Trevor Ariza

Lakers Sign Mac McClung To Two-Way Deal

APRIL 9: McClung has officially signed his two-way contract with the Lakers, the team announced on social media (Twitter link).

APRIL 8: The Lakers intend to sign G League guard Mac McClung to their open two-way spot, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (via Twitter).

Los Angeles recently created a two-way opening by promoting Wenyen Gabriel to a standard contract on Friday after waiving Trevor Ariza on Thursday.

McClung, 23, went undrafted in 2021 after three college seasons. He started his collegiate career with Georgetown, but transferred to Texas Tech following his sophomore year. He signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Lakers last summer, but was waived in October before the season began.

McClung signed a couple of 10-day hardship contracts with the Bulls in December and January, but only appeared in one NBA game for just three minutes. He has spent the majority of the season in the G League with the Lakers’ affiliate, South Bay, where he was named NBAGL Rookie of the Year.

In 35 NBAGL appearances, including 33 with South Bay, McClung stuffed the stat sheet with averages of 21.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.4 steals on .459/.365/.857 shooting. Once the signing becomes official, the Lakers will have a full 15-man roster and both two-way spots filled.

Lakers Notes: Davis, James, Westbrook, Offseason Approach

Anthony Davis isn’t sure if the Lakers‘ front office will try to trade him after the season, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports. Davis is signed through the 2024/25 season, though there’s an early termination option prior to the final year.

“Obviously I love it in L.A. If that’s something that they’re considering, then we’ll have a conversation about it,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re talking about, what’s the plan.”

Davis missed a chunk of time this season due to a foot injury but he bristles at the notion that he’s injury prone.

“To be honest, my training methods were top tier,” he said. “I can’t control stepping on someone’s foot and I can’t control someone falling into my leg. It’s not like I’m out of shape and I did some crazy (stuff) or it was anything I could control.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Davis (right foot soreness), LeBron James (left ankle soreness), and Russell Westbrook (right shoulder soreness) sat out Thursday’s game against the Warriors, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register writes. It’s unclear if the trio will be shut down for the remainder of the season but the Lakers have little to play for after getting eliminated from postseason contention.
  • The Lakers’ best future option is for the front office to start running the club like a small market team, Moke Hamilton of the Basketball News opines. They need to find a way to get back into the draft, most likely by trading Talen Horton-Tucker, and uncover diamonds in the rough through scouting and player development.
  • The Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner breaks down all the roster decisions that GM Rob Pelinka and senior advisor Kurt Rambis need to make this offseason.
  • The same topics are explored by the Bleacher Report’s’ Eric Pincus, who notes that significant changes are unlikely to occur within the front office.
  • The franchise has come up short of lofty expectations created by the additions of James four years ago and Davis three years ago, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today notes. While the Lakers won a championship in the Orlando bubble in 2020, competing for multiple championships was expected. They missed the playoffs in James’ first and fourth seasons in L.A. and lost in the first round last season.
  • In case you missed it, Trevor Ariza was waived on Thursday.

Lakers Waive Trevor Ariza

The Lakers have waived veteran forward Trevor Ariza, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The front office opened a roster spot in order to add a young player before the season ends on Sunday, according to Charania. The Lakers were eliminated from playoff contention this week and a major roster shakeup is expected. They didn’t wait for the offseason to begin that process.

The move was confirmed in a team press release, Dave McMenamin of ESPN relays in a tweet.

After signing a one-year, veteran’s minimum in the offseason, Ariza was expected to have a significant role. However, ankle surgery delayed his debut and reduced his impact. He only appeared in 24 games (11 starts), averaging 4.0 PPG and 3.4 RPG.

Ariza, 36, has been in the league since 2004. It’s uncertain whether this is the end of the road for the 18-year veteran, who has appeared in 1,118 regular season games.

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Trail Blazers, Heat, Rockets, Sixers, I. Thomas, More

The league continues to be battered by players entering and exiting the health and safety protocols. If any of the players entering the protocols registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are the latest updates from around the NBA:

Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Jarrett Culver Enter Protocols

Wizards star Bradley Beal has entered the health and safety protocols and will miss Thursday’s game vs. New York, according to the team (Twitter link). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is also currently in the protocols for Washington.

If Beal hasn’t registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, it’s possible he could exit the protocols in a matter of days. But if he did test positive, the 28-year-old figures to be sidelined for at least 10 days unless he can return two consecutive negative tests.

Beal, who remained unvaccinated as of September, missed the Olympics earlier this year because he tested positive for the coronavirus just before Team USA left for Tokyo.

Meanwhile, Lakers forward Trevor Ariza and Grizzlies wing Jarrett Culver have also been placed in the COVID-19 protocols, according to their respective teams (Twitter links). Ariza is the fifth Laker in the protocols, while Culver is the second Grizzlies player affected, joining Ziaire Williams.

While three players enter the protocols, another has exited — the Knicks announced that Quentin Grimes has been cleared to rejoin the team (Twitter link).

Lakers Notes: Davis, Thomas, Westbrook, Ariza

Lakers forward Anthony Davis suffered a left knee injury in the team’s 110-92 loss to the Timberwolves on Friday and he’ll undergo an MRI today after the team flies to Chicago, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“So far all is in good structure, but (we) want to take another image,” a source familiar with the injury told McMenamin.

Davis had already been dealing with soreness in the same knee. He underwent an ultrasound on Monday and was examined by the Timberwolves’ team doctor after Friday’s game. Officially, the Lakers are calling Davis’ injury a knee contusion. He struggled to make it to the locker room, collapsing to the ground in pain going through the tunnel.

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Isaiah Thomas made a heartwarming return to the NBA after signing a 10-day contract via the hardship exemption. He scored 19 points and received an ovation from the Minnesota crowd when he entered. Thomas expressed gratitude and said he feels healthy, McMenamin tweets. “I just never thought I would feel this way again,” he said. “Like, I have no limitations with my body, with my hip and that’s why I just smile so much because I’m in a great place mentally and I’m in a great place physically.”
  • It’s unlikely that Thomas will wind up remaining on the 15-man roster, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. The team would likely have waive Avery Bradley or shed the guaranteed contract of Rajon Rondo or DeAndre Jordan to make that happen.
  • Russell Westbrook had 14 points in 29 minutes on Friday. He entered health and safety protocols briefly but didn’t miss any games after producing multiple negative tests. Westbrook had three negative tests after testing positive, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets. He arrived in Minneapolis in mid-afternoon from Dallas, where Los Angeles played its previous game.
  • Trevor Ariza was in uniform on Friday but was the only player on the active list to record a DNP. The team will ease the veteran forward back into action, Bill Oram of The Athletic tweets. Ariza has yet to make his season debut after undergoing ankle surgery.

Charania’s Latest: Ariza, Nunn, Sabonis, Turner, Hawks

The Lakers are hopeful that forward Trevor Ariza will be able to make his season debut within the next week or two, says Shams Charania of The Athletic. Ariza has been sidelined for the entire fall as he recovers from ankle surgery, but continues to ramp up his activity. He was expected to participate on Monday in a practice with some members of the South Bay Lakers, as well as Rajon Rondo and Kent Bazemore, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Like Ariza, Lakers guard Kendrick Nunn hasn’t played at all for the team this season due to a bone bruise in his right knee. Sources tell Charania that Los Angeles is optimistic about Nunn returning to the court and making his debut for the club at some point in January.

Here’s more from Charania:

  • The Suns and Kings have shown interest in Pacers big man Domantas Sabonis in recent years, per Charania. It’s unclear if either Pacific team will make a run at Sabonis now that he’s rumored to be available, but they could be worth watching. Charania adds that “a slew” of teams are expected to pursue Myles Turner, and the expectation is that Indiana would only move one of its two big men, not both.
  • Hawks president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk and other members of Atlanta’s front office will likely sign contract extensions by the 2022 offseason, Charania reports. There have been rumors that other teams may try to lure assistant general manager Landry Fields away from the Hawks, but Fields is trending toward being promoted to GM in Atlanta under Schlenk, according to Charania.
  • Charania’s latest Inside Pass column for The Athletic included several other notable tidbits, which we rounded up in a series of stories earlier today.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Ayton, AD, Ariza, Holmes

Warriors star Stephen Curry is running away with the early-season MVP race, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Bontemps ran an informal straw poll of 100 media members mimicking the awards ballot run during the postseason, and Curry received 94 of 100 first-place votes.

Curry, a two-time MVP, is averaging 27.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 1.8 steals in 24 games (34.2 MPG). He leads the league in three-pointers made and attempts with 5.5 and 13.3 per game, respectively, good for 41.3%. The Warriors have the league’s best record at 21-4.

Rounding out the top five of ESPN’s informal MVP poll were Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, and Chris Paul.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Suns center Deandre Ayton will miss Friday’s game against the Celtics, per Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Ayton left the team’s shootaround early with a non-COVID illness.
  • Anthony Davis missed Friday’s game for the Lakers with knee soreness, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. In an article from McMenamin, Davis say the Lakers need to start playing like underdogs after losing to the Grizzlies 108-95. “These guys already feel like they’re the underdogs when they’re coming in, especially when they’re without their star players,” Davis said of a Memphis team playing without its top two scorers, Ja Morant and Dillon Brooks, due to health and safety protocols. “And we got to play like we’re the underdogs. Which, now, at this point of the season, the way we’re playing, a lot of games, we probably are.”
  • Lakers coach Frank Vogel says Trevor Ariza could spent some time in the G League as he recovers from ankle surgery, Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group relays (via Twitter). There’s still no timeline for Ariza’s return.
  • The Kings will be without starting center Richaun Holmes for at least a couple games. He sustained a cut on his right eye Wednesday vs. Orlando which was surgically mended, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. He missed Friday’s game vs. Charlotte and will be out for Saturday’s contest with Cleveland, too. Holmes is expected to make a full recovery.

Western Notes: Ariza, Nunn, Nuggets, D’Antoni

Lakers forward Trevor Ariza participated in a live action scrimmage for the first time since ankle surgery, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets. Coach Frank Vogel indicated Ariza is not experiencing pain but is still strengthening the ankle, so there’s no timetable for his return. Ariza signed a veteran’s minimum contract during the offseason and was expected to be a prominent contributor but he has yet to make his season debut.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Lakers backup guard Kendrick Nunn (right knee bone bruise) isn’t expected to make his season debut this month, McMenamin adds in another tweet. Nunn signed a two-year free-agent deal in August. He averaged 14.6 points, 2.6 assists and 29.5 minutes in 56 games with the Heat last season.
  • The addition of Davon Reed under the hardship exception pushed the Nuggets a little bit closer to the luxury tax line, John Hollinger of The Athletic notes. Reed’s contract adds another $100K to the cap, nudging them just $1.2MM below the tax line. That doesn’t include $1.7MM in unlikely incentives for Jeff Green, JaMychal Green and Will Barton. However, the tax concerns make it unlikely the franchise will utilize disabled player exceptions for Michael Porter Jr. and PJ Dozier.
  • Mike D’Antoni, currently an advisor to first-year Pelicans coach Willie Green, still has some interest in being a head coach, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. D’Antoni, who lives in Texas, attended his first Pelicans game this season in Houston on Sunday. He was an assistant to the Nets’ Steve Nash last season.

Pacific Notes: Ariza, Bradley, Howard, Jordan, Lee, Iguodala, Kerr

Lakers forward Trevor Ariza participated in his first non-contact practice since preseason ankle surgery on Thursday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN tweets. Coach Frank Vogel says Ariza will need a “build-up” period before he’ll play. Ariza was projected as a starter after signing a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers guard Avery Bradley will not need surgery on his sprained right thumb, Bill Oram of The Athletic tweets. Bradley will be available to play on Friday but he’ll require a splint to protect the injury. Vogel is unsure whether he’ll play Bradley or to give him more time to recover.
  • It’ll be one veteran center or the other in the foreseeable future for the Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets. Vogel plans to use either Dwight Howard or DeAndre Jordan on a game-by-game basis. Howard will get the start against the Clippers on Friday, so Jordan probably won’t play.
  • Damion Lee will return to action on Friday for the Warriors, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Lee, who last appeared in an NBA game on November 24, left the team for the birth of his first child. Andre Iguodala will miss his eighth consecutive game due to right knee soreness.
  • Despite winning multiple championship, Warriors coach Steve Kerr hasn’t lost his competitive spirit, as he told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “Part of what allowed me to stay in the NBA for 15 years as a player is that losing humiliates me, you know? My competitive desire drives me,” he said. “But like a lot of players at this level, the fear of losing is an even bigger motivator. So even though I don’t stop and think about legacy or anything like that, I just want to (bleeping) win, you know? It burns in me.”