Archive for the ‘ Los Angeles Lakers Blog ’ Category

When you add LeBron James to a team, it doesn’t automatically mean the squad will instantly start winning and have no growing pains. Chances are, the Lakers will win more than they lose early on, but as new key players learn to play with each other, there will be winning streaks but also some losing. One step back, two steps forward, on and on. Here’s ESPN.com reporting that Magic Johnson understand this, and won’t hold it against head coach Luke Walton if there are some early-season bumps:

Saying he understands that the revamped Los Angeles Lakers will need time to mesh, Magic Johnson said he told head coach Luke Walton not to worry if the team gets off to a bumpy start this season.

“As I was talking to Luke [with GM Rob Pelinka], we said don’t worry about if we get out to a bad start,” Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, said Thursday as the team’s brass met with the media. “We have seen that with LeBron [James] going to Miami, and we have seen that when he came back to Cleveland. He is going to struggle because there are so many new moving parts. But eventually we are going to get it, and we are going to be really a good team.”

The Lakers added veterans such as James, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley in free agency to go with a young developing core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. In addition to adding multiple players who have been at their best with the ball in their hands, the Lakers injected their locker room with some strong and unique personalities.

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Andrew Bynum seeks NBA comeback

Here’s NBC Sports Philadelphia discussing center Andrew Bynum, who reportedly seeks a return to NBA action. Which sounds to us like a longshot, but it’s fun to ponder, because Bynum was quite a character.

I have no idea what Andrew Bynum has been up to over the past few years. I’d guess he has made a trip or two to the King of Prussia Mall and maybe even hit up his local bowling alley. But now we know the former face of the Sixers’ franchise — for like 30 seconds! — has actually been spending time in a gym lately doing something he never did in a regular-season game for the 76ers.

Bynum has been playing basketball. The former NBA lottery pick and total bust in Philadelphia is attempting to make a comeback at the age of 30, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. He last played in the NBA in 2014 for the Indiana Pacers after quickly flaming out with the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier that season.

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Lakers, Luol Deng agree to buyout

Lakers, Luol Deng agree to buyout

The Los Angeles Lakers yesterday (Saturday) requested waivers on forward Luol Deng. This after the team and Deng agreed to a contract buyout.

“We want to thank Luol for his time with the Lakers,” said Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka. “We made this move to further our future salary cap and roster flexibility, as we continue to build this Lakers team according to our current overall vision.”

Acquired as a free agent in 2016, Deng appeared in 57 career games (50 starts) for the Lakers, averaging 7.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 26.3 minutes.

According to ESPN.com, “Luol Deng agreed to a significant give-back of $7.5 million in his contract buyout with the Los Angeles Lakers, clearing $38 million in salary cap space for 2019 free agency, league sources told ESPN. The Lakers can now offer a free-agent star a maximum contract in July to partner with LeBron James. The Lakers are targeting the top players in a potentially starry 2019 marketplace, including Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler.”

And according to the Daily Breeze, “Deng was one of the Lakers’ dubious legacies from a spending whirlwind in the 2016 offseason, and the former Bulls, Cavaliers and Heat forward never produced as hoped in Los Angeles after signing a four-year, $72 million deal. He averaged just 7.5 points per game in 57 total contests, playing only once last season as the Lakers sought minutes for a young core under a new front-office regime.”

LeBron James is bringing his basketball legacy to Los Angeles. Young Laker talent like Kyle Kuzma is sure to benefit. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

The four-time MVP has played in the Finals for eight straight years, winning the championship with Cleveland in 2016 after capturing back-to-back crowns with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.

Now, he’ll be wearing the same jersey as Kuzma, who will literally get to rub shoulders with one of the greatest players of all-time on a daily basis.

“I think it’s going to impact a lot,” Kuzma said Wednesday. “He’s the ultimate professional. He’s a guy that’s one of the first guys in the gym and one of the last ones to leave. Usually I say I’m the first one in the gym but he’s beaten me to the gym a couple times already.

“We’re both excited for the season. It’s going to be a great year for us. I kind of had a good hunch in my stomach he was going to come (to the Lakers). It’s good. Anytime you can play with one of the greatest players of all-time it’s going to bode well for you.”

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On LeBron James signing with the Lakers

It really happened. LeBron James took his talents to Hollywood. Well, near Hollywood. Staples Center is in downtown Los Angeles, not Hollywood. But whatever. Close enough. Here’s ESPN.com rounding up some commentary and reactions to the signing, made official earlier this month, becoming a reality:

“He wanted to come to L.A.,” one Western Conference player said. “They just had to not f— it up. Jerry West just said it, and I was like, ‘Finally.’ He’s not coming to the Lakers. He came to L.A.”

West, now an adviser for the LA Clippers, told Sports Illustrated that, “LeBron was not a tough free-agent signing.” While the player’s swipe — like West’s — was aimed more at the Lakers than at James, the four-time MVP also had his motives for the move questioned.

“My thought was, ‘Good luck. You must really want to live in L.A.’” one prominent agent said. “Playing Western Conference teams night in and night out is not going to be the same. You don’t get a ‘night off.’ I would not want to end my career just making the playoffs.”

James’ streak of eight straight NBA Finals appearances would seem to be on life support with his switch from the East to the West. The Lakers’ success, or lack thereof, will largely depend on how quickly L.A.’s young core — some combination of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart — develops around James.

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Lakers sign Travis Wear to two-way contract

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Travis Wear to a two-way contract, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Wear played in 17 games for the Lakers in 2017-18, averaging 4.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game. Signed mid-season from the South Bay Lakers, Wear notched 16.7 points (.445 FG%, .419 3P%), 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 33 G League games (29 starts) last season.

Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to have up to two players under two-way contracts on their roster at any given time, in addition to their 15-man regular season roster.

Lakers sign Michael Beasley

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Michael Beasley.

The agreement had been reported earlier in July, but the signing became an official transaction today. According to the Los Angeles Times, the deal is for one year, $3.5 million.

Beasley played in 74 games (30 starts) for the Knicks last season, averaging 13.2 points (.507 FG%), 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 22.3 minutes per game. Named to the 2008-09 All-Rookie First Team, Beasley has appeared in 583 career games (236 starts) for the HEAT, Timberwolves, Suns, Rockets, Bucks and Knicks, with averages of 12.7 points (.464 FG%), 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23.4 minutes.

“Michael adds another component of versatility to our deep roster,” said Pelinka. “His length and ability to guard multiple positions, stretch the floor, play-make and create his own shot are all essential characteristics for us. Coming off one of the finest years of his career, we think Michael is poised to have a very exciting and strong season for us.”

More from the Los Angeles Times: “Beasley joins a rebuilt roster headlined by LeBron James, along with three other veteran additions the Lakers signed to one-year deals: guards Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson and center JaVale McGee. The Lakers also brought back guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on a second one-year deal. They’ll join a young group led by second-year players Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart, and third-year forward Brandon Ingram.”

A native of Prince George’s County, MD, Beasley went on to play one season collegiately at Kansas State, earning consensus First Team All-America honors in 2007-08. The Big 12 Player of the year started all 33 games, tallying 26.2 points (.532 FG%), an NCAA-leading 12.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.3 steals and 1.2 assists in 31.5 minutes per game.

Lakers sign Johnathan Williams

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Johnathan Williams today.

We assume that this is a non-guaranteed deal that merely brings Williams to training camp.

Williams played in seven Vegas Summer League games for the Lakers, and averaged 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 24.6 minutes per game.

In college playing for Gonzaga last season, Williams averaged 13.4 points (.563 FG%), 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.1 blocks in 29.2 minutes and was a First Team All-WCC honoree.

Williams also made the 2017 All-WCC First Team. He also represented Team USA in the FIBA U16 and U17 World Championships in 2011 and 2012, winning two gold medals.

Lakers sign Jeffrey Carroll

The Lakers signed guard/forward Jeffrey Carroll today.

In 118 career games (77 starts) for Oklahoma State from 2014-18, Carroll averaged 12.0 points (.451 FG%), 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 25.1 minutes per game. As a senior last season, Carroll notched 15.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 30.7 minutes.

Carroll most recently played in six Las Vegas Summer League games for the Lakers, notching 4.2 points (.480 FG%) and 2.0 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per game.

Lakers sign Joel Berry II

The Lakers signed guard Joel Berry II today.

Berry II was named Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 NCAA Final Four after leading North Carolina to a National Championship. As a senior last season, Berry II earned First Team All-ACC honors with averages of 17.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 33.1 minutes per game. The Orlando, FL native played in 144 career games (112 starts) for the Tar Heels, notching 12.7 points (.420 FG%), 3.1 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 27.6 minutes per game.

Lakers sign JaVale McGee

The Lakers’ signing of center JaVale McGee became official today. It’s reportedly a one-year deal.

McGee appeared in 65 games (17 starts) for Golden State last season, tallying 4.8 points (.621 FG%) and 2.6 rebounds in 9.5 minutes per game. The seven-footer has played in 558 career games (187 starts) for Washington, Denver, Philadelphia, Dallas and Golden State, with averages of 7.5 points (.559 FG%), 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 16.7 minutes.

“JaVale changes the geometry of the game,” said Pelinka. “His unique combination of incredible length and foot nimbleness will allow us to play fast at both ends. His ability to both protect the rim and create angles with rim rolls will present a number of advantages in Coach Walton’s system.”

A 10-year NBA veteran, McGee won back-to-back championships as a member of the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018 and has appeared in 44 NBA playoff games (12 starts), averaging 6.5 points (.610 FG%), 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 14.0 minutes.

Selected by Washington with the 18th overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft, McGee averaged 8.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 66 career games (31 starts) at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Lakers sign Lance Stephenson

The Lakers’ signing of guard/forward Lance Stephenson became official today.

Per multiple reports, the deal is just for one year, $4.5 million.

Stephenson appeared in all 82 games (seven starts) for the Indiana Pacers last season, tallying 9.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 22.6 minutes per game.

“It’s incredibly exciting to have Lance join our team,” Pelinka said. “Lance is playoff-tested and will bring a certain edge, confidence and toughness to our roster. His multi-positional versatility and open-court playmaking abilities are key ingredients for the basketball style we designed for next season.”

An eight-year NBA veteran, Stephenson has played in 440 career games (196 starts) for Indiana, Charlotte, the LA Clippers, Memphis, New Orleans and Minnesota, averaging 8.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 24.4 minutes. He has also appeared in 57 NBA playoff games (38 starts), with career averages of 11.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

Selected by the Pacers with the 40th selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, Stephenson averaged 12.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 34 career games (32 starts) at the University of Cincinnati.

Lakers sign rookie Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

The Los Angeles Lakers signed rookie guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk today.

The 47th overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft out of the University of Kansas, Mykhailiuk earned All-Big 12 Second Team honors last season, with averages of 14.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. Mykhailiuk shot a Big 12-leading 44.4 percent from three-point range and set the KU single-season record with 115 three-point field goals made.

A native of Cherkasy, Ukraine, Mykhailiuk began his collegiate career at 17 years old as the youngest player in Big 12 history, and would go on to make three trips to the Sweet Sixteen, including one Final Four appearance in his four-year career. Mykhailiuk has also represented the Ukraine at the international level, leading the U-20 National Team in scoring during the 2016 FIBA European Championship.

Lakers sign rookie Isaac Bonga

Lakers sign rookie Isaac Bonga

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Isaac Bonga.

The 39th overall pick in this years’ NBA Draft, Bonga was acquired from Philadelphia today in exchange for a 2019 second round draft pick and cash considerations. Bonga joins the Lakers from Fraport Skyliners in Germany and has competed internationally with the German National Team in qualifying rounds of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Bonga is expected to join the Lakers summer league team in Las Vegas for their opening contest versus Philadelphia, tomorrow at 8:30 p.m.

The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

“We are excited to bring KCP back,” said Pelinka. “He is a true ‘two-way’ player, which is very important for our team DNA. We think he will multiply his successes from last year as we move forward with roster continuity.”

In 74 games (all starts) for the Lakers last season, Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 33.2 minutes per game, while tallying career highs in field goal percentage (.426) and three-point percentage (.383).

The five-year NBA veteran has appeared in 388 career games (348 starts) for the Lakers and Detroit Pistons, holding career averages of 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals in 30.8 minutes. He is also one of 22 players in league history to convert at least 635 three-pointers in his first five professional seasons (638).

Sixers trade Isaac Bonga to Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired forward Isaac Bonga from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for a 2019 second round draft pick and cash considerations, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Originally selected by the 76ers with this year’s No. 39 draft pick, Bonga averaged 6.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Fraport Skyliners in Germany last season. Bonga has also competed internationally with the German National Team in qualifying rounds of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

The Lakers reportedly came to an agreement with LeBron James early in free agency, and then proceeded to add a stream of players who are talented but aren’t known for their shooting ability or their decision-making. To hear the agreements one after the other was almost shocking. The only thought is, perhaps a big Lakers trade is looming, or perhaps the Lakers are merely stalling until next season’s free agency and that’s why they’re doing these one-year deals. Here’s the LA Times reporting:

Within 24 hours of adding the disciplined and professional James to a group of young and impressionable kids, the Lakers have inexplicably opened the locker room door to three veteran misfits.

In moves that ended Monday afternoon, they gave one-year deals to Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo in what only sounds like a “Saturday Night Live” spoof.

All three are valued for their fierce competitiveness. All three are also renowned for their unabashed kookiness.

Not only do all three have histories of odd and unsettling on-court behavior, but none of the three can provide James with the expert shooter his game desperately needs. The Lakers still don’t have that shooter. They also don’t have fan favorite and greatly improved Julius Randle, who looked at the new landscape Monday, threw up his hands and moved to New Orleans.

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LeBron James will sign with the Lakers

The first 24 hours of 2018 free agency have been epic. After a large flurry of reported agreements late Saturday night as the negotiation period kicked off, Sunday evening multiple outlets reported that LeBron James has decided to sign with the Lakers. Here’s the LA Times with more:

After securing a commitment from LeBron James on a four-year deal worth $154 million, the Lakers agreed Sunday to one-year deals with three veterans.

They will pay Kentavious Caldwell-Pope $12 million, Lance Stephenson $4.4 million and JaVale McGee $2.4 million, according to people familiar with the agreements who were not authorized to speak publicly. None of the deals can become official until Friday when the league’s moratorium on signing contracts lifts.

Two contracts did become official. The Lakers signed first-round draft pick Moe Wagner, which means he cannot be traded for at least 30 days. They also signed Malik Newman, a rookie out of Kansas, to a two-way contract.

Caldwell-Pope spent last season with the Lakers on a one-year deal worth $18 million, after spending the first four years of his career with the Detroit Pistons. He hit the market late because the Pistons waited until mid-July to renounce their rights to him after they were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract.

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The Lakers signed rookie guard Malik Newman to a two-way contract today.

Newman appeared in 39 games (33 starts) for Kansas last season, averaging 14.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 31.6 minutes. The 2018 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year averaged a team-high 21.6 points in the NCAA Tournament, leading Kansas to the Final Four and earning NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player honors.

Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to have up to two players under two-way contracts on their roster at any given time, in addition to their 15-man regular season roster.

Lakers sign rookie Moritz Wagner

The Los Angeles Lakers signed rookie center Moritz Wagner today, General Manager Rob Pelinka announced.

Wagner, the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, appeared in 107 career games (77 starts) for the Michigan Wolverines from 2015-18, with career averages of 10.4 points (.547 FG%) and 4.5 rebounds per game. In 2017-18, Wagner helped lead the Wolverines to a berth in the NCAA Championship game, earning All-Tournament Team honors with 15.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 steals in six NCAA Tournament games.

The 2018 Big Ten Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Wagner helped Michigan to the team’s second consecutive Big Ten Tournament championship with four straight double-digit scoring outings. Wagner started every game of his sophomore and junior seasons, averaging career bests of 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals last season.

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