Moritz Wagner

Lakers Notes: Bullock, Walton, LeBron, Wagner

The Lakers haven’t exactly played their best basketball since adding Reggie Bullock to their rotation at the trade deadline. The team is just 2-9 in games that Bullock has appeared in so far, and the veteran sharpshooter hasn’t been at his best during that stretch either — his .333 3PT% is well below his career rate (.394). Nonetheless, Bullock has conveyed a desire to remain in Los Angeles going forward, as Ron Gutterman of LakersNation.com relays.

“I would love to be back here with the Lakers,” said Bullock, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. “I was a fan of this organization pretty much my whole life, and the connection me and ‘Bron (LeBron James) are building, it’s continuing to build trust. We’ll see how it plays out in the summer.”

Although Bullock has only played 11 games as a Laker, the club will have his Bird rights as a result of his previous contract with the Pistons. To retain those Bird rights, the Lakers would have to keep Bullock’s $4.75MM cap hold on their books this summer until they work out a new deal.

If the Lakers need to renounce Bullock to create cap room for a marquee free agent, that wouldn’t necessary rule out a return, but the club would be limited to re-signing him using any leftover cap space, the room exception, or the minimum salary exception.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Head coach Luke Walton is considered likely to lose his job at season’s end, despite once being viewed as the sort of coach who could stick in L.A. for the next 10 or 15 years. Matt John of Basketball Insiders argues that Walton doesn’t deserve the blame for the Lakers’ disappointing season, while Bill Oram of The Athletic presents a case for how Walton has been undermined and betrayed by team management.
  • In order to move forward, the Lakers first need to take a long look in the mirror, ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz writes in a deep dive on the franchise. Arnovitz criticizes owner Jeanie Buss for her recent claim that the media is the biggest challenge facing the Lakers, suggesting that the statement makes the team appear incapable of self-reflection. The Lakers are “so infatuated with the glory of their brand that they forget about the essence of their product,” Arnovitz contends.
  • After a surprisingly unsuccessful first season in Los Angeles, it’s impossible for LeBron James to predict what will come next, says Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. However, his friends and former teammates expect him to bounce back from a disappointing 2018/19 season. “Just having that break, being able to reassess and come back really, really highly motivated, I think it’s going to be big for him,” Kevin Love said. “If you get ‘Bron highly motivated, anything can happen.” Dwyane Wade, meanwhile, offered the following assessment: “This is definitely going to make him hungrier for what he’s trying to accomplish next year.”
  • Lakers rookie Moritz Wagner, who racked up a career-high 22 points on Saturday, is hoping to take advantage of an increased role down the stretch, as Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register details.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/30/18

Here are Sunday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/28/18

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

  • The Wizards have assigned forward Okaro White to the Capital City Go-Go, per an update from the team’s official Twitter account. This will be his first assignment this season, but he averaged 18.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG in 23 G League contests last season.
  • Both Moritz Wagner and Svi Mykhailiuk have been assigned to the Lakers’ G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, for tonight’s game against the Texas Legends (link). Mykhailiuk scored 21 points in his lone G League appearance this season, while Wagner has averaged 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in his two appearances with South Bay.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/13/18

Here are Tuesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 10/26/18

Here are Friday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Lakers assigned rookie forward Moritz Wagner to the South Bay Lakers on an injury rehab assignment, according to a team press release. Wagner, the 25th overall pick, missed the preseason due to a left knee contusion he suffered on July 10th. The University of Michigan product has been medically cleared to return to action.

Lakers Rookie Moe Wagner To Miss Preseason

First-round pick Moe Wagner won’t play in any of the Lakers’ preseason games, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Doctors plan to re-evaluate Wagner’s condition before the regular season starts.

Wagner is still recovering from a left knee contusion he suffered during summer league play. The 25th player taken in this year’s draft, Wagner averaged 14.7 PPG and 8.3 RPG in three games in the California Classic and 10.3 PPG and 8.0 RPG in three games in Las Vegas, where the injury occurred.

Wagner, who shot 39% from 3-point range last season, is projected as a back-up center who can help the Lakers stretch opposing defenses.

Pacific Notes: Ferrell, M. Wagner, J. Robinson, Evans

By waiting out the initial wave of free agency, the Kings were able to add another young rotational player in the backcourt, further bolstering their depth at guard, writes James Ham of NBC Sports. In Ham’s training camp profile on Yogi Ferrell, he notes that Ferrell’s speed, quickness and knack for scoring make him one of the team’s significant additions in the offseason.

Ferrell initially agreed to a deal to return to the Mavericks, but backed out and signed a two-year, $6.2MM deal with the Kings, the second year being non-guaranteed. The 25-year-old, who is entering his third season in the league, is coming off a solid – if unspectacular – season with the Mavericks in which he averaged 10.2 points, 3.o rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, playing a career-high 27.8 minutes per game.

While the Kings have several capable guards to fill backcourt minutes, Ferrell should open the season as the team’s primary backup point guard and may fill in at both guard positions if injuries strike. With De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Frank Mason, Ben McLemore and Bogdan Bogdanovic all capable of playing in the backcourt, Ferrell will likely see a decrease in minutes and usage this season.

In a pinch, Ferrell can be the spark-plug scoring guard off the bench, a role Sacramento could certainly use in the upcoming season. With the additions of Nemanja Bjelica and Marvin Bagley alongside Ferrell, the Kings were able to add to their young core and boost their offensive potential in the offseason.

There’s more today from the Pacific Division:

  • Two rookies in the division were able to secure shoe deals, with Moritz Wagner of the Lakers signing with the Jordan brand and the Clippers Jerome Robinson signing with Nike. Both players were first round picks in the 2018 Draft and could become key parts of the young cores on their respective teams in the upcoming season, although the veteran depth ahead of them will likely limit their playing time in the immediate future.
  • After being selected by the Warriors at No. 28 in the 2018 Draft, Jacob Evans III is preparing for the upcoming season, one in which he may be called upon to provide depth at multiple positions. As Mark Medina writes for The Mercury News, Evans is looking to accelerate his learning curve by hanging around the Warriors’ practice facility and meeting everyone that he can in the organization. With the Warriors failing to address their lack of quality wing depth in the offseason, Evans may be in line for a larger role than expected, especially throughout the regular season as the team keeps its focus on the playoffs.
  • The Clippers‘ G-League team (the Agua Caliente Clippers) held open tryouts this weekend, as hopefuls worked to earn a spot on the squad, per Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register. Last season, the organization’s NBA team was bolstered by contributions from players such as C.J. Williams, Tyrone Wallace and Jamil Wilson, who split their time between the G-League and NBA. Attendees had varying levels of basketball experience, but are looking to earn a spot on the roster and perhaps continue the team’s success for the NBA club.

Lakers Sign First-Rounder Moritz Wagner

The Lakers have officially signed first-round pick Moritz Wagner to his rookie scale contract, the team announced today in a press release. While most signings can’t be completed during the July moratorium, there’s nothing stopping first-rounders from formally inking their rookie deals during the first week of July.

Wagner, the 25th overall pick in last month’s draft, played his college ball at Michigan and posted 14.6 PPG to go along with 7.1 RPG in 2017/18. The 6’10” forward also flashed stretch-four potential, knocking down 38.5% of his threes in his three-year college career.

Wagner’s salary in 2018/19 figures to be approximately $1.76MM, which is 120% of his rookie scale amount.

The fact that Wagner has formally signed his deal won’t impact the Lakers’ cap room for this summer, since he was already on the team’s books with a cap hold equivalent to his new rookie salary. However, it does mean that he can’t be included in a trade for the next 30 days.

Celtics Notes: Smart, Okogie, No. 27 Pick

Even though Marcus Smart‘s contract is just a week and a half from expiring, he’s not obsessing about his market or the possibility of changing teams. Speaking to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald today at his Young Game Changers camp, Smart said that he expects to remain a Celtic next season, but has been preoccupied with his mother’s health issues.

“I haven’t really put too much thought into the offseason free agency thing,” Smart said. “My No. 1 focus is on my family right now. I got a lot of stuff going on with my mom. Right now she needs all the positive thinking and brain capacity that we can give her. That’s what my mental focus is right now. So I really haven’t even given a thought about free agency. It’s the last of my concerns right now. There’s more important things than basketball.”

A Tuesday report suggested that the Mavericks could be a team that makes a run at Smart, a Texas native. However, despite his mother’s situation, moving closer to home won’t necessarily be a priority for Smart this summer, as Bulpett relays.

“No, that doesn’t weigh in,” Smart said. “Wherever I go, if that’s here (Boston) or wherever that’s at, my mom’s going to be ecstatic. She’s going to support me, although being away from her is hard. But she understands.”

Here’s more on the C’s:

  • Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie worked out for the Celtics today and is generating a lot of interest from teams in the 16-28 range in tomorrow’s draft, league sources tell Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter link).
  • Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald confirms (via Twitter) that Okogie will “be in serious play” at No. 27 for the Celtics, adding that Jerome Robinson (Boston College) and Grayson Allen (Duke) fit that bill too. However, Robinson isn’t expected to be available that late, and Allen is increasingly likely to be off the board by then too, Murphy notes.
  • Icelandic big man Tryggvi Hlinason and Michigan’s Moritz Wagner are among the other prospects the Celtics have auditioned this week, tweets Murphy.
  • Earlier today, we relayed an interesting piece from Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, who took a deep dive into a potential Celtics offer for Kawhi Leonard, the team’s championship window, Jaylen Brown‘s potential, and more.

Central Draft Notes: Bulls, Bucks, Pistons

The Bulls have the pieces to move into the Top 5 of the draft but it’s unknown whether they like any prospect enough to do that, according to Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bulls could package their picks at No. 7 and No. 22 and power forward Bobby Portis to make a deal with the Hawks at No. 3 or the Grizzlies at No. 4. Memphis, though, might want to unload Chandler Parsons contract, in which case the Bulls probably wouldn’t have to include Portis, Strotman continues. With Lauri Markkanen the long-term solution at power forward, the Bulls can afford to deal Portis, who might become a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t receive a contract extension, Strotman adds.

In other draft-related musings involving Central Division clubs:

  • If the Bulls retain their No. 22 pick, they should avoid Duke sharpshooter Grayson Allen and Villanova big man Omari Spellman, Scott Phillips of NBC Sports Chicago opines. Allen’s temperamental behavior during his college career is something the Bulls don’t need with an already young roster, while Spellman’s skills do not complement Markkanen because he’s not a rim protector, Phillips continues. De’Anthony Melton (USC), Mitchell Robinson (Western Kentucky) and Anfernee Simons are three other late first-round prospects the Bulls should pass on, Phillips adds.
  • The Bucks could select Michigan big man Moritz Wagner with the No. 17 pick, Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox.com speculates. The Bucks need a physical frontcourt player who can shoot from outside and Wagner would bring that, Woelfel continues. While most draft experts peg Wagner as a late first- or early second-round selection, he could move into the middle of the first round because of his offensive skills, Woelfel adds.
  • Missouri State forward Alize Johnson and Purdue guard Dakota Mathias are two of the players the Pistons might consider with their second-round pick, according to Ansar Khan of MLive. Both players came in for workouts this week. Detroit traded away its first-round pick in the Blake Griffin deal with the Clippers.