From the perspective of the young Lakers core — guys who had never heard their names in serious trade rumors before, let alone at the insane volume that came with the Anthony Davis talks — it had to be disturbing. The team was willing to trade them in a heartbeat. Did LeBron James want them traded? You could tell it got in their head during the 42-point beat down earlier in the week in Indiana.
Can the young Lakers put this behind them and make a playoff push behind a finally-healthy LeBron? Thursday night’s win in Boston was a good sign, but to clear everything up Lakers’ president Magic Johnson is going to meet with the players, reports Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
Sensing that the Lakers have been weighed down by the persistent trade rumors over the last few weeks, Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, plans to meet with the team this weekend in Philadelphia, according to two people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly on the matter….
Johnson will talk to the Lakers about the Anthony Davis trade saga that nearly pulled them under, emphasizing that the NBA is a business and that this franchise is about winning championships and doing all it can to accomplish that goal.
Johnson will listen to every player who wants to speak, hoping to have an open dialogue with his team so they can all move forward together, one person said.
The Lakers should be the favorite to climb over the Clippers and back into the playoffs in the West — and maybe get all the way up to the seven seed, hoping to avoid the Golden State side of the bracket — now that LeBron is back. The Clippers likely take a step back without Tobias Harris (although not as big a one as some think), but also in that mix is the upstart Kings (ahead of the Lakers by half a game) who upgraded at the deadline with Harrison Barnes. Still, the Lakers with LeBron were solidly in the playoffs before his groin injury and the win in Boston shows how they can climb back up the ladder.
That said, the Lakers have a much tougher remaining schedule than the teams they are chasing. They can’t afford to stumble for 10 games as guys sulk about the trade rumors then try to dig out of the hole they created, and Magic knows it.
The impact of team meetings like this tend to be overrated, but it’s easy to understand what Magic is thinking and hoping for with this get together.
Just three 7-footers have averaged 3.5 3-pointers per game and made 35% of them each of the last two seasons:
The Bulls will now have most of them.
Markkanen is Chicago’s top young player. Kornet will join him with the Bulls next season.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
I’m a little surprised Kornet got more than his minimum ($3,383,360 over two years). But it’s worth taking a flier on him.
In addition to his outside shooting, Kornet has shown good timing as a shot-blocker in two seasons with the Knicks. The 24-year-old must get stronger and improve as a rebounder to play major minutes.
But the Bulls won’t have to press him into action. They also have Thaddeus Young, Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio as bigs.
The Bucks waived Christian Wood late last season to ensure avoiding the luxury tax. The Pelicans claimed him. Wood had played well in limited minutes with the 76ers, Hornets and Bucks and in the NBA’s minor league since going undrafted in 2015.
New Orleans gave him his biggest opportunity yet. In 24 minutes per game over eight games, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds.
But the Pelicans filled their roster for next season and waived Wood.
Detroit will take advantage.
The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has claimed forward/center Christian Wood off waivers.
Wood’s $1,645,357 minimum salary is unguaranteed until the regular season. So, Detroit could still waive him before the season. But it seems he’ll at least go to training camp and get a shot at a regular-season roster spot.
The Pelicans also could’ve kept him through the preseason then waived him before the regular season. They seemingly did him a favor of allowing him to get somewhere he has a realistic chance of sticking.
Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will start in the frontcourt for the Pistons. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker appear to be first in line is backups.
But don’t be surprised if Wood earns playing time. At minimum, the 23-year-old should provide nice depth at both power forward and center.
The Pistons have also now acquired four members of last year’s Bucks – Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Tim Frazier and now Wood.
Reggie Bullock had his agreed-upon salary cut by more than half with the Knicks. He’ll reportedly miss at least a month of the regular season.
All because of a mysterious health issue.
The Knicks have finally disclosed what’s happening.
Reggie Bullock underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation. The team will plan to provide an update on his rehab and progress around the start of training camp.
Bullock is a good shooter from the wing. New York could use him. Many teams could use him.
But Bullock must get healthy first.
At this point, we probably shouldn’t expect much from him any time soon. The best indication: how eagerly his agent praised the Knicks for their handling of this situation. Again, Bullock settled for less than half his initially agreed-upon salary.
The Suns went old in the draft, picking 23-year-old Cameron Johnson at No. 11.
Phoenix will go younger in free agency with 22-year-old Cheick Diallo.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Barring another move, the Suns have only the minimum available. Diallo will get $1,678,854 next season and $1,824,003 the following season.
The No. 33 pick in the 2016 draft, Diallo worked his way into the low end of the rotation during his three years with the Pelicans. He’s a hustle big, committed rebounder and athletic player. But at 6-foot-9 and 220 pounds, he’s not strong enough to bang with most centers. His skill level is low for power forward.
Phoenix will stick him behind Deandre Ayton, Dario Saric, Aron Baynes and Frank Kaminsky in the frontcourt. Diallo might receive situation minutes, but he must develop further to hold staying power.