Mohamed Bamba

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Bradley, Leonard, Collins, Sabonis

Centers Tristan Thompson and Tony Bradley worked out for the Lakers on Monday, Darvin Ham confirmed, but the head coach said there’s no “imminent” plan to sign either to the team’s final roster spot, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets.

The Lakers wanted to make sure that if they feel the need to sign another player, they’ve already worked him out, Ham explained. Los Angeles could have a need for another big since Mohamed Bamba may miss the rest of the regular season with a high left ankle sprain.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers have won five of their last six games, moving up to fifth place in the Western Conference. Kawhi Leonard believes the club could have a special playoff run, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times writes. “It’s a feeling when you know you have a great team,” he said. “It’s not always [leading] to a championship, it’s just about you knowing that everybody’s on the same page. It’s just a continuous motion. It’s hard to explain. Yeah, there’s something special. You got to feel it, and then you’ll know.”
  • The Kings added Kevin Huerter last summer as a shooter to play off of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis but the team pursued another Hawks player before they acquired Sabonis from Indiana, Zach Lowe of ESPN reports. They were interested in power forward John Collins and nearly closed a deal with the Hawks that would have sent Harrison Barnes and a protected 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta for Collins. That deal fell apart as the Sabonis one emerged.
  • Speaking of the Sabonis deal with the Pacers, Fox told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that the versatile big man was just what the team needed to take the next step, even though they had gave up Tyrese Haliburton. “It shocked everybody,” Fox said. “Not only fans and media. It shocked the team as well. Seeing the player we were getting back is obviously big. Someone who’s that big, skilled – a very unique skillset – I felt like he was going to make us better.”

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Russell, Reaves, Beasley, Bamba, Irving

LeBron James likely won’t be back until the final week of the regular season if he returns at all before the playoffs, Jovan Buha of The Athletic said during a discussion about the team with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. James missed his ninth straight game with a right foot injury Wednesday night, but there have been some positive signs regarding his recovery.

Buha notes that James was able to shed his walking boot this week and was seen dribbling the ball and shooting layups during Tuesday’s shootaround. The Lakers have been cautious about releasing information on James, but Buha hears he’s ahead of schedule and will be reevaluated next week.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Buha and Scotto believe D’Angelo Russell and the team have mutual interest in a new contract this summer. The Lakers brought back their former draft pick in a trade last month, and he has been productive apart from injury, averaging 18.8 points and 5.9 assists in the eight games he has played for L.A. The Lakers could have received Mike Conley from the Jazz in the trade, according to Buha, but they opted for Russell because they see him as part of their future. Scotto believes Russell is motivated to succeed with the team that drafted him.
  • The Lakers are hoping to re-sign Austin Reaves, but multiple teams are planning to make a run at him in free agency, Scotto states. L.A. can offer up to $50MM over four years, and Scotto believes his floor will be the mid-level exception. Buha points out that Reaves’ flexibility has been extremely valuable for the Lakers, noting that he has played everywhere from point guard to small forward and brings a high IQ to the game. He adds that the team has to be careful about getting into a situation similar what it did with Alex Caruso, adding that another team might be willing to offer Reaves $12-15MM per season. The Lakers would have the ability to match a higher offer via the Arenas provision.
  • Another free agent, Rui Hachimura, is also likely to get offers in the non-taxpayer MLE range, which will be about $10MM per year, according to Buha. He believes the Lakers are willing to make that offer, but another team may be able to outbid them.
  • General manager Rob Pelinka had been interested in Malik Beasley for some time before acquiring him, so the team is likely to pick up his $16.5MM option for next season, Scotto states. Mohamed Bamba, who has a $10.3MM team option, is more “on the bubble,” Scotto adds, because the Lakers can probably find a more affordable backup center.
  • The Lakers were strongly interested in Kyrie Irving when he asked the Nets for a trade in February, but that seems to have changed in light of their moves at the deadline, Buha adds. He hears that the front office likes the current look of the team and doesn’t plan to pursue Irving in free agency.

Lakers’ Mo Bamba Out At Least Four Weeks With Ankle Sprain

Backup center Mohamed Bamba has sustained a high left ankle sprain and will be reevaluated in about four weeks, the Lakers announced (Twitter link via Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times).

Bamba only played two minutes in Sunday’s victory over Golden State and was out for Tuesday’s win against Memphis.

There’s a good chance that Bamba could miss the rest of the regular season. If he came back in exactly four weeks, which seems unlikely given he’d almost certainly need some time to ramp up his conditioning, the Lakers would have just two regular season games left on their schedule, home contests against Phoenix and Utah.

A trade deadline acquisition from Orlando, the 24-year-old has averaged 4.4 PPG and 5.3 RPG in seven games (11.6 MPG) with the Lakers, posting a .417/.333/.545 shooting line. In 40 games (17.0 MPG) with the Magic this season, he averaged 7.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 1.0 BPG on .495/.398/.686 shooting.

The No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Bamba signed a two-year, $20.6MM contract last offseason after posting career highs in multiple categories in ’21/22. However, he was third on Orlando’s center depth chart for most of ’22/23 and his salary for next season is non-guaranteed.

Bamba’s injury further depletes the Lakers’ frontcourt depth, as LeBron James is also sidelined with a foot injury. With both players out, Anthony Davis, Troy Brown, Jarred Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura and Wenyen Gabriel should continue to see the bulk of the minutes at forward and center.

The Lakers do have an opening on their 15-man standard roster, so they could sign someone without making a corresponding roster move. Los Angeles is currently 32-34, the No. 9 seed in the West.

Lakers Notes: 2023 FAs, Russell, Hachimura, Bamba

The majority of the players the Lakers acquired prior to this month’s trade deadline aren’t owed guaranteed money beyond this season, so the team still has the flexibility to generate a significant amount of cap room this summer, if necessary. However, the expectation from rival executives is that the Lakers will operate over the cap and bring back most – or all – of the players they traded for, writes Sean Deveney of

“They would never have given up that (2027 first-round) pick unless they planned to make some long-term investments,” one general manager told Deveney. “They were willing to trade it but they needed some guys just heading into their primes to convince them to give it up.

“Now they’ve got (D’Angelo) Russell, they’ve got (Jarred) Vanderbilt, they’ve got Malik Beasley, plus (Rui) Hachimura, Austin Reaves. We’ll see what they do with Mo Bamba, too. That’s a base of young players that they did not have before, you know, guys who are (in their) mid-20s. They’re going to keep those guys in place. They’re all-in on paying those guys.”

Here’s more on the Lakers’ present and future:

  • The GM who spoke to Deveney thinks the floor for Russell on his next contract will be $70MM over three years. Another executive believes that the 27-year-old guard, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, will get something in the range of Anfernee Simons‘ four-year, $100MM deal.
  • Russell, who sprained his right ankle on Thursday, is listed as doubtful to play on Sunday in Dallas, but may not have a lengthy absence — he’s considered day-to-day, per head coach Darvin Ham (Twitter links via Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum SportsNet and ESPN’s Dave McMenamin).
  • Sources tell Deveney that the Lakers may look to re-sign Hachimura on a contract similar to the one Kyle Kuzma got from the team in 2020 ($39MM over three years). “He wanted something around $20 million (per year) from the Wizards and they were never going that high,” a Western Conference executive said of Hachimura. “He has to be a little humbled by this season because he just didn’t make that jump he expected to make—he can’t shoot and if you can’t shoot as a wing in the NBA, you’re in trouble. So, I’d expect him to get three years, with an option. Something like $13-14 million, that way he is still a good trade asset going forward or he is going to be a guy who becomes a huge bargain.”
  • That same Western exec seems high on Bamba, suggesting that the big man’s $10.3MM team option for next season is a relative bargain and that there’s “still a lot of trade value on him.” It’s an interesting assessment, given that Bamba’s playing time dipped in Orlando this season after he signed that contract and the exec acknowledges the Lakers “got him for almost nothing” from the Magic.

Lakers Notes: Roster Shakeup, Westbrook, Irving, Buyout Market

The Lakers are still hoping to climb out of 13th place and reach the playoffs, but the recent roster overhaul was made with an eye on the future, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. In a conference call with media members on Saturday, general manager Rob Pelinka said the front office focused on adding shooting, floor spacing, size and wing depth.

L.A. made four deals dating back to January 23, adding Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Mohamed Bamba and Davon Reed. All six players are 27 or younger, and they’re under some form of team control beyond this season.

The Lakers can make Hachimura a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer expected to be worth $7.7MM. Russell will be unrestricted, but he’s eligible for an extension through June 30. L.A. holds a $16.5MM team option on Beasley for next season, while Vanderbilt has a partial guarantee on his contract and Bamba and Reed have non-guaranteed deals.

“I think a deep dive into this, you can almost look at it as ‘pre-agency,’” Pelinka said. “… We very intentionally planned these moves to provide optionality in July. Some of these players have team options or team-controlled years on their contracts, which again gives us the ability to see how these last 26 regular-season games and how potential postseason games go. And then we can go into this offseason with a higher collection of data points, and sort of a real-time analysis of how the pieces fit and make decisions for the future.”

Buha has more on the Lakers:

  • Pelinka admitted on the conference call that trading Russell Westbrook was probably the best move for both sides. He said the Lakers originally acquired Westbrook in hopes of returning to title contention, adding that the polarizing guard shouldn’t be blamed for the team’s disappointing performance. “I think it’s really unfair to put the last year and a half, or whatever period of time that is, on one player,” Pelinka said. “I think the whole roster has to come together and fit. And part of sports sometimes is if things aren’t working, you have to fix them.” 
  • Pelinka didn’t specifically address the Lakers’ rumored pursuit of Kyrie Irving, but he did indicate that the front office was aggressive with its 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in its effort to upgrade the roster. L.A. wound up parting with its 2027 first-rounder (top-four protected) in the deal that sent Westbrook to Utah.
  • The Lakers still have a roster opening, but Pelinka hasn’t decided how aggressively he will pursue buyout candidates. “If we see the right opportunity to fill a need in the buyout market, we will take a look at that,” he said. “But I don’t want to definitively say that we’ll sign another player. We feel like these 14 players fill a need that (head coach Darvin Ham) was looking to fill, and he was excited about these 26 games we have to coach these 14 guys.”

Southeast Notes: Bey, R. Jackson, Mykhailiuk, Bamba

The Hawks believe they improved their rotation at the deadline, assuming one of their deals goes through, writes Lauren Williams of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The team is still waiting to find out if it will add Saddiq Bey, who was acquired from the Pistons in a four-team trade that’s still pending after Gary Payton II failed his physical with the Warriors. Golden State has until Sunday night to make a final decision.

Atlanta, which also added Bruno Fernando and Garrison Mathews in a separate trade with Houston, believes Bey can be part of its long-term future. The 23-year-old can play either forward spot and would add another dimension to the offense with his outside shooting.

“He was a starter for Detroit a couple years ago and this season, and some of last season he started to come off the bench,” Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said. “But he’s a guy who can put the ball in the basket, who can help spread the floor for you.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Reggie Jackson and the Hornets have reached an agreement that he doesn’t have to report to the team, tweets Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer. Boone adds that buyout talks are ongoing with Jackson, who was acquired from the Clippers on Thursday. The Suns and Nuggets are believed to be among the teams with the greatest interest in Jackson once he hits the open market.
  • Svi Mykhailiuk, whom the Hornets landed from the Knicks in a four-team trade, told reporters before Saturday’s game that he originally believed he was heading to the Trail Blazers in the deal, Boone relays (via Twitter). Mykhailiuk’s agent informed him about an hour before the deadline that he was going to Charlotte.
  • The Magic have more roster and salary cap flexibility after sending center Mohamed Bamba to the Lakers on Thursday, notes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando selected Bamba with the sixth pick in the 2018 draft, but he fell out of the rotation and didn’t appear to have a future with the team. Bamba began the season as the primary backup to Wendell Carter Jr., but Moritz Wagner has taken over that role. The Magic wanted to ship Bamba to a team where he’s likely to play more often and were happy to get a future second-round pick in return, according to Price, who hears from league sources that the Clippers, Raptors and Celtics also expressed interest.

Lakers, Nuggets, Magic, Clippers Roll Three Trade Agreements Into Single Deal

5:35pm: The four-team trade is now official, according to a press release from the Magic.

4:46pm: The Lakers, Nuggets, Magic, and Clippers will combine three separately reported trade agreements into a single four-team trade, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter links).

As Price explains, the Patrick Beverley/Mohamed Bamba swap between the Lakers and Magic, the deal sending Bones Hyland from the Nuggets to the Clippers, and the Nuggets’ acquisition of Thomas Bryant from the Lakers are the trades affected. The new-look deal is as follows:

  • Lakers to acquire Bamba, Davon Reed, the Clippers’ 2024 second-round pick, and the Clippers’ 2025 second-round pick.
  • Magic to acquire Beverley, the Nuggets’ 2024 second-round pick, and cash.
  • Clippers to acquire Hyland.
  • Nuggets to acquire Bryant.

The original terms of the trades called for the Clippers to send their 2024 and 2025 second-round picks to Denver for Hyland, with the Nuggets sending their own 2025, 2026, and 2029 second-rounders to the Lakers for Bryant and the Lakers sending an unspecified second-round pick to the Magic in the Beverley/Bamba swap.

Under the new terms of the deal, the two Clippers picks will be rerouted from the Nuggets (for Hyland) to the Lakers (for Bryant). Denver will keep its 2025, 2028, and 2029 second-rounders. The third pick the Nuggets are sending out for Bryant is now Denver’s 2024 second-rounder — it will be flipped from the Lakers to the Magic for Bamba.

The Magic won’t require Beverley to report to the team, according to Price, which is a strong signal they intend to buy him out or simply waive him.

Lakers To Send Beverley To Magic For Bamba

The Lakers will acquire center Mohamed Bamba from the Magic in exchange for veteran guard Patrick Beverley, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Orlando will also receive a second-round draft pick and cash in the deal, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link).

Bamba will take the place of Thomas Bryant, who was traded to Denver earlier today, alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis in L.A.’s frontcourt. Bamba signed a new two-year deal with Orlando over the summer, so he’s under contract for one more season at $10.3MM.

Through 40 games this season with the Magic, the 24-year-old averaged 7.3 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 1.0 BPG on .495/.398/.686 shooting. After starting 69 of his 71 games in ’21/22 and averaging 25.7 minutes per contest, Bamba saw his role reduced in ’22/23, only receiving six spot starts and 17.0 minutes per game.

Moving off Bamba creates a more clear-cut rotation for Orlando and picking up a second-round pick helps somewhat, but it’s hard to say that his tenure with the Magic was anything but a disappointment. He was selected sixth overall back in 2018, ahead of players like Collin Sexton, Mikal Bridges, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Michael Porter Jr., Kevin Huerter and Robert Williams, among others.

Bamba is currently serving a suspension as part of his role in an altercation with the Wolves, so he will be ineligible to play for two more games.

As Reynolds notes, the 34-year-old Beverley is unlikely to remain with the Magic, who have a slew of young guards. He’s making $13MM in the final year of his contract.

Beverley will have suitors if he’s bought out or waived by Orlando. He isn’t the defensive player he once was, but he plays hard and with a lot of energy, so contenders will be interested in his services.

In addition to saving a significant amount of money in luxury tax payments with the trade, the Lakers continue to add younger players. They had their own backcourt logjam to deal with, and moving Beverley helps in that regard as well, though he was arguably the team’s best perimeter defender (which, frankly, isn’t saying much given the team’s lack of talent on that end — the Lakers are 20th in the league in defensive rating).

Adding Bamba’s $10.3MM salary for ’23/24 is further evidence that the Lakers are unlikely to operate as an under-the-cap team in the offseason. However, his deal is non-guaranteed, so they could still go that route by waiving or renouncing the cap holds for all of the players they acquired ahead of the deadline (Bamba, Davon Reed, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell). Only Vanderbilt has guaranteed money next season, and it’s a very small ($300K) partial guarantee.

Rory Maher contributed to this post.

Celtics Rumors: Pritchard, Gallinari, Poeltl, Bamba

The Celtics have been exploring the possibility of pairing Payton Pritchard and Danilo Gallinari in an outgoing trade package as they seek frontcourt reinforcements, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Pritchard and Gallinari are earning a total of approximately $8.72MM this season, so if the Celtics traded them together, they could take back a player earning up to nearly $11MM (125% of the outgoing salary, plus $100K).

As Fischer observes, the group of players earning less than $11MM includes centers like Jakob Poeltl of the Spurs and Mohamed Bamba of the Magic, though I suspect Boston would need to include at least one more sweetener to land Poeltl and may be hesitant to part with Pritchard in a deal for Bamba.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Pritchard spoke to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe about his role in Boston, expressing conflicted feelings about having the opportunity to play for a legitimate title contender while not seeing the court as much as he’d like. The third-year guard said the team’s success doesn’t “necessarily” make it easier to accept his limited minutes. I’m a competitor and I want to play,” Pritchard said. “I’d play this game for no money if that’s what it means, because I love it. So the biggest thing for me is being somewhere I’ll play and really contribute to winning.”
  • Speaking to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Gallinari addressed his ongoing ACL recovery process and said he’s prepared for the possibility of being on the move at the trade deadline. “(The front office and I) haven’t talked about the trade situation,” Gallinari said. “But I’m 34 years old, I’ve been in the league 15 years. Whatever happens, happens. It’s out of my control, and I’m focused in on my job.”
  • Jay King of The Athletic evaluates several hypothetical trade proposals submitted by fans, considering whether any of them are realistic. King’s favorite of the bunch is a theoretical deal that would send Pritchard and a second-round pick to Utah for Jarred Vanderbilt.

Bamba, Rivers, Suggs Suspended For Fight

The NBA has announced suspensions (via Twitter) for three players involved in an altercation during Friday night’s game between the Magic and Timberwolves.

Orlando center Mohamed Bamba was suspended for four games and Minnesota guard Austin Rivers received three games for their roles in the fight. Magic guard Jalen Suggs received a one-game suspension for escalating the incident, and Wolves forward Jaden McDaniels was fined $20K for running into the fray and pushing Bamba in the back.

All four players were given technical fouls and were ejected from the game. Minnesota’s Taurean Prince was also ejected, but he wasn’t disciplined by the league.

Bamba appeared to start the fight with a comment to Rivers after his missed three-pointer late in the third quarter. Rivers took exception and challenged Bamba on Orlando’s bench. Both players threw punches, although it looked like none of them connected. Suggs tackled Rivers, and McDaniels and Prince also got involved.

The NBA’s press release states that Bamba tried to “continue to engage with Rivers in a hostile manner in the corridor outside the locker rooms where he also aggressively shoved a security representative,” which explains why he got the longest suspension.