Rich Paul

And-Ones: Dolan, Klutch Sports, Larkin, M. Williams

Knicks owner James Dolan continues to stand in the way of a new arena for the Clippers, even though he seems to know few details about the lawsuits he’s involved with, according to Stefan Bondy and Nancy Dillon of The New York Daily News. Dolan has filed several suits to protect his interests in the Forum, the authors allege, citing his testimony in a deposition in which he admits he doesn’t have much knowledge about the City of Inglewood, the contractual issues involved with the proposed arena or the mayoral candidate he supported in an effort to block the project.

The story states that Dolan made two attempts to convince Lakers owner Jeanie Buss to move her team to Inglewood, that he wasn’t aware Inglewood loaned his MSG company $18MM to buy the Forum or that his company was funding lawsuits that a community group has been filing against Inglewood. NBA commisioner Adam Silver tried to work out a compromise between Dolan and Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, but Dolan allegedly refused.

MSG responded with a statement disputing the article and claiming it’s the latest example of “egregious, personal attacks” by The Daily News. “The fact is, there is widespread concern across the Inglewood community about the proposed Clippers arena – with thousands of Inglewood residents actively voicing their opposition since the day the project was announced,” the statement reads. “Residents have raised several, serious concerns – about the project’s ‘backroom’ dealings, its devastating environmental impacts, and the way it would overwhelm the surrounding neighborhood with traffic and force out residents.”

There’s more NBA-related news to pass along:

  • United Talent Agency will make a “significant” financial investment in Klutch Sports Group and will appoint agent Rich Paul as the head of UTA’s new sports division, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Paul, who represents some of the NBA’s top stars, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Ben Simmons, will branch out to the NFL and Major League Baseball as well, armed with a long list of Hollywood contacts and major brand labels that will allow him to provide athletes with career options once their playing days are over.
  • Shane Larkin, who last played in the NBA with the Celtics during the 2017/18 season, is negotiating a two-year deal to return to Anadolu Efes Istanbul, relays Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Larkin, the MVP of the EuroLeague Finals, will reportedly have an NBA out after the first year of his new contract.
  • Former Heat guard Matt Williams has signed with Donar in the Netherlands, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. Williams attended a free agent mini-camp with the Pistons last month.

Knicks Notes: Morris, Bullock, Vonleh

After officially announcing their deals with Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock today, the Knicks appear to be just about done with free agency. Damyean Dotson‘s salary for 2019/20 became fully guaranteed because he remained on the roster through Monday, so New York is now carrying 15 players on guaranteed deals. The team has also exhausted its cap room and appears to have used a portion of the room exception to sign Bullock.

Here are a few Knicks-related notes on Morris, Bullock, and more:

  • Morris’ agent Rich Paul wasn’t directly involved in his client breaking his verbal agreement with the Spurs, and preferred that Morris stick to that agreement, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. According to Berman, Morris and the Knicks worked together to strike a deal. As for Morris and Paul, they’re reportedly parting ways after the forward’s tumultuous free agency.
  • A source tells Berman that Bullock is out “indefinitely” and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports that Bullock will likely miss at least a month of the season. The details on the veteran guard’s health issue remain a mystery, but that issue helped scuttle the initial two-year deal between the two sides — that $21MM agreement would have been worth more than double the value of their new contract.
  • The Knicks’ goal is to win – not tank – in 2019/20, according to Berman, who speculates that Morris and Julius Randle may end up being the team’s starting forward tandem, with 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox moving to the bench.
  • After leaving the Knicks for the Timberwolves in free agency, Noah Vonleh told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic that he had a “great” time in New York last season. “It was a great opportunity,” Vonleh said. “They gave me some playing time, let me be the 4-man, just grow as a player and change the narrative that was on me that was in the league and gave myself another a chance to give myself a new life in the league.”

NBA Executives Want Shorter Moratorium

Marcus Morrisdecision to join the Knicks after agreeing to an offer from the Spurs will add momentum to a push to shorten the summer moratorium, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Morris accepted a two-year, $20MM offer from San Antonio on July 6, but changed his mind a few days later when the Knicks agreed to give him $15MM for one season. New York had unexpected money available after renegotiating its deal with Reggie Bullock over health issues.

Bontemps points out that similar concerns arose last summer when Nemanja Bjelica and Yogi Ferrell backed out of respective deals with the Sixers and Mavericks when they got better offers from the Kings.

Although executives that Bontemps spoke to at the Summer League were split in their opinions on these decisions, they are united in their dislike of the six-day moratorium, with one telling him, “It’s just too long.”

In the wake of his free agent odyssey, Morris has decided to change agents, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Morris has parted ways with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who is arguably the league’s most powerful agent and helped steer Anthony Davis to the Lakers. A source tells Bondy that Morris refused a three-year, $41MM offer from the Clippers before agreeing to the deals with the Spurs and then the Knicks.

Eastern Notes: Celtics, Crabbe, Clarkson, Sixers

The Celtics have reached an agreement to add another new assistant coach to Brad Stevens‘ staff, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports that the team is bringing aboard Kara Lawson. A former WNBA and Olympic champion, Lawson has worked as a TV analyst for the Wizards for the last three years.

According to Wojnarowski, Lawson had talked to multiple NBA teams in recent years about possible coaching roles, but was convinced to accept an offer from the Celtics based on the opportunity to work with Stevens.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Allen Crabbe, who will be a member of the Hawks once their trade with Brooklyn becomes official in July, was arrested in Los Angeles on a DUI charge on Wednesday, writes Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Since the trade hasn’t technically been finalized, the Hawks can’t yet comment on Crabbe’s arrest.
  • Jordan Clarkson has hired a new agent, becoming the latest member of the Cavaliers to sign with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports for representation, reports Joe Vardon of The Athletic (via Twitter). Klutch also reps Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and Darius Garland.
  • The Sixers officially announced in a press release that they’ve hired Ime Udoka and Joseph Blair as assistant coaches. The hiring of Udoka, who comes over from San Antonio, was reported during the first week of June.
  • Revisiting the circumstances surrounding the KnicksKristaps Porzingis trade, Sam Amick of The Athletic writes that Porzingis threatened to return to Spain to rehab his ACL injury if New York didn’t move him. A source tells Amick that Porzingis was aware he’d be fined if he made that decision without the team’s permission, but was ready to deal with the consequences.

Pelicans Agree To Trade Anthony Davis To Lakers

The Pelicans have reached an agreement to trade All-Star big man Anthony Davis to the Lakers for guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, forward Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s draft, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

The rest of the Pelicans’ haul includes a 9-30 protected first-rounder in 2021, which becomes unprotected in 2022, and an unprotected first-rounder in 2024.

New Orleans will also have the right to swap unprotected first-rounders in 2o23 and will have the option to defer the 2024 pick until 2025, according to reports from Tim Bontemps of ESPN and Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter links).

[UPDATE: Davis trade will become a three-team deal]

The Lakers immediately become championship contenders with Davis joining forces with LeBron James. Davis’ agent Rich Paul, also James’ agent, had tried to steer trade talks toward the Lakers over the winter after Davis’ desire to be traded was made public. But Davis didn’t get his wish at the time.

Paul and Davis recently met with the Pelicans’ new top executive, David Griffin, who tried to convince Davis to rescind his trade request. Davis declined and expressed his desire to play long-term for either the Lakers or Knicks.

GM Rob Pelinka, who has been under fire after criticism from former Lakers president Magic Johnson, pulled off a major coup by winning the Davis sweepstakes over the Knicks and Celtics, among others. Los Angeles gave up plenty in the deal but didn’t have to include another talented big man, Kyle Kuzma.

Davis could sign an extension with the Lakers but still intends to test free agency next summer, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The Lakers will have either $27.8MM or $32.5MM in cap room after the deal to pursue a high-level free agent, depending upon timing and Davis’ willingness to waive his $4MM trade bonus, ESPN salary cap expert Bobby Marks tweets.

The trade cannot be officially finalized until after the new league year begins in July. It may be even be completed as late as July 30 — newly-drafted players can be traded immediately without signing a rookie scale contract, but if they sign that contract, they aren’t eligible to be dealt for 30 days. Waiting those 30 days would be advantageous to the Lakers for cap-related reasons, as Marks notes (via Twitter).

The Lakers still don’t have quite enough cap room to max out a free agent like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker but they’re close to it, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Naturally, one of those free agents might take a little less to form a superstar trio in Los Angeles or the Lakers could make other moves to clear more cap room. Walker will be the Lakers’ top free agent target, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Boston refused to part with its top young player, forward Jayson Tatum, in trade talks with the Pelicans, Stein add in another tweet. That put the Lakers in the driver’s seat for Davis’ services.

With Ball and Hart joining Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have greatly enhanced their backcourt. They now have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks in Thursday’s draft. It’s a slam dunk they’ll select Duke forward Zion Williamson with the top pick and theyll get another high-level prospect, unless they have another trade in the works. Williamson and Ingram should be a formidable duo at the forward spots and the Pelicans can now concentrate on bringing in another big man to make all the other pieces work.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Rich Paul Talks Anthony Davis, Lakers, Celtics

Anthony Davis‘ agent, Rich Paul, took a good deal of criticism earlier this year when he went public with his client’s trade request just 10 days before the 2019 deadline, seemingly pressuring the Pelicans to get a deal done with the Lakers and indirectly derailing both teams’ seasons in the process.

However, Paul tells S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated that he feels as if going public with Davis’ trade request was his only option. As Paul explains, he told Pelicans GM Dell Demps of AD’s desire to be moved, and Demps – who said he’d talk to team owner Gayle Benson and get back to Paul – instead tried to contact Davis directly and didn’t get back in touch with his agent.

“It was necessary to go public,” Paul told Price. “When I told you, ‘Here’s our intentions,’ and you say, ‘Hey, let me talk to ownership,’ and instead of you talking to ownership you call Anthony Davis? That’s called being ignored. … [Trying to get between a player and his agent] is a no-no. Every GM knows that.”

Price’s feature on Paul includes several other interesting tidbits, including one source telling SI that the agent approached at least one NBA coach to gauge his interest in an assistant role on Frank Vogel‘s staff — both Paul and the Lakers denied that happened.

Here are some more of Paul’s most noteworthy comments from the story, which is worth checking out in full:

On why the Lakers would be a good landing spot for Anthony Davis, with or without fellow Paul client LeBron James on their roster:

“My thing is: Take LeBron off the Lakers. Are the Lakers not a great destination for an arguably top-two player that went to Kentucky and won a national championship, signed with Nike? For a team that’s had centers from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq? So now, when you add LeBron, that’s what? The cherry on top. LeBron’s 34 years old. Anthony Davis is 26. So when LeBron’s done playing, the Anthony Davis trade is still rolling. What better place to do it than L.A.?

“I’m trying to help Anthony Davis. Now, if helping Anthony Davis helps LeBron in the long run? So be it. But my goal is Anthony Davis.”

On why the Knicks would also be an appealing destination for Davis:

“The only difference is, they don’t have as many championships as the Lakers. They got a tradition. It’s a big market—not that it’s only big markets. They have cap space, flexibility, they’re able to absorb more than one star. What’s wrong with that?”

On the idea of the Celtics trading for Davis:

“They can trade for him, but it’ll be for one year. I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I’ve stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don’t blame Rich Paul.”

On Davis’ plans to test free agency in 2020:

“Where he’s going to land? I have no idea. And it don’t matter. We’re going into free agency. Why does it matter to me where he goes? Earth: We’re going into free agency. He has a year, he has to play. But after that, I can’t say it no bigger: WE ARE GOING INTO FREE AGENCY. 2020: ANTHONY DAVIS WILL BE IN FREE AGENCY.”

(Note: The team that holds Davis’ Bird rights when he enters free agency in 2020 will be able to offer him more years and more money than any other team.)

Lakers, Knicks Top Anthony Davis’ Wish List

Anthony Davis is focused on joining either the Lakers or Knicks as his long-term destination, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.

Davis, who can become a free agent next summer, has not formally told Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin that he has narrowed his list. Davis submitted a four-team list to the Pelicans in February that also included the Clippers and Bucks.

Griffin met with Davis and his agent, Rich Paul, late last month in an effort to convince Davis to remain with the Pelicans. However, Davis’ desire to be dealt remained unchanged and Griffin has accelerated trade talks.

Several teams have expressed an interest in trading for Davis, according to Charania, including the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, Nets and Celtics. An ESPN report surfaced earlier on Monday that Griffin is willing to involve third parties in trade discussions in order to maximize the package New Orleans would receive.

Charania’s report suggests that Paul is attempting to steer those discussions toward the Lakers and Knicks. If those franchises know that Davis is willing to commit to them long-term, they obviously have more incentive to do everything they can to acquire the superstar big man.

Even so, other suitors — including the Celtics — are aggressively pursuing Davis despite not being one of his preferred teams. The Celtics are apparently willing to deal for Davis regardless of where Kyrie Irving ends up in free agency, Charania continues.

Griffin could hold onto Davis into next month with the hope of getting a desperate team that missed on its free agent targets to up the ante, Charania adds.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Kings, Clippers

Another unflattering story on the state of the Lakers was published on Tuesday, with the latest report from ESPN portraying the inner workings of one of the NBA’s marquee franchises in a particularly negative light. Despite the revelations included in that story, commissioner Adam Silver remains said in an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday morning that he still has “tremendous” confidence in the Lakers’ leaders to turn things around.

“I know [Lakers owner] Jeanie [Buss] knows how to manage a team,” Silver said, per Malika Andrews of ESPN.com. “Sure, when things start to go wrong, a lot of fingers get pointed. But they’ll figure it out.”

Silver’s name actually came up in ESPN’s report on the Lakers, with sources detailing an anecdote about LeBron James‘ agent Rich Paul approaching the commissioner at a lunch and complaining about then-coach Luke Walton. During today’s appearance on Get Up, Silver confirmed that interaction took place.

“He was in the same restaurant,” Silver said of Paul. “There were two people sitting there. He sat down for a second, and I think he said something along the lines that ‘Luke Walton is not the right guy to coach LeBron.’ My reaction was to shrug my shoulders and maybe say, ‘Well, who do you think is the right guy to coach?’ And he mentioned a name and that was that.

“I think he just wanted to say it out loud,” Silver added. “I don’t think he had any expectation that I would repeat that to anyone.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Kings are hosting their fifth pre-draft workout at their practice facility on Wednesday, the team announced in a press release. Sacramento listed Anthony Cowan (Maryland), Barry Brown (Kansas State), Alpha Diallo (Providence), Amir Coffey (Minnesota), Robert Franks (Washington State), and Dedric Lawson (Kansas) as the participants, though Cowan and Diallo are both expected to pull out of the draft before tonight’s NCAA withdrawal deadline.
  • While the Clippers always expected to make a play for a top free agent or two this summer, the team didn’t expect to already have two long-term building blocks in its backcourt by this point, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. As Greif outlines, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Landry Shamet both look like keepers for the franchise.
  • The legal battle over the Clippers‘ efforts to build a new arena in Inglewood continues, per Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times. According to Fenno, the L.A. County’s district attorney’s office found that the Inglewood City Council violated state law by approving an agreement with a Clippers-controlled company allowing it to explore building an arena in the city, but the D.A. didn’t take any action because the time limit to “remedy the violation” had passed.

Lakers Rumors: Magic, Pelinka, R. Paul, L. Rambis, More

Shortly after Magic Johnson abruptly resigned as the Lakers‘ president of basketball operations in April, Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote about the “ESPN elephant in the room,” suggesting that there had been rumblings for much of the year that ESPN was working on a story that would be “extremely unflattering” for Johnson and would focus on his mistreatment of employees.

Johnson denied at the time that such a report had anything to do with his decision, admitting to reporters that he could be demanding, but insisting that he “never disrespected” anyone.

More than a month and a half after Johnson stepped down, it seems that ESPN report has finally surfaced. Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com published a fascinating, in-depth look at the Lakers today, citing team employees who said that Magic used “intimidation and bullying as a way of showing authority” during his two years as the head of basketball operations in L.A.

“He comes off to the fan base with the big love and the smile,” an ex-Lakers athletic training official told Holmes. “But he’s not — he’s a fear monger.”

Holmes’ many sources – which include several current and former Lakers staffers – described Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka as leaders who made major roster decisions unilaterally, berated staffers, and created a culture that marginalized many employees and generated fear among staffers — at least two employees suffered panic attacks, per Holmes.

“It’s f—-ng crazy over there,” one former Lakers star told confidants, according to Holmes.

Holmes’ story is packed with so many interesting details that it would be impossible to pass them all along without approaching his 6,000+ word count ourselves, so we recommend checking out the piece in full. Here are several of the highlights:

On Lakers’ roster moves:

  • Members of the basketball operations department and coaching staff told Holmes that Johnson and Pelinka completed many of last summer’s free agent signings after having sought little to no input from them. Some members of the organization learned about the moves through media reports.
  • “We all had the same reaction that the basketball world did, like what the f— are we doing?” one Lakers coaching staff member said, referring to a series of signings that included Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, and JaVale McGee. “Not only are we not getting shooting, but we’re also getting every basket-case left on the market.”
  • During the 2018 draft, the Lakers set up two “war rooms,” with Johnson and Pelinka in one and other front office executives and scouts in the second. Staff members in the second war room were anticipating the team would use its No. 25 pick on Villanova’s Omari Spellman, the top player left on their board. Instead, the club drafted Moritz Wagner, shocking scouts and other staff members, per Holmes.
  • Pelinka later told staffers that he had heard negatives about Spellman and spoke to Lakers player Josh Hart about them before deciding to pass on the Villanova forward. Some members of the organization told Holmes that the pick represented the kind of unilateral decision that the Lakers’ top executives made without looping in key figures who would typically be involved. “For him to covertly go to a player and go behind everybody’s else’s back, that’s the problem,” a coaching staff member said.

On Luke Walton and the head coaching search:

  • After being told by Johnson prior to the 2018/19 season not to worry if the Lakers got off to a slow start, Luke Walton was admonished by Magic two weeks into the season when the club had a 3-5 record. The Lakers’ head coach was confused about why the team had suddenly changed its message, but members of the staff later came to believe that LeBron James‘ agent Rich Paul played a role, as Holmes explains.
  • In November, Paul approached NBA commissioner Adam Silver at a lunch and complained about Walton, telling him that he believed Tyronn Lue – not Walton – was the right coach for the Lakers, sources tell Holmes. Paul also let it be known via back channels that he wasn’t pleased with Walton’s inconsistent lineups and his allotment of minutes, says Holmes.
  • After the Lakers moved on from Walton, they missed out on their top two head coaching targets – Lue and Monty Williams – before hiring Frank Vogel. Multiple staffers who spoke to Holmes said the process left the team in a state of “shock” and “confusion.”

On the Lakers’ handling of players:

  • Members of the organization had problems with the Lakers allowing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to continue playing during the 2017/18 season while he was serving a 25-day jail sentence for violating the terms of his DUI probation. The judge’s work-release rules allowed KCP to practice and play in-state games with the team, but staffers weren’t impressed with the decision, which they viewed as the Lakers trying to curry favor with agent Rich Paul, according to Holmes.
  • “Anybody [else] would have put him on personal leave or suspended him,” one coaching staff member said of the KCP decision, per Holmes. A front office executive added: “I had a major problem with that.”
  • Sources close to some specific Lakers players tell Holmes that those players’ trust in management had “all but evaporated” after the details of the team’s Anthony Davis proposals repeatedly leaked to reporters prior to the trade deadline. “Guys know there’s no trust there,” a Lakers coaching staff member told ESPN before the end of the season. “Guys know the new [administration] has completely bent over to the agent world and were overly sensitive to having these one-sided relationships with these guys where they kind of control our every move because we’re ‘big-game hunting.'”
  • Some players felt that LeBron was complicit in the handling of the Davis situation, given his connection to the Pelicans star through Paul, sources tell Holmes.

On Rob Pelinka:

  • Pelinka would often sit in on pregame and halftime coaches’ meetings, which is unusual for a GM, writes Holmes. “It’s weird from the player’s standpoint,” a coaching staff member told ESPN. “The players are not able to open up and speak freely, because you’ve got the guy in the room who supposedly controls your future, so why would you open up and be honest and confrontational when that might be what is required for that moment?”
  • Current and former staff members expressed serious concerns about Pelinka’s credibility and the flow of information in the franchise, says Holmes. “We think, more often than not, he’s not being truthful,” a coaching staff member said. “That goes throughout the organization.”
  • Despite the concerns about Pelinka, he has a strong backer in Linda Rambis, who has long been a major supporter and ally of the GM, according to Holmes. Rambis, a close friend of owner Jeanie Buss, has been referred to as the Lakers’ “shadow owner,” and one front office staffer says Rambis “loves” that role.

Jeanie Buss Has Faith In Lakers’ Front Office Despite Lost Season

The Lakers failed to put the right pieces around LeBron James during year one of The King’s reign in Los Angeles. Despite the disappointment, owner Jeanie Buss still has complete faith in both team president Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka, a source close to the situation tells Bill Oram of The Athletic.

The two executives have had their share of missteps during their time with the team. For instance, as Oram details, when the Lakers signed James, neither Pelinka or Johnson put in the kind of research that rival organizations typically do when landing a top star.

When the Celtics traded for Kyrie Irving, the team made calls to former coaches and those around him in pursuit of intel on the point guard. Had the Lakers put in that type of work, they may have known, for example, that LBJ playing off the ball wasn’t going to be something they should plan around even if the four-time MVP had signed off on the strategy during July 2018 discussions.

The team will chase stars like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson this summer, though the Lakers don’t appear to be atop any of those players’ lists, per Oram’s piece, which Shams Charania, Joe Vardon, Sam Amick, and Frank Isola also contributed to.

The thinking process may be shifting behind the scenes in Los Angeles as a result of the lack of interest in the Lakers. “You don’t need names, you need games,” a source close to James tells Oram. That differs from Johnson declaring last year that this summer would bring another superstar.

Regardless of which players the Lakers roster, Luke Walton is unlikely to coach them. Johnson clashed with Walton throughout the season with tension rising during an early-season meeting. Oram writes that Johnson delivered Walton with a “closed-door tongue lashing.” From that point on, Walton had reason to be concerned about his job security.

According to Isola, the Lakers reached out to former Bucks coach Jason Kidd during the season. However, a high-ranking official within the organization refutes the claim.

Oram shares more details from a lost season in the extensive piece, which is worth a read on its own. Here are some more of the highlights:

  • Kyle Kuzma was told prior to his trip to Charlotte for All-Star weekend that he would be a key part of the Lakers and that unless the team was acquiring one of the league’s best three players, it wasn’t trading him. Pelinka delivered a similar message to Larry Nance Jr. prior to the deadline last season. According to Oram’s source, Pelinka reassured Nance of the team’s plan for him and told the big man to buy the house he was pursuing in Los Angeles — Nance luckily was unable to complete all the necessary steps to buying the home before the team traded him to Cleveland.
  • Some within Walton’s circle felt that agent Rich Paul was attempting to use the Anthony Davis saga to get the team to fire Walton. If the team acquired Davis, the franchise would need a more decorated coach. However, the Lakers heard through back channels that Davis liked Walton and that bought the coach more time.
  • Members of the Lakers’ coaching staff had hoped that management would bring back the Julius RandleBrook Lopez pairing last offseason. The team allowed both to walk in free agency. Sources tell Oram that Walton and his staff were not consulted about potential free agent targets last year until late in the process.
  • Oram writes that Johnson is seen as an “absentee executive,” as evidenced by Johnson’s lack of response when LaVar Ball made allegations that Walton was losing control of the locker room last season. Johnson was in Hawaii at the time and didn’t publicly back his coach.
  • Pelinka has been active in his involvement with the Lakers. He’s hands-on with scouting and coaches’ meetings, though his level of micromanagement has drawn criticism.
  • Johnson caught the attention of James for his comments during an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio. Johnson said the team needed to get the ball out of James’ hands because otherwise, the situation would be “Cleveland all over again and we don’t want that.” LBJ publicly said he wasn’t sure what Johnson meant.