Brandon Ingram

Lakers Exercise 2019/20 Options On Ball, Kuzma, Hart, Ingram

The Lakers have made a series of procedural moves, announcing today in a press release that they’ve exercised their 2019/20 team options on Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram.

All four moves were expected, given the modest costs of those options. For Ball, Kuzma, and Hart, their third-year options will count against L.A.’s cap in ’19/20 for approximately $8.72MM, $1.97MM, and $1.93MM respectively. Each 2017 first-rounder also has a fourth-year team option for 2020/21, which the Lakers will have to exercise or decline by October 31, 2019.

As for Ingram, his fourth-year option will lock in a $7.27MM cap charge on the Lakers’ 2019/20 books. With that option officially picked up, he’s now on track to become extension-eligible next July 1. If he and the Lakers don’t reach an extension agreement by mid-October in 2019, he’d be in line to reach restricted free agency during the summer of 2020.

Our breakdown of all of this year’s rookie scale option decisions for 2019/20 can be found right here.

Pacific Rumors: Ingram, Holmes, Looney, Gilgeous-Alexander

LeBron James continues to chat up Brandon Ingram as a budding superstar, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin relays. The Lakers small forward got a chance to play the point in the latest preseason game and racked up 31 points, nine rebounds and three steals. “His pace, his ability to play the point and play the wing, he’s a very special talent, and we’re definitely happy to have him on our side,” James said, adding, “I know what I see in him, and he’s looking for this opportunity to make this next jump in his third year.” Ingram is eligible for a rookie scale extension next offseason and James’ praise won’t hurt his cause.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Richaun Holmes isn’t a scorer but his other attributes have made him a favorite with the Suns’ coaching staff, as Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic notes. The big man has earned a role with Phoenix with his energetic style. “He moves well, is a live body, good defender,” coach Igor Kokoskov said. “Very athletic. He’s got to help us defensively, protect the paint. Runs the floor and he fits in well with what we’re doing here.” Holmes was acquired from the Sixers for $1MM in July.
  • Warriors forward Kevon Looney drew lukewarm interest from a handful of teams in free agency, he revealed to Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News. The Rockets, Timberwolves, Clippers, Sixers and Hawks made contact but “nobody really offered,” Looney said. He was an unrestricted free agent after Golden State declined to pick up his option last fall but he settled for a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.
  • Lottery pick Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has earned significant playing time during training camp, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. The University of Kentucky product is averaging 11 PPG and 4.5 APG in 24.0 MPG for the Clippers in two preseason outings.

Lakers Notes: Ball, Walton, Johnson, James

The Lakers’ brass is encouraged by Lonzo Ball‘s revamped shooting stroke, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register reports. Ball still holds the ball further left than most right-handed shooters but it’s closer to the center than last season, Goon notes. Ball shot 36% from the field and 30.5% from long range during his rookie season. “The way he’s shooting the ball looks a lot more fluid now,“ GM Rob Pelinka said. Ball, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this summer, has been medically cleared for camp but won’t initially participate in five-on-five scrimmages, Joey Ramirez of the team’s website reports. “He’s been 100 percent cleared by our medical staff to return to full basketball activity,” Pelinka said.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Luke Walton‘s job status won’t be in jeopardy if the team gets off to a slow start, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. LeBron James needs time to settle in with his new teammates, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson says, and Walton won’t be penalized during that process. “As I was talking to Luke, we said don’t worry about if we get out to a bad start,” Johnson said. “We have seen that with LeBron going to Miami, and we have seen that when he came back to Cleveland. He is going to struggle because there are so many new moving parts.”
  • Johnson shrugs off criticism of controversial free agent signings following James’ commitment, including Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee, Matt Eppers of USA Today writes. “We love that they all are different individuals and they bring something different to the table,” Johnson said. “We needed some grittiness, we needed some toughness. We needed somebody to come in and be upset that somebody had a defensive lapse.”
  • Johnson can’t hide his enthusiasm over James’ impact, even before training camp officially opens. “LeBron comes in, and he’s already in midseason form and shooting fadeaways and 3-pointers from almost half-court,” Johnson said in an Associated Press report. “And you’re sitting there saying, ‘Man, thank God we signed him.’”
  • Brandon Ingram and Stephenson are the team’s top small forwards and Ramirez takes a closer look at all the options at the position.

Pacific Rumors: Lakers, Mykhailiuk, Kings’ Hires, Teodosic

The Lakers can improve their 3-point shooting in a variety of ways during the upcoming season, as Mark Trudell of the Lakers’ website details. While the Lakers didn’t add quality shooters in free agency to compliment LeBron James, they have some other options who can help them greatly improve upon their second-to-last showing from long range, Trudell continues. Brandon IngramKentavious Caldwell-PopeJosh Hart and Kyle Kuzma shot 38.5% or better on threes after the All-Star break last season, Trudell notes. Rookies Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Moe Wagner can help in that area, and the playmaking of  James and Rajon Rondo can also facilitate more open looks from deep, Trudell adds.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Mykhailiuk will play for the Ukranian national team in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament next month, according to the Ukranian Federation, Oleksandr Proshuta tweets. Mykhailiuk is paying for his own insurance in case he’s injured during the event, Proshuta adds.
  • The Kings announced a number of hires to the front office staff in a team press releaseTeena Murray has been named Senior Director of Athlete Health and Performance. Other hires to the training staff include Mike Roncarati as Head of Prevention and Reconditioning; Joe Resendez as Head Athletic Trainer; Jesse Green as Performance Analyst. Other additions and promotions include Elizabeth Ramsey as Director of Basketball Operations and Intelligence; Gene Cross as Director of Amateur Scouting; Chris Alpert and Acie Law as regional scouts; and Robbie Lemons as Scouting Coordinator.
  • A decision on whether Clippers guard Milos Teodosic and center Boban Marjanovic will play for Serbia’s national team during the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament in September will be made this week, according to a Sportando report. Serbia plays Greece and Estonia in the event.

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.