Julius Randle

Report: Lakers plan to keep No. 7 pick


If the Lakers had lucked out in the lottery and gotten in the top three the reports are they would have shopped the pick hard looking for a veteran. Much like the still-without-a-coach Lakers are looking for a veteran in the big chair, they would prefer veterans in the rotation next to Kobe Bryant.

But they aren’t getting much of a veteran moving the No. 7 pick. There was talk that they might trade down for multiple picks, but teams looking to trade down aren’t getting much traction.

So the Lakers are keeping the pick, reports Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Whether the Lakers end up picking (Marcus) Smart, (Julius) Randle, or somebody else, the team is leaning towards keeping their No. 7 pick rather than trading down in order to acquire multiple picks, according to a source with knowledge of their thinking.

While it’s widely believed that there is a gap in the talent available after Kansas’ Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins and Duke’s Jabari Parker go off the board, the Lakers feel there is another gap between the player they have rated 10th versus who they have at 11th and below, so it’s not like they could flip their pick for say Phoenix’s No. 14 and No. 18 picks and still come out in with a player they are totally sold on.

Interesting note about the second drop in talent. There is probably a couple good sleepers farther down the way but those come with risks, the Lakers can get more of a sure thing at seven.

Marcus Smart is not likely to be there when the Lakers pick, I have heard from sources that Orlando likes him at No. 4. Even if that is a smoke screen and the Magic end up taking Dante Exum or someone else it’s not likely Smart falls to seven, a number of teams have been high on him out of workouts.

Randle could be there, as could guys such as Doug McDermott, Nik Stauskas and Aaron Gordon. Randle would be a good addition to the Lakers front line, able to come in and score (and rebound) right away at the NBA level. There are concerns about his defense and his ability to shoot from the outside, but he should at the least be a solid rotation player.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.