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Markelle Fultz will miss start of training camp, at least, with broken toe Report: Lakers would have traded both first-round picks for Irving, Mitchell New coach, new attitude, but will that fix Lakers defense, Westbrook fit? Wolves’ Edwards ‘willing to do whatever it takes to make it right’ after homophobic post NBA Media Day roundup: Zion looking fit, Ayton sounding reserved, more

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Basketball gods keep turning their backs Markell Fultz.

He’s only played 26 games in the past two seasons with an ACL tear, but this season he’s been healthy and gearing up for a bigger role with a young and exciting Magic team. Then came the news that he had broken his left big toe while training. As a result, he will be absent until at least the start of the training camp, the team announced. From the official announcement:

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“He has been placed in a walking boot and his return to the game will depend on how he responds to rehab and treatment. Fultz was injured during pre-season practice before returning to Orlando, and imaging confirmed the fracture.

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According to the team, he will not need surgery.

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Fultz was to share point guard duties with Cole Anthonythis injury means R. J. Hampton at the moment you can see more mileage. Fultz should be able to return either at the end of the preseason or at the start of the season.

Fultz was selected No. 1 in the 2017 NBA draft but never found his footing with the 76ers (due in part to an injury). However, since he stepped out of the limelight and got a chance to develop in Orlando, he has become a reliable point guard when he was healthy. He averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 assists per game in 18 games last season, and while he’s still an ineffective shooter, he can manage the team.

How Anthony and eventually Fultz will run off the ball as a rookie Paolo Bankero gaining the ability to create more attacks will be just one of the exciting things to watch with this Magic team this year. We’ll have to wait a bit to see Fultz.

“If you make this trade, it has to be right, you have one chance to do it,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said on press day, lifting the veil a little on his thoughts about trading two picks in the first round. “Therefore, we are very thoughtful about decisions about when and how to use project capital in a way that improves our lineup.”

This is confirmed by constant reports from Los Angeles all summer long: the Lakers will only trade their only two first-round picks, which they have complete control of, for the rest of this decade (2027 and 2029) for a deal that will make them contenders.

This meant landing Kyrie Irving or Donovan Mitchell, Dave McMenamin of ESPN said on Collective podcast The Hoop.

“I was told that if the Lakers could get Kyrie Irving or the Lakers could get Donovan Mitchell, either of those players, the Lakers would be willing and able to move both of those players. [first-round] decides to do it.

The problem for the Lakers is that the market value of elite talent has surpassed two first-round picks. The Jazz received three unprotected first round picks (2025, 2027 and 2029) plus the right to trade two picks (2026 and 2028) in the Mitchell trade, not to mention three players: Lauri Markkanen (whom they will try to exchange for another choice) Colleen Sextonand Ochair Agbaji. The price for Kyrie Irving would have been at least as high if the Nets really wanted to trade him.

The Lakers Traded All Their Young Players And Most Of Their Picks To The Ground Anthony Davis as well as Russell Westbrookexcept for those who were releasedAlex Caruso). Before he was smart about making trades, as he was this offseason, Pelinka was making trades that kept him going in that corner.

Lakers could probably use both picks to acquire Buddy Heald as well as Miles Turner out of Indiana (sending Westbrook back), but that doesn’t make LA a contender (a playoff team, not a title threat) and goes against a plan to have about $30 million in the ceiling next summer to chase the big name.

The Lakers you see in training camp are the Lakers you get. At least for now.

SECOND, California. — Darwin Ham there was a new face at the front of the room, and from the day he walked in the door he had looked ahead and with a clean slate. The Lakers own tabula rasa.

“We’ve turned the page this year, you know, we’re looking at the windshield, not the rearview mirror,” Coach Ham said.

However, at the Lakers’ media day, everyone continued to look back at the team’s poor defense and dubious play. Russell Westbrook last season.

Can a new face in the front of the room, a new focus and luck with injuries erase the past and make the Lakers a threat in the West again?

“I think everyone here has a chip [on their shoulder]and in every right obviously [after last] season, last year”, another newcomer, Patrick Beverly, said. “Everyone wants a little charm, a little, you know, more, whatever it is.”

For Ham, “whatever it is” means protection. On Monday, Ham again preached defense. As he has consistently done since the day he was hired by the Lakers, he hangs his hat, his rotations and the Lakers’ chances in heavy defense.

Of course, Frank Vogel also preached protection. He is a defensive coach. When the Lakers won the title in 2020, they had the third-best defense in the NBA, and the next season it was the best defense in the league. Vogel’s message and the team’s focus on this last season was lost for various reasons. The Lakers were in the bottom ten in the league at this end of the floor. It cost Vogel his job.

Ham equalized last season’s defensive problems, and Westbrook fit into the rotation together – if you don’t defend, you don’t play. This includes the $47 million former quarterback MVP.

“We have to be defensive,” Ham said. “These are the guys who will receive protocols, the guys who will receive stoppages. As well as… [Westbrook has] told me personally that he was going to devote himself to this side of the ball.

And that’s what the camp is for. Let’s see.”

Ham wouldn’t go to Westbrook as a starter. It came after the Lakers spent the summer trying to find a trade for Westbrook to get away from last season’s disappointments, but any deal should have brought value to the Lakers. It never really came close to happening (there wasn’t a big market for Westbrook’s services at its current price tag). So Westbrook is back.

“It doesn’t matter if they want me here or not,” Westbrook said. “Honestly, my job is to be professional, to come to work as usual, to do my job in the best way that I can, that’s all. We’ve all had jobs that sometimes people at our jobs don’t like or want us there, as you guys can probably attest, in every other job around the world. As a professional and as a working person I have to do my job and do it in the best way I know how to be able to support and accept my family and that is what I will do.”

Westbrook’s clumsiness was structural: he’s been a ball-dominating scorer his entire NBA career, and now the Lakers are asking him to play his part. He is not their best shot maker, sometimes he will stand in the corners. It’s not in the nature of the aggressive, self-confident Westbrook, and Vogel could never find a balance.

“We tell Russ to be yourself like we need you to be yourself. I tell him to be yourself before every game.” Anthony Davis said. “Because I didn’t want him to think too much like, ‘Oh, I gotta get the ball, LeBron or A.D.’ and now he’s passive instead of aggressive, which is who he was in his league, to be Russell Westbrook. And I think the more he does that, the more we can adjust.”

Ham, however, has talked more about running the offense through Davis – it’s a critical year for him with the Lakers – and of course, no one takes the ball from…


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