The Timberwolves star is reportedly headed toward a Kawhi Leonard-style exit in Minnesota, which means the usual suspects of teams popped up as suitors for his services.
As we discovered in this week’s edition of Lakers news and notes, the purple and gold are not a heavy favorite to land the disgruntled All-Star.
LeBron James giveth and LeBron James taketh away. So far the king has brought respect, optimism and, um, Lance Stephenson to Los Angeles.
According to the latest on Jimmy Butler, his presence is the reason Mr. Buckets wants a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers or New York Knicks and not to the Lakers.
Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler has three preferred destinations for a trade, league sources tell ESPN: The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Those three teams have max cap space to sign Butler as a free agent in July.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 19, 2018
Here is what Adrian Wojnarowski had to write about it on Wednesday.
Butler had once imagined playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, but LeBron James’ arrival as the franchise’s cornerstone made it less appealing for Butler in the prime of his career, league sources said.
There is no bad news here. The Lakers, by my latest calculation, still have the best player in the game.
If other players such as Butler want to be the alpha star on another team then so be it. It’s clear that some want to carve their own legacy separate from LeBron. However, the next season and following summer will surely prove that the allure of playing next to James is far stronger than the prospect of competing against him.
Flying under the radar this week was a juicy rumor featuring Kevin Durant.
While popular opinion has Durant choosing between the Warriors and a destination devoid of a certain hall of fame player, basketball reporter Brandon Robinson has other intel on the matter.
Spoke to a source today who confirmed Kevin Durant will be a LA Laker next year.
“Just like LeBron planned his move LA a year or more earlier, #KD is doing the same right now. They want to form the best duo in the NBA and set up KD to be the face of the Lakers post-#LeBron.” pic.twitter.com/BWR9TOWPMZ
— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) September 17, 2018
ESPN’s Jalen Rose and David Jacoby pour ice water on the above rumor.
Nearly a year out of free agency, I have to agree with the sensible route Rose and Jacoby are taking here.
Durant looks every bit the superstar on a well-oiled, championship winning team. There is no reason to move down south.
Doing so doesn’t really offer Durant much in regards to legacy, money or success on the court. I will be shocked if Robinson is correct. But it will be the good kind of shocked that comes with busting out the champagne from the back of the fridge.
If you want to see Lonzo Ball in full action then NBA 2K will have to suffice. Mike Bresnahan tweets out the latest on Ball’s recuperation from knee surgery.
Lonzo Ball (knee) won’t be ready for 5-on-5 scrimmages when training camp starts next week, Luke Walton told @SpectrumSN
Ball has done 1-on-1 drills, Walton said, but Lakers won’t “rush him back at all.”
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) September 18, 2018
My way-too-early prediction is Rajon Rondo is the starting point guard on opening night.
The Lakers are taking the right approach in bringing their young guard along slowly. This team, however, will lean heavily on pace and form, especially early on in the process.
Those training camp reps will be invaluable as this team, one overhauled in the offseason, gets going in October.
The Warriors’ Klay Thompson found his way onto the Lakers long list of possibilities. The latest fantasy scenario comes by way of Klay’s father and former Laker Mychal Thompson.
If Klay came to L.A., which he should, then he knows he is going to slot in behind LeBron. But it is fine because he has done it before [for the Warriors], it is not a big deal.
The last time Mychal Thompson talked about his son’s future, he was explaining that Klay was set to retire with Golden State.
Now he seems to be suggesting that the best move for his son would be to head down south and slot in directly behind LeBron James in the pecking order and, presumably, take over as the resident star when James moves on.
Obviously, I filled in a lot of blanks there but it goes to show how much a move to the Lakers would actually offer Thompson as he heads into the next chapter of his career next summer.
Regardless, the Lakers certainly have options when it comes to next offseason, especially if all goes well on the court this year.
Space Jam 2
LeBron James is dominating off the court as he is now set to make “Space Jam 2” a reality. “Black Panther’s” Ryan Coogler will produce a film that is sure to be beloved by the young and completely annihilated by an older generation unwilling to let go of their version of the Monstars.
James continues to win off the court and will star, but he will need to put up a huge number to go scoreboard on Michael Jordan. The 1996 iteration starring the former Chicago Bulls legend banked over $250 million worldwide.
That’s it for this week. Join me next week when we have some actual basketball to discuss as training camp open