Los Angeles Lakers

Draft Notes: Aldridge, Robinson, McIntosh, Kuzma

The Celtics are likely to select one of the top two point guards, Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball, rather than moving their pick, according to David Aldridge of NBA.com. Boston has to protect itself with a tough decision coming on whether to re-sign Isaiah Thomas in the summer of 2018 and Fultz would make the most sense, Aldridge continues. Ball would be a natural fit with the Lakers, while the Sixers will probably go with small forward Josh Jackson, though Kentucky’s Malik Monk is an intriguing alternative, Aldridge adds. A trade in which the Suns move up a spot to snag Jackson to settle their small forward issues isn’t out of the question, according to Aldridge, who goes through each team’s need on a pick-by-pick basis.

In other news involving the draft:

  • Austin Peay’s Josh Robinson will hire an agent, meaning he won’t be able to return to the university, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The 6’2″ guard, who missed time this season after being suspended from the school’s basketball team, will look to play overseas.
  • MiKyle McIntosh is working out for the Raptors today, Goodman tweets. The Illinois State product has until Wednesday to make a final decision on entering the draft.
  • Iowa State point guard Monte Morris headed the list of prospects worked out by the Kings today, Sean Cunningham of KXTV tweets. Morris is considered second-round material by both DraftExpress and ESPN’s Chad Ford.
  • Gonzaga point guard Nigel Williams-Goss and Indiana big man Thomas Bryant were among the prospects the Lakers worked out on Monday, Robert Morales of the Orange County Register reports. None of the players Los Angeles brought in are considered first-round prospects.
  • University of Utah forward Kyle Kuzma, who has already hired an agent, will work out for the Jazz on Tuesday, according to Aaron Falk and Tony Jones of the Salt Lake City Tribune. The 6’9” Kuzma, who is considered a second-round prospect, was one of the other hopefuls who worked for the Lakers on Monday.

Draft Notes: Allen, Irvin, Magic

Frontcourt may not be the Bulls‘ biggest need, but if someone as talented as Jarrett Allen is available at No. 16, the team shouldn’t hesitate to go in that direction, Mark Strotman of Comcast Sportsnet contends. Strotman believes Allen could be the team’s next Joakim Noah. Chicago drafted Noah in 2007 even though Ben Wallace was under contract and it worked out long-term for the franchise.

Allen may not surpass current starting center Robin Lopez this season, but by the time his rookie contract is up, Allen could be one of the best big men in the league. Jonathan Givony of Draft Express has the Texas product as the 17th best prospect in his class.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • The Lakers recently met with Michigan’s Zak Irvin and the team was impressed with his workout, according to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Irvin will also work out for the Bucks later this week.
  • Pittsburg’s Jamel Artis will work out for the Lakers and Rockets later this week, Scotto reports in a separate tweet. Artis isn’t ranked in Givony’s top 100 prospects.
  • The Magic have several players scheduled to work out for the team on Tuesday, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel passes along. Cal’s Ivan Rabb, Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, Villanova’s Josh Hart and Houston’s Damyean Dotson will all participate in Orlando’s workouts.

Draft Notes: Fox, Ntilikina, Chartouny

De’Aaron Fox was eyeing Sacramento as a destination even before the Kings moved up in the lottery, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com tweets. The Kings need a long-term option at the point guard position and Fox could be the answer when they pick at No. 5. Howard-Cooper notes that Fox is friends with center Willie Cauley-Stein.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears that the Knicks, Mavericks, Sixers and Kings are the franchises which spent the most time scouting Frank Ntilikina in France over the past month. Ntilikina is the 10th best prospect in the draft, according to Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony.
  • Joseph Chartouny will withdraw from the draft and return to Fordham next season, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The point guard scored 11.9 points and dished out 4.6 assists during his sophomore campaign at the university.
  • While it appears the Ball family may get their dream outcome of Lonzo Ball playing for the Lakers, Adi Joseph of USA Today lays out four scenarios that could hurt LaVar Ball‘s master plan.

Paul George Believes He Can Lift Lakers Out of Darkness

George, 27, is one year away from free agency but is keeping his eye on joining his hometown Lakers. Amick notes that George idolized Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and despite the gap in dollars, George is “more focused on legacy than ever.” Also, with the Lakers not having made the playoffs since the 2012/13 season, George “believes he can lift the Lakers out of the darkness,” Amick writes.

The Lakers could entertain trading for George but would run the risk of surrendering their No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft this year. Also, the team reportedly feels confident it can lure George to Los Angeles in free agency next year, but run the risk of Indiana trading him elsewhere, which could lead to George re-signing with his new team. In either case, Amick paints a picture of a man who wants to be in Los Angeles sooner than later.

  • The Lakers should trade their No. 2 overall pick to the Pacers and acquire George this offseason, Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated opines. Spears points out that acquiring George, a four-time All-Star, is the biggest upgrade any team can make this offseason. While such a deal could also appeal to a club like the Celtics, the growing belief that George wants to end up in L.A. makes it less viable for other suitors to roll the dice — still, the Lakers may not want to take the risk of letting him land elsewhere.

Lakers Confident They Can Sign Paul George?

The Lakers landed the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s lottery and it brought speculation that the team could send it to Indiana for Paul George. However, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (video link) hears that George would prefer the Lakers to keep their assets since it would allow them to be a better team come next summer when George can be a free agent.

Wojnarowski added that the Lakers are confident that they can sign George and the team is being encouraged not to make a trade for him. It’s unclear exactly who is feeding Los Angeles this information, but it sounds as if someone from George’s camp reached out to the team.

George did not make an All-NBA team this season, meaning he is not eligible for the new designated player extension. He could earn that super max deal with the Pacers should he make an All-NBA team next year, something that would give Indiana an advantage in keeping him on the squad. The awards aren’t announced until after the season, which would leave the team with less than two months to negotiate a new deal since George is likely to opt out of his current deal next July.

New team president Kevin Pritchard may not want to wait and risk losing the organization’s best player for nothing, so a trade with the Lakers or another team remains a possibility. The franchise still has the ability to offer George more years and money than any rival team, though the advantage isn’t as significant as it would be with the designated player extension as an option.

Draft Workouts: Bucks, Knicks, Raptors, Kings, Lakers

With the lottery out of the way, pre-draft workouts are starting to intensify around the league. We bring you a roundup of several that we heard about today:

Experts Like Ball With No. 2 Pick

  • Many experts believe the Lakers should grab Lonzo Ball with their No. 2 pick, writes Mark Medina of The Orange County Register. Although Washington’s Markelle Fultz is considered a standout choice to be taken first, Ball is “potentially a transformational-type point guard,” according to Stu Jackson of Turner Sports. “What makes him special are the same qualities that made a guy like Magic Johnson or Jason Kidd special,” Jackson said. “Lonzo sees plays most players don’t see.”
  • The Suns were among the losers in Tuesday’s lottery, but they still have plenty of attractive draft options, according to Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix entered the night with the second-best shot at a No. 1 pick, but slid to fourth as the Lakers and Sixers both moved up. Haller states that Suns fans can console themselves with the possible addition of Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, Kansas’ Josh Jackson, Duke’s Jayson Tatum or Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac. Opting for Fox, Haller notes, would probably make Eric Bledsoe expendable in a trade.

Ball To Lakers In Mock Drafts; Lakers Working Out Bradley

2017 Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers posted a bottom-five record for the third straight season, but there were some positive signs for the franchise in 2016/17. The Lakers appear to have found a keeper in head coach Luke Walton, and after some turmoil in the front office and the ownership group, Jeanie Buss re-asserted control of the organization and brought in Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka to run the basketball operations department. Johnson and Pelinka caught a break when the Lakers kept their lottery pick – now No. 2 overall – and they’ll be tasked with determining how best to return the franchise to contention.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Lakers financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2017:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Cap Holds

  • Nick Young ($10,343,444) — If player option is declined
  • No. 2 overall pick ($6,286,560)
  • Tyler Ennis ($2,666,707)
  • Thomas Robinson ($1,471,382)
  • Metta World Peace ($1,471,382)
  • No. 28 overall pick ($1,414,920)
  • Total: $23,654,395

Projected Salary Cap: $101,000,000

Maximum Cap Room: $22,856,044

  • With nine guaranteed contracts, two cap holds for first-round picks, and one cap charge for an empty roster slot, the Lakers would have $78,143,956 on their books. That would give the team a sizable chunk of cap room, albeit not quite enough for a maximum salary player. The Lakers aren’t likely to sign anyone to a max contract this summer, but if they wanted to, they’d need to move guaranteed contracts and/or draft picks to create space.

Footnotes:

  1. Black’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 4.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and The Vertical was used in the creation of this post.

Lonzo Ball May Only Work Out For Lakers

The 2017 NBA draft lottery couldn’t have worked out much better for Lonzo Ball and his father LaVar, who have long expressed a desire for Lonzo to end up with the Lakers. In the wake of L.A. landing the No. 2 overall pick on Tuesday night, LaVar Ball told Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation that Lonzo may not audition for any other teams at or near the top of the draft.

“Just the Lakers,” LaVar said. “There’s nobody else that we need to work out for.”

[RELATED: 2017 NBA draft lottery results]

While LaVar’s comments sounded pretty declarative, a source close to Ball tells ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Lonzo remains undecided on whether he’ll work out for teams besides the Lakers. That source admitted that Los Angeles is the preferred destination for the Ball camp, but said a decision would be made “closer to June” on whether the former UCLA point guard will work out for any other teams.

Both Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka indicated to ESPN that there are several options available to them with that No. 2 pick, suggesting that the team won’t necessarily just take whoever is left after the Celtics select Ball or Markelle Fultz. A Lakers source tells ESPN that players under consideration for the team at No. 2 include De’Aaron Fox, Josh Jackson, and Jayson Tatum, in addition to Ball and Fultz.

Still, it seems likely that the Lakers will ultimately land on one of those top two point guards, assuming they don’t trade the pick. And Pelinka says a trade probably won’t happen, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t explore it,” Pelinka said of the possibility of trading the No. 2 selection. “But this pick has extraordinary value.”

[RELATED: Several teams evaluating potential D’Angelo Russell trades]

The Lakers didn’t interview Ball at last week’s draft combine, but intend to have him in for a workout in the coming weeks, Johnson confirmed, according to Mark Medina of The O.C. Register. The new Lakers president also said the club will work out Jackson, per Medina.

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