NBA rumors: Paul George spurned Lakers after talking with Corey Brewer


NBA rumors: Paul George spurned Lakers after talking with Corey Brewer

The Lakers were supposed to be a playoff team. Heck, they were supposed to be one of the Warriors' primary competitors for the NBA title.

And yet, as Golden State faces Los Angeles for the final time this season Thursday night, it's abundantly clear that things have not gone as expected for the Lakers.

The Warriors did their part. The Lakers, meanwhile, will extend their longest playoff drought in franchise history.

How did the Lakers get here? How did it come to this? These are questions ESPN's Dave McMenamin sought to answer at the end of last month, when it became clear the Lakers' first season with LeBron James had been a waste.

McMenamin lists several reasons for the Lakers' failed ascension, including poor roster construction, dysfunction within the front office and locker room, and a slew of unfortunate injuries. But McMenamin looks back to one particular event as the initial catalyst for the Lakers' failures this season, and it has to do with a player who won't participate in Thursday's game in Los Angeles: Paul George.

George, a Southern California native, was believed to be a logical star to pair with James in purple and gold. But when George re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer, it set the wheels in motion for the Lakers' current state of being.

According to McMenamin, George was directed away from the Lakers partly as a result of a former teammate (and current Sacramento King)'s influence.

"George never gave the Lakers an opportunity to shoot their shot," McMenamin recalls. "But he had a wealth of information available to him about the inner workings of the Lakers without ever hearing a word from Magic Johnson. For example, George played in Oklahoma City with Corey Brewer in the second half of the 2017-18 season, after Brewer was waived by L.A. in February. Brewer divulged his Lakers experience to George, sources said."

[RELATED: Bogut goes in on Lakers for lying to him during time in LA]

It's unlikely that was the sole factor in George's decision to remain in Oklahoma City, but in any case, he's not with the Lakers. The Thunder are headed to the playoffs, and the Lakers, well, aren't.

How different would the current NBA landscape be had George joined James in Los Angeles? Perhaps thanks to Brewer, we'll never know.

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

Warriors' Draymond Green out, Eric Paschall doubtful Friday vs. Jazz

It's always tough to beat the Jazz in Utah, as the Warriors were reminded last month. Golden State was going to be a massive underdog Friday night as it was, and Thursday's injury report certainly won't change that.

After suffering an embarrassing home overtime loss to the New York Knicks on Wednesday, the Dubs will try to right the ship against Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert & Co., but they'll have to do it without at least one of their best players -- and we don't mean Steph Curry or Klay Thompson.

Draymond Green is listed as out (rest) for Friday's game at Vivint Smart Home Arena, while rookie Eric Paschall is doubtful with left hip soreness. Additionally, both Ky Bowman and Alen Smailagic are on G League assignment. 

[RELATED: Dubs' Bowman won't play vs. Jazz, will make G League debut]

With Green out and Paschall doubtful, one would expect Golden State's (relatively) healthy bigs like Kevon Looney and Marquese Chriss to get some extended playing time against the Jazz.

Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard


Why Gary Payton believes Warriors' Steph Curry isn't true point guard

You might think of Steph Curry as a point guard.

After all, he's short, brings the ball up the court sometimes and appears on the far left of those nifty starting lineup graphics prior to tip-off with PG next to his name.

But in this age of run-and-gun positionless basketball, is Curry really a point guard? Not if you ask Gary Payton.

In fact, the nine-time NBA All-Star believes there only are two true point guards left in The Association.

"That's a question that is kind of difficult for old people," Payton told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock and Kerith Burke on the "Runnin' Plays Podcast" when asked about the best point guards in today's game. "You look at Stephen Curry. You put him as a point guard. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at [Russell] Westbrook. He's not a point guard. He's a two-guard. You look at James Harden. He's not a point guard, he's a two-guard.

"To me, there are only two guards in this league that are true point guards. That's [Rajon] Rondo and Chris Paul. 

"Now, Chris Paul has turned into a shooting guard more, but Rondo is a true point guard," Payton continued. "He looks first to get people off. He does his defense and he makes people better around him. Not, let me score 30. Not, let me shoot a jump shot first. He's not doing that ... If we name a lot of point guards that's right now in this NBA, they are not point guards."

At least Harden can finally be in the same category as Steph, right?

[RELATED: Loss to Knicks shows Warriors have earned NBA's worst record]

While Steph might not be the prototypical point guard in the old-fashioned sense, there's no doubt he'll one day be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., as one of the greatest scoring guards in NBA history.

In any era, that's pretty, pretty good.