Archives For rumor mill

It’s July 4th and while Lakers fans are waiting for their free agency fireworks, they might just settle for some sparklers at this point. The team has been fairly quiet since the market opened, making contact with Andre Iguodala (stayed in Golden State) and Ben McLemore (signed in Memphis), had multiple conversations with Rajon Rondo (still unsigned), and have met with Dion Waiters and George Hill — who are both still on the market.

Hill is the best name among this group for what the Lakers need. He’s a point guard in name, but more of a combo guard in skill set. He’s a fine lead ball handler who can initiate the offense, run P&R’s, and create shots for himself and teammates (though this is not his best strength, to be sure). He’s also a very good off-ball worker, someone who can make spot up jumpers, understands spacing, and knows how to attack a compromised defense when the ball rotates to him and the opposition is in scramble mode.

Defensively he’s also an excellent player. He offers good size and length, has a keen understanding of opposing team’s tactics and habits, tracks his man and gets to his help responsibilities fluidly, and competes hard on that end. Due to his size and smarts, he can guard either backcourt position and not be overwhelmed. He’s not an all-NBA level performer on that end, but everywhere he’s been he’s helped make his team’s defense a top third of the league unit and while that’s a team stat, I don’t think you can dismiss Hill’s role in making that happen.

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The Lakers have been quiet in free agency through two days, having discussions with several players and waiving Tarik Black, but that’s about it. No signings, not even any face to face meetings with potential additions. That last part, at least, is going to change on Sunday night, however:

Waiters is a former client of Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, so the meeting makes sense if only looking at it from that angle. Of course, it makes sense on other levels too.

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As we outlined in our free agency primer and our podcast on potential plans once July 1st hits, the Lakers’ plan to chase stars in the summer of 2018 impacts what they can do in free agency this summer. When you need every spare penny to sign two max salary players a year from now, whatever you spend now needs to be carefully counted for then.

Even if this wasn’t simple math, the front office came out and told us as much on Thursday. Mark Medina has the intel at the OC Register:

“We’ll be very strategic to keep the cap space in 2018,” Pelinka said after the draft. “We’ll be very sacred about that. We worked very hard to get into that position. So we’ll be smart in free agency.”

To be smart in free agency, the Lakers also have set their eyes on two realities. The Lakers are not expecting to acquire George from the Indiana Pacers amid their insistence on keeping Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. With their hopes set on George becoming available next summer, the Lakers want to pursue players who fit specific criteria that would accelerate the young roster’s development…

…But at what cost? The Lakers want to minimize multi-year contracts, but they are open to spending a bit more as a way to compensate for a one-year deal. As much as they want to attract elite stars again in 2018, the Lakers are also intent on acquiring veterans who will have a positive influence on their young roster.

First, let’s talk Medina’s last point about limiting 1-year contracts. As we’ve discussed plenty, this is to be expected.

The Lakers simply do not have the financial flexibility on their roster to add salary which runs through the summer of 2018 without having to cut that same money (and more) to open up the space needed to chase the stars they covet. Taking this approach will impact their negotiations and reduce the number of viable targets they can sign, which many in the local media are taking to mean the team simply will not be very active when the bidding opens at midnight eastern July 1st.

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There’s a large contingent of Lakers fans who have viewed Paul George finding his way to Los Angeles to play for their favorite team as an inevitability. The headlines of “George wants to be a Laker” captivate and then are taken as gospel. But, situations are never really that simple, especially when we’re talking about what can happen a year from now.

This is especially clear (and relevant) today after some ace reporting by USA Today’s Sam Amick reveals that even though George’s interest in the Lakers is real, his mind is far from made up about his future:

George, meanwhile, finds himself at an interesting crossroads here.

Hell-bent as he is on signing with the Lakers, George – according to a person with knowledge of his situation – is also the kind of prudent professional who won’t close a window of opportunity prematurely. So if the Cavs can convince Pritchard to either take on four-time All-Star forward Kevin Love or send him to a third team in exchange for more suitable assets, then George will play his heart out alongside LeBron James and remain open to the idea of re-signing next summer if James were also to return (or, perhaps, George could leave for Los Angeles with James at his side).

Ditto for the Celtics or the San Antonio Spurs, teams that could fulfill George’s desire for title contention and thus put themselves in the running. And should the Lakers come along and trade for him early to ensure he doesn’t fall in love with another team, then so be it. The person spoke with USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.

That’s the thing about free agency: It’s all about the freedom. And George is making good use of his lately.

Well, then.

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It’s Draft Day!

Darius Soriano —  June 22, 2017

It’s NBA draft day and honestly, my head is spinning. While Wednesday was a bit calmer on the NBA news front, several deals have already been made and there are so many rumors about potential deals it’s impossible to keep track. To recap, this is what has happened and what people are reporting will (or in some cases, won’t) happen:

Real

Rumors

This isn’t even a comprehensive list, either. But it shows how active this period is, turning the week of the draft into a mini free agency all its own.

The question I think most of us have, though, is what will the Lakers do next? I shudder to make a prediction, honestly. We simply have too little data on this front office to even guess. Logically speaking, though, I would imagine that:

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When it was reported that Paul George had informed the Pacers he planned to depart in free agency in the summer of 2018 and that his preferred destination would be the Lakers, it was only a matter of time before the Pacers cut out the middle man and tried to receive compensation from the team George (reportedly) said he wanted to go to. It seems that day is today.

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If you’ve been having daydreams about the Lakers and Paul George, that’s understandable. If you’ve been thinking about ways for the Lakers to try to get their hands on a second lottery pick this draft, I also would not blame you (even though that’s not very likely). But as we inch closer to Thursday’s NBA Draft, the focus will start to narrow on who the Lakers will select with their number 2 overall pick.

According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, it’s looking more and more likely Lonzo Ball will be that player. From Ford’s latest mock draft:

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While the latest round of Paul George rumors turn into a blazing inferno, the Lakers continue to work angles related to this week’s NBA Draft. The latest report has them looking to add another pick to their coffers, preferably in the lottery. From ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:

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