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Westbrook says he’s ‘all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win’ NBA Media Day roundup: Zion looking fit, Ayton sounding reserved, more Report: Heat, Celtics, Mavericks, Grizzlies may show interest in Crowder trade Durant, Irving talk about Nets moving on from ‘very awkward’ summer, but drama continues PBT Podcast: Golden State Warriors season preview

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Welcome to NBA Media Day when optimism is overwhelming and everyone swears there are no chemistry issues, no fit issues, it’s all puppies and a rainbow with their team.

On the eve of Lakers Media Day, Russell Westbrook got a head start saying the right things in an interview with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Trade? I don’t worry about it. fit? It won’t be a problem. All is well now, if you ask Westbrook, and he’s been in trade negotiations all summer, it doesn’t matter.

“I just need to do my job. Am I wanted [by the Lakers] or not doesn’t really matter. I think the most important thing is that I come to work and do it the way I always did: be a pro, go out, kick your butt and compete…

May be [he is] as a starter or maybe it’s off the bench. “I’m doing everything I can to make sure this team wins,” Westbrook said. “I’m ready for anything that comes my way.”

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Words are nice, but actions are important. Westbrook reportedly said all the right things LeBron James as well as Anthony Davis a year ago before he was traded to the team, but his unwillingness to play the part and fit in was a big problem. Westbrook swears it won’t happen this time, whatever Ham wants, Westbrook will do.

“There is so much optimism that we can be great that AD, LeBron and I can be unstoppable in my opinion,” Westbrook said.

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This is optimism. Even if Westbrook fits, Davis stays healthy all season, and LeBron continues to defy his father’s time, these Lakers are not title contenders. Playoff team, sure, but not contenders.

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These Lakers will face adversity — maybe early, Los Angeles will have a tough first couple of weeks — and how the Lakers under a new coach Darwin Ham, the answer to these challenges will determine their season. The Lakers’ reaction to last season was… not very good. They turned over. Ham promised not to let this happen, but something would get out of his control.

Westbrook was one of those things for Frank Vogel last season, we’ll see how he reacts this season.

Most of the NBA had a media day on Monday – some moments turned our heads.

Here’s what you need to know from the league’s press day – just the highlights. It doesn’t include anything about the Nets – there’s a separate story about them – or about the Lakers (there will be an article from the Lakers media day on Tuesday morning).

• Reports Zion Williamson being in the best shape of your career seems to be true. HoodieBev has the recipes.

We’ll see if this goes to trial – he’s under a lot of pressure – but Zion looks like he’s invested in the job.

• Talking about the players who looked their best, James Harden looked thinner. He joked that he had lost 100 pounds but also opened up about his diet and exercise regimen.

Deandre Ayton He got a four-year, $132.9 million contract extension this summer, but not because he was being handed out by the Suns. Ayton had to talk the Pacers into making an offer (which is why he doesn’t have a five-year contract), and then the Suns agreed. Ayton is a guy with a usually optimistic personality, but when asked about his new contract, he answered briefly and reservedly.

Trainer Monty Williams and All-Star Devin Booker both talked about how they expect Ayton to use the contract as motivation and have a monstrous season. We will watch.

• The Suns players and coach had to answer the question, “What do you think of the Robert Sarver investigation report?” question, and the answers were unanimous – they were disgusted, saddened and sympathetic to those (especially women) who had to deal with his behavior. They also told one person they had no idea (which, at least prior to ESPN’s initial report, may have been true; the way he handled the players and the business side seems to be different).

• The Celtics have all been asked about their former coach Ima Udoki’s suspension for the entire season. Marcus Smart well summarized the feelings – “it was hell.” They were caught off guard, like most of the NBA. However, for the man, they backed interim coach Joe Mazzulla.

• FROM PJ Tucker in Miami there was a lot of talk about Jimmy Butler playing with four, especially in closed games. Butler himself took it down, saying he was not a B.

The Heat continue to look for a trade for a four, but by the start of the season there may not be one.

• In his end-of-season press session last May, Pat Riley said: Kyle Lowry need to show themselves in the best shape this season. Looks like Lowry did it, but did it motivate him? “It doesn’t matter… everyone has their own opinion.”

• It’s not a media day if Kawhi Leonard laughs.

As for Leonard and load management this season, coach Tyrone Liu has said he will play by ear. But also, expect some.

The Phoenix Suns had a media day on Monday, but the veteran Jay Crowder there wasn’t, which was part of a mutual agreement with the team to sit it out until a trade could be found. He left players and GM James Jones solve the problem.

Which teams are interested in Crowder? Shams Charania of The Athletic advises keeping an eye on the Heat, Celtics, Mavericks and Grizzlies, among others.

Miami was at the forefront in terms of interest (and Crowder suggested online that he would be happy to return to Miami). The Heat have minutes to fill…


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