Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron to LA? Why Warriors must now consider worrying about Lakers

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AP

LeBron to LA? Why Warriors must now consider worrying about Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers just made next year very interesting for the Golden State Warriors. Or more to the point, LeBron James just inserted himself into the Warriors’ longer-term plans.

The stunning Isaiah Thomas trade/banishment that will end up clearing enough cap space for the Lakers to make their offseason run at James gives the Warriors a new team to concern themselves with, to go along with the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

That is, of course, if all the ifs ands and buts gets crossed and dotted in the proper order and James comes west. For the Lakers, it can only mean that, for Thomas is almost surely deflated by the way his career has been crushed by a bad hip, a bad trade and now a bad political choice.

In other words, James wins, if he wants to be a Laker rather than a Sixer. Dan Gilbert wins, in that he sheds himself of his two most troublesome employees. And Thomas, once the hero of Boston, is now an ex-Cav and soon to be an ex-Laker, all in less than a year. Cash out? Barely conceivable now.

But the Warriors? They have been unconcerned by all teams save their own, and will hold to that through the remainder of this season. They will worry about 2019 when it’s time to worry about 2019.

But in fairness, to the same degree that they would worry about Houston and Oklahoma City and the ever-present spectre of San Antonio, they now must consider worrying about the Los Angeles Lakers.

If anything else, it makes the Western Conference more intriguing than ever, if the Warriors aren’t intriguing enough for you on their own.

Of course, James is like every other player ever, in that age is lurking at the perimeter. He is 33, but more importantly he has played more than 50,000 minutes of basketball when you include the postseason. Moments like Wednesday’s are fewer and farther between. He is an extraordinary player whose days are shortening.

In other words, the Lakers’ window for troubling the Warriors is narrower than the Warriors’ own window. Again, at least we think so.

But barring the JaVale McGee trade that may not happen, this is the biggest thing to happen to the Warriors all day, and that’s not scheduled to start concerning them until June.

In other words, that’s your NBA deadline day, localized for your amusement.

Reports: Cavs trade Isaiah Thomas to Lakers

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AP

Reports: Cavs trade Isaiah Thomas to Lakers

The Cavs and Lakers agreed to a big trade on Thursday morning.

Cleveland is sending Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round pick to Los Angeles in exchange for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., according to multiple reports.

After the Cavs' game on Wednesday night, Thomas said he did not want to be traded.

Thomas -- who turned 29 years old on Wednesday -- will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

Frye will also be a free agent this summer.

Meanwhile, Clarkson is owed $12.5 million in 2018-19 and just under $13.5 million in 2019-20.

He is averaging 14.5 points and 3.3 assists per game this season.

Nance Jr. is averaging 8.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22 minutes per game this year.

The 25-year old is still on his rookie deal and will make nearly $2.3 million next season.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Manic loss a teaching moment for Kings: 'It’s a game of runs'

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USATSI

Manic loss a teaching moment for Kings: 'It’s a game of runs'

LOS ANGELES -- It was manic Tuesday at Staples Center. Two young teams desperately trying to find their way in the NBA played an erratic, wild and mostly entertaining game. In the end, the Los Angeles Lakers found a way to come out on top, besting the Sacramento Kings by a final of 99-86.

“It’s a game of runs,” De’Aaron Fox said. “We would go on a run, they went on a run, we went on a run, they went on a run - they made the last run and they kind of just sustained it.”

Those words flew out Fox’s math so quickly they almost blurred together. The 20-year-old point guard almost captured the entirety of the game in a two-second sound bite.

The Lakers came out firing in the first quarter, taking an 18-point advantage over the Kings before the players could even break a sweat. And then they gave it all back.

Sacramento trailed by just four going to the second quarter and then took a lead at the 7:51 mark of the period on a Bogdan Bogdanovic layup. Los Angeles surged ahead again, but escaped the half with just a 53-52 lead.  

“The whole game was a lot of changes on the scoreboard, but that’s something we got to learn,” Bogdanovic said. “First of all, we can’t start that bad. And second, when you’re in a tie game, you have to keep pressuring them and play like we (did) to tie the game.”

The Kings jumped all over the Lakers in the early third, using a 12-3 run to take a 64-56 lead. It was short-lived as veteran big man Brook Lopez started dropping in haymakers from behind the arc.

An eight-point lead turned into a 13-point deficit in less than seven minutes of game action. The Kings made strides to end the third, but they still trailed by 10 going to the final frame.

Sacramento bit into the Lakers lead on multiple occasions in the fourth, even pulling within five at the 9:16 mark of the quarter. But they spent too much energy chasing down the home team and didn’t have enough in the tank to complete the comeback.

“We are still young, we’re still learning,” Bogdanovic added. “This is also something new for us. I know we have some games that we play and we start bad. Some of the games, we never come back through the end of the game. So there is something positive from this game too.”

Bogdanovic has a point. The Kings have trailed big in plenty of games this season and folded up shop early. They put up a fight against the Lakers after falling behind big early.

Despite forcing 26 turnovers and coming away with 15 steals, the Kings couldn’t buy a basket, shooting just 34.5 percent on the night. All things considered, the score could have been much more lopsided.

Bogdanovic tied his career-high with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting. He and big man Kosta Koufos are the only players on the Kings roster to shoot above 50 percent on the night.

The Kings will look to snap their two-game skid Thursday evening when they host the Clippers at Golden 1 Center.