Max Christie

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.

Lakers Notes: Rotation, Point Guards, Christie, Hayes, Davis

Breaking down the Lakers‘ potential lineup decisions for the 2023/24 season, Jovan Buha of The Athletic forecasts a 10-man rotation, led by stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

At this point, Buha favors incumbent Lakers D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Rui Hachimura – all of whom signed lucrative new contracts this offseason – to fill out the starting lineup. He predicts the 10-man rotation will be filled out by Jarred Vanderbilt, Max Christie, and newcomers Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, and Jaxson Hayes.

As Buha notes, the Lakers will want to avoid overworking James and Davis to ensure that they’re healthy for the playoffs, so players outside his projected 10-man rotation, including free agent addition Cam Reddish and rookies Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis, could get a chance to earn some minutes too.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Although Buha has Russell penciled in as the starting point guard, he acknowledges that could change, observing that Vincent’s 3-and-D skill set is a better fit next to the Lakers’ stars. It’s a “coin flip” as to who will end up as the go-to point guard, Buha writes, suggesting that both players will have important roles.
  • Christie is the most difficult Laker to project for the 2023/24 season, says Buha. If he breaks out like he believes he can, he should have no problem securing a spot as the eighth or ninth man in the rotation. If not, he may end up battling Reddish for minutes as the 10th man.
  • According to Buha, the Lakers hope that Hayes will be able to start alongside Davis in scenarios when the team opts to roll with a two-big lineup. However, Buha doesn’t foresee a major regular role for Hayes, noting that there are only so many frontcourt minutes to go around as long as James, Davis, Hachimura, and Vanderbilt are healthy. If the Lakers were to sign another free agent center such as Christian Wood or Bismack Biyombo, Hayes’ spot in the regular rotation would be even less certain, though injuries and/or load management could ultimately open the door for him to play frequently.
  • In the latest Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Tim Bontemps, and Tim MacMahon discuss the fact that Davis will become extension-eligible later this week and consider the odds of he and the Lakers working out a deal before the season begins. Windhorst doesn’t necessarily expect the two sides to reach a deal immediately, but believes there’s mutual interest in working something out. “There’s no time crunch. He doesn’t have to make a decision by August 5 or anything,” Windhorst said. “But I do think there is an expectation that the Lakers do make some sort of offer this week, or at least show their intention to make such an offer.”

Los Angeles Notes: Christie, Plumlee, Leonard, Harden

Austin Reaves was a breakout performer for the Lakers last season. Could second-year guard Max Christie make similar strides?

After a strong showing in the Summer League, he feels he’s ready to step into the Lakers’ rotation, he told’s Sean Deveney.

“I feel a lot more comfortable, feel a lot more confident out here, just having the ball in my hands and being able to just play my game,” he said. “And so it’s kind of crazy what one year can do for you one year of experience. And so I think I’m reaping the benefits of just sort of staying even-keeled last year and learning a lot and being able to showcase it out here.”

Christie, who averaged 19 points per game in three appearances in Las Vegas, could carve out second-unit minutes behind Reaves at shooting guard.

We have more on the Los Angeles teams:

  • Mason Plumlee re-signed with the Clippers on a one-year, $5MM contract this month and the veteran big man said his experience with the club last season was a motivating factor, per Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “Just believing in the roster and having a little bit of playoff experience playing for (Tyronn Lue) and the staff,” he said. “To me, we were playing really well those first couple games even without Paul [George] yet into that and I just have a personal belief in this group and it’s something I wanted to be a part of.” Plumlee was acquired from Charlotte at last season’s trade deadline.
  • Kawhi Leonard is extension-eligible, and The Athletic’s Law Murray says the “dialogue is healthy,” but he still doubts that a deal will be reached anytime soon. Murray anticipates Leonard will once again opt for free agency as soon as next summer, when he must make a decision on his $48.8MM option for the 2024/25 season. Murray notes Leonard did not sign an extension with San Antonio after he was named the league’s MVP and also walked away from Toronto after winning a championship there.
  • Should the Clippers trade for James Harden? Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times believes so, opining that it’s the last chance for Leonard and Paul George to seriously chase a championship with the franchise.

Rockets’ Cam Whitmore Named Summer League MVP

Rockets forward Cam Whitmore has been named the Las Vegas Summer League Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced (via Twitter).

The NBA also announced its All-Summer League First and Second Teams, which are as follows (Twitter links):

First Team

Second Team

According to the NBA (Twitter link), Christie and Moon received the same amount of votes, which is why there is an additional backcourt player on the second team.

Whitmore, a projected lottery pick in last month’s draft who fell to Houston at No. 20, averaged 20.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 APG and 3.0 SPG on .465/.293/.625 shooting in his five Vegas Summer League games, per

Houston faces Cleveland at 8 p.m. CT tonight in the Summer League championship game. Both teams are undefeated, holding identical 5-0 records.

Pacific Notes: Ishbia, Suns, Christie, Clippers, Vezenkov

Chris Paul caused a stir last month when he repeatedly said Isiah Thomas was involved in the Suns‘ decision to trade him for Bradley Beal, but owner Mat Ishbia says Thomas had no role in the deal.

When decisions are made in the organization, (president of basketball operations and GM) James Jones, myself, (CEO) Josh Bartelstein, (head coach) Frank Vogel, our executive team make decisions,” Ishbia told Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “Outside people don’t have any role in our decision-making process. They never have, they never will. I’ve asked for advice from a lot of people, specifically Tom Izzo, Isiah Thomas, Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell. I talk to a lot of people, but honestly, on this situation, not one of those people were consulted on this decision.”

In an Insider-only article for ESPN, Brian Windhorst takes a look at Ishbia’s active involvement in the Suns organization. Sources tell Windhorst that Thomas has spent time informally advising in Phoenix, but his unofficial role has been reduced in recent weeks after the team filled out its front office. Windhorst’s sources confirm that Thomas was not involved in the Beal/Paul trade.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Lakers wing Max Christie has been excelling during Summer League action, and he hopes that his work this offseason will lead to more minutes in 2023/24, which will be his second NBA season. “I just want to be in the rotation and play as much as possible,” Christie told Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “I just want to play as much basketball as I can. Last year was motivation to get to that spot. That’s really all it is. That’s my mission. That’s my goal.” The 20-year-old has put on about 15 pounds of muscle since he was drafted last year, Buha adds. In another article for The Athletic, Buha examines the Lakers’ depth chart, with Christie currently slotting in as the backup shooting guard behind Austin Reaves.
  • Should the Clippers offer contract extensions to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George? Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times spoke to rival executives and an agent to solicit opinions on what path the Clippers should take with their oft-injured star duo.
  • In an interview with, reigning EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov talked about his decision to sign with the Kings and being an NBA rookie at 27 years old. “It’s a dream and a potential,” the forward said as part of larger quote. “Because I’m not doing this just for living the NBA dream. In any dream, I see potential. A potential that can teach me something and evolve me. I’m not going to the USA to come back soon. I want to be tested in the NBA. I’m thinking about everything positively. I’ll start at zero. Now, the work I’ll do will be even bigger. I know what I’ve been through and how much I’ve worked. You can’t buy experience. I think the circumstances are the best.”

Suns Reportedly Offered Chris Paul, Jae Crowder For Kyrie Irving

The Suns put together a trade offer for Kyrie Irving that included Chris Paul and Jae Crowder, along with draft capital, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (Twitter link).

Brooklyn also received an offer from the Lakers that included the only first-round picks left at their disposal — the ones in 2027 and 2029. Confirming a report that surfaced on Friday, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that the Lakers offered the Nets a package of Russell Westbrook and the two first-round picks but the Nets also wanted all of their young players, including Austin Reaves and Max Christie.

Charania also provided more specifics on Phoenix’s offer.  The Suns were willing to give up Paul, Crowder and one first-round pick. However, the Nets wanted three first-round picks in order to take that deal. The Suns never added those picks and ultimately lost interest in pursuing a trade.

The Nets ultimately decided to go with the Mavericks‘ offer of  Spencer Dinwiddie, forward Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick, a 2027 second-round pick, and a 2029 second-round pick with Markieff Morris also going to Dallas.

Despite Paul’s age, Phoenix’s willingness to give up its floor leader for the unpredictable Irving is an eye-opener. The Suns had a successful weekend, picking up victories in Boston and Detroit, and should get Devin Booker back soon from his groin injury.

However, Paul has battled heel and hip injuries that have led to questions about how his body will hold up throughout this season and the remainder of his contract. Paul is making $28.4MM this season and $30.8MM next season, though only $15.8MM is guaranteed. His $30MM salary in 2024/25 is not guaranteed.

Crowder has been sitting out all season, awaiting a trade.

Trade Rumors: Irving, Lakers, Walker, Rozier, Mavs, More

Many around the league believe Kyrie Irving‘s preferred landing spot is the Lakers, according to reports from Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports and Marc Stein at Substack, among others.

Count Lakers legend Magic Johnson, formerly the team’s president of basketball operations, as a supporter of acquiring Irving.

Personally, I’d love to see Kyrie in the purple and gold,” he said (via Twitter).

Irving, of course, won a championship with LeBron James while the two were on the Cavaliers in 2015/16. James also acknowledged Irving’s trade request, cryptically tweeting out an eye emoji and a crown.

However, the Nets are expected to be a buyer at the deadline, which could complicate matters, Stein notes. It’s hard to imagine getting equal value for Irving considering the market for him is reportedly pretty thin.

The Lakers do indeed have interest in Irving, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The likely framework would be Russell Westbrook and their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in exchange for Irving and Joe Harris, per Buha’s sources.

L.A. would push to lottery-protect at least one of those picks, according to Buha, who suggests a third team might have to be involved, depending on Brooklyn’s goals. The Lakers don’t have interest in trading Austin Reaves or Max Christie in a potential Irving package, sources tell Buha.

Interestingly, Lonnie Walker and Patrick Beverley could be involved in an Irving deal or in another trade in order to upgrade the rotation, Buha reports. Beverley’s inclusion is no surprise, but this is the first time this season I’ve seen Walker’s name involved in trade rumors.

Here are more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Lakers have reportedly had preliminary talks with the Jazz regarding Westbrook, but they remain interested in Hornets guard Terry Rozier, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
  • Executives with knowledge of Dallas’ plans tell Goodwill that the Mavericks would definitely take Irving, the question is at what cost. Head coach Jason Kidd is a proponent of acquiring the star point guard, according to Fischer’s sources. Dallas has “confidence in Kidd’s coaching ability to connect with Irving,” Stein writes.
  • There isn’t universal agreement within the Mavericks‘ organization about adding Irving, however. Some front office members have concerns about Irving’s long-term fit with Luka Doncic, according to sources Tim Cato of The Athletic spoke to. The concern is centered on how they’d mesh in the locker room, as they have “drastically different off-court personas.”
  • According to Stein, the Nets are believed to be interested Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith in a potential Irving deal, but the Mavericks “would surely insist” on trying to shed the contract of either Tim Hardaway Jr. or Davis Bertans. Dinwiddie played for the Nets from 2016-2021, so they’re very familiar with him as a person and player.
  • The Mavericks are also interested in Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic, as “they’re desperate and determined” to get help for Doncic, says Goodwill.

Lakers Notes: LeBron, Future Draft Picks, Christie

Although there has been some recent speculation about the possibility of Lakers star LeBron James eventually asking out of Los Angeles, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Dave McMenamin said on the latest episode of The Lowe Post that they haven’t heard anything to suggest that will happen.

“I keep hearing he wants to stay with the Lakers. He wants to finish his career with the Lakers,” Lowe said, per RealGM. “His comments (about wanting to win) should be interpreted as his patience is not infinite and if this is just a continued morass of losing, maybe that changes. But if you force me to bet, I’d still bet on him finishing his career with the Lakers. And I’d feel pretty confident in that.”

As we’ve written multiple times, James can’t be traded this season. While it’s not out of the question that he could request a trade in the summer, the expectation is that even if the Lakers don’t use their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks as trade ammunition during the current season, they’ll still be willing to do so during the offseason, when they’ll have more cap flexibility and more options. If that’s the case, it’s not hard to imagine LeBron being comfortable with his situation in Los Angeles heading into 2023/24.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • In an opinion column for USA Today, Jeff Zillgitt questions why the Lakers aren’t more willing to use their resources (including those two future first-round picks) to upgrade in the short term. As Zillgitt observes, James is still playing at an All-NBA level at age 38 and no obvious frontrunner has emerged in the Western Conference — there’s no guarantee that both of those things will be true again next season.
  • Besides the fact that he’s unlikely to still be with the Lakers by the time they make both picks, James probably doesn’t care much about the team’s 2027 and 2029 first-rounders for another reason, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN (Insider link). As Windhorst lays out, James’ teams have only drafted a first-rounder and teamed him with LeBron in five of his 20 seasons, and none of those one-time prospects (including J.J. Hickson, Norris Cole, and Shannon Brown) came close to becoming an All-Star.
  • He wasn’t a first-round pick, but Lakers rookie Max Christie is looking like another diamond in the rough for the franchise, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. As Buha details, Christie – who says he’s exceeding his own expectations so far in his rookie year – is relishing the opportunity to learn from former MVPs like James and Russell Westbrook. “He’s figuring it out, man,” Westbrook said. “He’s young. He’s going to be in this league for a long time. I’m happy to be here to help him start his career and make things easier for him. Hopefully, he’ll continue learning, continue listening, and he’s going to do so many great things in the league.”

Lakers Notes: Davis, Trade Market, LeBron, Bryant, Christie

The foot injury that Anthony Davis suffered last week has decreased the chances that the Lakers will gamble on a major trade, multiple sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic. He adds that the only exception would be if the team can acquire a young star that it believes can succeed alongside Davis over the next few years.

Even before the Davis injury, the Lakers’ front office wasn’t confident that there was a trade available that would turn the team into contenders, Buha states. He suggests the most likely current scenario is a deal that would include some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-rounder in either 2027 or 2029 in exchange for a 3-and-D wing or a combo forward.

Along with the players who have already been linked to the Lakers in trade talks, Buha’s sources point to the SunsJae Crowder, the RocketsEric Gordon, the PistonsAlec Burks, the HornetsTerry RozierP.J. Washington and Kelly Oubre Jr. and the SpursJosh Richardson and Jakob Poeltl as players to watch.

There’s more on the Lakers, all from Buha:

  • LeBron James has posted four straight 30-point games, but his playing time is starting to become a concern. He’s averaged 39.2 minutes over the past five games, and the Lakers need to be careful that they don’t rely too heavily on him. Buha notes that James, who will turn 38 next week, ranks sixth in minutes per game among players with at least 50 total games over the past two seasons.
  • The loss of Davis has been eased somewhat by the emergence of Thomas Bryant. Buha states that Bryant was considered “almost unplayable” before Davis got hurt, but he’s averaging 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in the last three games while shooting 61.1% from the field and 55.6% from three-point range. The 25-year-old center joined the Lakers during the offseason on a veteran’s minimum contract and will be a free agent again next summer.
  • Rookie shooting guard Max Christie recently moved into the rotation and may be playing well enough to stay there. The second-round pick provides a much-needed 3-and-D option for coach Darvin Ham, and he’s one of the best rebounders among the team’s guards.
  • The starting backcourt of Beverley and Dennis Schroder hasn’t performed well, and Buha wonders why Ham keeps playing them together. The Lakers are minus-50 in 161 minutes when they’re on the court at the same time, and their skills seem to be redundant.

Pacific Notes: Wiseman, Leonard, George, Paul, Shamet, Christie

Warriors center James Wiseman is being professional about his G League assignment and is trying to use it to improve his game, writes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. Wiseman, who missed all of last season with a knee injury and was seeing limited playing time this year, was sent to Golden State’s affiliate in Santa Cruz last week for “an extended period.”

“His attitude has been unbelievable from the regard of asking me if there’s things he can do better, asking about the defense, being willing to accept playing here,” Santa Cruz coach Seth Cooper said after Wiseman posted 19 points and 11 rebounds in his first G League game on Saturday. “There are a lot of guys not just picked where he was, but picked anywhere in the draft, who would want to come here and just have the ball all the time. … That’s not him.”

Wiseman, the No. 2 selection in the 2020 draft, is at a critical point in his career, Letourneau states. The Warriors picked up his $12.1MM option for the 2023/24 season, but they’ll have to do something to reduce costs next summer to keep their payroll from rising above $500MM. If the front office decides to hold onto Draymond Green, trading Wiseman is an obvious way to save money.

“There’s urgency,” admitted Wiseman, who has played just 50 total NBA games so far. “I just came back from a rehab. Really, I’m just trying to get back on the court and just get my rhythm again.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both underwent treatment in Los Angeles today for their injuries, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN (video link). Leonard suffered a sprained right ankle in Monday’s game when he stepped on Amir Coffey‘s foot, and he may not be ready to return on Friday. George missed his second straight game tonight with a strained right hamstring. Neither injury is considered long-term, Andrews adds.
  • Chris Paul and Landry Shamet were full participants in a non-contact practice today, Suns coach Monty Williams tells Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Paul is trying to return from a heel injury, while Shamet has been in concussion protocols.
  • Lakers guard Max Christie has cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols and will join the team for Friday’s game in San Antonio, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.