“If you make this trade, it must be correct, you have one chance to do it. Therefore, we are very thoughtful about decisions about when and how to use project capital in a way that improves our composition.”
It was Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on media day talking about the possibility of the Lakers trading the only two first-round picks they control this decade – 2027 and 2029 – to renew this roster around LeBron. Pelinka made it clear that the Lakers were looking to create a winner around LeBron: “We have one of the great players in LeBron James ever play this game, and he gave us a long-term contract, a three-year contract… He made a commitment to our organization. It should be a bilateral commitment, and it is.”
But should it include Russell Westbrook exchange to Indiana Buddy Heald as well as Miles Turner? Shams Charania from The Athletic updated and added to an extensive previous report on this trade, which states that the Lakers kept the door open right up to the start of training camp, but didn’t pull the trigger.
VP of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka, owner Jeanie Bass and senior basketball advisor Curt Rambis were seriously considering sending Westbrook and undefended first-round picks in 2027 and 2029 to the Pacers to replace center Miles Turner and quarterback Buddy Heald. In the days leading up to camp, they held a series of meetings to analyze a possible deal with the Pacers from all angles, with the views of Ham and Lakers executives Joey and Jesse Bass actively taken into account in the process. The organization even postponed a mid-week press conference for Pelinka and Ham as the debate continued…
If they were going to bet on a decisive move of this magnitude, they thought, then everyone should be sure of the same vision. But when that wasn’t the case, the sources say, Pelinka decided to stay patient and see once again if Westbrook could find a way to make this imperfect Lakers match work.
Heald and Turner would definitely improve the Lakers. Turner can play in the top five, he is an elite shot blocker who can provide a strong defensive line next to Anthony Davis, and is a respectable 3-point shooter that can skip the floor. It fits naturally. Heald brings the shots the Lakers have been waiting for years and need more now.
This trade would have propelled the Lakers up the ladder and turned them into a strong playoff team in the West. Will this trade make the Lakers rivals? Probably no. It would still be back to a bubble version of Davis and LeBron ready for a final 16-game sprint to have a knockout chance (this could be the case regardless of other moves). It would also disrupt future plans for free agents in Los Angeles — the Lakers could have about $30 million in their ceiling next summer. Kyrie Irving (although Shams says it’s not in their plans) or other high-profile players, Hilde is owed $19.3 million next season, and Turner will be a free agent who the Lakers will need to re-sign. This deal will end the dream of a free agent who takes a little less than the maximum to go to the Lakers (a dream unlikely to come true anyway).
As Pelinka said, the Lakers have one chance – to trade two picks to refresh the roster – they have to hit a home run, it can’t be a solid single. The Lakers were unsure if Heald and Turner could be a home run tandem.
So Los Angeles will enter the season in Westbrook’s starting five. Kendrick NunnLebron, Davis and Damian Joneswith a bench Patrick Beverly, Thomas Bryant, Austin Reevesand Dennis Schroeder. The Lakers will see if that fits and how far this group can go under a new coach. Darwin Hamand keep an eye on the market to see what other stars may become available.
The Lakers haven’t completed the deal yet, but it looks like the Indiana deal is in the rearview mirror right now.
Ben Simmons played a real live basketball game on Monday night.
The results were good. Excellent. Good in flashes. Simmons ran well on the court and finished with six points on 3-of-6 shooting, five assists and four rebounds. He missed both free throws he made and all three of his attempts were at the rim, all of his three missed shots were in paint and included an ugly skyhook thing and a miss. There was obvious rust.
The Nets gave him a lot of touches, forcing him to start off early. Whether this will be carried over into the season remains to be seen, the offense has improved thanks to the clear passing and decisions of Kyrie Irving.
Simmons sounded comfortable after the game, quotes via Nick Friedell of ESPN.
“I’m only grateful to be able to step on this floor,” Simmons said. “Step back on the NBA floor. I had a lot of fun there.”
“That’s the thing, I thought I was going to be nervous,” Simmons said. “But I wasn’t nervous. I was excited.”
Simmons insisted on trading those 76ers a year ago and then missed the entirety of last season due to mental health issues. The Nets had enough of his return to the court for 19 minutes in a couple of shifts.
Tyrese Maxi has entered the chat. pic.twitter.com/fCBESlhZ5j
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 3, 2022
Furkan Korkmazadded another player who was injured. 15 His performance will add depth to the Sixers’ roster.
Claxton ran hard down the court and finished with 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting (all by the rim), with Durant leading with 13 points.
The annual poll of NBA general managers is more of a snapshot of conventional wisdom about the league than a good predictive tool: Last season, general managers overwhelmingly chose the Brooklyn Nets to defeat the Lakers in the NBA Finals and Kevin Duran as the most valuable player. It didn’t exactly work out that way.
That said, it’s an interesting look at how things stand – and where he stands is in the NBA Finals Bucks vs. Warriors. When asked who would win the NBA title, 43% predicted the Bucks, 25% the Warriors, 21% the Clippers and 11% the Celtics (numbers no doubt dropped after the suspension was announced). Ime Udoki).
This is how grandmasters see the top six at each conference: courtesy of John Schumann and NBA.com who conducted the survey:
6-T: Mavericks and Timberwolves
Here are some more points from the poll:
• But ask GMs if they launched a franchise today and could sign anyone, and they would prefer Antetokounmpo (55%) to Doncic (45%). These are the only two names on the list.
• Asked the player most likely to have a breakthrough season and the Cavaliers. Evan Mobley led with 21% of the vote, followed by Cade Cunningham as well as Anthony Edwards share the second place (17%).
• The most athletic player in the league? The generals voted I am Morant (38%) over Antetokounmpo (31%) and Anthony Edwards (24%).
• When asked which team had the best off-season record, 41% of GMs chose the Cavaliers. Donovan…