Juan Toscano-Anderson

Lakers Notes: Davis, Hachimura, Pelinka, Walker, Reaves

The Lakers are using Anthony Davis off the bench in his return to action tonight after he missed five-and-a-half weeks with right foot issues, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. It marks just the sixth time in Davis’ career that he will be a reserve and the first since the 2013/14 season. Team doctors gave him clearance to play after watching his pre-game warmup.

“I’m happy for him, first and foremost,” coach Darvin Ham said. “I know how frustrating this process has been for him, especially at the level at which he was playing. I’m just happy for him, and definitely happy for us. We’ll get him out there, we won’t go too crazy with his minutes, and see how he responds.”

Davis will be kept on a restriction for a while, expected to begin at about 20-24 minutes per game. Ham told reporters he plans to arrange Davis’ playing time so he’s available late in the fourth quarter in case games are close. He also expressed confidence that Davis is fully ready to return after completing rehab.

“He’s gone through some rigorous therapy, weight training, weight-bearing exercises, activity on the court — both individually and some group workouts,” Ham said. “We would save him from himself if we thought there was any type of threat or harm that he could do to himself. So he had these boxes that he had to check, and he’s checked all of them. So we feel comfortable with him appearing tonight.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • Newly acquired Rui Hachimura should take minutes away from Troy Brown, Wenyen Gabriel and Juan Toscano-Anderson in the Lakers’ frontcourt, Jovan Buha of The Athletic states in a discussion with fellow Athletic writer Josh Robbins about Monday’s trade. Buha sees Hachimura as an upgrade in terms of size and athleticism, though Robbins cautions that he focused too much on scoring with the Wizards and didn’t develop other parts of his game.
  • After the Hachimura deal, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said the Lakers will only consider trading their 2027 or 2029 first-round picks if the deal makes them a championship “front-runner,” but Buha observes in a separate story that there doesn’t appear to be an available trade that would do that. Pelinka promised that the team will remain active in the trade market, but Buha doesn’t believe expectations should be high.
  • Lonnie Walker and Austin Reaves will both be reevaluated Friday before the Lakers leave on a five-game road trip, tweets Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Walker, who was listed as questionable for tonight’s game, has left knee tendinitis, while Reaves is recovering from a strained left hamstring.

Pacific Notes: Okogie, JTA, Lakers, Fox

The Suns‘ last three games have represented reserve swingman Josh Okogie‘s three highest minutes totals of the season, and his doing his darnedest to capitalize on the extended run time, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports.

Okogie has gotten a bigger minutes load as a result to a variety of injuries up and down Phoenix’s roster. With Cameron Johnson and Torrey Craig both absent, Okogie has averaged 16.3 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.7 SPG, and a +14.7 plus-minus rating, in 25.7 MPG.

Bourguet notes that Okogie has especially shined defensively, a reality he himself has noticed and acknowledged.

“For me, it was just more so, like, ‘I’m not gonna get on the court scoring,’ you know what I’m saying?” Okogie said. “’Cause we had so many people who could do that on the team. So he needed me to be on the court to play some defense and lock somebody up.”

There’s more out of California:

  • Lakers backup small forward Juan Toscano-Anderson exited the team’s 126-113 loss to the Raptors last night with a sprained right ankle. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link), the team announced that Toscano-Anderson is expected to miss at least the next two weeks due to the injury, and will be reevaluated at that two-week mark.
  • Following an exciting 8-2 run that seemed to salvage the Lakers‘ 2022/23 season, the team more recently has dropped two straight contests thanks to the injury absences of Anthony Davis (who played just eight minutes in the first loss), LeBron James (who only missed last night’s loss) and Wenyen Gabriel (who missed both games). Buha writes in a story for The Athletic that it has become evident the team needs additional help up front.
  • Kings star point guard De’Aaron Fox has been hampered by pain in his right foot for over a month, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Fox’s shooting has taken a hit of late: across his past seven contests, the vet has made just 38.2% of his field goals and just 28.6% of his triples. According to Fox, there’s no risk of making the injury worse by playing, so he’s hoping to get used to tolerating it. “I’ve played well while it was hurting, so I’ll be fine,” he said.

Injury Notes: R. Williams, Toppin, Toscano-Anderson, Tate

We heard last month that Robert Williams hoped to return to the court by Christmas Day, but the latest word from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski suggests the Celtics big man could be back even earlier than that. Wojnarowski said during an appearance on NBA Today on Wednesday that Williams has made “great progress” and is getting close to making his season debut (Twitter video link via Dan Greenberg).

“The timeline right now is still potentially 10-to-12 days, but don’t rule out the possibility that Robert Williams wakes up one day and decides he’s ready to return,” Wojnarowski said. “I think we expect he’ll be back before Christmas.”

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the league:

  • Knicks forward Obi Toppin, who left Wednesday’s game in the second quarter with a sore right knee, is expected to undergo an MRI on Thursday to determine the extent of the injury, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
  • Lakers wing Juan Toscano-Anderson will also be undergoing an MRI after spraining his right ankle in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s loss in Toronto, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Toscano-Anderson has been out of L.A.’s rotation for most of the season and played more minutes (16) on Wednesday than he had since October 23. It sucks,” head coach Darvin Ham said of the 29-year-old getting hurt while getting a rare opportunity to play a role.
  • Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate, sidelined since October 30 due to a right ankle injury, began running earlier this week, but there’s still no timeline for his return, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Tate has appeared in just three games this season after signing a new three-year contract with the club in the offseason.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Offseason Additions, Trade Market

Anthony Davis is seeing more minutes at center since Darvin Ham became the Lakers‘ head coach and he’s still trying to get comfortable in that role, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. After Monday’s game, Davis looked back at L.A.’s last championship season when he was usually on the court with either JaVale McGee or Dwight Howard.

“I think roles just changed a little bit as far as me and positions,” he said. “In ’19/20, I was a roamer where I could be on whoever the forward is and help take everyone. It’s tough for me to do that when I’m guarding the five. Still can do it – still have to do it, find a way to do it.”

Goon notes that the Lakers have been through several centers since then, but none has been as effective. They tried Marc Gasol, Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan, and even brought Howard back. Thomas Bryant‘s thumb injury this season and Damian Jones‘ disappointing start have forced Davis to spend most of his time in the middle.

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • A 2-8 start has led to speculation that Davis might be traded, but the Lakers aren’t giving serious consideration to that option, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Buha points out that Davis is seeing the ball less since his switch to center, with a 25.5 usage percentage that’s the lowest since his second NBA season. However, his defense is as good as ever and Buha believes he would be the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year if L.A. had a better record.
  • Even though they aren’t winning, a lot of the Lakers’ offseason moves are working out, Buha adds. Lonnie Walker is fourth on the team in scoring and has been worth the investment of the mid-level exception; Troy Brown is starting and has been L.A.’s best 3-and-D option; and Juan Toscano-Anderson has provided energy and defense off the bench. An exception has been Patrick Beverley, who is posting career-low numbers in several offensive categories.
  • The Lakers will be “prudent” with their first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, says Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). With the team not even assured of reaching the playoffs, Charania hears that the front office may only be interested in “marginal” deals, rather than seeking a major trade involving those first-rounders.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Westbrook, Fox, Silver, Suns

It’s only a two-game sample, but the Lakers’ shortcomings are already in full view, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Their lack of perimeter shooting and depth at the wing has been noticeable in those losses. The Lakers have made just 13-of-58 3-point attempts (22.4%) in which the nearest defender is at least four feet away. The lack of wing depth was on display when they tried to guard Kawhi Leonard with a combination of Russell Westbrook and Juan Toscano-Anderson.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers need to move on from Westbrook immediately, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times opines, arguing that they would have defeated the Clippers if he hadn’t played or been on the roster. His poor shooting, reckless play and divisive personality will continue to prove costly on a team that otherwise looks feistier than last year’s, Plaschke adds.
  • De’Aaron Fox signed a five-year extension in November 2020 and he hopes to continue his relationship with the Kings for many seasons, as he told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I’ve never been the type of person that wants a big market,” Fox said. “(So) if I can go to a small market, and then win, those are the types of things that I feel like are more important to me. It’s being able to bring winning back to the city. That is definitely my goal.”
  • Commissioner Adam Silver met with Suns employees before their game against Dallas on Wednesday and expressed regret for the misconduct of owner Robert Sarver, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Sarver is now in the process of selling the team. “I’m incredibly empathetic to what many of you have lived through,” Silver said to those employees, who gathered in the lower bowl of the team’s arena hours. “To the extent that you feel let down by the league, I apologize. I take responsibility for that.”

Warriors Notes: Poole, Curry, Green, Toscano-Anderson, Thompson

After taking a punch from teammate Draymond Green, Jordan Poole was advised by some of his closest confidants that maybe he shouldn’t sign a rookie scale extension with the Warriors, Logan Murdock of The Ringer reports.

Members of Poole’s inner circle were concerned that the team dynamics would be too difficult to repair. Before Green was reinstated from his team-imposed suspension, Golden State officials ran it by Poole.

Ultimately, Poole couldn’t pass up the financial security, as he chose to ink a four-year extension that can be worth up to $140MM.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Stephen Curry is confident that Green will handle the adversity that he brought upon himself, Curry told Shayna Rubin of the Orange County Register. “He’ll figure it out. We will have his back for the entire process,” he said. “He doesn’t need anyone to hold his hand. He responds well to adversity and critics.”
  • Juan Toscano-Anderson, now a member of the Lakers, received his championship ring during the season opener on Tuesday. He told Jovan Buha of The Athletic beforehand that he’s grateful to be part of the ceremony. “I think it’s bittersweet, man,” Toscano-Anderson said. “… I’m excited to go back and get my ring. It’s pretty dope that I’m gonna be able to celebrate the ring ceremony on opening night with those guys, when the actual ring ceremony is bound to happen.”
  • While some of his teammates signed extensions, Klay Thompson is now ineligible to ink one until July under current CBA rules because he has two years remaining on his contract. He anticipates everything will work itself out, as told Mark Medina of NBA.com. “I fully expect to earn another NBA contract, whether it’s this summer or next summer,” Thompson said. “I’m fully confident in my abilities. I’m not worried about an extension in the meantime because I know it’ll happen if I just do my job and I just be myself.” He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2024 if he doesn’t eventually sign an extension.
  • What is the Warriors’ approach to its title defense and remaining a perennial contender? Anthony Slater of The Athletic takes a deep dive into those topics, exploring how the team’s two-timeline plan is progressing.

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Closing Lineup, Nunn, LeBron

While former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel benched Russell Westbrook late in games a small handful of times last season, new coach Darvin Ham will have more power to do so this season, assuming Westbrook remains on the roster and Ham decides there are better fits in crunch time, says Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Buha expects Westbrook to get opportunities to close out games, but notes that it will depend on his shooting, decision-making, and defense.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are, of course, locks to be part of the Lakers’ “closing” five, and Buha views Austin Reaves as the next-best bet to join that group because he can be a secondary ball-handler. Buha predicts that Juan Toscano-Anderson and Troy Brown will fill out the closing five in instances when Westbrook is on the bench.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Although Kendrick Nunn recently said he feels 100% healthy after missing the entire 2021/22 season due to a knee injury, he has yet to resume playing five-on-five, which will be the “next big hurdle” in his recovery process, Buha writes. The expectation for now is that Nunn will be ready to go for training camp.
  • Buha believes that the Lakers are done adding veteran free agents this offseason, and that any additional roster changes would come via trade. He notes that the team could also be active on the buyout market after the 2023 trade deadline.
  • LeBron James will become eligible on Thursday to sign a contract extension with the Lakers, but Chris Mannix of SI.com doesn’t believe James will be in any rush to sign that deal, since he can maintain leverage and keep pressure on the team by taking his time. He could sign that extension at any time up until June 30, 2023.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Collison, Monk, Leonard, Wall

The Lakers‘ five additions in free agency were targeted for speed, defense and shooting, writes Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. New head coach Darvin Ham is determined to bring a fresh approach to a team that finished in the bottom third of the league in both offensive and defensive rating last season. All five players who were introduced at today’s press conference talked about how they will blend into that system.

“I think I can fit on any team,” said former Warrior Juan Toscano-Anderson. “I think I can guard one through five. I’ll do whatever it takes to win, and when I say whatever, I mean it. I’ll dive over scorer’s tables. I’ll rebound. I’ll do whatever it takes.”

Along with a renewed emphasis on defense, L.A. hopes its free agency moves will provide increased spacing for its star players. Ex-Spur Lonnie Walker is coming off a season where he connected at just 31.4% from three-point range, but he vows to be better.

“Last year, you can look at the percentages, but I kid you not: Leave me open, we’re going to see what’s happening,” Walker said. “I’m honing into what I got to get better on, and I’m not just strengthening my weakness but I’m strengthening my strengths as well. So, I’m ready to show everyone what I’m about.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Free agent point guard Darren Collison worked out for the Lakers again today, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Collison, who was at a mini-camp with the team last month, is interested in returning to the NBA at age 34.
  • Malik Monk‘s long friendship with De’Aaron Fox played an important role in his decision to sign with the Kings, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Monk and Fox have been friends since high school and they were backcourt partners at Kentucky. “They speak all the time,” a source told Anderson. “They’re still in their college group chat, so they speak every day. Those guys are real brothers, so I’m excited for them both.”
  • Clippers star Kawhi Leonard hasn’t been cleared to play 5-on-5, but he continues to make progress in his return from an ACL injury, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk said on “NBA Today” (video link). Newly signed John Wall will compete with Reggie Jackson for the starting point guard spot, Youngmisuk adds.

Lakers Officially Sign Jones, Brown, Toscano-Anderson

The Lakers have officially completed three signings, according to a team press release. The trio of players are center Damian Jones, wing Troy Brown and wing Juan Toscano-Anderson.

Jones, Brown and Toscano-Anderson were all signed to minimum-salary contracts. Both Brown and JTA received one-year deals, while Jones got a two-year deal with a player option.

Jones, 27, had a solid season with the Kings in 2021/22 after struggling to find a standard roster spot in ’20/21. In 56 games this season (18.2 MPG), Jones averaged 8.1 PPG and 4.4 RPG while shooting 65.8% from the field and 71.8% from the line.

Brown, 22, was the 15th pick of the 2018 draft and spent his first two-plus seasons with Washington before being traded to Chicago last year. The Bulls declined his qualifying offer after he struggled to make an impact this season, averaging 4.3 PPG and 3.1 RPG on .419/.353/.769 shooting in 66 games (16 MPG).

Toscano-Anderson, 29, spent the last three seasons with the Warriors and recently won a title. In 73 games (13.6 MPG) in ’21/22, he averaged 4.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG and 1.7 APG on .489/.322/.571 shooting.

Because the three players are on minimum contracts, the deals can be completed before the transaction moratorium ends on July 6.

Juan Toscano-Anderson To Sign With Lakers

Free agent wing Juan Toscano-Anderson, who just won a championship with the Warriors, has agreed to a deal with the Lakers, agent Erika Ruiz told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

It’ll be a one-year, minimum-salary contract, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

As Haynes details, Toscano-Anderson went undrafted out of Marquette in 2015 and spent the next three seasons playing in the Mexican league prior to receiving a tryout with the Warriors’ G League affiliate in Santa Cruz. Obviously, he impressed Golden State with his athleticism and versatility, having spent the last three seasons with the Warriors’ NBA squad.

Across 139 games (17.1 MPG) from 2019-2022, JTA holds career averages of 4.8 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 2.2 APG on .523/.361/.613 shooting. At 29, his upside might be a bit limited, but his energy and enthusiasm should help a Lakers team that was quite old and lethargic last season.