Stephen A. Smith provides the latest on Paul George, who has indicated he won't re-sign with the Pacers next season.

LaVar Ball and his sons Lonzo and LaMelo show up on WWE's Monday Night Raw in a segment with the Miz, during which LaVar gets heated to a point where he takes his shirt off.

Social media was abuzz with reactions from some of the NBA's biggest stars and other celebrities as the league's inaugural awards show and announcement of All-NBA teams took place on Monday.

Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook closed down the day's festivities by bringing home his first MVP trophy, beating out James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs in one of the most entertaining races in league history.

Another close race was for Rookie of the Year, which was ultimately bestowed upon Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon. The second-round pick in last year's draft received the honor over Philadelphia 76ers pair Joel Embiid and Dario Saric.

The Bucks weren't done winning awards, though, as Giannis Antetokounmpo earned Most Improved Player. Although the Greek Freak wasn't in attendance to accept the hardware, he delivered a message through the Bucks' Twitter account, and some of his teammates reacted accordingly.

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Stephen A. Smith credits LaVar Ball for raising the profile of his son Lonzo but ultimately the new Laker will need answer the bell for himself if criticism arises.

Actor Will Ferrell recalls the moment LaVar Ball referenced "Zeus" like Anchorman's Ron Burgundy at the NBA draft.

Jemele Hill explains why she could see Russell Westbrook consider going to the Lakers should he turn down an extension with the Thunder while Michael Smith thinks Westbrook will stay in Oklahoma City.

The SportsNation crew discusses the good and bad about Magic comments on D'Angelo Russell's leadership.

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed undrafted South Carolina guard P.J. Dozier, who helped lead the Gamecocks to the Final Four back in March.

Scouting report -- positives:

  • Athletic combo guard
  • Has elite size when he plays the point guard position
  • Can score from anywhere on the floor

Scouting report -- negatives:

  • Needs to add strength
  • Inconsistent 3-point shooter

Read the full scouting report (Insider)

ESPN Analytics projection (within his first five seasons):

  • Chances he'll be an All-Star: 0.11 percent
  • Chances he'll be an NBA starter: 6.72 percent
  • Chances he'll be a role player: 9.21 percent

More player projections  |  How our projection model works

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NEW YORK -- Ready to start fresh in Brooklyn, D'Angelo Russell said Magic Johnson's criticism of his leadership skills is "irrelevant."

"It is good to be here," Russell said at the Nets' practice facility in Brooklyn. "Can't really control that, what they say, I'm gone. So it's the past. I am here now. It's irrelevant, honestly."

During his introductory news conference with the Brooklyn Nets, Russell repeatedly tried to turn the page from the Los Angeles Lakers to his new home. But surely, Russell will hear about what Johnson said plenty more this coming season.

Last week, Johnson explained why the Lakers traded Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick.

"D'Angelo is an excellent player," the Lakers president of basketball operations said on Friday when the team introduced second overall pick Lonzo Ball. "He has the talent to be an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us.

"But what I needed was a leader. I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also that players want to play with."

Russell, 21, has certainly heard the knock on his maturity since being drafted second overall out of Ohio State in 2015. But Russell said he plans on being a leader for the young, rebuilding Nets.

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Will Cain sides with Magic Johnson after his comments on needing a leader and respects Johnson for telling the truth, despite it affecting D'Angelo Russell's ego.

Regardless if LeBron James decides to become a Laker, Will Cain says that Lonzo Ball will be the face of Los Angeles for the next decade.

John Salley believes LeBron James' wearing a Los Angeles uniform would not only hurt his legacy by leaving Cleveland again, it also would add the pressure of being compared to Lakers greats.

The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to pursue a trade for Paul George and will be leading contenders for Carmelo Anthony should Anthony secure an offseason buyout from the New York Knicks, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN that the Cavaliers engaged in serious three-way trade discussions leading up to the NBA draft on a deal that would have brought them George from the Indiana Pacers and landed Kevin Love, George's fellow Eastern Conference All-Star, with the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets were recruited into the talks to furnish the Pacers with the combination of promising young players and draft picks that they are seeking before consenting to surrender George. Aaron Mintz, George's agent, informed Indiana management just over a week ago that George, 27, has no intention of staying with the club beyond the expiration of his current contract in June 2018.

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Examining the Lakers' future from different angles

June, 25, 2017
Jun 25
By Justin J. Page, ESPN Stats & Info

Magic Johnson, Los Angeles LakersAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers won their most recent NBA title in 2010, but the seven years since that championship have felt much longer for many fans of the purple and gold considering the team has experienced several of the worst seasons in franchise history during that time.

As the Lakers attempt to rebuild and return to past glory, there are various angles from which to analyze their future plans.

Lakers preparing for the summer of 2018

Luol DengStephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Getty ImagesThe Lakers owe Luol Deng $54 million over the next three seasons.

Los Angeles as presently constructed could have up to a projected $48 million in salary-cap space next summer. That number doesn’t include forward Julius Randle, whose cap hold of $12.4 million would eat into the Lakers' space if he’s still on the roster. There will also be other transactions between now and next summer, and the 2018-19 salary cap projection of $102 million could change as well.

  • While it’s likely that the Lakers continue their pursuit of trading for Paul George, don’t expect them to make a significant splash in free agency in the coming weeks. Los Angeles currently has $18 million in projected cap space this summer. And if the D’Angelo Russell/Timofey Mozgov trade before the draft was any indication, Los Angeles might avoid signing players to contracts that include guaranteed money past this upcoming season.
  • More likely, the Lakers could use their cap space this summer to sign players to one-year deals or two-year deals with a team option. Don’t be surprised if Los Angeles overpays a player to take such a deal.
  • As the Lakers position themselves to be major players in free agency a year from now, look for them to continue shedding salary. With Mozgov already gone, Los Angeles could try to completely erase the failures of last offseason by removing Luol Deng’s salary (three years, $54 million remaining) from the books as well.
  • Doing so will be extremely challenging, however, and would require attaching a significant asset to Deng in the same ilk of last week’s trade that sent Russell and Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets. Aside from Deng, Jordan Clarkson (three years, $37.5 million remaining) is the only other player on the roster who makes more than $10 million a year.

Can Magic Johnson change the Lakers bad offseason fortunes?

Magic JohnsonJesse D. Garrabrant/NBA/Getty ImagesMagic Johnson is the president of basketball operations for the Lakers.

The Lakers have missed the playoffs a franchise-record four straight seasons and are 91-237 during that span. While the on-court product in Los Angeles has been embarrassing, what has happened around this time of year dating back to 2013 is perhaps even worse:

  • Dwight Howard, a free agent at the time, left for less money in 2013, just a year after the Lakers traded for him.
  • Pau Gasol followed Howard’s footsteps, leaving for less money in 2014. The Lakers reportedly were offering more than $10 million per season, but Gasol signed a three-year, $22 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.
  • LaMarcus Aldridge embarrassed members of the Lakers' front office following a free-agent meeting in 2015, saying they “didn’t talk enough about basketball.”
  • The Lakers didn't even get a meeting with Kevin Durant last year (six teams did).
  • Last year, Los Angeles overpaid for Mozgov with a four-year, $64 million contract as soon as free agency opened.
  • The Lakers followed up the Mozgov deal by overpaying for Deng (four years, $72 million). That came after Kent Bazemore turned down the Lakers to sign a deal worth $2 million less with the Atlanta Hawks.

Why the Lakers would trade for George now -- and why it would benefit him

Paul George, Jordan ClarksonRichard Mackson/USA TODAY SportsThe Lakers could trade for Paul George or target him in free agency next summer.

Although George didn’t qualify for the super-max this past season, he still has the opportunity to do so next year if he remains with the Indiana Pacers -- who could offer a five-year deal worth a projected $207 million in the summer of 2018. But if George does not qualify for the super-max, Indiana’s best offer would be capped at five years and $177 million. The Lakers would only be able to offer a maximum of four years and $132 million.

  • Another team could trade for George this offseason and then renegotiate a contract extension with him. This would give George an extra $10 million for the 2017-18 season and take him off of next summer’s free agent market.
  • George would maintain his Bird rights if the Lakers trade for him, which would allow Los Angeles to offer him a five-year deal worth a projected $177 million next summer. If a trade can’t be worked out before then, George would have to take $45 million less in guaranteed money to sign with Los Angeles as a free agent in 2018.



Jordan Clarkson
14.7 2.6 1.1 29.2
ReboundsJ. Randle 8.6
AssistsJ. Randle 3.6
StealsL. Nance Jr. 1.3
BlocksI. Zubac 0.9