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So, we’re in the dog days of summer and, as is the yearly ritual, it’s time to take a bit of a break from the game before things ramp up again in September with training camp and then preseason. Usually, the lack of news makes stepping away a bit easier.

Things are less easy, though, when friend of the site LD2K drops fire videos to get you excited about next season. I mean, how am I supposed to relax when this comes on?

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While there were reports that the Lakers were likely done signing free agents, the team has reportedly picked up a familiar name:

First, I’m happy for Blue. He’s been with the Lakers in some way — either with the big team or their G-League affiliate — since 2015. Last year, he was the league MVP. He’s played for their summer league team multiple times and after his exploits in Vegas this past month in helping the team to the LVSL championship, he openly spoke about wanting to catch on with the Lakers and get his shot in the NBA. It seems he’ll get his shot to try to stick this fall.

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The Lakers have reportedly signed 2nd round pick Thomas Bryant to a 2-year contract. The deal is a 2-year contract, but has a team option on the 2nd year:

First off, it’s nice to hear that Bryant is finally signed. Second, however, I’m a bit disappointed that this isn’t a contract longer than 2-years, even if Charania is reporting that the Lakers are looking to maintain flexibility for next summer. As I recently wrote, the timing of Tyler Ennis agreeing to his contract created a situation which would impact Bryant’s contract length:

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Just two days ago we wondered what moves the Lakers might still make with an unbalanced roster and needs in both the backcourt and the wing. Well, the first domino has fallen as the Lakers will reportedly bring back a somewhat familiar face to serve as their backup to Lonzo Ball.

First, getting Ennis for the minimum is a nice pickup. After flirting with Derrick Rose for what was likely their full room level exception (roughly $4 million), the team found a viable backup for much cheaper than that.

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In the latest Laker Film Room Podcast, Pete and I talk with Tania Ganguli of the LA Times.

Tania talked to us about the LeBron James to the Lakers rumblings around the league and whether she thinks this is just smoke or if it’s a real possibility. Then she gave us insight into the Lakers belief in Brandon Ingram as a foundational player, gave us more background and context to the D’Angelo Russell trade, and then talked at length about her fantastic feature on Jeanie Buss and the Buss Family dynamic.

Later in the pod Tania also talked to us about her history as a sports journalist, some of the differences between working an NFL vs. an NBA beat, and other notes of the trade (which I found particularly interesting and great). I want to thank Tania for being so generous with her time and for coming on the show. It was a good conversation that we hope you’ll enjoy.

Click through to listen to the episode.

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The Drew League in Los Angeles is one of the best pro-am summer leagues anywhere. Current and former pros — mostly LA natives, but also other players from around the league — show up often and play with/against some really talented players who aren’t NBA players, but can really ball. Every year, then, getting out to the Drew to watch some quality hoops is a staple of LA based basketball fans.

One name who’s shown up the last couple of years is the Lakers own Julius Randle. The Lakers starting PF was there this past weekend and put on quite a show in helping his team (with fellow NBA’ers DeMar DeRozan and Nick Young) pull out the win.

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I don’t know the right word to describe the Lakers’ off-season, really. Maybe a single word doesn’t do it justice. There’s been lots of noise — an incredible number of innuendo, rumors, and outright leaks — but not a ton of action. However, when things have happened, they’ve been fairly big.

The D’Angelo Russell trade came somewhat out of left field even though there were rumors in the days prior saying the Lakers were open to dealing him. The Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signing was on everyone’s radar the minute the Pistons pulled his qualifying offer, but when the news ultimately broke it was still surprising. These moves, along with the drafting of Lonzo Ball, have remade the roster and have fans excited.

Realistically, though, the work for the front office is not done. Here is their current depth chart (*note, some of these guys are swing/combo players — more on that later):

PG: Lonzo Ball, Jordan Clarkson
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Corey Brewer, Josh Hart
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Luol Deng, Kyle Kuzma
C: Brook Lopez, Ivica Zubac, Thomas Bryant

That’s 13 players. The Lakers also have Alex Caruso signed to a 2-way contract with the South Bay Lakers (SBL), so, in theory, he could find some minutes on the big team throughout the year at PG. But, leaving him out of the mix for now, the Lakers clearly have some roster imbalance right now.

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There has been a lot of fawning over Lonzo Ball lately and…I’m going to keep the trend alive today. Ball’s summer league wasn’t just impressive because he put up good numbers or that he ended up winning the MVP. It’s not even that the team won the Vegas championship. Of course those things matter, but it being the summer, what was more important to me was the process of how those things came about, not necessarily that they came about at all.

Which brings us back to Lonzo and the small things he was doing on multiple possessions a game which ended up helping his team.

A quick tangent, I don’t watch much soccer anymore, but I was a junkie when I was a kid. I played all the time and watched the game a ton. Soccer helped me understand basketball better, especially the concepts of counter attacks and creating advantage by passing into space. While soccer helped me with hoops in other ways too (angles, understanding foot work and quick ball movement), it was these ideas of taking advantage of spacing with passing and countering your opponent which stuck with me for a long time.

This brings me back to Lonzo and his summer league play. My podcast partner Pete Zayas of Laker Film Room fame recently made a video that he describes as a compilation of “any pass that Lonzo Ball made in summer league which gave the Lakers an advantage”. Pete adds that the pass did not need to lead to an assist directly, but was just a pass which looked like it gave the Lakers an edge on any given play. You should watch it:

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