video

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday explained the team's logic for pulling off its draft-week trade with the Brooklyn Nets, which included shipping out promising point guard D'Angelo Russell in what amounted to a salary dump. The trade was made official Thursday.

Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, was dealt to Brooklyn along with center Timofey Mozgov, who is entering the second year of a four-year, $64 million contract. In return, the Lakers received Nets center Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in Thursday's draft.

Pelinka was first asked if Russell was traded in part because the Lakers were so confident in the abilities of point guard Lonzo Ball, whom the Lakers drafted No. 2 overall Thursday.

"I think D'Angelo is a special player and definitely wouldn't want to attach the name 'expendable' next to him, because he's an extraordinary talent," Pelinka said. "We just looked at that trade as really doing three things that were really positive for us.

"One is we got an All-Star caliber [center] that can spread the floor and open things up. Brook Lopez really transformed his game last year and became a guy that was making 3s."

Lopez, 29, averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 blocks for the Nets last season. He also attempted 387 shots from 3-point range and made 34.6 percent of them.

Lopez enters 2017-18 in the final season of his contract that will pay him $22.64 million. His expiring contract and clearing Mozgov off their books will give the Lakers close to $60 million in significant cap room next summer.

"Then of course, we were able to get amazing salary-cap relief and space, so in July of 2018 we have the ability to add hopefully two max-salary players to our franchise," Pelinka said. "And that really fit into our long-term play.

"And then three, it gave us the ability to have four picks in the draft [Thursday]. So we accomplished so much in one trade. It was really the perfect storm for us and we felt like it's going to have a big impact."

Indiana Pacers


(Read full post)


video

Jay Bilas joins SVP to recap the 2017 NBA Draft class and predicts success for many of the first round picks.

Draft attireChris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA draft is a chance for the latest crop of basketball talent to make eye-catching fashion choices -- and the 2017 NBA draft class did not disappoint.

Some players, such as Malik Monk with his "The Woodz" pattern or Zach Collins with his homage to the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, incorporated nods to their hometowns. Other fashion decisions carried deeper sentiment: The lining of No. 5 overall pick De'Aaron Fox's suit featured breast cancer ribbons as a tribute to his mother, a breast cancer survivor.

Which prospect made the best fashion statement at this year's draft? Using the arrows next to each choice, weigh in by ranking the sharply dressed players below.


Bowties and shoes

Still other prospects went for flashy, unique accessories and footwear:

While the NBA draft picks were dressed for success at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday night, it remains to be seen how they'll look -- or play -- in the uniforms of their new teams when the 2017-18 NBA season begins.

-- Brendan C. Hall


(Read full post)


video

The Los Angeles Lakers will receive Indiana center Thomas Bryant (via Jazz), who was the No. 42 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night. 

Kevin Pelton's stats and scouting ranking -- No. 30: "Because Bryant is only an average shot-blocker and a poor defensive rebounder, he has to score efficiently to have value in the NBA." More (Insider)

Scouting report -- positives:

  • Versatile forward
  • Crazy long wingspan
  • Can score inside and outside
  • A load in the paint

Scouting report -- negatives:

  • Still inconsistent
  • Slow feet, lacks elite athleticism

Read the full scouting report (Insider)

ESPN Analytics projection (within his first five seasons):

  • Chances he'll be an All-Star: 0.99 percent
  • Chances he'll be an NBA starter: 14.42 percent
  • Chances he'll be a role player: 13.57 percent

More player projections  |  How our projection model works


(Read full post)


The deal

Lakers get: Rights to No. 30 pick Josh Hart and No. 42 pick Thomas Bryant

Jazz get: Rights to No. 28 pick Tony Bradley

video

The Los Angeles Lakers will receive Villanova guard Josh Hart  (via Jazz), who was the No. 30 overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night. 

Ford's Big Board ranking -- No. 30:  "Jack of all trades. Above average at just about everything -- shooting, ballhandling, defense and passing." More (Insider)

Kevin Pelton's stats and scouting ranking -- No. 16: "One of the most productive players in college basketball as a senior, Hart has no statistical weaknesses, and he has strengths in terms of 2-point percentage and shooting." More (Insider)

Scouting report -- positives:

  • Solid shooter with range
  • Tough, physical wing
  • High basketball IQ

Scouting report -- negatives:

  • Lacks any one elite skill
  • Lacks explosive leaping ability

Read the full scouting report (Insider)

ESPN Analytics projection (within his first five seasons):

  • Chances he'll be an All-Star: 0.02 percent
  • Chances he'll be an NBA starter: 3.65 percent
  • Chances he'll be a role player: 10.10 percent

(Read full post)


video

At the NBA draft, LaVar Ball reaffirms his past comments and makes more predictions for Lonzo's future with the Lakers.
video

The Los Angeles Lakers will receive Utah forward Kyle Kuzma with the No. 27 overall pick (via Nets) of the 2017 NBA draft on Thursday night.

Scouting report -- positives:

  • Good rebounder
  • Good floor vision, passer for his size
  • High basketball IQ

Scouting report -- negatives:

  • Inconsistent shooter
  • Lacks elite athleticism

Read the full scouting report (Insider)

ESPN Analytics projection (within his first five seasons):

  • Chances he'll be an All-Star: 0.06 percent
  • Chances he'll be an NBA starter: 2.03 percent
  • Chances he'll be a role player: 7.15 percent

More player projections  |  How our projection model works

More draft coverage:


(Read full post)


video

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Moments after the Los Angeles Lakers selected UCLA guard Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday night's NBA draft, Ball's outspoken father, LaVar, made a bold proclamation on national television. 

"Lonzo Ball is going to take the Lakers to the playoffs in his first year," LaVar told ESPN's Jeff Goodman.

The Lakers have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons, the longest postseason drought in franchise history, and posted the league's third-worst record last season at 26-56.

"That's the goal," Lonzo said when asked about his father's comments. "You don't play to lose. That's definitely the goal. That's the plan."

With his son making the interview rounds in the tunnels of Barclays Center, LaVar excitedly talked about how he had predicted for a long time that his son would go to the Lakers.

"Yes! Yes!" the elder Ball told ESPN not far from where other families and draft picks sat by the stage. "I told you I would speak it into existence. And everybody kept saying what if? What if? I don't live on what ifs. If I live on what ifs, I will never get to where I am at.

"People always say, 'LaVar, how come you are always right?' I say, 'Because I never get left.'"

When asked about LaVar's playoffs prediction, Lakers coach Luke Walton smiled.

"I'm a very optimistic person, but I don't look that far into the future," Walton said at the team's practice facility, where a group of season-ticket holders and sponsors gathered for a draft party. "Right now, I'm hoping [Lonzo] leads us to a couple summer league victories, and we'll take it from there." 

Walton said he expected LaVar's comments will, at least initially, apply pressure on Lonzo.

"I think it will make it more challenging, a little bit, but I think every top draft pick that comes in has a target on their back," Walton said. "The best players in this league want to set the tone with these young players early, to let them know what it's like here. I know when I was a young player, I had a target on my back from my own teammates because of things my dad [NBA great Bill Walton] said, but it ended up working out.

"What's incredible is that he's been, according to [Lonzo], his dad has been great. He's always been there. He's supported him. He obviously loves him, and that's what you want out of a father, so I'm not overly concerned by it."

Philadelphia 76ers


(Read full post)


video

Lakers coach Luke Walton reacts to drafting Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick and explains what his dad and LaVar Ball have in common.
video

Thursday night's NBA draft turned into an advertisement for the Big Baller Brand.

It started with a subtle black logo on Lonzo Ball's black bow tie, but became more pronounced after Ball was taken No. 2 by the Los Angeles Lakers.

That's when Ball's father, LaVar, who had a "BBB" tie on, pulled out a hat with the Big Baller Brand logo on it in Lakers purple and gold.

Moments later, Lonzo's signature ZO2 shoes were being offered for sale in Lakers colors on the company's website. The price was $495, the same as the first version of the shoes, with the promise of shipping pairs to customers by Feb. 10.

"Big Baller Brand, we about to launch it off now," said LaVar Ball, when stopped while walking through a hallway at Barclays Center in New York. "We are about to do some things."

Not missing a beat, Lonzo changed out of his dress shoes and wore the new shoes he will wear at Staples Center in the fall when he was introduced by commissioner Adam Silver. 

"I had them on after Markelle [Fultz] got picked," Lonzo said. "I had a good feeling I was going to be staying home. I'm glad that they picked me because I didn't have any other shoes under the table."

Information from ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk was used in this report.


(Read full post)


video

Lakers fans show excitement at the team's draft party after they selected hometown point guard Lonzo Ball.

It took about as long as one of Lonzo Ball's deft, cross-court passes for NBA players to start licking their chops at the prospect of taking the Ball family down a peg.

Not too long after the Los Angeles Lakers took Ball with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft -- and after his father, LaVar, declared to ESPN's Jeff Goodman that the Lakers would be playoff-bound in 2018 -- Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons subtweeted some thinly veiled shots at the father-son duo:

Asked on a conference call with Los Angeles media about Embiid's tweet, Lonzo said, "That's funny."

The NBA's 2017-18 regular-season schedule won't be released until August, but suffice to say, the first Sixers-Lakers matchup between Ball and Philly's No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz will be appointment viewing.

-- Brendan C. Hall


(Read full post)


video

LaVar Ball predicts that all of the Ball brothers will be playing for the Lakers eventually, and Los Angeles will make the playoffs Lonzo's rookie season.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jordan Clarkson
PTS AST STL MIN
14.7 2.6 1.1 29.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Randle 8.6
AssistsJ. Randle 3.6
StealsL. Nance Jr. 1.3
BlocksI. Zubac 0.9