Los Angeles Lakers

Andrew Bogut, Jose Calderon Finalize Buyouts

Andrew Bogut and Jose Calderon have completed their buyouts, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter links). Per Marc Stein of ESPN, neither player can sign with a team until clearing waivers Wednesday. While Bogut is likely to join the Cavs, he will hold talks with the Spurs, Rockets, and Celtics before reaching a decision (Twitter links).

Both the Lakers and Sixers have announced the transactions via press release. Now presumed to join the Warriors, Calderon and his agent released a statement commending the Lakers’ accommodation.

“I’m very appreciative of the Lakers doing this,” Mark Bartelstein told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. “This is something we had gone to them and talked about since Jose wasn’t playing much…I’m very appreciative of Magic [Johnson] doing this. Jose’s got a lot of basketball left in him and can play at a high level. But with the Lakers being in a rebuilding state, it didn’t make sense from a playing perspective.”

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com discussed obstacles in Bogut’s path to Cleveland, noting Houston’s interest in the Australian big man. Following their signing of Isaiah Taylor, the Rockets should have more than $3MM of cap space to offer Bogut.

Lakers Notes: Ball, Magic, Ennis, Russell

Lonzo Ball’s father has clarified comments that indicated his son wouldn’t play for any team but the Lakers, according to ESPN.com. LaVar Ball said Saturday in a radio interview that he wants Lonzo to be drafted by L.A. and would discourage other teams from taking him. But he toned down those remarks in a later interview. “All I said was that my boy is going to play for the Lakers, and I’m going to speak it into existence,” LaVar Ball told ESPN Saturday night. “I want him to be a Laker, but I wasn’t saying he’s only going to play for the Lakers.” Lonzo Ball is a star guard at UCLA and is projected to be one of the first players drafted. The Lakers are currently third in our Reverse Standings, but their pick will be conveyed to the Sixers if they drop out of the top three.

There’s more today from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers needed the fresh start they got by putting Magic Johnson in charge of the organization, contends Bill Heisler of The Orange County Register. He says there is plenty of shared blame for the team’s sorry state, including deceased former owner Jerry Buss, who hired Mike D’Antoni as coach in 2013 instead of Phil Jackson; Jim Buss, who hired Mike Brown as coach; Jeanie Buss, who gave Kobe Bryant a $55MM extension for his final two seasons; and former GM Mitch Kupchak, who handed out huge free agent deals to Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng last summer.
  • The Lakers are the latest team to give an opportunity to former first-round pick Tyler Ennis, writes Joey Kaufman of The Orange County Register. L.A. acquired the 22-year-old point guard Thursday in a deal with Houston, where he had only seen 6.3 minutes per night in 31 games. It marked the third time Ennis has been traded since being drafted by the Suns in 2014. “It’s too early right now,” coach Luke Walton said when asked about Ennis’ role in L.A. “We definitely want to get him out there and give him some opportunities and some chances.” Playing time may open up for Ennis if the Lakers go through with a rumored buyout with veteran point guard Jose Calderon.
  • With Johnson taking over the front office and Rob Pelinka hired as the new general manager, there’s a fresh sense of urgency surrounding the organization, according to Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. D’Angelo Russell described the feeling as like coming to a new team.

Warriors Expected To Release Briante Weber, Sign Jose Calderon

The Warriors are expected to sign Jose Calderon following Briante Weber‘s release, Anthony Slater of San Jose Mercury News reports (Twitter link). Coach Steve Kerr discussed the prospect of signing Calderon at Saturday’s postgame press conference.

“It’ll be a point guard,” Kerr told San Jose Mercury News. “We think we have something in place, but it’s not finalized. Got to wait until it’s official.”

Earlier today, Marc Stein of ESPN reported the Lakers’ intent to buy out Calderon’s contract. While the Rockets and Warriors emerged as early favorites to sign the 12th-year veteran, Golden State created a roster vacancy by releasing Weber. Calderon is in the final season of a four-year, $29MM contract.

Weber received two minutes of playing time in Saturday’s match-up with Brooklyn. The 24-year-old played sparingly with Golden State, scoring eight points over six games. Per Slater, the Hornets are a likely landing spot for Weber (Twitter link).

Lakers Notes: Ball, George, Brewer

LaVar Ball, the father of top draft prospect Lonzo Ball, said today that his son will only play for the Lakers, Michael Luke of the Arizona Wildcats Sports Radio relays (Twitter link). Ball has regularly spoken to the media about his sons and multiple NBA executives have told Evan Daniels of Scout.com (Twitter link) that it’s a cause for concern.

He recently hyped up his son by saying Lonzo was better than Stephen Curry“Steph is 6’2″, 6’3″. My boy is 6’7″. ’Zo is faster than Steph and he jumps higher,” LaVar said via The New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro. “If Steph had to guard Lonzo one-on-one, he couldn’t hold Lonzo. I can’t wait for the first game they play together in the NBA. Then, when my son beats him, then what?’’

Chad Ford of ESPN.com has the Suns selecting Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in his latest mock draft. The Lakers currently own the third spot in our Reverse Standings, meaning if the season ended today, they would have a 31.3% chance at a top-2 draft pick.

Here’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers didn’t want to trade parts of its young core for Paul George or another star player without having an infrastructure around him, a source tells Mark Medina of the Orange County Register. Medina also hears that George has interest in joining the Lakers as a free agent, which confirms an earlier report.
  • New addition Corey Brewer is excited to join the Lakers and take on a role as a mentor, Medina passes along in the same piece. “The young guys are going to be good. I was happy to come,” said Brewer. “I’ll talk to them, try to help them out anyway I can. I’m going to push them and kick their butt in practice and play every day.”
  • Johnson presence at the Lakers‘ facilities has changed the way some of the team’s younger players conduct themselves, Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com writes. “Everybody has to look over their shoulders once again,” D’Angelo Russell said. “It’s like coming to a new team. You try to impress the GMs and the guys in the front office with your play and off the court, the way you handle yourself. It’s just all different.”

 

Lakers Explore Buyout Options With Jose Calderon

The Lakers are exploring their buyout options with veteran guard Jose Calderon, Marc Stein of ESPN says. Both the Warriors and Rockets would emerge as the most likely suitors, he adds in a separate tweet.

In 24 games this season, Calderon has played sparingly, averaging just 3.3 points and 2.1 assists per game. Just last season the guard played a prominent role with the Knicks and the 35-year-old guard would be a cheap source of leadership and productivity off the bench for a team with eyes on the NBA title.

Calderon is in the last year of a four-year contract, owed $7.7MM in 2016/17.

And-Ones: Pelinka, Jackson, Sanders

As the Lakers undergo their own transition as a franchise, recently appointed general manager Rob Pelinka‘s sports agency Landmark Sports is undergoing one of its own. Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer explored what the process will entail for Pelinka, the agency in general and, most of all, all of the players who’ve suddenly seen a change in representation.

Currently Pelinka’s clients, like James Harden, have been transferred to other members of the Landmark Sports agency and Fischer wonders if pending free agents like Andre Iguodala and Dion Waiters will seek agencies with sturdier leadership.

The three representatives who’ve inherited the client list, Fischer writes, were previously responsible for salary cap analysis, public relations and marketing at the agency. The Lakers can’t formally hire Pelinka until he is officially divested from Landmark Sports.

There’s more from around the NBA:

Pacers Notes: George, Bird, Young, Gibson, Turner

Paul George wasn’t happy with Indiana’s trade deadline strategy. In a video interview with IndyStar.com, George said he “thought he’d be in the loop a little more” with the team’s approach. “I kind of was on the ropes just like you guys were, on what was about to happen.” George said to the press. “It’s kind of a dark moment of uncertainty. That was the frustrating part.”

George was featured prominently in rumors right up until the deadline, being connected to the Nuggets, Celtics, and Hawks. Ultimately, Larry Bird was content to “swat away all pitches,” though it appears they didn’t communicate this to George. Paul’s comments to IndyStar.com provide the latest indication that he may decline his 2018/19 player option in favor of testing the open market.

More from Indiana…

  • Bobby Marks and Adrian Wojnarowski discussed Indiana’s deadline strategy on the latest edition of The Vertical podcast (Twitter link). The Pacers had discussions regarding Taj Gibson, per Marks and Wojnarowski, but were reluctant to surrender a first-round pick for only an “incremental” improvement on an expiring contract.
  • Thaddeus Young will make his return from a wrist injury tonight against the Grizzlies, Nate Taylor of Indy Star Sports reports (Twitter link). Young’s return is a promising sign, but the 28-year-old may be playing through pain in the early stages. “It’s still a little sore,” Young told Jordan J Wilson of Indy Star Sports. “I think it’s a day-to-day thing about the pain threshold. Right now, it’s sore and stiff, but I’m continuing to go out there with my guys and trying to get myself back onto the floor.”
  • Gregg Doyel of Indy Star Sports was critical of Larry Bird’s performance throughout the trade deadline. Bird “didn’t do anything to make them [Indiana] better in the future,” and didn’t surround George with additional pieces. Doyel doesn’t blame George for having hard feelings after “being shown a lack of respect” from the team’s front office.
  • The Lakers’ new front office boss, Magic Johnson, knows “full well” of George’s interest in signing with L.A. after the season, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. Nate Taylor of Indy Star Sports elaborated on the Lakers’ connection to the Pacers’ deadline activity, describing the “mounting pressure” on the team to succeed in 2016/17; potentially George’s last in a Pacers uniform. In addition to Bird, coach Nate McMillan and Myles Turner will face pressure down the stretch. McMillan will be relied upon to better motivate his players, while Turner’s growth could determine the Pacers’ ceiling in the postseason.

Rockets Trade Tyler Ennis To Lakers

6:40pm: The Lakers also received the draft rights to Brad Newley in the deal, tweets Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. Drafted in 2007, the 32-year-old swingman plays for AEK Athens in Greece.

6:28pm: The deal is official, the Lakers announced (Twitter link). Meanwhile, the Rockets have waived Huertas.

1:58pm: The Rockets have agreed to a deal that will send Tyler Ennis to the Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). Wojnarowski reports that Houston will receive Marcelo Huertas from Los Angeles, but that the Rockets will waive Huertas after acquiring him.

Ennis is eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer, while Huertas had a non-guaranteed salary for 2017/18, so both players were essentially on expiring contracts. The Rockets were likely planning on waiving Ennis after the deadline, so by acquiring and waiving Huertas instead, they’ll create a tiny bit of extra cap room as they peruse the buyout market. Ennis is earning approximately $233K more than Huertas this season.

From the Lakers’ perspective, Huertas had seen his playing time reduced significantly this season, having averaged 10.3 MPG in just 23 contests. He apparently wasn’t part of the team’s long-term plans, so L.A. decided to take a flier on Ennis, who could be re-signed at a modest price in the offseason if the team likes what it sees down the stretch.

Lakers Trade Lou Williams To Rockets

FEBRUARY 23, 3:40pm: The Lakers and Rockets have formally announced the Williams deal – as reported below – in a pair of press releases, making it official.

FEBRUARY 21, 7:03pm: According to David Aldridge of TNT, the first-round pick heading to the Lakers will not be protected. Per Bobby Marks of The Vertical, the pick involved is projected to be 27th overall and worth a cap hit of $1.4MM in 2017/18.Lou Williams vertical

6:41pm: The Rockets are finalizing a trade with the Lakers for guard Lou Williams, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. In exchange, Houston will send Corey Brewer and a first-round pick to Los Angeles. At this time, details about the first-round pick heading to the Lakers have not been made available (although 7:03 update from Marks suggests that it’s Houston’s 2017 first-round pick).

In 58 games for Los Angeles this season, Williams has averaged 18.6 points per game. He’ll join an already potent Houston offense that had been reported to be looking to fortify its bench. The 30-year-old guard is signed through the 2017/18 campaign at $7MM per season.

Brewer, a 30-year-old forward with a similar contract to Williams (he’s owed $15.2MM over two years), averaged 4.2 points per game with Houston but has carved out a role for himself as a savvy, defensive-minded veteran.

According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders, James Harden had specifically wanted the Rockets to bring aboard the veteran and he’ll pair with prolific reserve Eric Gordon. According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Williams and Gordon are the NBA’s top two scorers off the bench and both frontrunners to win this year’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

Should the first-round pick heading to Los Angeles be Houston’s first-round pick in 2017, it could slot in in the late 20s. Per our reverse standings, the Rockets are currently in line to draft 27th.

The move marks Magic Johnson‘s first transaction since taking on the role of President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

And-Ones: Cavs, Bogut, Barnes, Holiday

The Cavs won’t make a decision on Larry Sanders until after the trade deadline, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com passes along (ESPN Now link). Cleveland is also keeping an eye on the Andrew Bogut situation. The Cavs would like to bring the center aboard and they’re expected to be in the mix for him.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Several teams have expressed interest in Matt Barnes, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com tweets. Sources tell Shelburne that he’s waiting until after the trade deadline to make a decision.
  • Jarrett Jack will audition for the Pelicans, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets. New Orleans is pursuing backcourt help after trading away several players in the DeMarcus Cousins deal.
  • Point guard and pending free agent Jrue Holiday said the Pelicans “see me as a part of [the future],” the team tweets. The organization is calling Holiday, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis their version of a Big Three.
  • Mike Bibby and Ricky Davis will be the co-captains of the Ghost Ballers, the fourth official team in the new 3-on-3 league, according to a press release on BIG3.com.
  • Thunder center Enes Kanter returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing arm surgery, Royce Young of ESPN.com reports. It’s uncertain whether Kanter, who suffered a broken arm punching a chair on the bench on January 26th, will return to action on Friday against the Lakers.
  • Former Rockets center Yao Ming, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year, has been appointed as president of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to an ESPN.com report. He gave up ownership of the league’s Shanghai Sharks in order to take over his new role.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post

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