Carmelo Anthony

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.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

Lakers Rumors: Nurse, Davis, LeBron, Westbrook, Carmelo

Once the Lakers officially dismiss head coach Frank Vogel, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is expected to be one of the team’s top targets, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Lakers are hoping that Nurse is an option, according to Charania, who acknowledges that it’s unclear whether Nurse “will be attainable or whether he would have interest.”

In order to even talk to Nurse, the Lakers would have to get permission from the Raptors, since the former Coach of the Year remains under contract in Toronto for two more years. Nurse would then have to be interested in leaving a stable, well-run organization for one that was mired in dysfunction this season. And the Lakers would likely have to be willing to give up substantial draft compensation to acquire Nurse from the Raptors.

Given all of those obstacles, I’d be shocked if Nurse emerged as a realistic candidate for the Lakers’ job, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. As one Eastern Conference executive observed to Sean Deveney of, Nurse is represented by Andy Miller at Klutch Sports, the same agency that reps LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

“I would expect the Lakers to at least ask about Nick Nurse,” the executive told Deveney. “… He got the big contract with the Raptors and he is secure there. They’re not going to let him go. But it makes him look better and Klutch look better if they are asking for him, right? So yeah, I would not be surprised to see the Lakers ask about him but more as a favor to Klutch. Maybe they won’t because he is so far out of reach. But, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours, that is how things work.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Anthony Davis said on Sunday that he still believes a roster built around him and LeBron James can contend for a title moving forward, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. “I think us two can. We’ve shown that we can,” Davis said.
  • While James and Davis are widely expected to remain in Los Angeles going forward, Russell Westbrook‘s future is cloudier. According to Charania, rival executives believe the Pacers will be open to discussing trades involving Malcolm Brogdon and Buddy Hield and could emerge as a Westbrook suitor, which is something Marc Stein suggested over the weekend. While Brogdon and Hield would be good fits on the Lakers’ roster, L.A. would likely have to attach sweeteners to Westbrook to realistically make any deal with Indiana.
  • James told reporters today that an MRI on his left ankle showed that he won’t require surgery or any injections, but he’ll have to stay off of it for the next four-to-six weeks (Twitter link via Mark Medina of LeBron also said that he and the Lakers could have extension discussions later this offseason once CBA rules allow for it (Twitter link via McMenamin). James will become extension-eligible in August.
  • Asked about potential roster moves and the possibility of playing with Westbrook next season, James said he’ll defer to the front office. I’m not here to make decisions for the front office and that nature,” he said (Twitter links). “But I loved being teammates with Russ.”
  • Steve Bulpett of spoke to multiple league sources about the Lakers’ disappointing season and the perception that head coach Frank Vogel was being undermined. “On a regular basis, (Kurt) Rambis would get on Vogel in front of staff and players — in practices, in the hallway where everybody can see it. He wasn’t taking it behind closed doors and laying it out,” one source said. “And what position does Rambis have? What’s his title? His title is friend of Jeanie Buss. Trust me, Frank Vogel would have been happy to have been fired from that mess.”
  • Addressing Vogel’s firing, Bill Oram of The Athletic contends that the way the news leaked – before the team formally informed Vogel – should be a warning sign for potential replacements.
  • Asked about his priorities in free agency this offseason, Carmelo Anthony said he’d like to win a championship, but also wants to be somewhere he’ll be happy. “If I gotta be unhappy to try to go fight and win a championship, I don’t want that. I don’t want that unhappiness,” he said, per McMenamin (Twitter link). “… I think at this point in my carer, it’s about just being happy and being able to wake up and come to work every day with a good attitude. Being positive.”

Lakers Promote Wenyen Gabriel To Standard Contract

3:23pm: Gabriel’s new deal is a two-year contract with a team option for 2022/23, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

2:44pm: The Lakers have filled the open spot on their 15-man roster by promoting Wenyen Gabriel from his two-way contract to a standard deal, the team announced today (via Twitter). That roster opening was created on Thursday when Trevor Ariza was waived.

Gabriel signed a series of 10-day contracts earlier in the season with the Nets, Clippers, and Pelicans before eventually getting a two-way deal from the Lakers on March 1. The 25-year-old has appeared in 24 total NBA games this season, including 17 for his current club. In those 17 games with the Lakers, he has averaged 5.7 points and 3.8 rebounds on .481/.238/.621 shooting in 14.6 minutes per contest.

Gabriel figures to see plenty of action in the club’s final two games of the season this weekend, with a number of regulars sidelined. LeBron James has been ruled out for the season, while Anthony Davis (foot), Russell Westbrook (shoulder), and Carmelo Anthony (non-COVID illness) will all miss at least Friday’s game vs. Oklahoma City.

The exact details of Gabriel’s new contract are unclear. If the Lakers simply converted his two-way deal to a standard contract, it will only cover the rest of the season, but teams and players are free to negotiate new terms in this situation.

Non-playoff clubs that promote two-way players to their 15-man rosters near the end of the season typically want to tack on at least one extra non-guaranteed year to those new contracts — we’ll have to wait for further clarification to see if the Lakers did that with Gabriel.

Los Angeles now has a full 15-man roster, with one open two-way slot.

Lakers Notes: Anthony, Davis, Nunn, LeBron

Whenever Carmelo Anthony decides to retire, he’s determined that no one else is going to break the news, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Anthony discussed the topic after Friday’s practice, but gave no indication that he’s thinking about ending his career. At age 37, he remains a valuable weapon off the Lakers‘ bench, averaging 13.6 points per game and shooting 38.7% from three-point range.

“I’m going to tell you that right now: You ain’t going to hear no whispers,” Anthony said when asked about retirement. “You’re going to hear it straight from me.”

Anthony, who along with teammate LeBron James are the only active players from the 2003 draft, wants to keep his career going as long as possible after finding himself out of the league nearly three years ago when it seemed nobody wanted him. He has remained durable despite his age, appearing in 64 games so far this season and missing only 15 combined over the past three years. Anthony credits that to his mental approach to each season.

“If coming into it you’re thinking, ‘Oh I want to play 70 games or 72 games,’ you’re not going to be really locked into that,” he said. “You’ll be worried about something going wrong or this happening.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Anthony Davis didn’t take part in contact during Friday’s practice, but his workload has been increasing and the team remains hopeful that he’ll be available before the end of the regular season, Goon states in the same piece. Davis hasn’t played since spraining his right foot in a February 16 game.
  • There’s less optimism surrounding Kendrick Nunn, an offseason free agent addition who hasn’t played all season, Goon adds. Nunn still isn’t able to practice, and coach Frank Vogel acknowledged that it’s “a good question” why he hasn’t been ruled out for the season. “I haven’t circled back with a recent update on that other than to know that’s he’s trying to (come back),” Vogel said. “I’m not sure when the next MRI is. But the intent is for him to continue to ramp up activity to where his imaging is coming back clean. I think there’s been some improvements, but not enough to see him back in practice.”
  • Vogel is touting James for MVP honors, but admits the Lakers’ poor record will affect his chances, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. James is the league’s top scorer at 30.0 PPG, but L.A. is fighting to hold onto a spot in the play-in tournament. “He is as deserving for MVP consideration as anybody in the league,” Vogel said. “I know how the voting goes — the team with the best record or top couple of records usually gets most of those considerations, so the win-loss record definitely would probably hurt him. But you can’t tell me that anybody has played a better season than LeBron James has this year.”

Injury Notes: Lakers, Jazz, Bulls, Heat

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Anthony Davis is progressing each day as he inches closer to a return to action, as Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet tweets.

Anthony has had a good week … He’s had a productive week,” Vogel said.

Davis continues to do spot shooting, which began on Monday. Davis originally suffered a right foot strain on February 16, so he’s a little more than four weeks into his four-to-six week recovery timetable.

Lakers reserves Carmelo Anthony and Wayne Ellington were both unable to play on Friday at Toronto due to non-COVID illnesses, Trudell relays (via Twitter).

Talen Horton-Tucker missed the game as well, per Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link). Horton-Tucker has been battling a Grade 2 ankle sprain.

Here are more injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Jazz are dealing with a plethora of maladies at the moment. Six players were listed as out for Friday’s game against the Clippers, the team announced (Twitter link): Donovan Mitchell (right calf contusion), Bojan Bogdanovic (left calf strain), Danuel House (left knee bone bruise), Hassan Whiteside (non-COVID illness), Trent Forrest (right wrist sprain), and Udoka Azubuike (right ankle sprain).
  • Bulls coach Billy Donovan says Lonzo Ball has been experiencing discomfort in his rehab, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “He has not responded,” Donovan said. “There’s no setbacks. It’s still the same thing. He has not been able to do anything full speed. And anytime we get him close to that, there’s discomfort. So I think they’re going to probably at least look at, you know, ‘Do you back off and let him rest for a little bit and see if that helps?’” Johnson notes that Friday marked seven weeks since Ball underwent surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee, and given his lack of progress, it seems highly unlikely he’ll return in the six-to-eight week recovery timetable Chicago originally provided. Donovan said there’s been no talk of Ball missing the remainder of the season, but the team is still determining the next steps in his recovery process.
  • On a more positive note, Donovan said Patrick Williams has been a full participant in G League practices with the Windy City Bulls, with no setbacks. He also said there was a “very real” possibility that Williams could return to action versus Toronto on Monday or Milwaukee on Tuesday, Johnson tweets. Williams has been targeting a return next week; he’s been out since October due to wrist surgery.
  • Jimmy Butler (sprained right ankle) and Victor Oladipo (back spasms) both missed the Heat‘s 120-108 win over the Thunder on Friday, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. It’s the third time Butler has sprained his right ankle this season, Chiang notes, which is definitely a concerning trend. However, the injury isn’t considered serious. On the bright side, Caleb Martin (hyperextended left knee) and P.J. Tucker (left knee irritation) were both able to play after being listed as questionable. Martin had missed the past three games for the 47-24 Heat, who hold the No. 1 seed in the East.

Western Notes: Lillard, Blazers, Kings, Lakers, Micić

Appearing on Draymond Green‘s podcast, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard expressed some enthusiasm about the team’s direction, singling out teammates Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, Jusuf Nurkic, and Josh Hart, and suggesting Portland has “got some pieces to the puzzle” and just needs to keep adding to those pieces.

As Casey Holdahl of relays, Lillard also pushed back against the idea that Portland can’t be an appealing free agent destination, arguing that if the Blazers have a chance to seriously contend, they’ll attract talent.

“No offense, but people (are) going to Oklahoma City, people going to Milwaukee, you know what I mean?” Lillard said. “People are going places and Portland ain’t what people think it is, otherwise I wouldn’t have been living here this long. If you just couldn’t live here, I wouldn’t be living here this long.

“I think that’s part of it, but at the end of the day, people are going places that’s like ‘You went there?’ (Carmelo Anthony) went to OKC when we was trying to get ‘Melo to come here. Ask ‘Melo where he would go first. And I’ll say this: not just because of the living situation.”

Here are a few more notes from around the Western Conference:

  • The Kings‘ trade deadline shake-up create a more positive vibe around the organization, point guard De’Aaron Fox said this week, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “I think the mood is definitely a bit better,” Fox said. “It’s definitely different when guys come into new situations, guys coming from Indiana, guys coming from Detroit and Donte [DiVincenzo] coming from Milwaukee … it’s like a breath of fresh air when you have a change of scenery.”
  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel shared a series of injury-related updates on Thursday, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). Most notably, Kendrick Nunn (knee) has begun his ramp-up process again following a setback last month, Anthony Davis (foot) is off his crutches, and Carmelo Anthony (hamstring) is probable to return on Friday after missing the team’s last five games.
  • Speaking to Donatas Urbonas of, veteran international agent Misko Raznatovic expressed dissatisfaction with the rules governing draft-and-stash players like his client Vasilije Micić, whose NBA rights are held by the Thunder. “One team gets your rights and then, (even if) you’re the best player in Europe, they don’t want to trade you and they don’t want to give you (a fair contract) offer,” Raznatovic said. “And then you never play in the NBA, (even if) you’re better than 80% of the guys who are there. I don’t believe this is fair.” Raznatovic did note that Micić has an annual NBA escape clause in his contract with Anadolu Efes, so he’ll talk to the Thunder again this summer to see if they can work something out.

Injury Notes: LaVine, White, Harden, Garland, Hayward, More

Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine has been suffering through back spasms recently, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic relays. LaVine was noticeably wincing during Chicago’s 127-120 overtime defeat to Toronto on Thursday. Center Nikola Vučević says the team appreciates LaVine’s commitment to winning despite not being fully healthy.

It tells us a lot about Zach playing through back spasms,” Vučević said. “It’s not easy. It limits you a lot. You just don’t have that freedom of movement, especially in the back. It’s a big, important part of your body, especially when you play basketball. I’m sure it was bothering him a lot, especially on the offensive end trying to score and be aggressive.

But it speaks a lot about his commitment to winning and to this team trying to still be out there. Even him not being 100 percent helps us a lot, so we appreciate him being out there.”

Coach Billy Donovan told reporters, including K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link), that the Bulls are hopeful LaVine will return Sunday after sitting out Friday on the second game of a back-to-back. However, Donovan also said that LaVine is still battling the knee soreness that sidelined him for a handful of games last month.

Here are some more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • LaVine wasn’t the only Bulls player absent from Friday’s 122-115 win at Indiana, as Coby White also missed the game due to a groin strain, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago tweets. Donovan said White has had lingering discomfort in the groin, but it was aggravated against Toronto.
  • Nets coach Steve Nash said James Harden was held out of Brooklyn’s 125-102 blowout loss at Utah on Friday for precautionary reasons, per Nick Friedell of ESPN (via Twitter). The team is giving Harden a couple extra days rest to ensure his hamstring is feeling better. Nash doesn’t think Harden will need an MRI and is hopeful he’ll return to action Sunday at Denver. Rudy Gay exited the game early for the Jazz with right knee soreness and didn’t return to the court, Tony Jones of The Athletic tweets.
  • Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, recently named an All-Star for the first time, missed his third consecutive game Friday at Charlotte with lower back soreness, writes Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Gordon Hayward returned to action for the Hornets in the team’s 102-101 loss after missing the past two weeks due to COVID-19, Boone notes.
  • Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony will likely be out Saturday vs. New York, providing extra rest before the team re-evaluates his strained right hamstring next week, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. LeBron James is also doubtful for the contest against the Knicks with knee swelling, per Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link).
  • Heat center Omer Yurtseven has cleared the health and safety protocols and is available for Saturday’s game at Charlotte, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports (via Twitter).
  • Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 draft, missed his second straight game for the Pistons Friday with a hip pointer, Keith Langlois of tweets. Coach Dwane Casey said the injury isn’t considered serious, but the team is being cautious with its rising star. The Pistons fell to the Celtics, 102-93.
  • Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon missed his second consecutive game Friday with hamstring tightness, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). The Nuggets lost to the Pelicans without Gordon, 113-105.

Western Notes: Mitchell, Carmelo, Pelicans, Collins

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will return to action on Friday night vs. Brooklyn after missing the club’s last eight games due to a concussion. While he’s happy to be back, Mitchell admitted to reporters on Friday that it’s been a long few weeks recovering from his second concussion of the season and his fourth concussion overall.

“I got to a point where I was kind of a little nervous,” Mitchell said, per the Jazz’s website. “… To be honest, I was like, ‘What happened?’ because I knew this was bad. I really wasn’t doing anything on my phone, not playing Xbox, not leaving the house. … It was bad. The headache (and) the nausea were pretty messed up.”

Mitchell and the Jazz are still missing Rudy Gobert, but they’ll be facing a shorthanded Nets club. Already without Kevin Durant, Brooklyn announced today that James Harden will be out due to left hamstring tightness.

Here are a few more notes from around the Western Conference:

  • Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony exited Thursday’s game against the Clippers early due to a right hamstring strain, but there’s optimism that the injury isn’t serious, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Sources tell Wojnarowski that Anthony is being considered day-to-day for now.
  • Pelicans big man Willy Hernangomez and guard Garrett Temple entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Thursday, per Christian Clark of (Twitter link). New Orleans now has three players in the protocols, with the two new additions joining injured wing Didi Louzada.
  • Spurs big man Zach Collins, who isn’t on Friday’s injury report, is thrilled to be cleared to play in an NBA game for the first time since August 2020 after enduring a long, challenging recovery process following an ankle injury. “I’m excited, nervous, anxious — but mostly excited,” Collins said on Thursday, per Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “Now I’m back to normal life.”

Injury Updates: Mitchell, Gobert, Green, Iguodala, Anthony, James, Birch

Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were named as All-Star reserves on Thursday. The Jazz also got positive injury news regarding their top players.

Mitchell has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol and will be available for the team’s game against the Nets on Friday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Mitchell hasn’t played since January 17. Gobert won’t play on Friday but could return early next week, MacMahon adds. The big man is dealing with a calf strain and hasn’t seen action since January 23rd.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Warriors forward Draymond Green is skipping the All-Star Game due to a back injury. Green said on Thursday he won’t need surgery but estimates it will be at least three-to-four weeks before he can play again, Marc Stein tweets.
  • Another Warriors forward, Andre Iguodala, says he’s close to returning from a left hip injury, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Iguodala hasn’t played since logging 31 minutes on January 20. Iguodala indicated that persistent knee swelling created a “chain reaction” that has led to other ailments.
  • Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony exited the team’s game against the Clippers on Thursday due to a right hamstring strain, McMenamin tweets. LeBron James missed his fifth straight game due to swelling in his left knee, McMenamin adds in another tweet.
  • Raptors big man Khem Birch played on Thursday for the first time since January 14. He only saw five minutes of action. Birch required plastic surgery after his nose was fractured. He’ll have to wear a mask for approximately six weeks, Michael Grange of tweets.

Los Angeles Notes: James, Westbrook, Anthony, Morris

LeBron James missed the Lakers’ game against the Knicks on Tuesday and felt his one-game suspension was unwarranted, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin writes. James struck the Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart in the face on Sunday and was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul. The league suspended James on Monday and handed Stewart a two-game ban for repeated “unsportsmanlike acts.” They were battling for position on a free throw attempt.

“When I swung down on his arm, he got off balance and the left side of my hand grazed his face. And I knew right away,” James said. “So, I knew right away I had caught some part of his head. So, I went over to apologize to him, and obviously, you guys saw what happened after that. But definitely accidental.”

We have more on the Los Angeles teams:

  • Lakers guard Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double against the Knicks and a near triple-double against the Pistons. Anthony Davis wants to see Westbrook play with an aggressive style, McMenamin relays in a separate story. “I tell him before every game: ‘Be nobody but yourself. That’s why we brought you here,'” Davis said. “I think a lot of times, he tries to go passive and to start passing the basketball, looking for other guys, which is great, but kind of takes him out of a rhythm. And he can do the same for guys while being aggressive.”
  • Carmelo Anthony is averaging 15 PPG in his new role as the Lakers’ top reserve. Anthony, who is playing for the veteran’s minimum, has proven he can be effective off the bench after being the No. 1 scoring option most of his career, as McMenamin notes at “I’m still here doing it,” Anthony said. “I think that’s what I’m honestly excited about. I’m here in Year 19 still doing what I’m able to do. Still passionate about the game. Still passionate about coming to work every day and getting better.”
  • Marcus Morris felt good after playing 31 minutes for the Clippers on Tuesday, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. Morris had missed a month due to knee soreness. “Take a month off, I think I looked good myself,” he said. “Shots will come, rhythm will come, I’m a veteran, just felt great to be out there.”