Paul George Traded to OKC: What It Means For The Lakers

Indiana Pacers superstar Paul George is headed to Oklahoma City after being traded for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

IMG_2503[537]

After many rumors of different teams getting involved in the Paul George sweepstakes (Cleveland, Boston, LA, Washington), the Oklahoma City Thunder swooped in and flipped an atrocious Oladipo contract all by just including a young prospect in Sabonis in his rookie deal.

And they did so without giving up any draft picks!

What does this mean for the Lakers though? It means we’re still very much in the running for George next summer. Now some might argue, “why would he leave a contender in OKC for a rebuilding team in the Lakers?”.

Without a doubt, the Thunder are a playoff team. But in a stacked western conference, is anyone, outside of Thunder fans, really picking them to come out of the west? Last time I checked, Russell Westbrook was once paired with superstar small forward, and it didn’t exactly turn into a championship. Plus, the Warriors and the Spurs still play on the same conference, so while it’s still possible, it’s unlikely George commits long term with the Thunder when multiple reports have indicated that he will only sign an extension if the team a) wins a title or b) is the Lakers.

Westbrook, a superstar talent himself and current reigning league MVP, could very well convince George to stay in Oklahoma City. But the same could be said about George, who also has one full year to convince Westbrook of joining him to come back to their hometown: LA.

With Chris Paul joining the Rockets with James Harden, Jimmy Butler joining the young core of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns and now George teaming up with Westbrook, the almighty west just got a whole lot better. With the All Star Game set to be played in LA, and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss openly saying that she wants an all star to represent her team, it’s doubtful that an all star is selected from the Lakers current roster.

Overall, this trade has the whole league shook, and probably set off a domino effect that will continue to fall through summer ’18 and beyond.

Advertisements

Lakers Exercise Team Option, Bring Back David Nwaba

The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their team option to bring back shooting guard David Nwaba.

Nwaba was called up last year from the team’s D-League affiliate Los Angeles D-Fenders (now known as the South Bay Lakers for the G League) and played in the final 20 games for the team. In 20 games the Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo product averaged 6.0 points per game and 3.1 rebounds on 58% shooting from the field while proving to be one of the ball clubs better defenders. His defensive prowess, coupled with his athleticism would look tremendous alongside new backcourt mate Lonzo Ball and at just 24 years old, there’s still a lot of room to grow, particularly as a shooter.

After two 10 day contracts with the team, Nwaba has proven his value to the team as a competitor and a workhorse, and his potential as two way player has ultimately landed him a contract with the team. And with a current backcourt devoid of defense, look for Nwaba to be a key piece for next year’s roster.

Lakers NBA Draft ’17 Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers came away from Brooklyn, New York with draft night that has a lot of fans excited for the future. Spearheaded by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka in their first draft as a NBA front office, the Lakers added a handful of young talent that would surely make this year’s Summer League something to look forward to once again.

At the #2 slot, the team got their guy in Lonzo Ball, effectively ushering in the Ball era in Los Angeles. The Big Baller Brand was well represented in the ceremonies, as ESPN gave an ample amount of screen time to the Big Baller himself, LaVar Ball, who as of Thursday night, has spoken the Ball dream into existence. Hoops fans around the world were treated to more than a few classic LaVar promos.

Ball wasn’t the only rookie picked by the purple and gold that night, as the team made some moves that ended with the team acquiring a total of 4 draft picks on the night. they flipped their 28th pick to the Utah Jazz and received picks 30 and 42.

Kuz

With the 27th pick, the Lakers selected Kyle Kuzma, a junior from Utah. Potentially a versatile power forward in the NBA level, the 21 year old measures in at 6″9 with a 7″0 wingspan, is capable of scoring in transition and is more than comfortable running the floor in an open court offense. His shot does need some work, but Kuzma has the potential to be serviceable stretch 4 in the league if he can overcome consistency issues on his mechanics. So far, the kid seems to happy to be a Laker.

For the last pick of the first round, the Lakers selected Josh Hart from Villanova. While not as young as most of his peers in the draft, the shooting guard’s four years in a winning program along with his skills as a shooter and competitiveness as a defender suggests that he can contribute right away in the NBA level.

Josh hart

Averaging 18 points a game at 57% clip and 40% shooting from deep he projects to help a team devoid of any real outside threats, and his physical profile at 6″6 with a 6″8 wingspan will help him possibly cover 1-3 positions defensively.

Thanks to the maneuvering of the front office, the team also got to pick in the second round, which initially they weren’t supposed to. They selected 19 year old Center Thomas Bryant from Indiana. As a 42nd pick, Bryant looks to be a nice find late in the draft, as he has a serviceable jump shot that can stretch all the way from beyond the arc and a high motor that allowed him to average 9.5 rebounds per 40 minutes and his length at 6″10 with a 7″6 wingspan permits him to block 2.2 shots per 40 min. He does have mobility issues at his size which poses questions about how serviceable he can be in the pros, but his youth leaves a lot of room for him to grow and his fulfill his potential as a valuable stretch 5.

Thomas Bryant

As the draft itself concluded, the Lakers were not quite done adding rookies to the squad. ESPN reports that South Carolina guard P.J. Dozier signed a free agent contract with the Lakers.

While going undrafted shows some concerns as to how Dozier’s game, as it is quite raw at this stage, will translate to the  next level, he shows potential as playmaker and an athletic finisher off the dribble. Measuring in at 6″6 with shoes and a 6″11 wingspan at the NBA draft combine, he is an oversized guard, who if he can develop a reliable jumpshot and rounds out his playmaking skills, can become a mismatch for the rest of the league who would thrive in Luke Walton’s offense. Details of his contract are still a mystery, but us fans can be certain that he will be able to showcase his talents in the upcoming Las Vegas Summer League, along the other young talented rookies and second year guys from the Lakers.

PJ Dozier

The Lakers came out of Brooklyn with a very solid draft that looked to primarily address the team’s shooting needs, in hopes of implementing an open floor type of play with a heavy emphasis on ball movement and team defense. After watching film on these new crop of rookies, and after hearing from Magic and Pelinka themselves in a recent press conference, these guys  keep the ball moving and play a disciplined and mature game of basketball.

The team intends to build around Ball as the new face of the Lakers, and it did so by drafting what they claim as complimentary pieces late in the draft that will help the new Lakers point guard set the table and bring Showtime back to Hollywood.

Lakers Trade D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov To Nets For Brook Lopez And 27th Pick

dangelo-russell-los-angeles-lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have traded second year point guard D’Angelo Russell and veteran Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and their 27th pick in this year’s draft, according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

After clearing the rubble of what is currently the biggest Woj bomb of this crazy NBA offseason, the Lakers have managed to liberate themselves from the monster contract worth over $15M for the next three years while taking in Brook Lopez whose contract expires after this year and also getting 27th pick, bringing their total of draft pick for this year up to three (Along with #2 and #28).

As we unpack this blockbuster trade, there are a few key takeaways for both teams. For the Lakers, by shedding a big contract you set yourself up for a potential Paul George trade, in which negotiations have already entered the preliminary stages.  This also makes the Lakers intentions for Thursday’s lottery clear: they will be drafting Lonzo Ball to take the reigns at point now left open due to the departure of Russell.

lonzo-ball

It’s also worth noting that this move may very well be a clue as to what Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have in store for the purple and gold in the near future.

While this trade may have helped the Lakers in many respects, some of which I’ve touched on earlier, it didn’t come without a price, and depending on how next season and beyond play out, it may entail huge consequences. D’Angelo Russell, fresh off just his second season is moving to Brooklyn to play for head coach Kenny Atkinson and the woeful Nets. Many Lakers fans shared the same reaction after witnessing a fresh Woj bomb drop this afternoon, a reaction that is perfectly summed up with this classic Russell GIF:

giphy (3)

A former 2nd overall pick who has actually played really well in his 2 seasons in the league, and showed a lot of promise last season, especially after the all star break. With averages of 15.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists on a mere 28.7 minute per game, he has shown nice productivity in limited action.

It was tough to find out he was let go after such a short tenure in the purple and gold. I think it’s not much of a stretch to say that if the Lakers’ young core each reached their potential, it would have been something special to watch homegrown talent built from the draft to rise and bring a storied franchise back to prominence.

Lakers

In light of this hefty reduction, the Lakers arsenal is still well equipped with assets and young talent that make plenty other franchise altering moves possible. As crazy as this offseason has been so far, the rumor season is not quite done just yet. With draft starting in a few days and free agency not far away, the rest of the league hast its eyes set on what Magic Johnson and the Lakers are going to do next.

 

Well That Was Close

Some will say it’s luck, some would even say it was rigged.

I say it was magic. (see what I did there?)

Image-1

Just a little over a month has passed after the Lakers turned in another losing season, the basketball gods rewarded the storied franchise with yet another 2nd overall pick in this year’s NBA draft. With only a 46% chance of keeping the pick and finishing in the top 3, the Lakers did one better and got the 2nd pick, leaving the Phoenix Suns, the team with the 2nd worst record in the league, to fall all the way to number 4. After what many fans deemed a failed tank after a late season run where the Lakers went on a 5 game winning streak, the pick seemed to be all but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, who were owed the pick if it falls out the top top 3.

Nope.

giphy

The Suns fell in the lottery, the 76ers didn’t get our pick, and the basketball gods rewarded the Lakers’ late season surge with a sky hook all the way to number 2.

This will be their 3rd consecutive year picking in the top 2.

President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson represented the team at lottery night, with all smiles as if the whole event was a mere formality.

This day marks the 37 year anniversary of Magic’s first ever NBA title.

IMG_2238

And it wasn’t just any old championship, this was a Game 7 where a rookie Magic started at Center, replacing an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and led the team 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and a win against Dr. J and the 76ers en route to a Finals MVP. After nearly 40 years, the Laker legend once again delivers at a time of great need.

IMG_2240

Yeah, the Lakers were not leaving New York without a draft pick tonight.

Whoever the Lakers end up picking come draft night will be the main talking point of every discussion until the much anticipated night comes. A strong draft class like this year that features potential franchise cornerstones has rejuvenated a fanbase that was sweating buckets leading up to the lottery. Entering the top 3, thus keeping their hold of the pick, and on top of that finishing 2nd overall, was nothing short of magic for a franchise that desperately needed to hold on to such a valuable piece.

IMG_2237

Whatever happens between now and June will be interesting, to say the least but for tonight, Laker fans can rejoice after a long season that saw the Lakers take more losses than most teams in the association. As a fan, it’s nice to see all those Ls culminate into one, big W.

Forecast: The future looks bright, Los Angeles.

giphy (1)

 

MAGIC – The Man With A Plan

IMG_2174

In an interview with ESPN at the NBA Draft Combine, Magic Johnson gave fans a bit of an idea of what the Lakers might do this offseason, especially with free agency.

“We have a 28th pick…always trades could be made… and we have cap space as well so we can sign a free agent if we wanted to but I’m really looking to keep the cap space that we have and really try to play in next years free agent class and not really this free agent class.”

Let’s deconstruct that quote into two parts. First of, Magic states that a trade is still a possibility, which means that players currently on the roster are not untouchable. A potential trade wherein young assets are flipped for a superstar of the realm of possibility.

But the second part of the quote is especially telling.

“…I’m really looking to keep the cap space that we have and really try to play in next years free agent class and not really this free agent class.”

I believe this shows that the Lakers are not in any rush to sign any of the top names in free agency. With pressure coming from virtually everywhere, from President Jeanie Buss to parts of the Laker fanbase, to have superstar don the purple and gold, I can at least breathe a sigh of relief that we won’t be rushing into anymore ill advised max contracts to the likes of Kyle Lowry and Jrue Holiday, especially after getting handicapped by the Mozgov and Deng contracts for the next three years.

IMG_2175

The vision to pursue next year’s free agent class that happens to feature Paul George, if we’re reading between the lines, means that the Lakers won’t be rushing into any blockbuster trades this offseason. It could still happen, but after pulling off short sighted moves like trading for the corpse of a Steve Nash, it’s refreshing to hear that the Lakers are willing to wait it out and not sound so desperate for a major player everytime free agency rolls around.

IMG_2176

This time, it seems to be that the Lakers will be wise with spending their money this offseason. At the very least, we know that the front office isn’t so short sighted, and that they have a vision for something down the line.