Sometimes, the first few days of free agency are a tease. A big ball of underwhelming.
Not this year!
With the salary cap set to explode, money was flying faster and larger than the NBA has ever seen. People you may never have heard of have cashed in on eight figure deals. The Lakers were in the mix, throwing $64 million at center Timofey Mozgov and another $70 mil to forward Luol Deng. (Plus, they wrapped up Jordan Clarkson and Tarik Black.)
Was it money well spent? What do the signings say about the state of the franchise?
And what about Kevin Durant? Why is he going to Oakland, and does that move make Russell Westbrook a #FutureLaker?
All that and more on the new installment of the podcast…
Thursday, the Lakers did the expected, drafting Croatian center Ivica Zubac with the 32nd pick … and also Duke’s Brandon Ingram at #2. No big blockbusters for the purple and gold, who for the time being at least seem willing to let the young fellas grow. We break it down, along with the big deal of the day which sent Serge Ibaka to Orlando. What does that mean for Kevin Durant (and by extension, the Thunder, and by extension, the Lakers)?
From there, we talk Luke Walton, who was introduced earlier this week following Golden State’s Game 7 loss in the Finals. What were the standout moments in his first press conference as the coach of the Lakers?
All that and … well, mostly just that. But isn’t that enough?
Nobody expected to hear his name last summer when the Lakers took the second of their two first round picks. Nonetheless, Larry Nance Jr. quickly became a bright spot in a dark season. Throughout the year, Nance showed energy, athleticism, and effort, awareness on defense, and a periodically strong offensive game. Now, when people talk about the team’s young core, Nance’s name is always part of the conversation.
He’s also a smart, funny guy, and an excellent interview … as you can learn now!
Nance joined the show this week, covering a wide range (and we do mean a wide range) of topics, including …
… what he learned as a rookie, on and off the floor.
… his thoughts on Luke Walton, and what the new coach brings.
… why there is pressure on the young core to develop successfully.
… developing a 3-point shot, and what he wants to do with it.
… tense moments* in contract negotiations before his rookie season.
… his love of video games, E3, and the lessons of Roy Hibbert.
… the shape and location of a Larry Nance Jr. statue. That’s right, he plays the Statue Game with us!
It’s still the calm before the summer storm, but that doesn’t mean we can’t podcast!
In today’s edition, we look ahead to this week’s dinner/workout with presumptive #2 pick Brandon Ingram, then break down how the activities of other teams — say a rumored Jeff Teague-for-Nerlens Noel swap between the Hawks and Lakers — might impact the Lakers. And how much money exactly will the purple and gold be spending this offseason?
All that, plus a statue for Andrew Bynum, more secret audio from the disastrous LaMarcus Aldridge pitch meeting, and more (including Olympics talk, revelations about Blake Griffin’s Kia dunk, and one of your more unconventional $200 million home sales).
You’ve seen him on stage doing standup and in all sorts of Happy Madison productions.
Now, hear him on our show!
He’s Nick Swardson, who stars in the new Adam Sandler movie “The Do Over,” premiering May 27th on Netflix. We talk Minnesota sports — he’s a native — and their general reluctance to heckle, how he broke into comedy, and how a comedian develops his material and stage presence. Fun stuff.
Here’s the trailer for the movie. Warning, it contains coarse language.
The Lakers won the silver medal in the (Rigged??? Rigged!!!) NBA Draft Lottery, so they’ll keep their pick in this June’s festivities. If the Sixers select Ben Simmons, the Lakers will select Brandon Ingram. If the Sixers take Ingram, Simmons will join his buddy D’Angelo Russell in L.A.
Debate who’s the better fit or who has the higher ceiling, but the bottom line is either could be a major piece for the Lakers as they continue rebuilding.
Assuming, of course, the Lakers plan to keep either kid around. Might they be looking to package “SimGram” as part of a deal to land an established star like DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, etc.? How much would the Lakers need to give up to make that happen? Would that actually make sense?
We chop it all up, plus talk about Steven Adams’ “quick little monkeys” comment, Chris Bosh’s basketball future, referees missing fouls during the playoffs, a statue for Mitch Kupchak statue, and more secret audio from the ill-fated LaMarcus Aldridge meeting.
Andy and Brian Kamenetzky are writers and radio hosts in Los Angeles, and have covered local and national sports for over a decade with the Los Angeles Times and ESPN. This is their ninth season covering the Lakers and the NBA.