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Sources Describe LeBron James To Lakers As Long Shot

Dec 14, 2017 9:40 AM

While speculation connecting LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers has been rampant, sources describe it as a long shot as of now.

The Lakers are widely expected to have enough cap space to sign two players to max contract deals provided they unload Luol Deng's contract.

James has been a free agent four times in his career and has changed teams in 2010 and 2014.

Before the season James said he "won't ever cheat my teammates or cheat the franchise ... by talking about free agency all year long, because I'm not gonna give energy to something I can handle in the summertime."

"LeBron is focused on this season and winning a championship," agent Rich Paul said. "At the appropriate time, we will explore all the options. Now is not the time."

After taking a discount with the Heat, James has sought max money since 2014.

The middle of the regular season is not the time for final decisions, but James' position on maximum contracts hasn't changed, sources said.

Ramona Shelburne, Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Tags: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Brandon Ingram Lost Confidence During Rookie Season

Dec 13, 2017 4:11 PM

Brandon Ingram admits he lost some of his confidence during his rookie season as he adjusted to playing against stronger players in the NBA.

“There were just a lot of expectations,” Ingram told Yahoo! Sports. “Coming to L.A., being the No. 2 pick. I always try to stay within myself. I think last year I kind of lost myself. I lost a little bit of confidence. I wasn’t comfortable until the last two months of the season. It was just a whirlwind. Going on the road, playing at home — it was crazy. Having a chance to come back in my second year, knowing what it’s all about, it’s been easier.”

Ingram entered last offseason determined to get stronger.

Ingram has a fast metabolism.

“Ridiculously fast,” Ingram said of his metabolism.

“Lot of red meat. Lot of food, period. I just tried to find myself eating as much as possible. Filling up on energy. I wasn’t overeating, but eating where I felt I was doing something.”

Ingram is getting to the rim better this season.

“He’s able to take more contact than he was last year,” Luke Walton said. “Which is huge for him because he is so good at getting those angles and getting to the rim with his length. The stronger you get, obviously, you can absorb that contact and still be on balance to finish those plays.”

Said Ingram: “[The strength] has helped my confidence. Driving to the rim I feel like I can take the physicality, the bumps. Getting to my spots is easier. Of course, I can get a lot stronger, but the jump that I made from last year has really helped.”

Chris Mannix/The Vertical

Tags: Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

LeBron James: Guys Absolutely Want To Play With Lonzo Ball

Dec 13, 2017 8:26 AM

LeBron James praised the way Lonzo Ball has handled his rookie season. James also sees parallels to his own rookie season in what Ball is experiencing. 

"The kid hasn't said anything," James told ESPN when asked about the hype surrounding Ball. "It's been everybody else. So, I love his humility. He goes out, every time someone asks him a question, he says, 'This is not about me, man. I just want to win. I don't care about what I did.' I seen he had a triple-double one game and they lost. He was like, 'I don't care. We lost.'

"So, can I draw any parallel to my experience? I mean, of course. I guess when you're drafted to a franchise, they want you to kind of be the savior. And it takes a while. I mean, listen, man, this guy is 20-something games into his pro career. S--- doesn't happen [that fast]. Here it goes again, it goes back to my instant oatmeal [quote]: Everybody wants it right away. Can he play ball? Absolutely. The kid can play ball. Do guys want to play with him? Absolutely, because it's a guy who is not about him. It's about the success of the team. And he gives the ball up, and he passes the ball, and there's energy behind the ball."

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: Lonzo Ball, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Lakers Ask LaVar Ball To Tone Down Criticisms Of Luke Walton

Dec 13, 2017 8:16 AM

The Los Angeles Lakers recently met with LaVar Ball in which they asked him to tone down his public criticisms of Luke Walton.

Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka called for the meeting with Ball.

"It was the best thing, man," said LaVar Ball. "Everybody's going to try to make it an ego thing, like I'm trying to tell them what to do or they're trying to tell me to tone it down. It's not about that. It's about coming together and to get a solution to this problem.

"It may sound crazy to other people, but I really just want the best for Lonzo, and the best for Lonzo is going to be what's best for the organization. Because if everybody winning, we good."

LaVar Ball was asked to keep their relationship positive while still speaking his mind.

Ball said he does not have a direct relationship with Walton.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Tags: Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Lakers Willing To Save Cap Space For 2019

Dec 11, 2017 9:48 AM

While the Los Angeles Lakers would like to sign two max contract free agents in 2018, they are willing to preserve some of their cap space for 2019 if they're unable to sign their targets.

LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Chris Paul and DeMarcus Cousins headline the 2018 class, while Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard are in the 2019 class.

“I feel really good about it. Now, we have cap space for probably two max guys, but that’s not to say we’ll use both of them," said Magic Johnson. "We want to if we can, but we have a Plan A and we have Plan B. Say we only get one of those guys, then we’ll make a decision on not to use the cap space. We can do that and save it for the class that’s coming the next year. We’re not going to give money away just because we have the cap space. I’m not about that.

"If the guy can’t really take our team to another level, and we see what Kyrie Irving has done for the Boston Celtics. Put him with that young talent the Celtics have, and they’ve taken off. We feel the same thing can happen for the Lakers. If we get the right free agent, that guy can take our young talent to a whole another level.”

Harrison Faigen/Lakers Nation

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

LeBron James Pays $23M For 2nd Home In Los Angeles

Dec 7, 2017 6:13 PM

LeBron James has bought a second home in the Los Angeles area for $23 million.

James bought another house in the Brentwood area two years ago for approximately $21 million.

The house has city-to-ocean views, the 15,846-square-foot home is furnished with an elevator, a home theater and a custom kitchen. The house has eight bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms.

James' children were visiting high schools in the Los Angeles area several months ago.

James can become an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

Neal J. Leitereg/Los Angeles Times

Tags: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Luke Walton Enjoying 'Clearer Vision' Of Lakers' Direction Under New Regime

Dec 7, 2017 2:59 PM

Luke Walton was hired by Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, but a source close to Walton says one of the best things to happen to him was the hiring of Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson.

Walton and Pelinka meet before every game to discuss basketball and life.

Walton has known Pelinka and Johnson for years, and the three appear to be in sync on their vision of rebuilding the Lakers.

"[There's] a little more confidence in him [this season], which is well deserved and we all love to see it," Larry Nance Jr. said. "By the way he commands his huddles, calls out different things, there is a lot more certainty behind it. He's definitely gotten more comfortable in the role."

Walton says he is much more comfortable and has more patience in his second year with a "clearer vision of where we are going." 

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Ben Simmons, Kyle Kuzma Named Rookies Of The Month

Dec 1, 2017 3:40 PM

The Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in October and November. 

Simmons led all rookies in scoring (18.6 ppg), rebounding (9.4 rpg) and steals (2.25 spg) and tied for the lead in assists (7.2 apg) in 20 games during October and November.  The 6-10 guard/forward also shot 50.7 percent from the field, the second-highest mark among first-year players.  He recorded two triple-doubles in his first nine career games, joining Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to accomplish the feat.  On Nov. 29, Simmons recorded career highs of 31 points and 18 rebounds as Philadelphia defeated the Washington Wizards 118-113.  The Australian native helped the 76ers close November with a 12-9 record.  

Kuzma paced Western Conference rookies in scoring (16.7 ppg) and field goal percentage (50.4).  He ranked second among West rookies in rebounding (6.1 rpg) and third in three-point field goal percentage (37.9).  The 6-9 forward scored in double figures in 18 of 20 games.  On Nov. 17, Kuzma scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 122-113 loss to the Phoenix Suns, becoming the first Lakers rookie to reach those totals in a game since Magic Johnson in the 1979-80 season.  In 11 starts for Los Angeles (8-13), Kuzma averaged 18.1 points and 7.5 rebounds.    

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Kyle Kuzma, Ben Simmons, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA Award

Brandon Ingram 'Still Trying To Figure Out NBA Identity'

Nov 30, 2017 12:12 PM

The Los Angeles Lakers are straddling the line between developing young players like Brandon Ingram while planning on pursuing multiple max free agents in the 2018 offseason.

Ingram is trying to stay focused on the present.

“I don’t think about it right now,” Ingram told USA TODAY Sports about who might come join them this summer. “I’m still trying to figure out who I am, still trying to figure out my identity and work hard and try to figure out who I’m going to be as a player in the NBA.

“We’re just trying to build with what we have right now. We know we have a young core that’s really talented, with good attitudes, good character, and that work hard every single day. I think talking with (Lakers president of basketball operations) Magic (Johnson) and (general manager) Rob (Pelinka) and (head coach) Luke (Walton), they’re up for the process, the process of what we’re building with all these young guys. We know that something bigger and better is going to come out of this.”

Ingram has frequently drawn comparison to Kevin Durant, who has become a mentor to him.

“I just saw myself (as) long, athletic, and could get to the rim (like Durant),” Ingram said. “He could shoot the ball. I used to shoot the ball a little bit, had the midrange game. He was one of the best scorers in college (at Texas). I watched him from Montrose Christian (High School), Oak Hill (High), everything.

“He tells me (that) if I need anything to talk to him. He’s always giving me advice, when I’ve been struggling coming into the preseason, and even last year. He’s just telling me to enjoy the process, to keep working, and keep building confidence every single day. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Sam Amick/USA Today

Tags: Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Steve Alford: Lonzo Ball Isn't A Shooting Guard

Nov 29, 2017 9:56 AM

Steve Alford defended Lonzo Ball against the criticism he's received this season.

Ball played for Alford for one season at UCLA.

“The thing … I am very impressed with him is that I think defensively, he's really working at it,” Alford said. “And defensively he's growing in that area. For a rookie, I think that's the hardest thing coming into the NBA, is to learn what you have to do defensively. And I was very impressed with that.

“I just think he's gotta get the ball. When he's got the ball, he makes people around him better, and I think the more trust there can be in Lonzo being the guy that facilitates the offense, because right now what's being critiqued is his jump shooting. That's not who he is. He's not a shooting guard.”

Alford said Ball’s shooting will improve the better he’s able to facilitate for others.

“In my 27 years of coaching, I've never seen anybody at the collegiate level … move the ball north-south any faster and more efficiently by the dribble and by the pass than Lonzo,” Alford said. “And when that trust happens, and he's allowed to do those things, I think you'll see teammates’ game go up, you'll see passing, the joy of passing will go up in that organization. And when that happens he's going to get easier shots, and he'll make those shots.”

Tania Ganguli/Los Angeles Times

Tags: Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Lakers Haven't Considered Moving Lonzo Ball Out Of Starting Lineup
Lonzo Ball has mainly struggled with his shooting and defense.

Tania Ganguli/Los Angeles Times

Lonzo Ball Was Offered Four-Year, $10M Shoe Deal
LaVar Ball handled negotiations as he was seeking $1 billion for Big Baller Brand.

Nick DePaula, Darren Rovell/ESPN

Lakers interested In Mindaugas Kuzminskas
The Lakers are in need of perimeter shooting on the wing.

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Lonzo Ball Worked On Shot At Lakers' Facility After Loss To 76ers
Lonzo Ball went 1-for-9 from the field and 0-for-6 on three-pointers in the game.

Serena Winters/Lakers Nation

Kobe Bryant's Message To Kyle Kuzma: Just Work
Kyle Kuzma had dinner with Kobe Bryant on Tuesday evening.

Bill Oram/Orange County Register

Lakers Assign Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac To G League
Josh Hart has posted averages of 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 13.6 minutes per game.

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Lakers Won't Change Lonzo Ball's Shot During Season
Lonzo Ball is shooting just 31 percent from the floor and 25 percent on three-pointers.

Chris Barnewall/CBS Sports

Lonzo Ball: I've Played This Way My Whole Life
Lonzo Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Julius Randle Unlikely To Remain In Lakers' Plans
Julius Randle will have a cap hold of $12.4 million in the offseason as a restricted free agent.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Luol Deng Seeking Trade Or Buyout From Lakers
The Lakers owe Luol Deng $36 million over the next two seasons.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Kyle Kuzma: Everyone Said I Would Be 2nd Rounder Or Undrafted
The Lakers liked how Kyle Kuzma fits Luke Walton's positionless scheme.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

D'Angelo Russell: I Went Through A Lot With Lakers
D'Angelo Russell cited the farewell tour of Kobe Bryant as one of the obstacles while he was with the Lakers.

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Larry Nance Jr. Suffers Fractured Hand
Larry Nance's injury occurred while attempting a block late in the third quarter.

Joey Ramirez/NBA.com

Maverick Carter: LeBron James Will Only Play Where He Can Win
Maverick Carter downplayed the possibility of LeBron James signing with the Lakers this offseason.

Michael D. Sykes II/SB Nation

Lakers Bench Starting-Five In Fourth Quarter
The Lakers were trailing 91-83 when Luke Walton removed Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Larry Nance Jr. and Brook Lopez from the game.

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Kobe Bryant Wants Phil Jackson Or Michael Jordan To Present Him At HOF
Kobe Bryant will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2021.

Liz Levy/Complex

DeMarcus Cousins Regrets Being Loyal To Kings, Not Leaving In 2015
DeMarcus Cousins' agent told the Kings in 2015 that he wanted to be traded to the Lakers.

Marc J. Spears/The Undefeated

Lakers Exercise 18-19 Options On Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr.
Larry Nance was a late first round pick in 2016.

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Luol Deng Already Out Of Lakers' Rotation
Luol Deng signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Lakers in 2016.

Bill Oram/Orange County Register

South Bay Lakers Hire Metta World Peace As Player Development Coach
Metta World Peace spent the past two seasons back with the Lakers as a player.

RealGM Staff Report