Mitch Kupchak says Lakers are equipped to make playoffs


The Lakers missed the playoffs by 24 games last season.

Since, they’ve added D’Angelo Russell, Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams and Brandon Bass.

Is that enough to make a difference?

Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

I suppose the Lakers can hope for better health from Kobe Bryant, but he turns 37 next month and hasn’t played effectively or remained healthy in two years. Banking on more from him is a mistake.

And I don’t think that’s enough, anyway.

Even a healthy Kobe can’t carry a team like he used to, and his supporting cast is lacking. Plus, the Western Conference is ridiculously strong.

Phil Jackson recently lamented he wasn’t getting compared to Kupchak. I suspect that will change.

Lakers trade with Pacers for Roy Hibbert now official


The Lakers had a verbal agreement to acquire Roy Hibbert from the Pacers in the early days of free agency, but as we saw on Wednesday with DeAndre Jordan and the circus that played out between the Mavericks and the Clippers, deals like this are ultimately meaningless until the paperwork is signed.

L.A. and Indiana completed the deal on Thursday, and announced it via official release.

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired center Roy Hibbert in a trade with the Indiana Pacers, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. In exchange the Pacers will receive a future second round pick.

“We’re happy to add a veteran big man to the roster,” said Kupchak. “Roy is a proven All-Star center that will help improve our front line. In addition he is a consummate professional and we look forward to having him on the team.”

Hibbert is in the final year of his contract, and for a Lakers team that missed out on guys like LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency, adding the former Pacers big man as a plan B while giving up basically nothing in return was a more than acceptable option.

The Lakers also formally announced the signings of Lou Williams and Brandon Bass, along with Anthony Brown, who was the 34th overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft.

Luis Scola signs one-year, $3 million to play for Toronto


Luis Scola broke the news himself:

This is a one-year, $3 million deal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Scola, 35, had a bit of a bounce-back season for the Pacers last season, playing just more than 20 minutes a night and scoring 9.4 points and pulling down 6.5 rebounds a game. He was an above average player.

Toronto needed help at the four, with Amir Johnson bolting town they were left with Patrick Patterson in that role. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Scola is going to be a solid player for them at that spot. And he fits with their new trend of guys who will play defense.

Lou Williams ‘disappointed’ Raptors didn’t want him back


Lou Williams won the Sixth Man of the Year award while playing for the Raptors last season, but that wasn’t enough for the team to want him back once he became an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Williams provided a nice, consistent burst of offense off the bench, averaging 15.5 points on 40.4 percent shooting in 25.2 minutes per contest.

He would have liked to return, but the team decided to go in a different direction.

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun:

Speaking on Tim and Sid on Sportsnet on Monday, Williams admitted he was “kind of a little disappointed I wasn’t allowed to stay in Toronto, but things happen, you move forward.”

Williams said he even offered the Raptors a chance to match the Lakers deal, but Masai Ujiri and Co. told him to take the offer.

“I think the playoffs just left a sour taste in everybody’s mouths,” Williams said, before adding, “we were all disappointed with how the playoffs ended. When things like that happen, you don’t know what to expect. I really wanted to be a part of what they were building there.”

The Raptors needed to make some changes after finishing the season ranked 23rd in defensive efficiency, while seeing their offense stagnate as they were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Washington Wizards.

Toronto added Corey Joseph on a four-year deal similar in price to what the Lakers paid to ink Williams, believing he could help facilitate while bringing more to the defensive end of the floor than Williams was able to on a regular basis.

Cory Joseph reaches four-year, $30 million deal with Toronto


Early on Sunday morning, the San Antonio Spurs withdrew their qualifying offer to Cory Joseph. It was a salary cap move — they need the space for LaMarcus Aldridge — but it made Joseph an unrestricted free agent. Still, it was possible the Spurs would re-sign the Gregg Popovich favorite.

By Sunday afternoon, Joseph had reached a deal with Toronto.

Joseph himself announced it on Twitter.

Chris Broussard of ESPN broke the deal and had the financial details.

This is a good pickup for the Raptors. Joseph is a slasher whose game is to get to the rim — almost 40 percent of his shot attempts last season were within three feet of the rim, and he finished an impressive 60.2 percent of them. He can shoot the three, but he chooses not to very often.

Joseph will back up Kyle Lowry in Toronto, with rookie Delon Wright behind them.