Agent Rich Paul says idea LeBron leaves Lakers “ridiculous,” “totally false”

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Lakers Game
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Despite his passive-aggressive moves clearly intended to put pressure on the Lakers’ front office heading into next offseason, few around the league think LeBron is leaving the Lakers. He set up his post-playing life in the city, it’s where his kids go to high school, where his movie/television production company is located, and he’s said he wants to close out his career as a Laker. LeBron is just trying to impose his will on the franchise like he did in Cleveland.

Now enter his agent Rich Paul playing good cop.

Paul spoke to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who went on The Pat McAfee Show yesterday and delivered the message LeBron isn’t leaving L.A. (hat tip the Basketball Network).

 

“I spoke to LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and he said that talk in itself is ridiculous and it’s totally false. LeBron James isn’t leaving the Lakers, he’s going to be on the Lakers. The question is: how can the Lakers get better? That’s why I’ve heard they have been active in the trade market.”

LeBron is playing games, making sure the Lakers do everything they can this offseason to upgrade the roster — which likely includes trading Russell Westbrook. Somewhere.

It needs to be stated — again — if LeBron wants to blame someone for the state of the Lakers’ roster, he needs to find a mirror. The Lakers could have gone ahead with the trade for Kings’ sharpshooter Buddy Hield, which would have let them keep Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and maybe re-sign Alex Caruso. Pelinka and the Lakers were following the road map that won them a title in 2020 — put shooting and defense around LeBron and Anthony Davis — but LeBron wanted and pushed for a third star, specifically Westbrook, and here we are.

Lakers GM Rob Pelinka needs to be active on the trade market this offseason, although turning Talen Horton-Tucker and Austin Reaves plus the Lakers’ 2027 and 2029 first-round picks into a significant roster overhaul is far from simple. The Lakers benefit from players wanting to be in Los Angeles and play with LeBron, and they are going to need every advantage to turn that roster around.

In the meantime, we have a couple more months of LeBron and company playing out this season, then trying to get out of the play-in tournament they are headed for.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.