Brook Lopez

Lakers Notes: Magic, Deng, Ball, Hart, Lopez

The Lakers had a busy trade deadline, swinging a blockbuster deal that sent Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson to the Cavaliers for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and Cleveland’s first-round pick. With the trade, the Lakers created significant cap space that enables them to pursue two top-tier free agents this summer.

Speaking to reporters, including ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, on Thursday, team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka spoke about the team’s moves. Both Johnson and Pelinka stated that the team’s goal is to acquire elite talent and make a run at the playoffs next season.

“There’s so many different ways you can use that [cap space],” Pelinka said, “And then, of course, the obvious way is we now have in July of 2018 and July of 2019, we now have real 100 percent space to do two max players if that’s what we decide to do, or one in 2018 and then following it up with another one in 2019. So the flexibility is really amazing.”

The Lakers 22-31, are currently 6.5 games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference, so a playoff appearance seems out of the cards. However, Johnson reiterated that Thursday’s moves were made with the intention of getting better.

“I don’t want to stay where we are. I don’t want to be on the outside of the playoffs looking in,” Johnson said. “We have to take another step, right? So this move allows us to position ourselves to hopefully take that next step.”

Check out other news and notes surrounding the Lakers:

  • Johnson was asked by reporters if the Lakers had any substantiative talks at the deadline about moving Luol Deng and his albatross contract. Johnson was brutally honest as he lets out a few laughs and said “we wish, right?tweets Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. Deng has appeared in just one game with the Lakers this season.
  • Lonzo Ball has not played since January 13 as a knee injury has sidelined the Lakers’ rookie point guard. Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes that Ball is progressing well but that he still cannot sprint or jump at full strength. Until that happens, Ball will remain a spectator — and may miss the 2018 Rising Stars Challenge.
  • The Lakers won their last three games with Josh Hart — the 30th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft — starting. Hart has played well for the Lakers and is showing himself to be a draft steal, Mike Trudell of writes. “I don’t think you ever plan on counting on a late first round pick in their rookie season,” head coach Luke Walton said. “You try to get them minutes where you can, and develop them. But he’s done a nice job every time he’s been called on, being ready, and helping us win.”
  • Despite the Lakers being out of contention, center Brook Lopez does not plan on pursuing a buyout to latch on with a contender, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Lopez is personally having the worst season of his career, and while his plans may change, he is set on playing out the final year of his contract in purple and gold.

Nets Notes: Allen, Lopez, Lin

Nets rookie Jarrett Allen has impressed with his play recently and 19-year-old has high expectations for himself, Anthony Puccio of NetsDaily writes. In Brook Lopez‘s first game back in Brooklyn on Friday, the veteran was matched up against the rookie Allen which led to several defensive and offensive gems from both players.

Allen, who scored a career-high 20 points and is averaging 14 points and 6 rebounds his past five games, said he is looking to fill the role Lopez held down over the past decade.

“I wouldn’t call it replacing Brook, Brook is one of a kind that I hear. I mean, he has stuff, I have stuff, and I’m just trying to see where I’m at against him,” Allen said. “(He was the) face of the franchise, now I’m here trying to become the face, too, so just going back and forth. It was a good challenge.”

Lopez, 29, has suffered through the worst season of his career in 2017/18, seeing his numbers and playing time diminish in his first season with the Lakers. However, Lopez was a franchise linchpin for the Nets for nine seasons and became an All-Star along the way. Allen, still just a teenager, is obviously confident in his ability to become a similar force in Brooklyn.

Check out other Nets new below:

  • Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily chronicled Lopez’s first game back in Brooklyn, which the center admitted was odd at times. Lopez admitted he had to keep reminding himself to not walk to the home locker room when he entered Barclays Center. The Nets honored Lopez with a tribute video during the game.
  • Injured point guard Jeremy Lin spoke to local media for the first time since he suffered a season-ending ruptured patellar tendon on opening night. Lin said the injury has forced him to retrain his body but that once he is healthy, he will not change his on-court style, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. “I’m not going to change the bread and butter of who I am which is downhill, attacking, dynamic playmaking. I’ll always be that player,” Lin said

Pacific Notes: Lopez, Rivers, Clippers, Knight, Labissiere

Brook Lopezs frustrations with the 2017/18 season, his first with the Lakers, seem to have reached a boiling point, writes Bill Oram of the Orange County Register. Lopez played just nine minutes in the Lakers’ loss to the Magic on Wednesday, his lowest single-game total in over three years.

Lopez, 29, is playing for a contract next offseason and thus far, he has posted career lows across every major statistical category — a far cry from the player who averaged 20.0 PPG last season while adding a three-point shot to his repertoire. The center will return to Brooklyn on Friday to face the Nets in his first game against his former team; in the meantime, it’s all about adjustment.

“On the court, I can be very visible, with my emotions [showing on my face],” Lopez said to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “So, yeah, just trying to control myself, breathe a little bit, and just keep cool because it was an unfortunate game for us. Just watching it, it was tough to be out there. Just trying to get settled a little bit.”

Lopez said that he has not had discussions with his agent about the possibility of pursuing a buyout if he decides he wants out of Los Angeles.

Check out other Pacific Division news below:

  • Clippers guard Austin Rivers is on track to return from a right ankle injury on February 9, the day after the NBA trade deadline, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Rivers, who is having his best season to date, has missed the Clippers’ last 16 games.
  • Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated examines how the Clippers‘ use of two-way contracts this season has shaped their roster.
  • Suns guard Brandon Knight tore his ACL in the offseason and is expected to miss the entire season. However, with a lot of money still owed to him, Knight tells Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports that he can still contribute to the team when healthy.
  • Kings forward Skal Labissiere will miss 2-to-3 weeks with a rotator cuff muscle strain, the team announced. Labissiere has been hampered by the shoulder ailment since mid-January.

Lakers Notes: George, Lopez, Ball, Kuzma

The Thunder have a pair of Staples Center dates on their schedule this week, with games against the Lakers on Wednesday and the Clippers on Thursday. As a result, Paul George has been prompted by reporters to revisit his reported desire to be dealt to the Lakers this past offseason. Asked about that on Tuesday, George confirmed that he would have “loved to go back home and play for my city,” but called the deal that sent him to Oklahoma City a “win-win.”

Of course, it wasn’t necessarily a “win” for the Lakers, who missed out on George and were subsequently fined $500K for tampering with the Pacers. The NBA’s official announcement on that fine suggested that GM Rob Pelinka had improper contact with George’s agent, but the former Pacers forward suggested today that the penalty stemmed from interactions he had with Lakers associate head coach Brian Shaw.

“There was no tampering at all,” George said of the Lakers and his conversations with Shaw (link via Bill Oram of The Orange County Register). “The only thing me and B-Shaw ever spoke about was fishing, and challenge each other on fishing trips. B-Shaw has way, way, way better class than to try to recruit me.”

Sources confirmed to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that the league’s investigation did probe the relationship between George and Shaw, but found no evidence of tampering on that front.

Here’s more on the Lakers, including another note on George:

  • Russell Westbrook isn’t preparing a sales pitch for George to keep him in Oklahoma City and away from the Lakers, preferring to let the Thunder’s results speak for themselves, tweets Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. “Sales pitch is when we win a championship,” Westbrook said. “Beat that pitch.”
  • Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report explores whether or not it makes sense for the Lakers to try to push to acquire George before the trade deadline. Of course, as Pincus acknowledges, unless the Thunder slump in the coming weeks, George probably won’t be on the block.
  • Having been initially ruled questionable for Wednesday night’s game against the Thunder, Lakers center Brook Lopez will be available to play, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). Lonzo Ball will miss tonight’s game and is day-to-day.
  • Speaking of Ball, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report revisits the 2017 NBA draft and suggests that if teams were to re-draft today, Ball would slip to No. 4 instead of going second overall to the Lakers. Wasserman has Markelle Fultz going to the Lakers at No. 2, with the Sixers using the top pick on Jayson Tatum. Kyle Kuzma also soars into the lottery in Wasserman’s hypothetical re-draft, going fifth overall to Sacramento.

Brook Lopez Expected To Miss At Least Three Weeks

Hampered by knee and leg injuries earlier in his NBA career, Lakers center Brook Lopez has been relatively healthy in recent years, having not missed more than 10 games in a season since 2013/14. However, that streak appears to be in jeopardy.

Lopez left Monday’s game with an ankle injury, and has been diagnosed with a moderate ankle sprain, the team announced today in a press release. According to the Lakers, Lopez will be reevaluated in three weeks, so he’ll be sidelined until sometime in the new year.

X-rays on Lopez’s injured ankle were negative, and an MRI confirmed that the veteran big man isn’t dealing with a more serious injury, but it makes sense that the Lakers would play it safe, given Lopez’s injury history.

With their starting center out of the lineup, the Lakers figure to lean more heavily on Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., and Kyle Kuzma in the coming weeks. Andrew Bogut, Ivica Zubac, and Thomas Bryant are also available for frontcourt depth purposes.

Los Angeles Notes: Lopez, Nance, Ball, Jordan

As we heard multiple times throughout the offseason, Southern California native Brook Lopez was thrilled to be acquired by the Lakers in June, and Robin Lopez says his brother continues to enjoy the experience of playing for his hometown team. As Bill Oram of The Orange County Register details, Robin said this week that the Lakers were the “definition of the NBA” for him and his brother growing up, adding that Brook still hasn’t gotten over the fact that he’s the Lakers’ starting center.

“I know he’s definitely enamored with that aspect of it,” Robin said. “I don’t think it will ever fade with him.”

Here’s more out of Los Angeles:


  • When Larry Nance Jr. was diagnosed with a fractured hand in early November, the Lakers indicated that he big man would likely miss four to six weeks. However, Nance is ahead of schedule in his recovery and could be back on the court as soon as this coming Monday, according to Oram.
  • With a showdown against fellow rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox on tap for Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee takes an in-depth look at the enormous expectations placed upon this year’s second overall pick.


  • DeAndre Jordan‘s name “has been coming up in trade conversations,” with “multiple teams” talking about possible deals, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Based on Bontemps’ wording, it’s not clear whether the Clippers are entertaining those discussions, or whether potential suitors are simply discussing trade scenarios internally. If the Clips continue their losing ways, the team will probably have to consider the possibility of moving Jordan, who can become a free agent in 2018.
  • With the Clippers looking to snap a nine-game losing streak, a handful of scribes, including Shaun Powell and John Schuhmann, explore what the team can do to turn things around.
  • Clippers owner Steve Ballmer will have a lot to think about over Thanksgiving weekend, as Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times outlines.
  • Earlier today, we passed along word that Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley underwent a surgical procedure on his knee and will be sidelined for a while.

Lakers Notes: Kuzma, Lopez, KCP, Nance Jr.

Rookie power forward Kyle Kuzma had a feeling the Lakers would draft him after his stock rose, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports. Kuzma, who declared after his junior season at Utah, was originally pegged as second-round material who might even go undrafted. Kuzma wound up getting picked 27th overall and has taken the league by storm, posting three double-doubles and three 20-point games. “I knew I was way better than that, better than how people pegged me,” he told Charania. “After I killed draft workouts and the combine, I knew I would go in the first round. I had a good hint that it would be L.A., just because of the workout and my combine interview with them, but I didn’t know until draft night.”

In other items concerning the Lakers:

  • The offense has perked up in recent games and center Brook Lopez has played a big role in that improvement, as Joey Ramirez of the team’s website notes. Lopez, who was acquired in an offseason deal with the Nets, is the NBA’s sixth-highest scorer over the last three games, averaging 27.3 PPG. Kuzma believes improved health has led to Lopez’s offensive outburst, as he told Ramirez. “The whole preseason he was really bad with a back injury and little nicks and bruises,” Kuzma said. “You can tell he’s getting back to the Nets version of Brook Lopez.”
  • Lopez and shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have helped to stabilize a mostly youthful roster, coach Luke Walton told’s David Aldridge. Lopez has provided a steadying force on offense, while Caldwell-Pope has helped establish a defensive mindset, Aldridge adds. Caldwell-Pope signed a one-year, $18MM free agent contract after the Pistons renounced his rights during restricted free agency. “I think KCP coming over, just a hard-nosed player,” Walton told Aldridge. “He’s been in that Eastern Conference, hard worker. He kind of helps set that tone. Brook’s been a solid vet in this league for a long time.”
  • Larry Nance Jr. is frustrated by his latest injury setback, as he told Bill Oram of the Orange County Register and other media members. Nance Jr., who missed multiple games with knee injuries the last two seasons, is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured left hand. He was averaging 10.6 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 23.1 MPG before suffering the injury Thursday. “I was given a really good chance, was making the most of it,” he said. “So I’m just anxious to get back and keep making a good impression.”

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Sarver, Lopez

The Clippers opted for flexibility by turning down the third-year option on Brice Johnson‘s rookie contract, Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register writes.

Team president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank says that the decision was made because the Clippers didn’t have a full body of work on which to base Johnson’s value. The 23-year-old North Carolina standout has played in just six games over the course of his NBA career, two of them this past week.

We still think Brice is a talented player,” Frank said. “There wasn’t a great body of work due to some difficult circumstances, obviously, with the back injury. This year, we have great depth at his position.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Contrary to a Washington Post report that suggested Suns owner Robert Sarver was looking to sell the franchise, the executive has “zero interest” in cashing out, Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic writes. Sarver bought the team for $401MM in 2004 and it’s now, per Forbes, valued north of $1B.
  • A move to the second-unit may have helped Buddy Hield find his rhythm with the Kings. Kyle Ramos of the team’s official site discussed the sophomore’s solid showing off the bench on Wednesday.
  • Often the subject of trade rumors, Brook Lopez wasn’t particularly surprised to find out that the Nets had traded him to the Lakers last June, Greg Logan of Newsday writes. He was, however, excited. “I’m a huge Magic Johnson fan, so having him around — to be a little fan boy — it’s awesome for the little kid Brook inside,” Lopez said.

Pacific Notes: Bogdanovic, Reed, Bell

The Kings made 2014 draft-and-stash prospect Bogdan Bogdanovic the highest paid rookie in NBA history this summer and now will look to incorporate him into their core, James Ham of NBC Sports writes.

The 25-year-old shooting guard recently helped guide the Serbian national team to a silver medal at EuroBasket 2017 showcasing the perimeter skillset that he’ll be bringing with him to the Kings next month.

Bogdanovic will earn $9.5MM this season and $27MM over the course of his three-year deal. That’s twice the amount of money fifth overall pick De’Aaron Fox will make with the Kings this season.

While it’s possible Bogdanovic sees time at the three, his natural position will be at the two, where he’ll compete with Buddy Hield for opportunities to lead the Kings’ offense. Expect him to struggle slightly on the defensive end, Ham writes, but to make a case for himself as a prolific deep threat early on.

It’s possible that Bogdanovic either slides into the Kings’ starting lineup or serves as one of the club’s key reserves off the bench.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

Los Angeles Notes: Bogut, Lakers, Gallinari

After reaching an agreement on Monday to sign Andrew Bogut, the Lakers are starting to create a logjam at the center position, where Bogut figures to join youngsters Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant as backups to Brook Lopez. However, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register suggests there are at least a couple reasons why it make sense for the club to add Bogut to complement Lopez.

As Oram explains, Lopez is more of an offensive-minded player, so Bogut will add more rim protecting and rebounding to the roster. Oram also suggests that Bogut will provide insurance against Lopez’s health. The former Net has dealt with some back issues this summer and may miss part of the preseason as a result.

Of course, while Lopez was once considered injury-prone, he has been healthy enough to appear in at least 72 games in each of the last three seasons, while Bogut has been the one battling more frequent and more recent injury issues. We’ll have to wait to see whether either veteran center can stay on the court for the entire 2017/18 season.

Here’s more from out of Los Angeles:

  • In his breakdown of the Bogut deal, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link) acknowledges that the fit with the Lakers is somewhat “perplexing.” Pelton doesn’t want to see Zubac or Bryant denied any opportunities to earn playing time, since they’re better bets than Bogut to stick with the Lakers beyond 2017/18.
  • The Lakers announced a handful of basketball operations hires and promotions this week, confirming the moves in a press release. Among the most notable promotions was Jordan Wilkes being named the club’s director of player development.
  • New Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari is just “days away” from returning from the hand injury he suffered in July, and should be ready to go for training camp next week, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).