Lakers Rumors

Johnathan Williams Lands Camp Deal With Lakers

The Lakers have signed Johnathan Williams to a training camp contract, the team announced on its website. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, so it’s not certain if Williams will receive any guaranteed money.

Williams went undrafted out of Gonzaga after averaging 13.5 PPG and 8.3 RPG during his senior season and earning first team All-WCC honors. He played for the Lakers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, putting up 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per night in seven games.

Williams is the third training camp signing for the Lakers this week, joining Joel Berry and Jeffrey Carroll. L.A. now has 19 players headed to camp with one spot still open.

Beasley Signing; James At Center?

In a somewhat surprising move, the Lakers plan to sign veteran forward Michael Beasley to a one-year, $3.5MM deal, using a significant portion of their room exception. Beasley enjoyed a rejuvenated season with the Knicks in 2017/18, averaging 13.2 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 74 games (30 starts).

Since the Lakers signed James away from the Cavaliers, the team has further added Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and now Beasley. While it may not be the super team fans had hoped for, it’s an interesting conglomerate of talent.

  • Speaking of James, he made his first public appearance last Sunday to watch his new team in action at NBA Summer League. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report spoke to several Lakers’ executives who were on hand and discussed the prospect of James in Los Angeles and his role on the team. One executive actually believes the Lakers’ best lineup would be with James at center.

Michael Beasley Agrees To Contract With Lakers

Free agent forward Michael Beasley has agreed to a contract with the Lakers, Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports tweets. It’s a one-year, $3.5MM contract, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN (Twitter link).

Los Angeles used a big chunk of its $4,449,000 room exception to get Beasley in the fold.

Exactly what kind of role Beasley will carve out is a big question mark. He’ll join a forward rotation of LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lance Stephenson. Luol Deng is still on the roster as well, though Los Angeles is trying to find a way to dump his contract.

Beasley fits in with a locker room already full of volatile personalities. Along with Stephenson, the Lakers have also signed two other players this summer who are no strangers to controversy, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee.

Beasley, still just 29, has bounced around the league since the Heat made him the second pick in the 2008 draft. He’s also played for the Timberwolves, Suns, Rockets and Bucks before a productive stint with the Knicks last season. He averaged 13.2 PPG, his highest total since posting a career-best 19.2 PPG with Minnesota in 2010/11. He also averaged 5.6 RPG and 1.7 APG while appearing in 74 contests, including 30 starts.

The Knicks lost interest in bringing back Beasley after signing former Magic forward Mario Hezonja.

Lakers Waive Malik Newman

The Lakers have waived Malik Newman, according to the team’s website.

Newman inked a two-way contract with Los Angeles as free agency began this year. He played in five summer league games for the team and averaged 3.2 points in 9.8 minutes per game.

The guard spent one season at the University of Kansas, scoring 14.2 points per game. He helped lead the school to the Final Four where the team lost to Villanova, the eventual champions.

Lakers Sign Jeffrey Carroll

The Lakers have officially signed Jeffrey Carroll, the team announced today. The signing was originally reported by Michael Scotto of The Athletic back in June.

The contract will contain an Exhibit 10 clause, something that was introduced in the newest CBA. The clause allowed a player to receive a bonus from the NBA club should he play for the franchise’s G League affiliate and remain there for 60 days.

[Related: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Exhibit 10 Contact]

Carroll went undrafted out of Oklahoma State on this year’s big night. Entering draft night, he was ranked as the No. 96 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com. In 188 collegiate games, Carroll averaged 12.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.

The guard most recently played for the Lakers’ summer league squad in Las Vegas. He scored 4.2 points in 9.0 minutes per contest.

Lakers Sign Joel Berry

The Lakers have signed point guard Joel Berry, the team officially announced today. Terms of the deal have not yet been released.

Berry, 23, went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft after spending four seasons at North Carolina. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2017 NCAA Final Four as a junior after leading North Carolina to a National Championship.

As a senior last season, Berry earned First Team All-ACC honors after averaging 17.1 points in 33.1 minutes per game. He was a member of the Lakers’ 2o18 NBA Summer League squad, but failed to see any game action after suffering an ankle injury.

Lonzo Ball Undergoes Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

JULY 17, 7:41pm: Ball had surgery on Tuesday and is expected to make a full recovery by training camp, the team tweets.

JULY 13, 5:08pm: Lakers second-year point guard Lonzo Ball will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday, the Lakers’ PR department tweets. An update on his prognosis will be made after the surgery, the team adds.

Ball is still expected to be ready for training camp, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets.

News of the surgical procedure doesn’t come as a surprise. Ball dealt with left knee issues for a good portion of his rookie season. It was revealed late last month that Ball had torn meniscus in the knee.

The Lakers gave themselves some protection at the point guard spot by signing Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $9MM deal.

A sprained left medial collateral ligament and a left knee bruise limited Ball to 52 games in his rookie campaign. Ball was a triple-double threat every time he took the court, averaging 10.2 PPG,  6.9 RPG and 7.2 APG but shot just 36% from the field.

Bucks Sign Center Brook Lopez

JULY 17, 7:30pm: The signing is official, per team press release.

JULY 8, 2:13pm: The Bucks will sign Lakers free agent center Brook Lopez, Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports tweets.

Lopez will sign a one-year deal for the team’s bi-annual exception, which is worth $3.382MM, Schultz adds in another tweet.

Milwaukee already has three centers on the roster in John Henson, Thon Maker and Tyler Zeller. This will likely end Zeller’s stay with the club, as his $1.93MM salary for next season is not guaranteed.

Lopez’s NBA career began in 2008/09 with the Nets but he’s still just 30 years old. He’s developed a 3-point game in his last two seasons, first with Brooklyn and then with the Lakers. He averaged 13.0 PPG and 4.0 RPG while making 34.5% of his long-range attempts. Lopez, who started 72 of 74 games last season, averaged 20.5 PPG the previous year as a bigger part of the Nets’ attack.

His ability to space the floor should open up more driving lanes for Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Lakers moved on from Lopez by getting a free-agent commitment from JaVale McGee and drafting Michigan big man Moritz Wagner.

Latest On Kawhi Leonard

The Spurs‘ asking price for Kawhi Leonard remains high, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. In an article packed with Leonard-related tidbits, the ESPN duo suggests that – based on conversations with opposing teams – San Antonio appears to be seeking an All-Star caliber player, high-potential young players, and draft picks in exchange for Kawhi.

It’s not clear if the Spurs will be able to land that sort of return, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne, who note that a three-way bidding war involving the Lakers, Celtics, and Sixers never really materialized. The Lakers are being patience and conveying confidence that Leonard will sign with them in 2019. As for the Celtics and Sixers, they’ve held their top players out of trade discussions and have offered pick-heavy packages, which haven’t enticed the Spurs.

Given the Spurs’ reported demands, a Raptors offer built around one of their All-Star guards (likely DeMar DeRozan), one or two of their young players, and draft picks could be the most logical package for San Antonio.

In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast, Brian Windhorst said he thinks the Raptors are in the “driver’s seat” in the Leonard sweepstakes, since the Lakers and Sixers haven’t been aggressive in their pursuit of the star forward. Lowe didn’t go so far as to call the Raptors the favorites, but he cautioned not to underestimate the club or to view the rumors linking Leonard to Toronto as mere speculation.

Here are a few more notes and rumors on the NBA’s most noteworthy trade candidate:

  • In addition to the four teams noted above, the Clippers, Nuggets, Suns, Trail Blazers, and Wizards have talked to the Spurs about Leonard, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. However, it’s unlikely that any of those teams has made a monster offer, given concerns that Kawhi would be a one-year rental. Portland hasn’t discussed Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum, for instance, per ESPN.
  • Leonard is “seriously considering” participating in Team USA’s mini-camp next week, league sources tell Wojnarowski and Shelburne. There’s a sense that the All-Star wants to show the Spurs‘ prospective trade partners that he’s healthy, but there may be a concern within Leonard’s camp that participating in the mini-camp would give San Antonio more leverage to push him to report to camp in the fall.
  • While there have been whispers that Leonard has no intention of showing up at the Spurs‘ facility if he’s not traded, rival teams generally view that as an “empty threat,” since they’re skeptical he’s willing to risk forfeiting his $20MM salary for 2018/19, according to Wojnarowski and Shelburne,
  • The Spurs haven’t allowed potential trade partners to talk directly with Leonard or his camp, or to see his medical information, per ESPN’s report. It’s unlikely that stance would change unless the Spurs agree to a trade in principle with a team, Woj and Shelburne add.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders addressed the Leonard situation in his latest article, suggesting that the start of training camp could be a key deadline to keep an eye on. One source close to Leonard also tells Kyler that the forward would ideally like to be the “focal point” of a team going forward. It’s not clear how that alleged desire to be a team’s focal point will impact Leonard’s preference to join the Lakers now that LeBron James is in L.A., Kyler writes.

Walton, James Hold First Meeting

LeBron James and Lakers coach Luke Walton held their first face-to-face meeting this weekend, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN reports. They had only communicated by text prior to chatting in Las Vegas when James visited the summer league playoffs. So far, so good between the young coach and the league’s premier player, according to Shelburne.

“He’s about the team. He’s about doing things the right way, and he’s about winning,” Walton said. “I can work with those qualities.” The Lakers’ head coach had previously reached out to some of James’ former coaches and teamates to get a better handle on what to expect when coaching James, Shelburne adds.