Alex Fudge

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Buss, Pelinka, Davis, Fudge

Regardless of how much longer LeBron James spends with the Lakers or how his remaining time with the team plays out, the franchise intends to eventually retire his number, team owner Jeanie Buss tells Mark Medina of SportsKeeda.

“The standard for having your jersey retired as a Laker is when a player is inducted into the Hall of Fame. I have absolutely no doubt that LeBron will make it into the Basketball Hall of Fame,” Buss said. “When he does so, then we will retire his jersey. Knowing that he will make it into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he will have his Lakers jersey retired, no doubt about it.”

As Medina observes, James wore a No. 23 jersey during his first three years with the Lakers and will switch back to No. 23 in 2023/24 after wearing No. 6 for the last two seasons. Buss wasn’t prepared to say whether the Lakers would eventually retire both numbers, but stressed that the team would still retire LeBron’s jersey even if he doesn’t finish his career with the franchise.

“It would mean a lot (if LeBron retires as a Laker). But it won’t change his contributions to Lakers history,” Buss said. “… A player like Shaquille O’Neal has meant so much to Lakers history, but he wasn’t a Laker when he retired from the NBA. But that didn’t change what his part of Lakers history was. When he retired from the NBA, we retired his Lakers jersey.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In her full interview with Medina, Buss addressed a wide range of Lakers-related topics, including her thoughts on the team’s finish in 2022/23, Rob Pelinka‘s performance, and much more. Regarding Pelinka, Buss explained why she stood by the club’s head of basketball operations when he was facing criticism for the acquisition of Russell Westbrook: “I always felt then and now that Rob was the right person to be in charge of our front office. I continued to do so. Every decision that is made isn’t always the perfect one. But it’s the decision you make after that that counts. We had a roster that didn’t work and wasn’t working. But you can’t change things overnight in the NBA. But you can set yourself up by making the next right decision. That’s exactly what Rob did. … Every decision, you have the opportunity to make the next right decision. That’s what Rob has proven.”
  • Asked about a possible contract extension for Anthony Davis, Buss declined to discuss the subject in any depth. However, in deferring to Pelinka, she hinted that she’d be on board with a new deal for Davis: “Rob said it best. Our intention is that we want to keep continuity with our team. I’ll leave it at that.”
  • The two-way contract that undrafted rookie Alex Fudge signed with the Lakers will cover two years rather than one, Hoops Rumors has learned. Fudge is the sixth player to sign a two-year two-way deal this offseason, as our tracker shows.

Lakers Sign Alex Fudge To Two-Way Deal, Waive Cole Swider

4:51pm: The contract with Fudge is official, the Lakers announced (via Twitter).

4:33pm: The Lakers will sign Alex Fudge to a two-way contract, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. They will open up a two-way slot by waiving Cole Swider, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Fudge, a 20-year-old forward, put up modest numbers during his college career at LSU and Florida, averaging 4.6 and 3.9 rebounds over two seasons.

Fudge played for L.A.’s Summer League team, and although his statistics didn’t stand out, he impressed the Lakers enough with his athleticism to earn a two-way opportunity. A previous report had indicated he would be signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the team.

Swider, a 24-year-old small forward, signed a two-way contract with L.A. last summer after going undrafted out of Villanova. He appeared in just seven games for the Lakers, spending most of his rookie year in the G League, where he averaged 17.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 27 regular season games.

Swider’s contract for the upcoming season is non-guaranteed, so L.A. won’t be on the hook for any more money. Colin Castleton and D’Moi Hodge occupy the team’s other two-way spots.

Lakers Signing Castleton, Hodge To Two-Way Deals, Fudge To Exhibit 10 Contract

Florida center Colin Castleton and Missouri guard D’Moi Hodge will join the Lakers on two-way contracts, according to tweets from Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times.

Castleton, 23, was a first-team All-SEC selection this season after averaging 16.0 points and 7.7 rebounds as a fifth-year senior. His season ended early after suffering a broken hand in mid-February.

Hodge, 24, was a 2023 finalist for national Defensive Player of the Year honors. Also a fifth-year senior, he averaged 14.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 steals per game in his only season with the Tigers.

In addition, L.A. will sign Florida forward Alex Fudge to an Exhibit 10 contract, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The 20-year-old forward posted 5.8 PPG and 4.5 RPG as a sophomore.

Pacific Notes: Sabonis, Beal, Murray, Lakers’ Workout, Hachimura

Kings big man Domantas Sabonis is unlikely to play in the FIBA World Cup, according to Lithuanian national team head coach Kazys Maksvytis. “We all hope that Domantas will play,” Maksvytis said in the Zalgiris on Air podcast, as relayed by “However, we all know the valid reasons [that could prevent him from playing]. If I had to say on his chances today, I’d say those chances are less than 50 percent.”

Sabonis said earlier this month he may need surgery on his right thumb. The Kings and Sabonis could also pursue an extension this offseason.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings were among the teams to inquire about a trade for Wizards wing Bradley Beal but — not surprisingly — Sacramento balked when Washington asked about last year’s lottery pick, Keegan Murray, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic. The Wizards were interested in drafting Murray and tried to move up from the No. 10 pick to select the versatile forward, Aldridge adds.
  • Gonzaga big man Drew Timme was among the draft prospects who worked out for the Lakers on Monday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Damion Baugh (TCU), Alex Fudge (Florida), Colin Castleton (Florida), Sincere Carry (Kent State) and Hunter Tyson (Clemson) joined Timme at the workout.
  • Rui Hachimura‘s market value is projected to be in the $12-18MM starting range, multiple executives told Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. While a majority of teams won’t have more than the $12.2MM non-taxpayer mid-level exception to offer Hachimura, at least seven teams project to have the cap room to put together a substantial offer sheet. Since Hachimura is a restricted free agent, the Lakers can match any offer.

Pacific Notes: Paul, St. Jean, Lakers, Warriors

Suns point guard Chris Paul, a 12-time All-Star, is hoping to stick around in Phoenix for the 2023/24 season, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic .

Paul is owed $30.8MM for the 2023/24 season, but only $15.8MM of that money is fully guaranteed, and the club is reportedly weighing its various options with regard to his future. A decision will likely have to be made by June 28, which is when the rest of the 38-year-old’s salary will become guaranteed.

“Absolutely (I want to stay in Phoenix),” Paul said. “I’ve talked with my family, we’ve had conversations about what could be, what might be… I’ve talked with my agent. Talked to my brother.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • New Suns head coach Frank Vogel will be adding another familiar face as he continues to round out his bench in Phoenix. Sources inform Marc Stein (Twitter link) that former Mavericks assistant coach Greg St. Jean is set to join the team. St. Jean also served under Vogel with the Lakers.
  • The Lakers, who possess two picks in this year’s draft, held another pre-draft workout on Wednesday. Dave McMenamin of ESPN (via Twitter) reveals that San Diego State guard Adam Seiko, Miami combo guard Isaiah Wong, Florida forward Alex Fudge, Akron guard Xavier Castaneda, G League Ignite shooting guard Mojave King, and Memphis small forward Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu auditioned for L.A. brass yesterday.
  • The PR team of the Warriors has been honored with the Professional Basketball Writers Association’s 2022/23 Brian McIntyre Media Relations Award, the PBWA announced in a press statement (Twitter link). The PBWA notes that the media relations staffs of the Hawks, Heat, Mavericks and Pistons comprised the other finalists under consideration this year.

Draft Notes: Black, Whitehead, Henderson, Hornets, Porter

In an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Arkansas guard Anthony Black describes himself as an unselfish player who’s willing to do whatever it takes to help his team win. Black displayed impressive passing skills during his freshman year with the Razorbacks, but he said he can defend, rebound and score as well.

Black, who grew up admiring Gilbert Arenas and Kobe Bryant, compares himself to Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey among current players. Like Giddey, Black is exceptionally tall for a point guard and he uses his 6’7″ height to his advantage.

“I think it helps in my reads,” Black said. “I watch a lot of film, so I’m watching some of the film from the season and some of my reads I’m making just looking straight. There’s a defender, but he’s not tall enough to block it. I can read the back line of the defense a lot easier, I feel like, than a smaller guard who could be guarded by someone with some length and disrupt the passing lane.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • The second surgery needed by Duke forward Dariq Whitehead wasn’t caused by a re-fracture of his right foot, tweets Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. A source tells Wasserman that Whitehead has met with several teams picking late in the lottery as well as teams with multiple first-round selections. He hasn’t been able to work out, but he’s gone through film sessions and met with head coaches, executives and medical personnel.
  • The Hornets haven’t set a date for their workout with Scoot Henderson, according to Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer. The G League Ignite guard visited the Trail Blazers over the weekend and indicated that he will only work out for Portland and Charlotte. Boone notes that workout days usually aren’t publicized far in advance, and Henderson lives in Georgia so it wouldn’t take him long to get to the Hornets’ facility.
  • The Hornets are hosting a workout today with Texas’ Timmy Allen, Baylor’s Adam Flagler, Florida’s Alex Fudge, Michigan State’s Joey Hauser, Southern Utah’s Tevian Jones and North Carolina State’s Terquavion Smith (Twitter link).
  • Craig Porter Jr. has already conducted workouts with the Mavericks, Warriors, Celtics, Pistons, Magic and Cavaliers, and he has upcoming sessions with the Clippers, Wizards, Nuggets and Knicks, according to a tweet from Global Scouting. The Wichita State guard is a potential late second-round pick.

Eastern Notes: Hawks, Quickley, Rubio, Celtics, Redick

The Hawks held pre-draft workouts with six college players on Thursday and will be hosting six more on Friday, the team announced (Twitter links).

Thursday’s group featured Alex Fudge (Florida), Logan Johnson (St. Mary’s), Matthew Mayer (Illinois), Kevin Obanor (Texas Tech), Antonio Reeves (Kentucky) and Hunter Tyson (Clemson), while Marcus Carr (Texas), Kendric Davis (Memphis), Tosan Evbuomwan (Princeton), Landers Nolley (Cincinnati), Drew Peterson (USC) and Erik Stevenson (West Virginia) will be working out tomorrow.

Of the players mentioned, only Evbuomwan — who helped lead the 15th-seeded Tigers to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAA Tournament — appears on ESPN’s top-100 prospects list ahead of the draft; he’s considered a fringe second-round pick at No. 77. The Hawks control the 15th and 46th overall picks in June’s draft.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Trailing 3-1 and facing playoff elimination tonight, the Knicks will be without Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Immanuel Quickley for the second straight game due to a left ankle sprain, head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters, including Ian Begley of (Twitter link). Thibodeau did say the third-year guard’s injury has improved, but obviously not enough to play. He’s still considered day-to-day, Begley adds. Reserve guard Evan Fournier (illness) will also be sidelined, per the Knicks (Twitter link) — the veteran has yet to play this postseason.
  • Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio didn’t have the season he was hoping for after returning from his second left ACL tear, but he and the team are hoping for better results in 2023/24, writes Chris Fedor of Sources tell Fedor the Cavs are encouraging Rubio to play in this summer’s World Cup for Spain, but the veteran hasn’t made a decision on that front. “I think it will help,” Rubio said. “I’m going to meet with my team, my personal team, see what’s the best for me in rehab. I think I’ve got to get more even strength on my lower legs, lower body and see what’s the best for me. I always want to compete up. The World Cup is something special as well. But I will take my time.”
  • Former NBA veteran JJ Redick, who is now an ESPN analyst, recently interviewed for Toronto’s head coaching job. The Celtics are among “several teams” that have shown interest in hiring Redick as an assistant coach since he retired a couple years ago, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Draft Notes: K. Brown, Wong, Fudge, P.I.T.

Missouri forward Kobe Brown plans to enter the 2023 NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility, according to Matt Stahl of The Columbia Daily Tribune.

As Stahl notes, Brown is a projected second-round pick, currently No. 43 on ESPN’s big board. He was an All-SEC First Team member in 2022/23 after averaging 15.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals on an impressive .553/.455/.792 shooting line in 34 games (29.6 MPG).

Jonathan Givony of ESPN writes that Brown has some question marks surrounding his height, frame (he’s listed at 6’7″ and 240 pounds) and defense, but the 23-year-old has a high skill level that seems like it would translate well to the NBA, as he’s a versatile offensive player with a high basketball IQ who can dribble, pass, shoot and score from all over the court.

Brown is a senior, but he has one year of eligibility left due to COVID-19.

Here are a few more draft-related notes:

  • Miami guard Isaiah Wong is declaring for the draft, the team announced (via Twitter). He tested the draft waters in both 2021 and 2022, so he’ll go pro this time around (college prospects can’t withdraw from the draft more than twice). A three-time All-ACC honoree, Wong was named ACC Player of the Year as a senior in ’22/23 after averaging 16.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals on .445/.384/.845 shooting in 37 games (33.4 MPG). He helped lead the Hurricanes to a Final Four appearance this season, ultimately losing to eventual champion UConn. Wong is ranked No. 71 on ESPN’s board, so he’s considered a fringe second-round pick.
  • Florida forward Alex Fudge will forgo his remaining college eligibility and enter the draft, sources tell Jacob Rudner of Swamp247. As Rudner writes, Fudge had a solid start to ’22/23, but his numbers declined after sustaining a concussion in late January. He wound up averaging 5.8 points and 4.5 rebounds on .397/.229/.589 shooting in 32 games (19.3 MPG) as a redshirt sophomore for the Gators. Viewed as a solid defender, Fudge is not listed on ESPN’s board, which ranks the top 100 prospects ahead of the 2023 draft.
  • Jon Chepkevich of provides the measurements and athletic testing numbers of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament attendees (Twitter link). The P.I.T. is a showcase for the year’s top senior prospects. Jimmy Butler, Derrick White, Richaun Holmes and Kendrick Nunn are among the many current NBA players who have taken part in the P.I.T. in previous years.