There are 12 games remaining in the Los Angeles Lakers’ regular season, and according to Anthony Davis, the team has some catching up to do.
The Lakers faded late on Saturday, losing 108-93 to the Dallas Mavericks in a game that saw Los Angeles get outscored 29-14 in the fourth quarter. Davis, who remains on a minutes limit, looked rusty during the loss, going just 5-for-19 from the field.
After the defeat, Davis admitted that he was essentially starting from scratch in trying to connect with his teammates after being sidelined for so long with a calf injury.
“It’s like you’re starting over with the guys and just trying to find a connection with these guys again,” Davis said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “They’re trying to find a connection with me. So, it’s like we’re starting from zero, which is tough so late in the season.”
It’s not what you want to hear this late in the season. It’s complicated even more by the continued absence of LeBron James, and his return may not be close. Put it all together and it means the Lakers probably won’t have a ton of time to get in sync before the playoffs.
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Gilbert Arenas was infamously suspended and charged with a felony after he was discovered to have a gun in the Washington Wizards’ locker room more than a decade ago, but that did not cost him an opportunity to play for one of the most storied franchises in sports. The problem, according to Arenas, is that he simply didn’t want to.
During an appearance on Dan Le Batard’s “South Beach Sessions” podcast this week, Arenas opened up about the time the Los Angeles Lakers expressed interest in signing him back in 2012. Arenas said Kobe Bryant wanted to be teammates with him after Arenas was amnestied by the Orlando Magic, and Gilbert performed “very well” in his workout with the Lakers. But when he sat down for an interview, he basically told the team they’d be making a mistake if they signed him.
“I botched the meeting. I sabotaged it,” Arenas said, as transcribed by Jesse Pantuosco of Audacy Sports. “They’re asking me, ‘When can you be ready to come?’ Maybe a month? It’s March. To be honest you don’t really need a player like me. You just need to tweak the second unit, make them a little faster and you guys are perfect.”
Arenas said he wasn’t the same player after the gun incident, and he didn’t feel he could live up to expectations with the Lakers. He also did not think it would be wise to return home to L.A., where he is from.
“And that was my answer. Like you didn’t really need me. Thirty days (left in the regular season), so I can go back home. I’m not coming to L.A,” Arenas said. “You guys are going to crucify me. “That’s when Kobe came out and said, ‘I want Agent Zero.’ And I’m like, with all due respect, Kobe wants a player that no longer exists mentally.”
Arenas says the gun incident was misconstrued and that the Wizards took advantage of an opportunity to get out of his contract. He claimed he never touched a gun during the dispute with Javaris Crittenton, which began over a gambling debt. Media reports at the time said Arenas pulled the gun on Crittenton, though it was not loaded. You can read more about the incident here.
Though he says the details were misrepresented, Arenas admits his “own stupidity” led to the fallout. Heck, the incident even became a clue on “Jeopardy!” years later, so he never really lived it down.
It’s surprising to hear that Arenas turned down an opportunity to play for the Lakers, but it sounds like it was the right choice given his mindset at the time.
Frank Vogel won the NBA championship in his first season as the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach, and that likely is earning him some job security.
Prior to the Lakers’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski joined ABC’s “NBA Countdown.” Woj reported that the Lakers plan to approach Vogel about a contract extension this offseason.
“The Lakers, I’m told, plan to initiate contract extension talks with Frank Vogel this offseason. Remember, he initially signed a 3-year deal as Lakers coach. Once this season’s over, they’re planning to start discussions on extending Vogel’s deal,” Woj reported.
Vogel is now in his second season with the team, and they have remained solid despite injuries to Anthony Davis and LeBron James. He only has one year left on his deal after this season, and the Lakers don’t want Vogel entering the season as a lame duck.
The 47-year-old coached Indiana for six seasons, Orlando for two, and is in his 10th season as an NBA head coach. He seems to have the backing of the Lakers’ biggest star, which is crucial.
The Los Angeles Lakers bolstered their roster for the stretch run when they signed Andre Drummond last week, but the move likely means Marc Gasol will have a very minimal role going forward. As you might expect, that has not been easy for Gasol to take.
Gasol, who has averaged just under 20 minutes per game this season, was immediately sent to the bench when Drummond joined the Lakers. Backup center Montrezl Harrell has played extremely well this season and is a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, so Gasol will likely be buried on the depth chart. Despite that, Gasol says he is committed to the Lakers.
“Things can change quickly in the NBA as they have changed for me,” Gasol said Friday night, via Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation. “I’m committed to this team. It’s a hard pill to swallow because I know I’m going to be out of the lineup. … But we’ll see.”
Drummond is dealing with a toe injury and will not play against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. The injury is not considered serious, however.
Gasol said after the Lakers’ win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday that he is unsure of how often he will be needed.
“I think there’s an ‘if’ — ‘if’ they need you. And it’s a big ‘if,'” Gasol said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “You’re not Plan A right now. You’re Plan C, D. … You have to accept it because that’s your job. And that’s what you sign up to do. It’s never easy to accept that.”
The Lakers should obviously be better with Drummond in the starting lineup. Gasol has averaged just 4.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this year, while Drummond is averaging a double-double.
Even if Gasol understands why his role will be diminished, that doesn’t make it any easy for a veteran player to swallow. There has been talk that the Lakers could buy out Gasol, which may be preferable for him given the situation.
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The Los Angeles Lakers have been viewed as the frontrunners to sign Andre Drummond since the big man reached a buyout agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that is exactly what is going to happen.
Drummond’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the 6-foot-10 center has agreed to a deal with the Lakers. Drummond can officially sign with L.A. when he clears waivers at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday.
Drummond has been linked to the Lakers for a month, so the decision is hardly a surprise. The Lakers have a big need for a player like Drummond with Anthony Davis sidelined due to an injury.
The Boston Celtics were also considered a contender to sign Drummond, but he is joining the defending champs.
Drummond was traded to the Cavs from Detroit a little over a year ago, and his stay in Cleveland was a brief one. The 27-year-old is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game this season. He should give the Lakers a big boost down the stretch and in the postseason.
The Los Angeles Lakers are facing stiff competition for their top target on the buyout market.
The Lakers have made center Andre Drummond their “priority,” according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. However, Drummond is expected to attract wide interest, particularly from the Boston Celtics.
Drummond won’t be short of options. The Knicks are also a threat, as they have a clear advantage on one front. The Lakers are Drummond’s best shot at a title, but the Celtics may offer the right mix of playing time and contention.
The Lakers are still expected to be without LeBron James and Anthony Davis for several more weeks. Even when both are healthy, they could use the frontcourt depth Drummond would provide. They just have to convince him that they’re the right fit.
Avery Bradley’s game of musical chairs could end up with him going right back to where he was last season.
The veteran guard went from the Miami Heat to the Houston Rockets at Thursday’s trade deadline as part of the Victor Oladipo trade. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports that Bradley will be a name to monitor for the Los Angeles Lakers as they look to fill their open roster spots.
The 30-year-old Bradley seems like a buyout candidate for the rebuilding Rockets, who have a crowded backcourt. He has appeared in just ten games this season, due largely to a positive test for COVID-19.
Bradley, a former client of Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, played for the purple and gold last year. While he opted out of the Orlando bubble for personal reasons, he received a ring when the Lakers went on to win the NBA title.
The Lakers’ guard depth is fairly underwhelming this season behind Dennis Schroder. That is not even to mention the current multi-week injury absences of superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The team appears to be eyeing some bigger names on the buyout market. But Bradley’s fit and familiarity with the Lakers make him a very strong candidate for one of their open spots.
Kyle Lowry is likely the best player available leading into Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline, and three contending teams may be competing with one another to acquire the Toronto Raptors star.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers have all been “seriously engaged” with Toronto in trade talks centering on Lowry. The Heat and Sixers were believed to be the two finalists earlier in the week, but the Lakers entered the mix late.
Miami may have the best chance to land Lowry if they’re willing to part with Tyler Herro, but a report this week claimed they may not be.
Lowry, 34, is averaging 17.6 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game this season. He is set to be a free agent after the season. Some believed he said goodbye to television cameras following the Raptors’ win on Wednesday night. You can see that video here.
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The Los Angeles Lakers appear poised to be one of the busiest teams once the NBA trade deadline passes and buyout season kicks into high gear.
The injury-depleted Lakers look ready to target key frontcourt additions if and when they become available. According to Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News, a league source believes center Andre Drummond is likely to land with the Lakers once he receives a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers, as is increasingly likely. The team is also expected to make a run at LaMarcus Aldridge, assuming he ends up being bought out by the San Antonio Spurs.
Both players are likely to have a robust market if and when they hit the open market. The Lakers will provide a tempting option both due to their status as contenders as well as the opportunity they can offer with Anthony Davis and LeBron James both out for at least a while longer.
There are some indications the Lakers may not wait until after the deadline to get active on the market, too.
Kyle Lowry is perhaps the best player who is said to be available ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, and the defending champions could make a push to acquire the Toronto Raptors star.
The Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers are the two teams believed to be pursuing Lowry the most aggressively. However, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the “Woj & Lowe Trade Deadline Special” Wednesday that the Los Angeles Lakers may also enter the mix.
“Don’t rule the Lakers out of a Kyle Lowry trade,” Woj said, via Bleacher Report’s Tyler Conway.
The Lakers don’t have much to offer in terms of draft pick compensation because of the Anthony Davis deal. If they were able to work out a deal with Toronto, they would likely have to include Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for matching salary purposes, as Conway noted.
Lowry would be a huge addition for any team, but Western Conference teams are undoubtedly hoping he stays away from the Lakers. The 34-year-old is averaging 17.6 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game this season.
The Raptors have lost nine consecutive games and are falling out of playoff contention, so it makes sense that they would want to unload a player like Lowry. They may be trying to land a player that the Heat are unwilling to give up, which could create an opportunity for the Lakers to swoop in and make an offer.
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