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#pounditSaturday, December 5, 2020

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Lakers

Report: Lakers pursuing Marc Gasol as Dwight Howard replacement

Marc Gasol

The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to move quickly to replace the departing Dwight Howard in the frontcourt.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Lakers are eyeing Marc Gasol as a potential replacement for Howard. The 35-year-old center spent last season as a starter for the Toronto Raptors, but likely would not be too expensive for the Lakers.

The Lakers seemed to have Howard set to return, but are now moving quickly on other targets after he ended up signing with the Philadelphia 76ers. Gasol is a solid second option. Though he’s no longer the potent scorer he was in his prime, he still averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for Toronto last season. Gasol also has some distant ties to the Lakers, as his brother Pau was a popular championship-winning member of the organization.

Gasol has made clear that he wants to play for a contender. Signing with the defending NBA champions would certainly fit the bill.

Report: Anthony Davis will not re-sign with Lakers immediately

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis has every intention of re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers after he did not pick up his player option for next season, but the new deal may take a while to come together.

Davis is not expected to formally commit to the Lakers in the immediate days after free agency begins on Friday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Davis is planning to wait until at least after Thanksgiving before making a final decision on the length and structure of his next contract.

Davis is eligible to sign a five-year max contract with the Lakers that would be worth around $200 million, but it seems unlikely he will go that route. Instead, he could sign a two-year deal at roughly $68 million with a player option for the second year. Davis could also sign a three-year deal at the same average annual salary with a player option for the third year. That scenario may appeal to him the most, as it would align with the end of LeBron James’ current contract.

If Davis signs a two-plus-one contract and opts out after two years, he would then enter free agency in 2022 with 10 years of service. That would make him eligible to sign a contract worth 35 percent of the salary cap. Based on current projections, Davis could sign a five-year deal worth more than $250 million at that point.

It seemed at one point like the pandemic could potentially impact Davis’ contract situation, but that is not going to happen. He’s going to sign a new deal with the Lakers, it’s just a matter of when he will do it.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Dwight Howard responds to report about Lakers begging him to return

Dwight Howard

The Los Angeles Lakers are said to be somewhat desperate to bring Dwight Howard back, but the veteran big man may not be interpreting it that way.

During an appearance on ESPN LA 710’s “Mason & Ireland” show this week, Ramona Shelburne said the Lakers have been in constant contact with Howard this offseason. She said she was told by sources that the team calls Howard three times a week to let him know they want to re-sign him.

Howard seemed to refute that report on social media. A Lakers site on Instagram shared the information Shelburne passed along, and Howard commented with several baseball cap emojis. That was likely his way of saying Shelburne is “capping,” which is a slang for lying. Lakers Daily shared a screenshot of the post and Howard’s response.

While it would be somewhat surprising if the Lakers have been hounding Howard, it makes sense that they want to bring him back. He played a significant role at some points during the postseason, even if his most noteworthy job was aggravating an opposing star player.

Howard will turn 35 next month. He averaged just 7.5 points per game last season and is more of a bench player now, albeit a useful one. The Lakers apparently feel he’s an important piece for them.

Report: Lakers on verge of acquiring Dennis Schroder via trade

Dennis Schroder

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be aggressive in pursuing a veteran to help solidify themselves as the favorite to repeat as NBA champions, and it sounds like their first big move will be acquiring point guard Dennis Schroder.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Sunday that the Lakers are in “advanced talks” with the Oklahoma City Thunder about a trade for Schroder. The deal would likely send Danny Green and the No. 28 overall pick in the draft to OKC.

The NBA has informed teams that the moratorium period will end at noon EST on Monday, meaning trades can begin at that point. Unless something changes, the Lakers-Thunder trade is likely to be finalized then.

Schroder, 27, has improved his defense in recent years and is a quality scorer. He averaged 18.9 points per game with the Thunder last season.

The Lakers are said to have interest in making an even bigger splash on the trade market, but that is unlikely to happen if they trade Green and the No. 28 pick to OKC.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Jeff Teague could be option for Lakers, Clippers?

Jeff Teague

The two Los Angeles teams may be vying for the same target at point guard once again.

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on his podcast this week that Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague did not seek a buyout last year partly because of the potential to work out a sign-and-trade with GM Travis Schlenk. Scotto mentions the Lakers and Clippers specifically as possible suitors for Teague.

Teague, a former All-Star, split his time last season between Minnesota and Atlanta. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.2 assists per game in total but saw a reduced role on the two rebuilding teams. Teague, also a 35.6 percent career three-point shooter, is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He is on his second stint in Atlanta, where he had the best years of his career, so Teague could agree to a sign-and-trade for their benefit, as Scotto notes.

The Lakers and the Clippers are both still needy at the point guard spot. The last time they tried to pursue a similar upgrade did not work out so well.

Lakers reportedly interested in DeMar DeRozan trade

DeMar DeRozan

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to pursue veteran help this offseason, but is there a chance they could make a major splash? Acquiring San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan would certainly qualify as one.

In his latest mock draft, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports that the Spurs are exploring trade possibilities for DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Lakers are said to have interest in DeRozan and would likely include Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green in any trade for the four-time All-Star.

DeRozan, 31, was dealt to the Spurs in 2018 after spending his entire career to that point with the Toronto Raptors. He was openly unhappy with the move, and a recent report claimed he does not want to be in San Antonio.

There has been talk of the Lakers bringing in an older veteran to bolster their frontcourt depth, but a trade for DeRozan would give them a big three of DeRozan, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That would make the defending champions that much more dangerous.

DeRozan averaged 22.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game with the Spurs last season.

The LeBron Effect: How LeBron James impacted his Lakers teammates

LeBron James

Given the monumental impact that star players have in the NBA, the simple fact that basketball is a team game can often get overlooked. One of the defining tests of NBA superstardom is a player’s ability to positively influence his teammates’ play. Stars can improve a teammate’s play through not only their own play, but also their presence; the greatest players of all-time carry an aura with them that embodies winning.

Four-time NBA champion and Finals MVP LeBron James has illustrated this aura throughout the entirety of his 17-year career. James has the power to thrust his teammates into an unfamiliar position — directly in the spotlight.

If these players deliver when they are called upon, their legacies are cemented next to role players like Steve Kerr, whose famous 1997 Finals-winning shot lives on eternally in the Role Player Hall of Fame. Failure to deliver, however, means a player will be exposed to a level of scrutiny unlike ever before. This phenomenon experienced by James’ teammates can be known as the “LeBron Effect.”

James’ impact on his teammates is so profound that his influence was felt not just by younger players, but also by accomplished veterans like Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo over last season.

Here is a look at how James impacted the play of his teammates last season.

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Lakers not planning to have fans at home games for now

LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Wednesday that they are not planning to have fans attend games for next season until further notice.

The Lakers sent a press release with the announcement.

“Following the guidance of state and local health officials, the Los Angeles Lakers have announced that Lakers games for the 2020-2021 season will be held without fans until further notice,” the Lakers said.

“The health and safety of our fans, players, staff and community are our main priority and we will continue to work with state and local officials to come up with a plan to safely welcome fans back to STAPLES Center in adherence with local, state and NBA guidelines.

“We appreciate your continued support and look forward to coming together, when it is safe to do so, to celebrate the raising of our banner and the question for another NBA championship.”

The Lakers broke a streak of six straight seasons missing the playoffs by reaching them last season. They won the franchise’s first championship since the 2009-2010 season.

The NBA would like to have fans in attendance for games next season, but things will depend on local health regulations. The league is considering some alterations to their usual season structure given the COVID-19 circumstances.

Report: Lakers have interest in Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka

The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be active on the veteran free agent market this offseason, and Serge Ibaka is reportedly a name to watch.

Sean Deveney of Heavy.com was told by sources around the NBA that the Lakers are targeting Ibaka, whose contract with the Toronto Raptors is expiring. One general manager told Devaney that Ibaka is exactly the type of player the Lakers want to add, but the 7-footer would likely have to take less money to sign with L.A.

“When he is healthy he is an excellent spot starter at the 5 (center) and the 4 (power forward). He is as good a bench big guy as there is in the league. He was a really credible 3-point threat last year,” the GM said. “If he is willing to accept what the Lakers can afford to give him, I know they would want him.”

As Devaney notes, the money could be a significant obstacle. The Lakers have their $9.8 million mid-level exception available, but they would prefer to split that between two players. Ibaka, who earned $23 million with Toronto last season, should have no trouble getting significantly more than the Lakers are willing to offer.

Of course, Ibaka is 31 and has made roughly $120 million in his career. He may welcome the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the reigning NBA champions.

Ibaka averaged 15.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game last season, so he remains a very productive player. He has dropped hints that he will remain in Toronto, and that is still the most likely scenario. If he decides to leave, the Lakers make sense as a landing spot.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Steve Kerr has appropriately flipped on the Lakers

Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr has appropriately flipped when it comes to his Lakers fandom.

Kerr grew up in the Los Angeles area and was a fan of the hometown teams. Because of that, he couldn’t help but be happy about the Dodgers winning the World Series last week. However, he humorously added that he has ditched the Lakers.

“That was the team I cheered for. That stuff sticks with you. It just stays in your blood. Although I will say I was a Laker fan for most of my childhood, and now I can’t stand them,” Kerr joked. “So, things change.”

Of course Kerr should no longer like the Lakers. He played in the NBA for 15 seasons, never once with the Lakers. He is also the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, who are rivals with the Lakers. He can’t afford to cheer for them anymore when they’re enemies.

Now, Kerr is not afraid to call them out.

Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia via cc-by-sa 4.0