Colin Castleton

Lakers Notes: James, Vincent, Russell, Davis, Castleton

With the Lakers fighting for the best possible postseason spot — most likely in the play-in tournament — LeBron James says his injured ankle may not always allow him to suit up the rest of the way.

I got to be smart with it,” he said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “If I’m not healthy, or [anywhere] close to being healthy, then it’s not good for our ballclub anyway. It’s not good for me.”

James posted a triple-double — 23 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists — in Wednesday’s victory over Memphis. He sat out the previous game vs. Milwaukee.

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  • Barring a last-minute setback, injured guard Gabe Vincent is expected to return to action on Sunday in Brooklyn, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). One of the team’s major offseason acquisitions, Vincent has been out since December 20 after undergoing knee surgery, Charania notes. He has only appeared in five games this season.
  • Guard D’Angelo Russell believes the Lakers may have more quality players than they know what to do with at times, he told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “I think we’re much better than our record,” he said. “We match up, adjust, and do all these different things in the flow of the game. The problem is we’ve got 12 different guys that can be out there. When that random group of five is out there, the familiarity with what we’re trying to do is on the fly. A lot of teams have five or six guys that know they’re always going to have an idea who’s going to be in and where’s this and that.”
  • The team gave Anthony Davis, who is a battling a knee injury, the night off on Wednesday, Khobi Price of the Orange County Register notes. Davis played 52 minutes in the double overtime win against Milwaukee on Tuesday.
  • Two-way big man Colin Castleton made a brief cameo against Memphis. He had not appeared in an NBA game since Feb. 14 due to a fractured wrist.

Lakers Notes: Castleton, James, Davis, Schedule

Lakers two-way center Colin Castleton has been diagnosed with a right wrist fracture, the team announced on Sunday. He will be reevaluated in approximately two weeks, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin relays (Twitter link).

Castleton, who has made seven cameo appearances in the NBA this season, signed his two-way deal in July after going undrafted out of Florida. He has spent most of the season with the G League South Bay Lakers.

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  • The Lakers lost to Phoenix 123-113 on Sunday after falling behind 45-27 in the first quarter. LeBron James lamented the early defensive lapses, according to Khobi Price of the Orange County Register. “Super slow start for us, offensively and defensively,” James said. “You give a team 45 points in a quarter, that’s always going to be a problem. Especially if you aren’t scoring 45 as well.”
  • Another issue for the Lakers on Sunday, Price writes, was rebounding. Suns center Jusuf Nurkic had 18 points and 22 rebounds, including seven at the offensive end. “He’s a big body. That’s his role on the team: go out and rebound, get them extra possessions. They did a good job with it,” Anthony Davis said.
  • Sunday’s contest began a stretch in which the Lakers face eight Western Conference contenders in a 10-game span. Coach Darvin Ham stresses the fundamentals in these showdowns, Price writes in a separate story. “We’ve got a bunch of weapons, but they’re useless if we don’t do the little things – sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play,” he said. “To put it in detail, that’s what I’m talking about.”
  • James’ gimpy ankle has held up so far since the All-Star break. He arrived late for All-Star weekend to get treatment and received more work on the ankle before the club returned to action. “It wasn’t something that we just came up with out of the blue,” James told Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times and other media members. “We had already clocked this months ago, knowing the schedule.”

The Lakers Players Who Benefited Most From IST Prize Money

The Lakers‘ team salary this season is just above the $165.3MM luxury tax line, far exceeding the $126MM or so on the Pacers‘ books.

However, not a single player on Indiana’s roster is on a minimum-salary contract and only four Pacers players on standard deals are earning less than $5MM this season. By comparison, Los Angeles has eight players with cap hits below that $5MM threshold, including five earning the minimum.

While the $500K bonus for winning the NBA’s in-season tournament (IST) may be a drop in the bucket for maximum-salary stars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it serves as a significant pay raise for the players on the lower half of the Lakers’ cap sheet, as well as the players on two-way contracts who will receive bonuses worth $250K.

Here are the Lakers players for whom the NBA Cup prize money represents more than a 10% raise on their 2023/24 base salary, which is noted in parentheses:

Players receiving a $500K bonus:

Players receiving a $250K bonus:

The bonuses for Lewis and the Lakers’ two-way players represent a raise of roughly 44.7% on their respective base salaries.

The Lakers’ coaching staff also benefited financially from their in-season tournament success. Head coach Darvin Ham earned the same $500K bonus that his players did, while his assistant coaches divvied up $375K in bonus money.

The Pacers’ players and head coach Rick Carlisle went home with bonuses worth $200K (or $100K for two-way players).

None of this prize money will count against the salary cap, so the Lakers’ team salary for cap purposes remains unchanged, as do the team salaries for Indiana and the other six clubs who made the knockout round of the IST.

Lakers Notes: Reaves, Westbrook, Castleton, Gay

Austin Reaves went into free agency hoping to re-sign with the Lakers, but he considered both the Rockets and Spurs before the process began. Reaves explained his approach in an appearance on Showtime’s “All the Smoke” with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson (video link).

“I really wanted to be in L.A. the whole time,” Reaves said. “There were a couple of situations that were close, but like I said, I really wanted to be in L.A. L.A. feels like home to me so that’s really where I wanted to be.”

Reaves was a restricted free agent, and the Lakers were limited to an offer of about $54MM over four years with his Early Bird rights. Because of the Arenas provision, L.A. would have been able to match a larger offer sheet from another team, and both Houston and San Antonio had enough cap room to give Reaves a contract that could have made it a tough decision. Both teams decided to spend their money in other areas, so L.A. was able to keep the 25-year-old shooting guard at a relative bargain price.

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  • In the same interview (video link), Reaves discusses Russell Westbrook, who had a stormy tenure with the team before being traded in February. Westbrook became a controversial figure during his time with the Lakers, but Reaves only had good things to say about him. “He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Reaves said. “As a person, you can’t get much better. … He was always empowering everybody to be better and do better and want more.”
  • Colin Castleton would love to eventually be promoted from his two-way contract to the 15-man roster, but he told Lakers Nation that he’s more concerned with improving his game and learning as much as possible from his veteran teammates. “I was focused on killing Summer League, and I feel like I did a good job there,” Castleton said. “Now I can focus on getting ready for training camp and put myself in the right mindset so I can have an opportunity later in the year. That’s my mindset.”
  • In case you missed it, the Lakers are among several teams with interest in veteran forward Rudy Gay, who was waived by the Thunder on Thursday.

Pacific Notes: Saric, Joseph, Duarte, Castleton, U’Ren

Adding Dario Saric was a high priority for the Warriors and new general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. snared the 6’10” Saric on a still unofficial one-year veteran’s minimum contract. Dunleavy believes Saric is a great fit, giving the club a big man who can space the floor, Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area writes.

“We’ve had a lot of success signing guys who probably should make more than the minimum and have been able to come in and help our team,” Dunleavy said.

Golden State may bring in another big man to fill another roster spot or on a two-way, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets.

The Warriors also added Cory Joseph on a one-year contract as a backup point guard to Stephen Curry and Chris Paul. Joseph spent the last few seasons with the Pistons.

“He’s a guy who’s going to be willing to come in and do whatever it takes each and every day. Chris and Steph will see a lot of the minutes at point guard, but Cory will always stay ready,” Dunleavy said. “He was excited to sign here and we’re excited to have him.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Chris Duarte said he was caught off guard when the Pacers traded him to the Kings, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “I was surprised,” Duarte said. “I was at home with the family when I received a call. This is how the business works. … This is a great team, great franchise, great fan base. I’ve seen videos of how loud the fans get, so I love that.” The Kings gave up two second-round picks for Duarte, who battled an ankle injury last season.
  • Colin Castleton is making a good impression on the Lakers’ Summer League team, Sean Deveney of notes. Castleton, who had 21 points, 14 rebounds and three assists during their second game on Sunday against the Hornets, is on a two-way contract. “I wanted to develop my first year, learn from the best players in the world, which they have, a great organization from the front office to the coaches, everybody there is great,” the big man said.
  • The Warriors lost an executive to the WNBA. The Phoenix Mercury are hiring Nick U’Ren as their GM, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski writes. U’Ren had been Golden State’s executive director of basketball operations. He’ll begin his GM duties after the Mercury’s season ends.

Lakers Sign Castleton, Hodge To Two-Way Deals

The Lakers have signed center Colin Castleton and guard D’Moi Hodge to two-way contracts, the team announced in press releases.

Both rookies went undrafted last month and the two-way agreements were previously reported. They’ll also suit up for the Lakers’ Summer League squad.

The 6’11” Castleton started 26 games for Florida last season, averaging 16.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.0 blocks in 31.2 minutes per contest. He was named to the  All-SEC First Team. Castleton had a five-year college career at Florida and Michigan.

Hodge played his final collegiate season at Missouri, where he averaged 14.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.6 steals in 29.1 minutes per game. Prior to last season, Hodge played at Cleveland State(2020-22) and the State College of Florida (2018-20).

Under the new CBA, two-way contracts are worth half the rookie minimum, which comes out to $559,782 for each player. They can be partially guaranteed for up to $75K at the time of their signing.

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.

Draft Notes: Henderson, Sheppard, Wizards, Hornets, Magic, Warriors

With Scoot Henderson ranked second or third in nearly every mock draft, the G League Ignite star only plans two workouts during the pre-draft process, tweets Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report.

Henderson was in Portland on Saturday to show off the skills that have made him one of the most talked-about prospects in this year’s class. The Trail Blazers hold the third pick and appear to be the most likely destination for Henderson if speculation about Brandon Miller going to Charlotte at No. 2 is correct. There’s been plenty of conjecture that Portland may trade the pick for veteran help, but some sources believe the team would be comfortable adding another young player.

Henderson hasn’t scheduled a session with the Hornets yet, but he told Casey Holdahl of that he expects to work out for them at some point before the June 22 draft. He also talked about what he’ll bring to the team that selects him.

“You always want a guy like me, that dog mentality,” Henderson said. “Just my personality, the culture I bring to the locker room. I’m a great leader, I’ll tell what’s up and I can do everything on the floor. I can do everything on the floor. I’m going to go out there and give my 110 percent every day. And that’s the thing about me: I’m very consistent in effort. Even if it’s not there, I just try to even it out the next game, try to get right to it. Give it a 120 if I didn’t give it 110 the last game.”

There’s more draft news to pass along:

50 Prospects Reportedly Invited To G League Elite Camp

A total of 50 prospects for the 2023 NBA draft have been invited to the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, according to reports from Adam Zagoria of Forbes and Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter links).

Those players are as follows:

The name of the G League Elite Camp is a bit of a misnomer — when first introduced, the event showcased NBAGL players, but the field of participants now consists exclusively of draft prospects. The event will take place on May 13 and 14 in Chicago, ahead of this year’s draft combine.

Like the combine, the Elite Camp brings young players to Chicago to meet NBA teams and participate in drills and scrimmages. While the combine focuses on the top prospects in a given draft class, the Elite Camp generally features prospects who are trying to break into that upper echelon of prospects but are more likely to go undrafted. The top performers at the event typically receive invites to the combine.

Of the 50 G League Elite Camp invitees, 15 show up on Jonathan Givony’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects at However, no Elite Camp invitee ranks higher than No. 58 (Hart) on ESPN’s board.

The G League Elite Camp will give the invitees who declared for the draft as early entrants an opportunity to see where they stand ahead of the draft withdrawal deadline on May 31. Not all of the players who participate in this event will remain in the draft pool.

Some NBA players who have participated in past G League Elite Camps include Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado, Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Clippers guard Terance Mann, and Heat wing Max Strus.