As the Lakers surge in the standings and the trade deadline approaches, the reports and rumors are coming thick and fast. Here’s the latest on the Lakers front.
Anthony Davis could be just weeks from a return
Some of the most positive news to come of the last week or so has been that Anthony Davis is working toward a return as he begins ramping things up. While there remains some cautiousness to his rehab, if things go well, his return could be soon.
On Monday, Dave McMenamin of ESPN appeared on Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post podcast and the two discussed his current timeline.
Lowe: “A couple of weeks, I don’t want to misconstrue what you said, today is January 10th, a couple of weeks would be the 24th, which is like six or seven more games. Is that too optimistic? What are we actually talking about here?”
McMenamin: “No, by my understanding that’s within range. That’s on the table. So long as the ramp-up process does not contain any setbacks, and we don’t know that yet, right? But the thought would be that if he continues to check off the boxes that they have in place for him to return to play that this ramp-up process wouldn’t have to be more than a week and a half or two weeks. So you extrapolate it out to the 24th of January, you could be looking at that long five-game road trip against pretty good opponents where he could be a part of that trip and on the court.”
The Lakers play seven of their next eight games at home between Thursday against the Mavs extending out until Jan. 25 against the Spurs. On Jan. 28, the team will start a five-game road trip in Boston that appears to, for now, be the target time for AD to return.
That would be just a little bit more than a month since suffering the injury, a timeline that I’m sure the Lakers would have taken in the aftermath when things looked rather grim at one point.
How close was the Buddy Hield and Myles Turner deal?
The Lakers and Pacers have circled each other for upwards of nine months and may or may not have come close to doing a deal for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner. A deal may still be on the table, but just how close did the two sides get to a trade?
Depends on who you ask, as McMenamin also noted in the pod.
Lowe: ”How close were they really before the season to the Indiana deal (for) Hield and Turner, Dave, by your reporting?”
McMenamin: ”I’ve heard different scenarios involved. I heard that there was someone within the Lakers organization that fully believed that when they went on a short break before the season got going that they’d return from the break and those two players would be on the Lakers. I’ve also heard that the Pacers had some reluctance to ever making that deal a reality because of where the Pacers ownership are at this stage of their life, it’s more important just to see a competitive team than just to plan and grab assets for a future championship run. And so I don’t know if I can characterize one-yard line or anything like that, but certainly of all the deals that were discussed during the summer I think that one probably had the most realistic chance.”
Perhaps it’s a little bit of damage control and PR from the two parties in some sense. But as McMenamin said, there were reports that the trade was at the one-yard line but as is often the case, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.
Will they make a trade now?
Consider it a fruitful episode of tidbits between McMenamin and Lowe as the two also discussed whether the Lakers would make a deal in the next month before the trade deadline.
“I think there is an organizational belief that they want to find the right deal or deals to make this team more competitive in terms of a championship group sometime, either leading up from now until February, or sometime from July until September. And that’s a commitment to having LeBron James where he is at this stage of his career, having the commitment of him re-signing this past summer, but also recognizing that they only get one shot, and if they get it wrong, then you’re stuck. And if something presents itself that is a no-brainer — or maybe it wouldn’t even have to be no-brainer status — but something that presents itself between now and February 9th, I would not be surprised if the Lakers made a move and parted with a pick. But if that doesn’t exist, or teams are insisting they have to give both picks, the Lakers will walk away from trade discussions and go back in during the summertime when they will have another draft pick available to them... and see what they can get then.”
If you had “The Lakers will only make a move for an All-Star” on your bingo card, unfortunate news for you on this one as it’s a huge upset that it wasn’t included in this report.
Bojan Bogdanovic as a target still?
Outside of the Pacers duo, Bojan Bogdanovic has been perhaps the player next most connected to the Lakers. However, a deal has never felt close since he was dealt to Detroit due to the Pistons’ high asking price.
But according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the Lakers haven’t been the only team turned off by the Pistons’ demands in a return.
“They both want first-round picks for guys over 30,” one source said of the Pistons and Rockets. “They may be willing to wait until the summer since both Bojan and Gordon are under contract.”
Once upon a time, Eric Gordon was seen as a Plan B for the Lakers. It’s hard to imagine Plan B ever included trading a first round pick, so maybe it’s time to move to Plan C.
Pat Bev, really, really wants to go back to Minny
It had been previously reported that Patrick Beverley was eyeing Minnesota as his potential next stop if he left the Lakers. And if there was any doubt about that, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, on the Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast (emphasis mine).
“I know that you did write earlier in the season that he was open to coming back. I absolutely, 100% can confirm that and believe your reporting on that. And it’s not even like, do I have to talk to people about it; yeah, I’ve talked to people about it, but just look at Patrick Beverley’s Twitter feed. Like every time there is some sort of Timberwolves thing on there, he’s commenting on it. He’s commenting on A-Rod posting about shoveling snow, he’s commenting Karl-Anthony Towns saying ‘Happy New Year,’ he clearly is keeping those doors open as wide as possible. He knows how valued he was here and maybe he’s not as valued with the Lakers on a different team in chemistry and makeup, but he also knows that I can guarantee you that there is not one single day that goes by that Patrick Beverley can’t look into his mentions saying ‘we love you Pat Bev, we miss you.’ And I think that he likes that... So we’ll see. A lot of things would have to happen, including the Wolves clearing some roster space... But I would not rule that out is what I would say.”
Nothing about Pat Bev’s tenure has gone well in Los Angeles save for a brief shooting turnaround in late December into January. Outside of that, I’m imagining Lakers fans are also eyeing Minnesota as a potential destination for Beverley.