The Los Angeles Lakers are returning just three players from last season’s squad, and one of those players is not deluding himself about how long the team-building process will take.
Lakers star Anthony Davis spoke with reporters on Sunday after the team lost to the Phoenix Suns to fall to 0-4 on the preseason. Davis surprisingly admitted that the Lakers could struggle to start the regular season as well.
“We want to be good, but we don’t want to skip steps,” he said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “You can’t rush the process of what we’re trying to do and win championships. We know, possibly, there could be struggles to start the season. But we never wanna get out to a slow start — 0-5, 0-6, whatever. We still want to be able to fight through our mistakes while winning games.”
While the Lakers’ Big Three of Davis, LeBron James, and Russell Westbrook has yet to play together, the early returns have not been encouraging. The team has a minus-74 point differential in their four preseason losses. In addition, they have already lost two rotation players in Trevor Ariza and Talen Horton-Tucker to fairly significant injuries.
On the bright side, the Lakers do seem to be taking their preparation for the season very seriously. With so many new pieces to integrate, they may have to take a page out of the Philadelphia 76ers’ book and trust the process.
Photo: Dec 18, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) against the Phoenix Suns during a preseason game at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Lakers brought in an old buddy of LeBron James’ earlier this offseason when they signed Carmelo Anthony. Now they could be signing an old buddy of Anthony Davis’ next.
Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported on Monday that free agent big man Kenneth Faried is working out for the Lakers this week.
The 31-year-old Faried, nicknamed “The Manimal,” rose to prominence with the Denver Nuggets in the 2010s but has been out of the league since 2019. He used to be teammates with Davis on the international stage however. The two big men were part of the USA Basketball team that won the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Faried and Davis were Team USA’s two leading rebounders that year.
In 2021 though, it is hard to tell where Faried would fit in with the Lakers. He fell out of the NBA’s good graces due to his inability to hit the three or to protect the rim. While Faried is a ferocious rebounder and lob-catcher, the Lakers already have two players with that same skillset in DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard. At 6-foot-8, Faried is also smaller than both of them. Still, Faried has a much better chance of getting the Lakers’ last roster spot than this other guy who wants it.
Anthony Davis might be the butt of a lot of jokes during this week’s Taco Tuesday at LeBron James’ house.
The Green Bay Packers began their season with an absolutely embarrassing 38-3 drubbing at the hands of the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The loss was the team’s biggest ever in a game started by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The Los Angeles Lakers star James proceeded to troll his teammate Davis, who is a big Packers fan, over the loss. James tweeted that someone needed to check in on Davis, adding roughly four million emojis for emphasis.
Though Davis is from Chicago, he is a proud supporter of the Packers. He has attended many games in Green Bay and has even repped the team during Lakers press conferences.
The Packers players are already getting memed enough for the blowout loss. Now even their supporters are getting clowned too.
Long before Dennis Schroder completely bungled his free agency this summer, the veteran point guard rejected a lucrative contract extension from the Los Angeles Lakers. It is fair to wonder if Anthony Davis is pleased with the way things turned out.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Davis was frustrated at times last season with some of the looks he got (or didn’t get) when Schroder was running the Lakers’ offense. Davis was apparently a lot more pleased with the way the offense ran with Rajon Rondo two years ago.
The Lakers, of course, re-signed Rondo this offseason. Pincus notes that they consider the veteran point guard to be a “safety net” of sorts behind inexperienced guards Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn. L.A. also sees the value in having a proven backup with LeBron James soon turning 37 and having battled some injuries in recent years.
Russell Westbrook will obviously be in charge of the Lakers’ offense next season, but Rondo gives them a proven veteran for a variety of situations.
The Lakers could have brought Schroder back. He ended up signing with the Boston Celtics for the $5.9 million mid-level exception, so L.A. had the option of signing him to the same type of deal. They chose not to, which makes you wonder if Davis played a role in the decision.
Anthony Davis is catching stray bullets even during a hurricane.
A video clip went viral online this weekend. It shows someone filming the empty shelves at a grocery store, purportedly in Louisiana. The store is devoid of food with residents preparing for the onset of Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm.
Even during a Category 4 storm, people are still taking shots at Davis.
The person who recorded the video noted that about the only items remaining on the shelves were bags of Anthony Davis Ruffles, which are lime and jalapeno flavored.
Is it possible that nobody wanted the odd combination of lime and jalapeno during a storm? Or is this just an example of how despised Davis is in Louisiana after forcing his way out of New Orleans to the Lakers?
Whatever the case, it can’t be comforting for Davis to receive this kind of shade even during such a destructive time around Louisiana and Mississippi. But we know that the way Davis forced his way out of New Orleans did not sit well with many.
Jared Dudley barely played for the Los Angeles Lakers, but it’s quite clear that his departure from the team is viewed as a big blow by the team’s stars.
Speaking to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times, Dudley admitted that he had expected to return to the Lakers, saying it was “crazy” that he was not brought back. The 36-year-old added that he had no hard feelings toward the organization, but had tried to convince the team to bring him back to the point that he was willing to play on a non-guaranteed contract.
“Obviously LeBron and A.D. wanted me back,” Dudley said. “But we just couldn’t convince them.”
How serious were some Lakers about bringing Dudley back? According to Plaschke, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook all lobbied the front office to keep Dudley, but their overtures were rebuffed. With that option out, Dudley opted to retire and join Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd’s staff as an assistant.
James did not hide his anger at Dudley’s departure when the news came out. Dudley was regarded as a key locker room presence who kept the team’s stars on the same page and was widely beloved by teammates. Given his eagerness to return, it’s surprising the Lakers weren’t willing to find a way to accommodate him.
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Russell Westbrook is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and the move came together just as he and the Lakers’ superstars planned.
On Thursday, word emerged that the Lakers pulled off a trade with the Washington Wizards to acquire Westbrook. The Lakers sent Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and a first-round pick to Washington for Westbrook and two future second-round picks.
The trade was culminated two weeks after a big meeting at LeBron James’ house.
According to the LA Times’ Broderick Turner, Westbrook met with Anthony Davis and LeBron at James’ home two weeks ago. There, they discussed teaming up together on the Lakers.
Turner reports that the players agreed to put their egos aside in the interest of pursuing a championship. For instance, James and Davis expressed a willingness to play different positions if necessary. Westbrook said he was willing to play off the ball when James wanted to handle the rock.
The result is the Lakers ended up pursuing and making the trade, with the Wizards fulfilling Westbrook’s desires.
The Lakers will enter the 2021-2022 season as a strong contender to win the championship, just as they did in 2020. The trade also means that Westbrook was 1-and-done in DC, just like he was 1-and-done in Houston.
Based on his reaction, James seems pretty pumped about having the “Brodie” in the mix.
Anthony Davis clearly should not have played in Thursday night’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, but the Los Angeles Lakers star said he wanted to do everything he could to help the team avoid elimination.
Davis was only able to play five minutes in Game 6 before exiting, as he could hardly move well due to his groin injury. He told reporters after his team’s 113-100 loss that he wanted to try to tough it out given the circumstances.
“I just wanted to be out there for the team in the situation of win or go home,” Davis said. “Obviously, I didn’t just want to lay down and not be able to do what I can. It never really felt good, but it’s just the competitive nature in me to want to go out and help the team as much as I could. My body didn’t agree.”
Davis injured his groin in Game 4 and sat out Game 5. It was evident how important he is to the Lakers when they were blown out 115-85 in Game 5. That’s likely why he did everything he could to play, but his injury kept him from being effective.
Charles Barkley ruthlessly mocked Davis earlier in the week for always being hurt (video here), but you have to admire the star big man’s effort to play hurt on Thursday.
Charles Barkley is known for some of his biting analysis, but he whiffed with his commentary regarding Anthony Davis.
Barkley went hard on Davis Tuesday, sharing his disparaging nickname for the Los Angeles Lakers big man. Barkley calls Davis “Street Clothes” as a reference to Davis’ tendency to get injured.
Davis seems like he is dealing with one injury or another on a regular basis, so Barkley isn’t exactly off base. And Barkley is no stranger to making jokes at players’ expenses, so this isn’t new.
But where Barkley went wrong came with his commentary at halftime of Game 6 between the Lakers and Phoenix Suns in their first-round playoff series.
Davis, who missed Game 5 of the series due to a groin injury, tried to play in Game 6 with his Lakers facing elimination. It didn’t go well. Davis was hardly able to move well, clearly did not belong in the game, and only lasted five minutes before exiting.
Commentary like Barkley’s may have made Davis feel pressure to play through an injury when he really had no business playing. But then at halftime, Barkley put the blame on the Lakers’ medical staff for clearing Davis to play.
Given the way he mocked Davis, maybe Barkley should have praised Davis for trying to play.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis certainly appears confident that he will be able to play in the team’s do-or-die Game 6 on Thursday.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Davis gave a signal of optimism that he would be back quickly during the team’s blowout loss in Game 5. Coming out of a timeout, Davis glanced at someone sitting courtside, nodded, and held up six fingers, suggesting that he would be good to go for Game 6.
Of course, there’s a difference between optimism and reality sometimes, and it remains to be seen how Davis’ left groin responds ahead of Thursday’s game. Davis could be seen wincing during a pregame workout while testing the injury, and it was quite clear he didn’t come particularly close to playing in Game 5. That is despite Davis telling teammates he was going to push to play leading up to that game, only to be ruled out when he obviously couldn’t go.
The Lakers will probably need Davis in Game 6, as the team’s supporting cast was not up to the challenge in Game 5. Plus, Davis will no doubt want to silence some of his critics, but ultimately, it’s not totally up to him how he’ll feel come Thursday.