Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr., the team announced today in a press release. The moves will fully guarantee the two players’ salaries through the ’18/19 season.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2018/19 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Although Ingram has struggled to make a consistent impact on the court for the Lakers since being selected with the second overall pick in the 2016 draft, the decision to pick up his 2018/19 option was a no-brainer for the club. It will count against L.A.’s cap for $5,757,120 next season.

As for Nance, he has impressed Lakers decision-makers with his play this fall and usurped Julius Randle as the team’s starting power forward. It’s a small sample, but through three games this season, Nance’s per-minute numbers have soared — he’s averaging 18.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per 36 minutes, compared to 11.2 and 9.2 last year. His fourth-year option for 2018/19 will count for $2,272,391 against the Lakers’ cap.

Nance will be eligible for a contract extension next offseason, and if he’s not extended, he’ll be on track for restricted free agency in 2019. Ingram is under team control for one additional year, so the Lakers will have to decide on his 2019/20 team option a year from now.