Lonzo Ball

Pelicans Notes: Hart, Ball, Ingram, Melli

Josh Hart spoke with EVP of basketball operations David Griffin shortly after the Anthony Davis, pleading with the executive not to trade him, as he wanted to play for the Pelicans. During a press conference today that introduced Hart, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, Griffin said that it “meant a lot” to the team to have players who were “equally committed” to the franchise.

“We’re deep with selfless winners,” Griffin said (via Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register). “We’re deep with selfless high-character guys who wanna play any role they need to.”

Rival teams have called the Pelicans about all three former Lakers, according to Griffin, but the franchise has turned down inquiries for each player. The front office feels the trio can be part of the team’s future.

Here’s more from New Orleans:

  • Ball said it was “tough” dealing with trade rumors last season but he learned to deal with those distractions and others while playing in Los Angeles, Will Guillory of The Athletic relays on Twitter. Ball added that he’s excited to get back to playing the style of basketball he’s accustomed to.
  • Ingram said he is “pretty close” to resuming regular basketball activities, as ESPN relays. Ingram is recovering from surgery on his right arm that was performed to address a blood clot. Ingram added that he hasn’t played basketball since March. “I’m eager to pick up a basketball,” the forward added (via Guillory’s Twitter feed).
  • Nicolo Melli, who signed with the Pelicans this offseason, underwent knee surgery this offseason, Emiliano Carchia of Sportnado passes along. Melli agreed to sign with New Orleans via the room exception.

Southwest Notes: Westbrook, Hartenstein, Rabb, Ball, Grizzlies

Loyalty and friendship were a big part of the equation in the Rockets’ acquisition of Russell Westbrook, Kelly Iko of The Athletic reports. The Thunder wanted to grant Westbrook his preferred destination once OKC decided to go into full rebuild mode. His friendship with James Harden proved vital, according to Iko, and put Houston over the top compared to the Heat, the other main bidder for Westbrook. The Rockets’ front office believes the Westbrook and Harden pairing will work out, especially since they’ll be surrounded by shooters, a luxury that Westbrook didn’t have with the Thunder.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • Rockets reserve big man Isaiah Hartenstein will pass on the FIBA World Cup this summer in order to focus on next season, Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas tweets. Hartenstein, a 21-year-old 7-footer, informed the German national team that he has prioritized his NBA career. “I will need to prove I can belong here,” he told Urbonas.
  • Power forward Ivan Rabb and the Grizzlies have mutually agreed to push back his contract guarantee deadline to mid-October, Michael Wallace of the team’s website tweets. Rabb appeared in 49 games with Memphis last season, including 13 starts, averaging 5.8 PPG and 4.2 RPG. The 2017 second-round pick’s $1,618,520 salary for next season was due to be guaranteed today. He has a partial guarantee of $371,758.
  • New Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball is expected to be cleared for full contact in two weeks, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Ball was shut down in March due to an ankle injury.
  • The aftermath of the Grizzlies’ busy offseason shows the vision of the front office, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes. Memphis has a younger core to build around and has acquired future assets to accelerate the process.

Lakers Officially Acquire Anthony Davis In Three-Team Trade

The Lakers, Pelicans, and Wizards have officially completed the three-team trade that makes Anthony Davis a Laker. All three teams issued press releases tonight to announce the deal. The structure of the trade is as follows:

  • Lakers acquire Anthony Davis.
  • Pelicans acquire Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the draft rights to De’Andre Hunter (No. 4 pick), the Lakers’ 2021 first-round pick (9-30 protected; unprotected in 2022), the Lakers’ 2024 first-round pick (unprotected), the right to swap 2023 first-round picks with the Lakers, and cash ($1.1MM; from Wizards).
    • Note: The Pelicans will also have the option to defer the 2024 first-round pick to 2025.
  • Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, and the Lakers’ 2022 second-round pick.

The long-awaited deal was held up slightly today as the Lakers officially finalized a series of signings using their cap room. In order to maximize its cap space, the club had to sign free agents first before acquiring Davis. Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook, and JaVale McGee all signed their contracts with the Lakers since the July moratorium ended this afternoon.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, will now flip the rights to Hunter to the Hawks in a separate deal, putting the No. 4 pick on track to join his new team for Summer League action. Once the deal is done, Atlanta will also be able to complete its trade with the Sixers involving Bruno Fernando and Jordan Bone, then Philadelphia will be able to flip Bone to the Pistons.

For more details on one of the summer’s biggest trades, be sure to check out our previous stories on the Lakers/Pelicans aspect of the deal, as well as the Lakers/Wizards part of the swap.

Davis Deal Could Be Delayed If Leonard Remains Undecided

The Anthony Davis trade could be delayed if Kawhi Leonard doesn’t choose a team by noon ET on Saturday, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and Bobby Marks report.

The complex, four-way series of deals involving the Lakers, Pelicans, Hawks and Wizards can become official Saturday. The Lakers would lose their ability to give Leonard a max contract if any of the other teams involved decline to delay the trade. However, those teams are expected to cooperate, according to Marks.

The Lakers and Pelicans agreed on the initial trade in which Los Angeles sent Lonzo BallBrandon IngramJosh Hart and three first-round picks to New Orleans for Davis. Los Angeles opened up a $32MM salary slot by agreeing to ship Moritz WagnerIsaac BongaJemerrio Jones and a 2022 second-round pick to Washington, which sent cash to New Orleans. Davis also agreed to waive his $4MM trade kicker.

New Orleans and Atlanta made a big draft-night swap as an offshoot of the Davis trade. New Orleans agreed to move the No. 4 overall pick, forward De’Andre Hunter, they received from the Lakers as well as a late second-rounder along with Solomon Hill‘s contract to the Hawks for two first-rounders, center Jaxson Hayes and guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, an early second-round pick and a first-rounder next year.

Without the delay, the Lakers could only offer Leonard a four-year, $127MM contract — $11MM less than the max over the life of the deal.

Leonard’s indecision also may cause some other delays.

The Pelicans won’t be able to sign free agent guard J.J. Redick until the Hill trade is finished. Hill is ticketed to the Grizzlies in another trade once the Davis deal is completed. The rookies involved in those proposed transactions, as well as the three young players headed to the Wizards, aren’t allowed to play summer league ball until everything is finalized.

More On Anthony Davis-To-Lakers Trade Agreement

Just days after the NBA Finals and less than a week before the annual draft, the Pelicans and Lakers shook up the basketball world with one of the biggest blockbusters in league history. New Orleans agreed to trade disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft.

We have more details and developments regarding the trade, which can’t be made official until next month.

  • The other two first-rounders the Pelicans will receive are a 9-30 protected pick in 2021 – which subsequently becomes unprotected in 2022 – and an unprotected pick in 2024. New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and will have the option to defer the 2024 pick until 2025, according to reports from Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links).
  • The Pelicans are already receiving significant interest in the fourth overall pick, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.
  • Ingram is expected to get back on the court next month and be ready for training camp, according to Wojnarowski. He did not play after March 2 due to a blood clot in his right shoulder.
  • ESPN Jonathan Givony updated his mock draft in the aftermath of the deal, with Texas Tech shooting guard  Jarrett Culver going to New Orleans at No. 4, Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland heading to the Cavaliers at No. 5, North Carolina shooting guard  Coby White ticketed to the Suns at No. 6 and Virginia power forward  De’Andre Hunter winding up with the Bulls at No. 7 (Twitter link).
  • Former Lakers president Magic Johnson, who called GM Rob Pelinka a backstabber in a recent TV interview, praised his former front office partner after the deal. Johnson tweeted, “Great trade Rob Pelinka! Job well done.”
  • The Celtics’ chances of re-signing free-agent-to-be Kyrie Irving took a major hit with Davis heading to L.A. instead of Boston, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets.
  • New Orleans will have $18.8MM in cap space after the trade is finalized, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets.
  • LaVar Ball, Lonzo’s outspoken father, called the trade “the worst move the Lakers ever did in their life” and guarantees they won’t win another championship, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets.

Pelicans Agree To Trade Anthony Davis To Lakers

The Pelicans have reached an agreement to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The rest of the Pelicans’ haul includes a 9-30 protected first-rounder in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022, and an unprotected first-rounder in 2024.

New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and will have the option to defer the 2024 pick until 2025, according to reports from Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links).

[UPDATE: Davis trade will become a three-team deal]

The Lakers immediately become championship contenders with Davis joining forces with LeBron James. Davis’ agent Rich Paul, also James’ agent, had tried to steer trade talks toward the Lakers over the winter after Davis’ desire to be traded was made public. But Davis didn’t get his wish at the time.

Paul and Davis recently met with the Pelicans’ new top executive, David Griffin, who tried to convince Davis to rescind his trade request. Davis declined and expressed his desire to play long-term for either the Lakers or Knicks.

GM Rob Pelinka, who has been under fire after criticism from former Lakers president Magic Johnson, pulled off a major coup by winning the Davis sweepstakes over the Knicks and Celtics, among others. Los Angeles gave up plenty in the deal but didn’t have to include another talented big man, Kyle Kuzma.

Davis could sign an extension with the Lakers but still intends to test free agency next summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers will have either $27.8MM or $32.5MM in cap room after the deal to pursue a high-level free agent, depending upon timing and Davis’ willingness to waive his $4MM trade bonus, ESPN salary cap expert Bobby Marks tweets.

The trade cannot be officially finalized until after the new league year begins in July. It may be even be completed as late as July 30 — newly-drafted players can be traded immediately without signing a rookie scale contract, but if they sign that contract, they aren’t eligible to be dealt for 30 days. Waiting those 30 days would be advantageous to the Lakers for cap-related reasons, as Marks notes (via Twitter).

The Lakers still don’t have quite enough cap room to max out a free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker but they’re close to it, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Naturally, one of those free agents might take a little less to form a superstar trio in Los Angeles or the Lakers could make other moves to clear more cap room. Walker will be the Lakers’ top free agent target, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Boston refused to part with its top young player, forward Jayson Tatum, in trade talks with the Pelicans, Stein add in another tweet. That put the Lakers in the driver’s seat for Davis’ services.

With Ball and Hart joining Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have greatly enhanced their backcourt. They now have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in Thursday’s draft. It’s a slam dunk they’ll select Duke forward Zion Williamson with the top pick and theyll get another high-level prospect, unless they have another trade in the works. Williamson and Ingram should be a formidable duo at the forward spots and the Pelicans can now concentrate on bringing in another big man to make all the other pieces work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lakers, Celtics Engaged In Anthony Davis Trade Talks

The Lakers and Celtics are each engaged with the Pelicans in trade talks involving Anthony Davis, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

While the Lakers were unable to land Davis at the trade deadline in February, they continue to be viewed as a strong contender in the AD sweepstakes. Wojnarowski referred to them as the leader in the clubhouse during a SportsCenter appearance earlier this week, while Ian Begley of SNY.tv hears from a league source that the Lakers have made some progress toward a multi-team deal Davis deal.

According to Wojnarowski, the No. 4 overall pick in next week’s draft – currently held by L.A. – has been discussed as a trade chip that could help New Orleans acquire a high-level player in a multi-team deal. Wojnarowski had reported earlier this week that new Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin was exploring scenarios involving multiple teams in an effort to get New Orleans the sort of assets the team is seeking.

Marc Stein of The New York Times reports (via Twitter) that the Lakers have made both Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram available in trade talks for Davis, in addition to the No. 4 overall pick, which may be re-routed to a third team if a deal comes to fruition. Stein adds (via Twitter) that the viability of the Lakers’ offer may hinge on what kind of player that No. 4 pick could attract. If the Pelicans can get another player they really like on top of Ball or Ingram, it would help tip the scales.

It also appears possible that Kyle Kuzma may be a deal-breaker for the Pelicans. Los Angeles is trying to keep Kuzma out of any trade package, per Stein and Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links). However, the Pelicans want Kuzma as part of the return for Davis if they make a deal with L.A., according to Ganguli and Turner, who say that the forward is the young Laker most coveted by the Pelicans.

In their full report, the Times’ duo even suggests that the Lakers may have the opportunity to keep the No. 4 pick if they include Kuzma in their offer, though it sounds as if they’d probably have to add other extra assets in that scenario. The Lakers are trying to exercise some level of restraint in trade talks, given their leverage as Davis’ preferred destination, per Wojnarowski.

As for the Celtics, they apparently haven’t been deterred by the public comments made by agent Rich Paul, who has made it clear that Davis would prefer to end up with the Lakers or Knicks and would just be a rental if he goes to Boston.

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year,” Paul said of the Celtics and his client. “I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”

While the Celtics remain in the mix, Ganguli and Turner write that Boston and New York may not be willing to gut their respective rosters in a trade for Davis, since they’re concerned about not having enough leftover talent to be legit contenders.

The Nets and Clippers are among Davis’ other potential suitors, but they haven’t been able to gather any traction in discussions with New Orleans, according to Wojnarowski.

No matter which team Davis plays for in 2019/20, he’s expected to reach free agency next summer, but his camp has strongly suggested that the odds of the All-Star big man re-upping with the Lakers or Knicks are much higher than they’d be with any other team.

If the Celtics or Lakers reach an agreement with the Pelicans on a trade for Davis, it wouldn’t be officially finalized until sometime after the new league year begins in July, notes ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links). Boston isn’t permitted to acquire AD at all while Kyrie Irving is still on his current contract, and the Lakers wouldn’t be able to make salary-matching work at this point.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Southwest Notes: Barea, Ball, Davis, Capela, Conley

Point guard J.J. Barea‘s recovery from a ruptured right Achilles tendon is going well and he’s hopeful of playing for Puerto Rico in the FIBA World Cup this summer, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon tweets. The Mavericks veteran suffered the injury on January 11th and underwent surgery three days later.

“The way I feel right now, it looks pretty good,” Barea told MacMahon. “But I’m not going to make a decision until it gets closer.” Barea is doing non-contact basketball activity under the supervision of Mavericks staff members, MacMahon adds, and took 600 shots in an hour last week.

Barea, an unrestricted free agent this summer, is expected to re-sign with the Mavericks.

We have more from the Southwest Division:

  • While Anthony Davis‘ representatives said he still wants out after meeting last week with executive VP David Griffin, there’s no need for Griffin to rush out and trade the superstar big man, Scott Kushner of the New Orleans Advocate writes. Griffin can wait as long as February’s trade deadline to deal Davis, leaving open the possibility that the team can convince him to change his mind. If Davis remains firm, his wish is more likely to come to fruition if he’s willing to make a commitment to the trade partner, Kushner adds.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is intrigued by the possibility of a Lonzo BallJrue Holiday backcourt if Davis is dealt to the Lakers, Andrew Lopez of the Times-Picayune reports (hat tip to the Sporting News).
  • The Hawks, Spurs, Mavericks and Kings are possible destinations for center Clint Capela if the Rockets deal him, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype opines. The Rockets reportedly have made everyone on the roster available at the right price.
  • The Grizzlies should swap veteran point guard Mike Conley while his value remains high after he averaged a career high in points this season, Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic argues.

Lakers Notes: Butler, Vogel, Draft, Moser

Sixers forward Jimmy Butler wouldn’t hesitate to join the Lakers if they made a max offer, tweets Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times. Butler likes the idea of playing in L.A., and LeBron James has reportedly already reached out to gauge his interest.

Because Philadelphia owns Butler’s Bird rights, the Sixers can offer the 29-year-old a longer contract and larger annual raises than anyone else. However, Philadelphia has two other free agent starters to address in Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick, and there are durability concerns for Butler, who has topped 67 games in a season just once in the past six years. He played a combined 65 games this season for the Timberwolves and Sixers.

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • New coach Frank Vogel offers his first public comments on several players in a video tweeted by the team. Vogel calls Lonzo Ball “one of the most unique players I’ve ever studied” and said he wants Ball’s passing to serve as a blueprint for the whole team. He says “the sky’s the limit” for Brandon Ingram because of what he has accomplished at a young age. Vogel also shares his thoughts on James, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart.
  • The Lakers are believed to have strong interest in Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter and Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland with the No. 4 pick in next month’s draft, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. The fourth choice is believed to be the first spot of uncertainty in the draft after Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett are off the board.
  • Assistant coach Clay Moser has left the Lakers’ staff to take a job at Arkansas, according to Pete Roulier of HawgSports. Moser, who was with L.A. for seven and a half years, will be an assistant to long-time cohort Eric Musselman“Clay and I have worked together in the NBA, with the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings, and in the NBA Development League with the Reno Bighorns and Los Angeles Defenders,” Musselman said. “We also worked together with the Dominican National Team. Clay is an incredible ‘X and O’ coach and he has been at the forefront of basketball analytics. He loves player development and brings the NBA experience that our players look for and will soak up.”

Bulls Rumors: Ball, No. 7 Pick, Dunn, Asik

A report last month indicated that the Bulls and Lakers had “initial conversations” about Lonzo Ball prior to the 2019 trade deadline, and it sounds as if Chicago still has some interest in Ball. According to K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, Ball’s pass-first mentality, defensive ability, and positional size intrigue the Bulls, who will be on the lookout for a point guard this offseason.

Johnson’s latest article for The Tribune includes several other Bulls-related rumors and notes, so let’s round up the highlights…

  • Multiple league executives believe that top point guard prospects Darius Garland and Coby White received draft promises from teams that pick before the Bulls, says Johnson. If either Garland or White is available when Chicago is on the clock at No. 7, that player would be a good bet to end up in a Bulls uniform, Johnson adds.
  • League executives tell Johnson that Kris Dunn‘s trade value is “low to nonexistent,” so if the Bulls attempt to upgrade the point guard spot on the trade market, the former No. 5 pick is unlikely to be a major outgoing asset.
  • There’s internal optimism within the organization that the NBA will allow the Bulls to remove Omer Asik‘s cap charge from their books for medical reasons, Johnson writes. That would create an extra $3MM in cap space for the summer.
  • The Bulls may be more interested in restricted free agent point guards than many of the unrestricted options expected to be available. Johnson points to Terry Rozier and Malcolm Brogdon as two potential targets for the club.
  • The Bulls would also like to add a veteran big man in free agency, but the point guard position is the team’s top priority.