Archives For rumor mill

Coach World Peace?

Darius Soriano —  October 21, 2016

The Lakers still have two cuts to make before getting down to the roster maximum of 15 before the regular season. We have covered this ground already, so I won’t bore you with more words on the case for keeping the the guys on the bubble. Just know that this is likely a choice between Yi Jianlian, Thomas Robinson, and Metta World Peace.

Well, according to Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne, maybe Metta isn’t really in the mix for that final spot. Because, if he really were, I doubt they would already be looking at him as a potential assistant coach if he gets cut. From the ESPN dynamic duo:

The odds are against Metta World Peace making the Los Angeles Lakers’ Opening Night roster, but the Lakers have interest in keeping the veteran forward around as an assistant coach if they can’t make room for him as an active player, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that World Peace’s impact as a mentor to young players last season was a big reason they invited him to training camp again under new coach Luke Walton.

This is the role many hoped for Metta last year, but Metta made the team as the final add when Bryon Scott, in what he called a very difficult decision, made Jabari Brown the final cut of the preseason. The argument then is the same one it is now: that if the value you are extracting from the player is almost entirely as a mentor, then using a roster spot on him is a misallocation of resources.

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After a Marc Stein report Tuesday evening stated the Lakers and former lottery pick Yi Jianlian were in advanced talks, there are now reports coming out of China that the deal is done. Our thoughts on how Jianlian fits on the Lakers haven’t really changed — the skill set is solid and a role could be carved out, but that likely comes at the expense of young players the Lakers should be more focused.

But it seems a new wrinkle may impact how this signing could be viewed. Namely, what Yi will be paid. It was originally thought a minimum contract would be agreed upon. As Eric Pincus notes, for a player with 5 years NBA experience, that amount would be roughly $1.14 million. However, back in 2015, Yi signed a contract extension with the Guangdong Tigers which would pay him roughly $3.2 million a season for 5 seasons.

It would seem strange, then, that he would come back to the states to make roughly one-third that amount, even if it did mean playing in the best league in the world. I mean, why would anyone do that? Well, it seems like they wouldn’t. I bet they would for over double that amount, though:

Yeah, one year, $8 million would probably do it.

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Remember back in the summer of 2013 when the Lakers took gambles on former first round picks to see if those guys could revive their careers in Los Angeles? Kobe had just torn his achilles and Dwight Howard had just walked without compensation so the team turned to guys who were called busts or never quite lived up to their draft slot — Wes Johnson, Xavier Henry, MarShon Brooks, Kendall Marshall — as low risk high reward signings.

That summer and those signings instantly popped into my head when I read Marc Stein’s report the Lakers are in “advanced talks” to bring former lottery pick Yi Jianlian back to the NBA from China. Here’s Stein:

Sources told ESPN.com that the Lakers tried in the summer of 2015 to sign Yi and have renewed those efforts in the wake of the former lottery pick’s fourth trip to the Summer Olympics as a cornerstone player for China.

The 7-footer, now 28, has spent the past four seasons with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in the Chinese Basketball Association and averaged 20.4 points and 6.6 rebounds for China in its five games in Rio.

A deal is not yet done to secure Yi’s return to the NBA, but sources say talks are ongoing and that the Lakers are hopeful of adding him to the roster before training camp begins in late September.

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Some rumors take on a life of their own even if there isn’t much meat to them. The Russell Westbrook/Lakers speculation would qualify as this type of rumor. With Westbrook’s pending free agency next summer, the Lakers working the CBA to create max cap space next summer while also maintaining flexibility right now, Kevin Durant’s recent departure, and Westbrook being from LA, there were a lot of dots being connected even if there were never any reports of discussions between the Lakers and Thunder.

Those rumors, though, can now be put to rest as Westbrook is on the verge of signing an extension to stay in OKC for at least the next two seasons and maybe the next three:

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UPDATE: The deal is reportedly done. The amount being reported is $64 million over 4 years. We do not yet know if there are options in the deal or the structure of the contract (flat, raises each year, decreasing over time), but it’s all pretty firm now. My initial analysis is below. I will have more up soon.

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The Lakers have a pretty big hole at the Center position. In the lead up to free agency, it was thought they might chase Hassan Whiteside hard and were even linked to Bismack Biyombo earlier today. It seems, though, they will go in a different direction:

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While the wooing won’t officially begin until midnight eastern time tonight, that doesn’t mean things aren’t already taking shape in free agency. Teams are making plans to meet with free agents and there are already reports of reciprocated interest among those targets to their linked teams.

The Lakers? Well, things aren’t quite shaping up as I’m guessing many would have hoped. We have already profiled potential targets a C and at SF the Lakers could use, but it seems some of those players have other plans in mind. Let’s get to the latest buzz:

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We know the Lakers should be interested in Hornets Small Forward Nic Batum. Besides Kevin Durant and LeBron James — neither of whom the Lakers will sign, much less meet with — Batum is the top SF on the market and has a skill set the Lakers desperately need. It will take the max to sign him which, for Batum, is a salary starting at $26 million.

He will make this amount of money and, in the new NBA economy, will make it easily. Teams will line up to offer it to him. The question is which team will he want to pay it to him?

This is where the Lakers come in. It has long been believed the Hornets have more than just the inside track at retaining Batum, but that it is a foregone conclusion. The versatile forward was a lynch-pin to Steve Clifford’s schemes on both sides of the ball and helped the Hornets return to the playoffs. They would give him the money and he would return.

Maybe those assumptions jumped the gun a bit? Brad Turner of the LA Times says the Lakers may be in play:

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Okay, so maybe that headline is misleading. The Lakers are very likely to pick whoever the 76ers do not pick from the Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram duo. But with the 76ers reportedly telling Simmons he will go #1, the Lakers have reportedly made up their minds that Ingram will be their guy.

Ramona Shelburne and Chad Ford have the intel:

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