Kyle Kuzma

Lakers Notes: A. Davis, Deadline Deals, LeBron

Despite Jeanie Bussinsistence that the Lakers‘ reported offers for Anthony Davis last month were “fake news,” Shams Charania of The Athletic reiterates that L.A. made “several aggressive offers” for the Pelicans’ star, with Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart all included in at least one proposal. However, sources told Charania that the Pelicans had no intent of moving Davis before the offseason, and especially not to the Lakers.

As we previously relayed this week, Buss and the Lakers reportedly believe that rival teams were leaking stories in order to hurt L.A.’s chemistry. However, Charania suggests that Buss may not have been aware of “every aspect of the play-by-play” of those trade discussions, and writes that the Pelicans were also frustrated by the public nature of the talks.

“We get off the phone with (the Lakers), and a minute later, offers are out there,” a Pelicans source said to Charania.

The idea that the Pelicans were leaking the trade offers to hurt the Lakers has become a popular – and somewhat logical – theory, but it hasn’t been confirmed, so the comments by Charania’s source shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. It’s worth noting that most of the reports on those specific offers came from a Los Angeles-based source, the L.A. Times.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Sources tell Charania that the Lakers’ coaching staff and front office both wanted to add more shooting to the roster at the trade deadline, which was what led to the deals for Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala. Bullock has been solid, but the trade for Muscala, which cost the team Ivica Zubac, hasn’t been a success so far.
  • Speaking to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), LeBron James expanded on what he means when he says that “inexperience” has been a problem for the Lakers this season: “You have four guys in our top-eight rotation that you have to really rely on and it’s unfair to them to ask for so much when they’re in their second or third year.”
  • In a discussion on the Lakers’ season and future, a panel of ESPN.com writers primarily assigned the blame for a disappointing 2018/19 showing to the front office.

Injury Updates: Zion, Anderson, Embiid, Kuzma

Duke star Zion Williamson appears unlikely to play in Saturday’s showdown vs. North Carolina, but fans hoping to watch Williamson during March Madness shouldn’t be worried. In fact, head coach Mike Krzyzewski believes Williamson could return before the NCAA Tournament, dismissing speculation that the forward might shut it down for the season after his recent knee injury.

“He’s getting more confidence, and we just have to get him in shape,” Krzyzewski said, per David M. Hale of ESPN.com. “I don’t think he’ll be ready for [UNC] … but I would be surprised if he wasn’t ready by the ACC tournament.”

As we wait to get another look at the player who will be selected first overall in 2019’s draft, here are a few more injury updates on guys who are already in the NBA:

  • Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson will receive an anesthetic injection in the hopes of alleviating soreness in his right shoulder, the team announced in a press release. Anderson, who hasn’t played since January 30, will be re-evaluated in about two weeks.
  • Joel Embiid still isn’t quite ready to return to action for the Sixers. As Martin Frank of The Delaware News Journal relays, head coach Brett Brown is still hoping that Embiid will play this week, but the star center didn’t travel to Chicago for Wednesday’s game. “I believe there’s a chance that he may meet us in Houston (where the Sixers play on Friday),” Brown said of Embiid.
  • A precautionary MRI for Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma confirmed that he’s dealing with a minor ankle sprain, according to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com, who tweets that Kuzma could be sidelined for up to a week.

Jeanie Buss: Lakers’ Anthony Davis Offer Was “Fake News”

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss says reports of what her team offered to the Pelicans in an attempt to land Anthony Davis were exaggerated, tweets Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Buss addressed the rumors in a speech today at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. She couldn’t mention Davis by name because of tampering rules, but said leaks that the Lakers were willing to trade “our entire roster” for “a certain player” were “fake news.”

A report just before last month’s trade deadline said L.A. was prepared to give up all its young talent, offering Brandon IngramLonzo BallKyle KuzmaIvica Zubac and Josh Hart to New Orleans, along with a pair of first-round draft picks.

The denial from Buss meshes with a report yesterday by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, notes Christian Rivas of Silver Screen and Roll.

“My sources have told me within the last 48 hours that what we’ve heard the Lakers offered may not be true,” MacMullen said in an appearance on “The Jump.” “… I think there’s some question about just how much did they offer. Did they even get a chance to offer anything?”

There were rumors in the week before the deadline that former Pelicans GM Dell Demps was refusing to take calls from the Lakers to give them a chance to talk about Davis, so MacMullan may be right when she speculates that a formal offer was never made.

No one has confirmed which players L.A. would have been willing to part with to acquire Davis, but there have been reports that the trade talk had a negative effect on many of those whose names were mentioned. The Lakers haven’t played well since the deadline, falling into 10th place in the West with a 30-32 record.

L.A.’s trade plans involving Davis should become clearer once the season is over and negotiations can resume. However, the Lakers will find a more competitive playing field, with the Celtics and Knicks expected to become actively involved, along with other teams.

Latest On Anthony Davis

Some members of the Pelicans organization want to get the Anthony Davis trade done today to eliminate the public relations distraction, but those feelings don’t go all the way to the top, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). The NFL’s Saints remain the priority for owner Gayle Benson and VP Mickey Loomis, who aren’t bothered by the Davis situation.

There’s more news about the top name on the trade market:

  • The Lakers’ last offer to the Pelicans involved Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart and a pair of first-round picks, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. He suggests the Celtics are prepared to offer Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, Al Horford (assuming he opts in) and possibly three first-round picks this summer.
  • Davis will pressure the Pelicans to start playing him if he’s not dealt before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link). “Every game,” a source said. Davis has been sidelined with a fractured left index finger, but recently received medical clearance.
  • Gambadoro expects Davis to be in the lineup for tomorrow’s game against Minnesota (Twitter link).

Lakers Reportedly Pull Out Of Anthony Davis Trade Talks

The Lakers have pulled out of negotiations with the Pelicans about a trade for Anthony Davis, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. According to the source, the Lakers balked at New Orleans’ “outrageous” requests for Davis.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski follows up on Turner’s report, tweeting that the Lakers would be willing to re-engage with the Pelicans before Thursday’s trade deadline, but no longer want to bid against themselves. They’ll wait for New Orleans to make a counter-offer, per Wojnarowski, who calls the Lakers’ approach a negotiating tactic pushing the Pelicans to be more active in the process (Twitter link).

According to Turner, Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson informed Pelicans GM Dell Demps on Tuesday that the team had made its best offer for Davis and would be moving on rather than continuing to add to that package.

Late on Monday night, the Lakers increased their offer for Davis once more, according to Turner, who says that the Lakers were willing to send their entire young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Ivica Zubac to New Orleans. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and two first-round picks would also have been included in the swap, and the Lakers were willing to take on Solomon Hill‘s pricey multiyear contract, per the Times’ report.

While it’s hard to see how the Lakers could add much more to that offer, the Pelicans have reportedly sought four first-round picks and multiple second-round picks from L.A. as part of the package. The Lakers don’t intend to send six (or more) draft picks to the Pelicans, per Turner’s source.

“(The Pelicans) wanted more and more and more,” one source told Turner. “There was no more to give. They had cap relief with Hill being in the deal. But the more they wanted, the more it because outrageous and unrealistic.”

Reports we relayed earlier today suggested that the Pelicans felt they needed to be “overcompensated” to seriously consider sending Davis to the Lakers this week, since they think there will be more options available to them in the summer — particularly since the Celtics can enter the mix at that point.

The Pelicans also reportedly believe that the current Lakers offer will still be available in the offseason, though Turner notes that L.A. has indicated that won’t be the case. The Lakers don’t want to get into a bidding war with Boston in the offseason, according to Turner, who has previously suggested that the club may shift its focus to star free agents if it doesn’t acquire AD this week.

Turner adds that one person told him that New Orleans is hopeful that Davis will reverse course and recommit to the Pelicans if he remains on the roster through the deadline, though that seems pretty unlikely. According to Scott Kushner of The Advocate (Twitter link), multiple sources “strongly deny” that the Pelicans are still holding out hope for a long-term union with Davis.

In related news, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported this morning that Davis feels “healthy” following his finger injury and had hoped to return to action for the Pels on Monday night against Indiana, but the organization elected to keep him inactive. The All-Star big man almost certainly won’t suit up for New Orleans again until after the deadline, assuming he returns to the club at all.

Pelicans Leaning Toward Keeping Davis Past Deadline

The Lakers are fighting an uphill battle to finalize a deal for Anthony Davis before the trade deadline, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. There’s significant support within the Pelicans organization to retain Davis for the remainder of the season and revisit trade talks during the offseason, when several new and different scenarios would be available to them, Wojnarowski adds.

The Lakers are growing increasingly pessimistic the Pelicans will make a deal with them, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets.

The Lakers upped the ante on Monday in their zeal to acquire Davis, who can become a free agent in the summer of 2020. They are presently offering the Pelicans a package built around three young starters — Brandon IngramKyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball— and two first-round picks. They’re also willing to take on Solomon Hill‘s contract, which runs through next season.

Los Angeles president Magic Johnson had multiple phone conversations with New Orleans GM Dell Demps on Monday. Davis expanded his list of teams that he’d consider signing with in the long term besides the Lakers, including the Bucks, Clippers and Knicks.  But the Clippers and Bucks have yet to make offers for Davis and the Knicks haven’t contacted Demps since trading Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, league sources told Wojnarowski.

The Celtics remain anxious to trade for Davis during the offseason and pair him with Kyrie Irving, though their plan to pursue Davis remains unaffected by whatever Irving might do in free agency. The Celtics remain confident they’ll re-sign Irving, Wojnarowski adds.

New Orleans is hopeful the Celtics might include their top young player, Jayson Tatum, along with a package of first-round picks. By waiting past the deadline, the Pelicans would also have a better idea what type of first-round picks the Celtics could convey to them.

Trade Rumors: Davis, Hill, Ball, Mavs, Favors

One key to an Anthony Davis trade is whether the Pelicans can acquire a player with All-NBA potential as part of the package. That’s among the priorities for New Orleans’ front office, which is also seeking young talent, draft picks and salary-cap relief for Davis, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. If the Pelicans view Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma or Lonzo Ball as that type of player — all of whom are rumored to be in the latest offer from the Lakers — that would increase the possibility of Davis going to Los Angeles. If New Orleans sees that potential in the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, the team may wait until the offseason, when Boston has the freedom to trade for Davis.

We have more trade buzz from around the league:

  • The Pelicans are hoping to dump Solomon Hill‘s contract in any trade involving Davis and if the Lakers were to acquire him, they would use the stretch provision on his contract, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Hill is making $12.52MM this season with another guaranteed $12.76MM next season. That three-year stretch would count as $4,257,927 annually and the Lakers would also have an empty roster charge of $897,158 added during the offseason if they waived him, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.
  • Lonzo Ball‘s outspoken father is at it again, telling ESPN that if his son gets traded, he wants him to land with the Suns, Ohm Youngmisuk tweets. “We want to be in LA. But if he’s traded, I don’t want Lonzo in New Orleans,” LaVar Ball said. “Phoenix is the best fit for him. And I am going to speak it into existence.”
  • In the aftermath of the blockbuster deal with the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says the team is laying low prior to Thursday’s trade deadline, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. “We’re not actively pursuing anything,” Cuban said.
  • The Wizards have significant interest in Jazz forward Derrick Favors, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. Favors has been rumored to be part of the package Utah would send to the Grizzlies for Mike Conley. The Jazz are also interested in Otto Porter Jr. and Washington would want Favors in any deal involving its small forward, Jones adds. However, the Wizards are considered unlikely to move Porter this week.

Lakers Make New Offer For Anthony Davis

2:42pm: The Lakers are willing to surrender Ball, Kuzma, Ingram, Rondo, Beasley, Lance Stephenson, and two first-round picks for Davis and Hill, reports Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

That reported offer fits the description Wojnarowski provided, as it includes three promising young players, multiple draft picks, and cap relief in the form of Hill’s contract. Of course, New Orleans doesn’t have any open roster spots, so a 6-for-2 deal might be a little problematic, but if the Pelicans like the offer, that obstacle could probably be overcome.

The Lakers are waiting on the Pelicans to respond, Turner tweets.

2:04pm: The Lakers have offered up a new package for Anthony Davis, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that Los Angeles put an offer on the table that includes multiple young players, multiple draft picks, and cap relief for the Pelicans.

Wojnarowski suggests (via Twitter) that there’s no sense of how much progress the two sides have made, but the Lakers have “absolutely gotten more serious” in negotiations, and their latest offer moves closer to what the Pelicans want to get out of a Davis trade. Pelicans GM Dell Demps and Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson have had multiple conversations today, per Wojnarowski.

There were conflicting reports last week on what exactly the Lakers’ offer(s) to the Pelicans looked like. A Los Angeles Times report indicated that L.A. had put five different scenarios on the table for New Orleans, with one of those packages featuring Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick. However, the offer reported by Woj was less impressive, with Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley in place of Ingram and Zubac.

Wojnarowski’s latest report suggests that the Lakers’ newest offer probably looks a little different than both of those previously reported packages. If the Lakers are offering “cap relief,” that presumably means they’d be acquiring more than just Davis. Solomon Hill‘s contract ($12.52MM this season and $12.76MM next season) is the one the Pelicans would most like to get rid of, so he could be part of L.A.’s offer.

Earlier today, we learned that Davis’ camp informed the Pelicans he’d be willing to re-sign with the Lakers, Knicks, Clippers, or Bucks if he’s traded. However, the Knicks and Bucks would be hard-pressed to put together a viable package for Davis, and the Clippers have yet to make an offer, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Lakers, Pelicans To Resume Anthony Davis Trade Talks

The Lakers and Pelicans will have more discussions regarding Anthony Davis before Thursday’s trade deadline, according to Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times.

Updating the progress of negotiations, the Times writers state that the Lakers submitted five offers to New Orleans on Wednesday, but Pelicans officials have yet to hold internal discussions on them. Multiple sources told the Times that one of the offers would send Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Ivica Zubac and a first-round pick to the Pelicans.

New Orleans is reportedly mulling over a counter-offer that would seek a pair of first-round picks and would send a Pelicans player to the Lakers. Besides Davis and Jrue Holiday, whom New Orleans intends to keep, the only significant contracts for next season belong to Solomon Hill ($12,758,781) and E’Twaun Moore ($8,664,928). Julius Randle has a player option worth a little more than $9MM.

Davis remains the focus of the Lakers’ trade efforts, but L.A. is also seeking shooters, presumably to replenish the team if it trades four players for Davis. Ganguli reported earlier tonight that the Lakers called the Pistons about Reggie Bullock, who is shooting 38.3% from downtown and ranks 14th in the league with 2.4 3-pointers per game.

Pelicans Unimpressed By Lakers’ ‘Underwhelming’ Offers

Los Angeles is reportedly Anthony Davis‘ preferred landing spot but the Lakers‘ early offers for the talented big man have been underwhelming, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

In their first offer for Davis, the Lakers’ package included Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and a first-round pick, Wojnarowski writes. The Lakers’ offers to the Pelicans’ have been limited to two of the organization’s top young players, one first-round pick and no salary relief, sources tell the ESPN scribe.

Wojnarowski compared the Lakers’ pursuit of Davis to the organization’s attempts to acquire Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in recent seasons. While L.A. had significant interest, the club’s offers underwhelmed the Spurs and Pacers, respectively, and both players were traded elsewhere.

While the two teams’ basketball decision-makers, Magic Johnson and Dell Demps, remain in touch, the Pelicans feel the early offers have not warranted a response or counter-offer, per ESPN’s report. The NBA trade deadline is five days away, which gives both sides time to find common ground on a trade.

As we relayed yesterday, the Knicks and Celtics are among the other teams with interest in Davis. However, the Knicks traded perhaps their most valuable asset in Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks after including him in offers for Davis. Also, the Celtics remain interested in Davis, but their ability to make an offer is restricted until July, and AD’s camp seems to be taking extra measures to push him toward the Lakers.

On Friday, Davis made his first comments since his trade request went public. The five-time All-Star explained he wants a new challenge after seven seasons in New Orleans, per Stefano Fusaro on ESPN Now.

“I just feel like it is my time,” Davis said. “Gave the city, organization, fans, everything I felt like I could do. I don’t know how long I’m going to play this game. People’s careers are short. I felt like it is my time to move on.”

Davis is sidelined with an injured left index finger, which he said will be re-evaluated after Saturday’s game in San Antonio. While he intends to return to action once he is medically cleared, there’s a chance the Pelicans will sit the big man for the rest of the season if a trade is not made.