Anthony Davis

Pacific Notes: Howard, Clippers, Westbrook, Davis

Dwight Howard completed his two-day interview with the Warriors on Wednesday and a decision on his future with the team could be made as soon as today, tweets Jason Dumas of KRON4 News.

Howard will travel to Los Angeles for a workout later today with Draymond Green and Chris Paul, according to Dumas, who states that the team’s veterans have already endorsed the idea of signing the 37-year-old big man.

With 13 players on standard contracts, Golden State is hoping to fill out its roster with a reliable backup for center Kevon Looney. Dewayne DedmonDerrick Favors and Harry Giles are among the players who were brought in for workouts, while the team also reportedly had interest in JaVale McGee before he signed with Sacramento.

Howard wants to return to the NBA after playing last season in Taiwan. He’s an eight-time All-Star, but has changed teams every year since 2016/17.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers shouldn’t be considered the face of the NBA’s new player participation policy, contends Law Murray of The Athletic. Although Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have missed a lot of games over the past few years, Murray argues that the PPP wouldn’t have affected the team very much if it had been in place last season. He points out that the two stars missed the same game 12 times in 2022/23. Only two of those games were nationally televised, and Leonard and George were legitimately injured for both contests — Leonard with a sprained ankle and George with a strained hamstring.
  • In a KTLA segment (Instagram link), Leonard says the Clippers will benefit from having Russell Westbrook on their roster from the start of training camp (hat tip to Fan Nation). The veteran guard made a late-season impact after joining the team in February. “It’s very important having him back,” Leonard said. “… Now we got a Hall-of-Fame point guard that’s been through it. I think that’s going to be big for us coming into the year.”
  • Appearing on the Athletic NBA Show (video link), Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said the team was able to overcome its slow start last season because of stellar play from Anthony Davis. Davis was limited to 56 games, but he averaged 25.9 points and 12.5 rebounds and L.A. was much better when he was on the court. “Anthony Davis being healthy, there’s an argument to be made that he was the best player in the NBA when he was playing,” Buss said.

And-Ones: Team USA, Prospects, Load Management, Porter

It was reported earlier this week that LeBron James was recruiting stars for the 2024 Olympics, with several players planning on joining the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in Paris.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN (Insider link) recently crafted a 12-man roster for Team USA next summer by following three criteria: An ideal team, not necessarily the best individuals; prior success with USA Basketball; and young players who can continue with the national team in the future.

Pelton’s starting five features Stephen Curry, Devin Booker, James, Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid, with Tyrese Haliburton, Anthony Edwards, Mikal Bridges, Jayson Tatum, Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo and Evan Mobley coming off the bench. Donovan Mitchell was “perhaps the single toughest cut” from Pelton’s ideal roster.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic attended the G League Fall Invitational between G League Ignite and the Perth Wildcats to scout prospects for the 2024 NBA draft and beyond. While next year’s class isn’t considered particularly strong, Hollinger writes that several players stood out at the event, including Ron Holland, Alexandre Sarr and Izan Almansa. Ignite forward Tyler Smith was another standout who may have moved up draft boards, according to Hollinger, who notes that Perth guard Ben Henshall will be closely monitored going forward as well, perhaps for 2025 or 2026.
  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver has a difficult balancing act when it comes to star players resting, with fans, revenue, and player health among the key factors to consider. But the new player participation policy is a step in the right direction, contends Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Having more stars on the court should make for a more compelling regular season, and Silver said at his press conference he had been weighing the advice of retired players, Goodwill notes. “You know, a lot of older players — by that I mean now, at this point, retired players — when I first came in the league, used to believe that they were more likely to get injured if they took nights off, that they would get out of rhythm,” he said. “In some cases, maybe (they) played fewer minutes, but they played. That’s something we want to look at as well.”
  • Kevin Porter Jr. was arrested this week on felony charges of assault and strangulation, but he’s far from the first NBA player to be accused of domestic violence. If the horrific allegations are proven true, Porter’s career in the league could be over, considering his history of off-court incidents. Chris Herring of Sports Illustrated believes the NBA should have a zero-tolerance policy for violence against women, though he concedes it would be a challenging rule to implement and would likely take several years. According to Herring, since salaries are rising across the board, players should be held to “extremely high behavioral standards.”

LeBron James Recruiting NBA Stars For 2024 Olympics

LeBron James wants to play in the 2024 Olympics and has started recruiting other veteran stars to join him, multiple sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic.

James reached out to Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jayson Tatum and Draymond Green, who are all planning to be part of the team next summer in Paris, Charania adds. Devin Booker, Damian Lillard, De’Aaron Fox and Kyrie Irving are also interested in participating, according to Charania’s sources.

Team USA is coming off a fourth-place finish at the World Cup, but Charania reports that James’ team-building efforts started well before that tournament and aren’t related to the disappointing result. Charania points out that although the U.S. has failed to medal in the last two World Cups, it has won four straight Olympic golds and James wants to see that streak continue.

James was part of gold medal teams in 2008 and 2012, but he hasn’t played in the Olympics since then. He will be 39 in December, and sources tell Charania that he and Durant, who will turn 35 later this month, are viewing the 2024 Games as their “last dance” with USA Basketball.

They have both talked to Curry, who will be 36 next summer, about forming the core of the U.S. team, Charania adds. Curry has never played in the Olympics, but he has two World Cup gold medals.

Charania states that USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill refused to comment on the reported interest from James and other stars, but he is aware of it.

Team USA Notes: Reaves, Haliburton, Anthony, Curry

Team USA will leave the World Cup without a gold medal, but it may have developed a few players who will be useful in future international competitions, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. This version of the American squad was built around young talent than established stars, and many of them could return for future World Cup or Olympic tournaments.

Vardon points to Lakers guard Austin Reaves as one of those players. The 25-year-old is third in scoring for the U.S. at 12.4 PPG and second in steals at 1.3 per game. He has also regularly been on the court late in close games.

“I think I’ve been able to learn a lot from a lot of really good players, a lot of really good coaches, and basically just see that I belong,” Reaves said.

International play has often been the springboard for players to assert themselves as future stars, such as Kevin Durant in the 2010 World Championship, Vardon notes. Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards appears ready to move into that role, and Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton may be as well.

“I think being the point guard with other great scorers, other great players and understand that they want to be on the court at the same time as me, they want me to be in there to get them involved,” Haliburton said.

There’s more on Team USA:

  • Friday’s loss to Germany was among the topics addressed by global ambassadors Pau Gasol, Luis Scola and Carmelo Anthony during an appearance on a talk show, relays Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops. Anthony, one of the most accomplished international players in American history, considers the result an “upset,” but not a huge surprise. “You have to take your hat off to Germany, and for Serbia as well,” Anthony said. “That’s good for the sport, everybody has to think differently when approaching these competitions. The game has grown globally. Everybody has an opportunity to go there and win a gold medal.”
  • Lack of size was an issue for the U.S. not only against Germany but throughout the World Cup, observes Brian Windhorst of ESPN. He notes that in three games against larger European teams, the Americans gave up 53 offensive rebounds and 64 second-chance points.
  • Stephen Curry is Team USA’s “must-have guy” for the Paris Olympics, according to Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Instead of turning to LeBron James and Durant again, Rankin would like to see the 2024 roster built around Curry with Jayson Tatum, Jimmy Butler, Devin Booker, De’Aaron Fox, Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, Bam Adebayo and Jarrett Allen all in prominent roles.

Lakers Notes: Wood, Davis, Frontcourt Minutes

Part of the reason it took Christian Wood so long to find a new team in free agency is he was waiting to see what would happen with the trade requests made by Damian Lillard and James Harden, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

As Buha explains, Wood might have found an opportunity for more playing time and/or more money had one of the stars been moved, but since there hasn’t been much — if any — traction in either of those situations, he decided to join the Lakers on a two-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum (the second year is a player option).

Team sources tell Buha the “early expectation” is that Wood will come off the bench as L.A.’s primary backup center, with Rui Hachimura likely to start in the frontcourt alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Wood’s ability to space the floor should open up some two-big pairings, with Davis sliding down to power forward at times after spending last season exclusively playing center.

Wood’s addition could also reduce the minutes and roles of Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaxson Hayes, Buha adds. Vanderbilt was a rotation regular after being acquired from Utah in February, while Hayes signed as a free agent this summer after spending the past four seasons with New Orleans.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In a statement to Marc J. Spears of Andscape (Twitter link), Wood says his relationship with head coach Darvin Ham — the two briefly worked together on the Bucks — was a factor in signing with the Lakers. “We’ve had great conversations everyday about this opportunity,” Wood wrote. “He believes in me and told me I’ll be playing a big role and knows what I can do.” The former Mavericks big man added that he was “motivated after what Dallas did,” though he didn’t specify what he meant.
  • While there are some risks to signing Wood, the Lakers believe they’re the right organization to bring out the best in the talented scorer, writes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. Having better defensive personnel around Wood might help mitigate some of his shortcomings on that end, Woike notes.
  • The Lakers prioritized finding depth at center because Davis told the team he didn’t want to spend all his regular-season minutes manning the middle, sources tell ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Davis signed a three-year, maximum-salary extension last month to remain with L.A. long term, so there was motivation from both sides to find another big man to help ease his workload.

Lakers Notes: Wood, Hachimura, Vanderbilt, Reddish

Anthony Davis played with Christian Wood in New Orleans, while Lakers head coach Darvin Ham briefly worked with Wood as an assistant in Milwaukee, notes Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. Davis’ and Ham’s familiarity with the free agent big man is one reason why the Lakers targeted him as soon as it became clear he might be attainable for the veteran’s minimum.

[RELATED: Christian Wood Agrees To Two-Year Contract With Lakers]

Although Wood remained on the free agent market for more than two months, he’ll likely enter Los Angeles’ training camp as a candidate to start, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who suggests Wood will battle Rui Hachimura and Jarred Vanderbilt for a role in the starting five.

Even if he ends up as a reserve, Wood projects to be Davis’ primary backup in the middle and should play approximately 20 minutes per night, Buha writes. He’ll also provide important insurance if Davis has to miss time due to an injury. Given that AD hasn’t played more than 62 games in a season since 2017/18, that’s a pretty viable scenario.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Team sources tell Buha that the Lakers’ roster will likely be set once Wood’s deal is official. That doesn’t mean that the team won’t bring a few more players to training camp on Exhibit 10 contracts, but it means L.A.’s 14 players on guaranteed contracts and three on two-way deals should be the ones who make up the opening-night regular season roster.
  • Shortly after word of Wood’s agreement with the Lakers broke on Tuesday night, he tweeted, “It’s always been my dream to be a Laker.”
  • Recapping the Lakers’ offseason and previewing their upcoming season, Shaun Powell of praises the job that head of basketball operations Rob Pelinka has done in 2023 to add complementary talent around LeBron James and Davis, suggesting that whether or not the club contends for a title this season will ultimately be up to those two superstars.
  • In a video clip posted on the Lakers’ official Twitter account, newcomer Cam Reddish said that he’s “really looking forward to” playing with James and Davis. “Two Hall of Fame players,” Reddish said. “I’m just trying to be a sponge, learn everything that I can.”

Lakers Notes: Reaves, Team USA, Lineups

Lakers guard Austin Reaves had a strong official debut with Team USA in the 2023 World Cup, notching 12 points (on 4-of-6 shooting), six assists and three steals in 22 minutes of action as the Americans defeated New Zealand. Still, those numbers might be underselling his impact, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who says Reaves’ “all-around production, spirit and poise” made a big difference off the bench in the comeback win.

As Windhorst writes, Reaves has become a fan favorite around the world due to his breakout performance with Los Angeles last season, with the crowd in the Philippines going wild after his normal pose following a made three-pointer. He says it’s something he doesn’t take for granted.

I was one of those kids watching the World Cup [and] the Olympics, so every day I wake up and cherish those moments,” Reaves said. “I’m from a super small town, and not a lot of people expected me to be here representing our country. So for the [crowds] to accept me the way that they accept me, it means a lot to me.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In an interview with Khobi Price of The Southern California News Group (subscriber link), Reaves says the last two years have been a whirlwind. As Price notes, the 25-year-old went undrafted in 2021, initially signing a two-way contract with the Lakers. Reaves was promoted to a standard deal prior to 2021/22, excelled down the stretch in ’22/23 in helping L.A. make the Western Conference Finals, signed a four-year, $54MM contract in free agency, and then received an invitation to the World Cup roster. “It’s been crazy,” Reaves said. “To get here and be rewarded with the contract [and] being on Team USA … all those dark days not getting recruited, not getting drafted, all that’s come to light. The basketball gods are real. If you’re pure to the game, the game will be pure to you back eventually. It’s been a beautiful two years.”
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic lists five lineups he’d like to see the Lakers use in ’23/24. According to Buha, the lineup with the most intriguing two-way potential features Reaves, Max Christie, Rui Hachimura, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. A second-round pick in 2022, Christie is coming off a strong Summer League showing last month.
  • In case you missed it, the Lakers are unveiling a statue of the late Kobe Bryant during the upcoming season. You can find the details right here.

Anthony Davis Signs Three-Year Extension With Lakers

AUGUST 6: Davis’ new three-year extension is now official, the Lakers announced (Twitter link via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin). According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the final year is a player option (Twitter link).

AUGUST 4: The Lakers and star big man Anthony Davis are in agreement on a three-year, maximum-salary contract extension, agent Rich Paul tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The two sides wasted little time in reaching a deal after Davis became extension-eligible on Friday.

Although Wojnarowski refers to it as a $186MM extension, the exact value of the three-year contract won’t be determined until June 2025. Davis will earn a starting salary worth 35% of the salary cap in 2025/26, with subsequent 8% annual raises.

As we outlined earlier today, in order for the deal to be worth $186MM, the cap would have to increase by the maximum allowable 10% in each of the next two seasons, reaching nearly $164.6MM by ’25/26. That would be a best-case scenario, but the NBA is currently projecting more modest cap increases. If the cap is instead at $150MM in ’25/26, for example, Davis’ three-year deal would be worth about $170MM.

Either way, the long-term agreement – which was reached quickly and seemingly without any drama – is good news for both Davis and the Lakers, who are now tied to one another through the 2027/28 season.

Davis has shown a tendency in the past to take long-term guaranteed money when it’s on the table rather than trying to maximize his earnings with shorter-term deals. He’s sticking to that approach here, accepting a max extension offer when it’s available rather than playing out the 2023/24 season in the hopes of signing a bigger deal as a free agent in 2024, when he would have been eligible to opt out of his current contract.

It’s possible that accepting an extension now will cost him a little money in the long run, but for a player who has battled injuries throughout his career, it’s hard to argue with the decision. Davis has been limited to 132 of 236 regular season games over the past three years and hasn’t played more than 62 games in a season since 2017/18.

For the Lakers, meanwhile, it’s a massive investment in a player who has Davis’ injury history, but it’s an investment that could pay dividends, given that the alternative may have been negotiating a maximum-salary free agent contract of up to five years in 2024.

By signing Davis to an extension now, Los Angeles ensures that he’s locked into his current deal through the 2024/25 season, when he’ll be earning a salary ($43.2MM) well below his potential maximum. The team also won’t have to commit to him beyond 2028, when he’ll be 35 years old.

And when healthy, Davis has continued to be one of the NBA’s most dominant two-way stars. The 30-year-old averaged 25.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.0 blocks per game in 56 appearances (34.0 MPG) during the 2022/23 season, shooting 56.3% from the floor.

Davis is also an elite rim protector whose performance on that end of the court was a major factor the Lakers’ run to the Western Conference Finals this spring. He ranked first in the postseason with 14.1 RPG and 3.1 BPG.

Davis will earn $40.6MM in 2023/24, so he’s now in line to make up to approximately $270MM over the next five seasons if the cap continues to rise by 10% annually.

Davis and LeBron James have been the cornerstones of the Lakers over the last few seasons, including in the 2020 championship season. James’ future with the team beyond the 2023/24 season remains up in the air, since he has the ability to opt out of his deal and – at 38 years old – has alluded to the possibility of retirement. But whether or not LeBron remains in Los Angeles for the long term, it appears the franchise is committed to building around Davis for the foreseeable future.

Pacific Notes: Davis, LeBron, Alapag

Lakers star center Anthony Davis‘ new three-year maximum extension, projected to be worth $186MM, effectively makes him the full-fledged face of the team, opines Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times.

The 6’10” big man is now under team control until the 2027/28 season, when he will turn 35. As Plaschke notes, Davis has already had major injury problems during three of his four seasons with L.A.

After he proved to be the club’s most essential player in leading the Lakers back to the Western Conference Finals this spring, Davis earned the vote of confidence, in Plaschke’s view. That said, Los Angeles will now rise and fall with Davis. Though his offense can be somewhat inconsistent, he remains one of the league’s best defenders.  When healthy, he has helped L.A. reach two Western Conference Finals and win one title.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Davis signing seems to indicate that the Lakers hope to retain 38-year-old All-Star forward LeBron James even beyond his current contract, which takes him through the 2024/25 season, per Sean Deveney of James has a player option for the last year of that deal, his age-40 season. “Nothing happens in a vacuum in all this,” a Western Conference executive told Deveney. “You sign AD to this deal, there is the Klutch connection there, and LeBron has a certain level of responsibility for what Davis does with the Lakers. So of course, there is communication there.” Deveney notes that James is widely anticipated to remain a Laker for the rest of his playing career.
  • Following a two-season stint with the Kings‘ NBAGL affiliate in Stockton, Jimmy Alapag has been promoted to a player development coaching gig with Sacramento and will join the coaching staff of reigning Coach of the Year Mike Brown, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Alapag, who was an 11-time All-Star while playing for the Philippine Basketball Association, initially coached in that league before joining the Kings’ Summer League bench in 2019.
  • In case you missed it, Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. has suggested that Golden State is amenable to four-time champ Andre Iguodala playing for a 20th season – and a ninth with the Warriors – but the club is not counting on his return like it did last summer. Iguodala, 39, only appeared in eight contests last year due to injuries. He has yet to officially retire.

Western Notes: Davis, Lakers, Kessler, Garuba, Canales

While the Lakers are certainly well aware of Anthony Davis‘ injury history, they were impressed with how he battled through his foot issues last season and recognized that he spearheaded their defensive turnaround after the trade deadline, with the club advancing to the Western Conference Finals despite a terrible start to 2022/23.

“They understand AD and his work ethic has shown,” Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told Mark Medina of Sportskeeda on Friday. “He has some injuries, but it wasn’t due to him not working. It’s not like he came into camp overweight or showed any laziness. There were just fluke things. That happens in the game.”

Paul said the two sides are still determining whether Davis will have a player option in his new three-year extension, but it will not contain a team option.

Both Medina — writing for The Sporting Tribune — and Jovan Buha of The Athletic believe it’s a win-win for Davis and the Lakers, though there’s obviously some risk involved for Los Angeles. The two authors note that Davis could potentially have earned more money had he hit free agency in 2024.

Here’s more from around the West:

  • After a standout rookie season, Jazz center Walker Kessler, who will be representing Team USA at the upcoming World Cup, has added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason, according to Tony Jones of The Athletic. “A lot of the offseason has been about gaining weight and gaining strength,” Kessler said. “It’s been a lot of hard work. But I’m excited to try and put myself in a position to make a difference on the floor, so the work has been a lot of fun. I love the weight room. I love working on my body. I’m really excited to be a part of Team USA and extremely thankful that I get to be a part of this. I think the amount of talent and the amount of knowledge that’s going to be on the roster is amazing. I’m trying to learn as much as I can and use this experience to try and better myself in every way that I can.”
  • Speaking to Nacho Duke of Spanish outlet Marca, Thunder big man Usman Garuba said he hopes to spend the rest of his professional career in the NBA. “If possible, I intend to play my entire career in the NBA, and I’m going to push it to the maximum,” Garuba said, per “I do not think about another thing. Anything can happen, but I only have in mind to continue in the NBA all my professional life.” Oklahoma City acquired Garuba last month via trade.
  • Veteran assistant Kaleb Canales is joining the Texas Legends — the Mavericks‘ G League affiliate — as associate head coach, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Canales, who became the NBA’s first Mexican-American head coach in 2012, last worked for the Pacers in 2020/21. He also had stints with Portland, Dallas and New York over his lengthy coaching career, so it will be a reunion with the Mavs organization.