Lonnie Walker

Trade Rumors: Irving, Lakers, Walker, Rozier, Mavs, More

Many around the league believe Kyrie Irving‘s preferred landing spot is the Lakers, according to reports from Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports and Marc Stein at Substack, among others.

Count Lakers legend Magic Johnson, formerly the team’s president of basketball operations, as a supporter of acquiring Irving.

Personally, I’d love to see Kyrie in the purple and gold,” he said (via Twitter).

Irving, of course, won a championship with LeBron James while the two were on the Cavaliers in 2015/16. James also acknowledged Irving’s trade request, cryptically tweeting out an eye emoji and a crown.

However, the Nets are expected to be a buyer at the deadline, which could complicate matters, Stein notes. It’s hard to imagine getting equal value for Irving considering the market for him is reportedly pretty thin.

The Lakers do indeed have interest in Irving, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The likely framework would be Russell Westbrook and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in exchange for Irving and Joe Harris, per Buha’s sources.

L.A. would push to lottery-protect at least one of those picks, according to Buha, who suggests a third team might have to be involved, depending on Brooklyn’s goals. The Lakers don’t have interest in trading Austin Reaves or Max Christie in a potential Irving package, sources tell Buha.

Interestingly, Lonnie Walker and Patrick Beverley could be involved in an Irving deal or in another trade in order to upgrade the rotation, Buha reports. Beverley’s inclusion is no surprise, but this is the first time this season I’ve seen Walker’s name involved in trade rumors.

Here are more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Lakers have reportedly had preliminary talks with the Jazz regarding Westbrook, but they remain interested in Hornets guard Terry Rozier, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
  • Executives with knowledge of Dallas’ plans tell Goodwill that the Mavericks would definitely take Irving, the question is at what cost. Head coach Jason Kidd is a proponent of acquiring the star point guard, according to Fischer’s sources. Dallas has “confidence in Kidd’s coaching ability to connect with Irving,” Stein writes.
  • There isn’t universal agreement within the Mavericks‘ organization about adding Irving, however. Some front office members have concerns about Irving’s long-term fit with Luka Doncic, according to sources Tim Cato of The Athletic spoke to. The concern is centered on how they’d mesh in the locker room, as they have “drastically different off-court personas.”
  • According to Stein, the Nets are believed to be interested Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith in a potential Irving deal, but the Mavericks “would surely insist” on trying to shed the contract of either Tim Hardaway Jr. or Davis Bertans. Dinwiddie played for the Nets from 2016-2021, so they’re very familiar with him as a person and player.
  • The Mavericks are also interested in Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, as “they’re desperate and determined” to get help for Doncic, says Goodwill.

Pacific Notes: Walker, Reaves, Fox, Paul, Crowder, Warriors

Lakers guard Lonnie Walker could return to the lineup for Saturday’s matchup in Boston, tweets ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Walker plans to test his knee before the game to see if he’s ready to go. If he does play, he says he’ll likely be restricted to around 20-25 minutes.

Walker, who last played a month ago, has been dealing with left knee tendinitis. He has missed 14 consecutive games with the injury.

Austin Reaves is not ready to return yet, however. The second-year guard will be reevaluated next Thursday, as Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group relays (via Twitter). Reaves has missed the last 11 games with a left hamstring strain.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Nekias Duncan of BasketballNews.com details why he believes Kings guard De’Aaron Fox should be the early frontrunner for the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year award.
  • Jae Crowder signed with Phoenix in the 2020 offseason, which is also when the Suns traded for Chris Paul. The 11-time All-NBA point guard says he misses the veteran forward, who has yet to play this season as the team tries to trade him. “Jae, 9-9, I miss him,” Paul said, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I miss him. Ain’t no secret about it. That’s one of our brothers.”
  • The Warriors have been using some small-ball lineups featuring four guards and Draymond Green at center in recent games, and that is having an impact on the rest of the team’s big men, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. For example, James Wiseman has been active the past two games after recovering from a left ankle sprain, but he’s fourth on the current center depth chart behind Green, Kevon Looney and JaMychal Green, so he hasn’t played in either contest. “Do the math,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s hard to get four centers into a game, especially in 2023.”

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.

Pincus’ Latest: VanVleet, Rozier, Russell, Conley, More

There’s a huge market for Fred VanVleet if the Raptors decide to trade him, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

The 28-year-old guard will be a free agent this summer if he turns down a $22.8MM player option, which Pincus says many league insiders expect to happen. VanVleet can negotiate an extension with Toronto through June 30, but the Raptors could try to move him before the deadline if they aren’t confident about reaching a new deal.

Pincus hears that the Heat, Lakers, Clippers, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Suns and Wizards would be among the most interested teams if VanVleet is made available. He also throws in the Magic, who are seeking an experienced lead guard to play alongside their young core.

The Raptors will want a premium price if they decide to part with VanVleet, Pincus adds, with some combination of young talent, draft assets and players on team-friendly contracts.

Pincus looks at a few other guards who could be changing teams before the deadline:

  • With the Hornets near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, they may be willing to consider trading Terry Rozier, who has three more years and nearly $75MM left on his contract. Pincus notes that Charlotte discussed dealing Rozier to the Lakers last offseason and points out that Marc Stein recently identified the Suns as a possible suitor.
  • Pincus hears that the Heat, Suns, Mavericks and Clippers would all be interested in trading for D’Angelo Russell if the Timberwolves can’t reach an extension soon with the impending free agent.
  • Pincus lists the Lakers, Clippers and Timberwolves as teams in the market for Mike Conley if the Jazz decide to part with their veteran point guard. Conley has a $14.32MM guarantee on his $24.4MM salary for next season and would be much cheaper to acquire than Van Vleet.
  • Eric Gordon is attracting interest from the Suns, Lakers and Bucks, but Pincus believes the Rockets may not get the first-round pick they want in return. He suggests Houston might have to settle for a pick swap, using the 2023 first-rounder the team is owed from Milwaukee.
  • The Lakers haven’t given up trying to trade Russell Westbrook, but Pincus says they’re not willing to part with their two available first-round picks unless they get a star in return. He adds that L.A. may focus on smaller deals involving Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker in an effort to find wing depth or a backup big man.
  • The Hawks aren’t looking to move Trae Young now, but a source tells Pincus that it could be a consideration during the offseason. Young has clashed with coach Nate McMillan, and Atlanta’s overall turmoil may lead the team to seek a fresh start.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Walker, Reaves, Trade Market

After ESPN’s Dave McMenamin said on Friday that Anthony Davis could be back in action at some point next week, a series of other reporters confirmed that news, including Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Mark Medina of NBA.com (Twitter link), and Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

The general consensus among those reporters is that if everything proceeds according to plan with Davis’ recovery from a foot injury and he remains pain-free, he could play as early as Tuesday or Wednesday in one of the Lakers’ home games. However, a return next Saturday in Boston for the start of the team’s five-game road trip may be the safer bet.

According to Woike, the Lakers have to share an official timeline for Davis’ recovery, with head coach Darvin Ham telling reporters on Friday only that the big man would go through a “1-on-0” workout on Saturday as he ramps up toward group practices with contact.

“We’ve maintained throughout the process there’s no timeline.” Ham said before the team’s win over Memphis. “And we’re just throwing different things at him.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Injured wing Lonnie Walker (knee), who is due to be reevaluated on Saturday, appears to be getting close to a return and is being classified as day-to-day, according to Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • Lakers guard Austin Reaves isn’t as close as Walker to making it back on the court. The plan is for Reaves to be reevaluated late next week, Ham said on Friday (link via Woike).
  • The Lakers are one of many potential buyers around the NBA who are hoping that more sellers will emerge and begin to engage more seriously in trade discussions starting next week, Wojnarowski said in an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Countdown (YouTube video link). “I don’t think there’s any big, big deals for the Lakers out there, but I do think they’re going to be active around the edges to try to improve this team,” Woj said.

Lakers Notes: Cousins, Leonard, Brown, Davis, Reaves, Walker

DeMarcus Cousins and Meyers Leonard were impressive during workouts with the Lakers, coach Darvin Ham told reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPN, after Saturday’s practice. Both free agent centers auditioned Friday for L.A., which is seeking frontcourt help with Anthony Davis sidelined by a foot injury.

“They both looked great,” Ham said. “Whether or not we’re able to do something with them is a different story. But we’re constantly trying to kick the tires on different scenarios.”

Cousins, a four-time All-Star, is hoping for another NBA opportunity at age 32 after playing for the Bucks and Nuggets last season. McMenamin notes that Cousins signed with the Lakers as a free agent in 2019, but an injury suffered during that summer prevented him from playing. Even though he was waived in February of that season, he remained close to the team and received a championship ring when L.A. won the title.

Leonard, 30, is hoping to revive his career after being out of the league since 2021 due to injuries and the fallout from an antisemitic slur. During that time, he has been rehabbing after shoulder and ankle surgeries, according to McMenamin, and working to repair his reputation.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Sterling Brown‘s 10-day contract will expire Sunday night, and Ham was noncommittal when asked if the team plans to keep him on the roster, McMenamin adds. Brown, who also played for Ham when he was an assistant coach with the Bucks, has gone scoreless in four games with L.A. while averaging 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 6.0 minutes per night. “It depends on our health status and what we feel comfortable doing and making as a next step,” Ham said. The Lakers currently have a full roster and would need to open up a spot before they could sign Cousins or Leonard.
  • Davis, who has been out of action since December 16, did some on-court work during today’s practice, tweets Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Ham said Davis is “trending in the right direction.”
  • Austin Reaves, who’s dealing with a strained left hamstring, was able to do individual drills at practice today, tweets Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. Ham said Lonnie Walker is making progress toward returning from left knee tendinitis. Both players are projected to have their conditions reevaluated sometime this week.

Lakers’ Walker, Reaves Each Out At Least Two Weeks

The Lakers shared some bad news on Friday, announcing that two of their rotation players will be sidelined for at least the next couple weeks due to injuries.

As Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet tweets, Lonnie Walker has been diagnosed with left knee tendinitis and Austin Reaves has a left hamstring strain. The plan is for the team to reevaluate both players in approximately two weeks, Trudell adds.

While neither injury will have as significant an on-court impact as the foot ailment that’s keeping star big man Anthony Davis on the shelf, Walker and Reaves have been the Lakers’ most-used players this season outside of Davis and LeBron James.

Walker has started all 32 games he has played for the Lakers this season and has averaged 29.8 minutes per contest, the club’s third-highest mark. He’s enjoying a career year so far, with 14.7 PPG on .455/.384/.875 shooting.

Reaves, who ranks fourth on the team with 28.9 minutes per game, has averaged 10.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on .488/.360/.896 shooting in his 36 appearances.

With the two guards out of action until at least later this month, the Lakers will have to lean more heavily on the likes of Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schröder, and Patrick Beverley, as well as Juan Toscano-Anderson, who started Wednesday’s game. Kendrick Nunn and Max Christie will also move up the depth chart and could have a shot at cracking the rotation.

Troy Brown is another candidate for an increased role, though he’s dealing with a left quad strain and has been downgraded from questionable to out for Friday’s game vs. Atlanta, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Lakers Notes: Draft Picks, LeBron, Walker, Davis, Brown, Schröder

Speaking to Chris Mannix of SI.com on The Crossover NBA Show, SI.com’s Howard Beck observes that the Lakers‘ front office vowed after LeBron James signed an offseason extension to upgrade its 2022/23 roster, but now seems less inclined to trade the team’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks for win-now pieces.

“I’ve heard rumblings, and these are only rumblings, I don’t want people to go too far with this or go crazy with the aggregation,” Beck said. “But a couple people around the league have told me in recent weeks that they believe that the front office has essentially been told not to trade the picks. That they’re guarding those.

“If that’s the case, that speaks to a couple things. One, you’re feeling pretty insecure about your future, post-LeBron. You think those picks are going to be so valuable in 2027 and 2029 that giving them up would be catastrophic for you. You’re also showing a lack of faith in your ability to trade those picks and find another way to rebuild in whatever the post-LeBron years are.

“You’re also indicating — again, if it’s true that they are just completely unwilling to put those picks on the table, then that means you’re also, by definition, willing to flush this season, because those are your best tools… for improving in the immediate term.”

Reports in recent months have indicated that the Lakers are only interested in moving both of those future first-round picks if there’s a deal that significantly improves their title chances. Anthony Davis‘ foot injury also reportedly lowered the chances that the club will trade one or both picks in a major trade, though if L.A. can stay in the play-in mix in the coming weeks and Davis returns later this month, perhaps the club will reconsider that stance at the February 9 trade deadline.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Head coach Darvin Ham said on Wednesday that he doesn’t expect either James (non-COVID illness) or Lonnie Walker (left knee soreness) to be out much longer, according to Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group. Ham stated that LeBron is dealing with a “common cold,” while Walker has “a little bit of tendonitis.”
  • Ham also shared a minor update on Davis’ recovery, indicating that everything is “going right according to plan,” Goon adds. The Lakers have been conducting continuous MRIs on Davis’ injured foot and he hasn’t experienced any setbacks in his recovery process.
  • Lakers wing Troy Brown left Wednesday’s game due to a left quad strain and didn’t return, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The club has yet to issue an update on Brown’s status going forward, so it’s unclear whether he’ll miss additional time.
  • With the Lakers already shorthanded due to injuries, Dennis Schröder was determined to stay in Wednesday’s game after rolling his right ankle in the fourth quarter, McMenamin writes for ESPN.com. Schröder not only finished the game — he scored a season-high 32 points and helped lead the Lakers to an improbable win over Miami. “I just try to be there for my teammates,” he said. “I felt pretty good after (turning the ankle). Of course, it was sore, and it hurt. But I know my limits.”
  • Schröder was one of several Lakers on minimum-salary contracts to play a major role in the victory, alongside Thomas Bryant (21 points, nine rebounds), Austin Reaves (11 points), and Wenyen Gabriel (10 points). “I just think different guys are settling into their roles, getting more comfortable with more reps, more minutes,” Ham said, per McMenamin. “When we do get our big dogs back, whether it’s Bron, AD, both of them back — Lonnie, as well — it just makes us that much stronger, that much deeper, because now guys have confidence. They have the ultimate confidence because they’ve gotten the reps.”

Health Updates: LeBron, Walker, Prince, Bucks, SGA

LeBron James has been helping to keep the Lakers in the play-in race, averaging 36.6 points per game on 58.5% shooting during the club’s 3-2 road trip that wrapped up on Monday.

However, James won’t be available when the Lakers return home and host the Heat on Wednesday. He has been ruled out for the game due to a non-COVID illness, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Lakers guard Lonnie Walker will also miss his third consecutive contest, McMenamin adds. Previously listed as out due to a tailbone contusion, Walker is now on the injury report with left knee soreness.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince intends to make his return to action on Wednesday night vs. Portland, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Prince, who was dealing with a right shoulder subluxation, last played on November 23 — he has missed Minnesota’s last 20 games.
  • After playing on Tuesday night vs. Washington, Jrue Holiday (non-COVID illness) and Joe Ingles (left knee injury management) have been ruled out for the second half of the Bucks‘ back-to-back set on Wednesday in Toronto, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Khris Middleton (right knee soreness) and George Hill (non-COVID illness) will also remain sidelined.
  • Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed Tuesday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, but he’s not on Wednesday’s injury report, so it appears he’ll be available tonight in Orlando, tweets Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder.

Pacific Notes: Vezenkov, Walker, Leonard, Williams

Sasha Vezenkov may not play for the Kings in the near future. The EuroLeague star has signed a contract extension with Olympiacos through the 2024/25 season, Eurohoops.net relays.

The Kings acquired the NBA rights to Vezenkov, 27, from Cleveland in a draft-day trade. However, the contract does include a buyout of over one million euros (approximately $1.1MM in U.S. dollars). He was named to the All-EuroLeague First Team last season and is enjoying another highly productive season.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lonnie Walker IV will miss his second straight game on Monday against the Hornets because of a tailbone contusion, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Walker is averaging 14.7 points in his first season with the Lakers.
  • Kawhi Leonard is listed as questionable for the Clippers’ game against Miami on Monday due to a non-COVID illness, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times tweets. Leonard has averaged 23.2 points in his last four games.
  • Suns coach Monty Williams believes the adversity the team is going through could be beneficial in the long run, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Williams suggested that when Phoenix cruised to the league’s best record last season, things may have come too easy. “Last year, I felt like we won, but we didn’t learn. I love winning, but I think it’s a benefit to your program to continue to learn, and win. … I think all of this is going to pay dividends for us going forward, if we learn,” Williams said.