Monday, August 8, 2022

Lakers could try to lure former lottery picks out of retirement: report

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The Los Angeles Lakers are working on former first-round pick Shabazz Muhammad, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. The NBA insider added that the Lakers are also drafting “several veteran free agents.”

“The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to invite several veteran free agents to practice, including former 2013 lottery winner Shabazz Muhammad, league sources told HoopsHype,” Scotto wrote on July 22, 2022. “Muhammad recently trained for the Sacramento Kings during Las Vegas Summer League.”

Muhammad hasn’t played an NBA game since 2018, when he spent time with the Timberwolves and Bucks. The veteran winger averaged five points and 1.8 rebounds in his 43 appearances in the 2017-18 season.

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After being the No. 14 draft pick in the 2013 NBA draft, Muhammad spent his first four and a half seasons with the Timberwolves before being released on March 1, 2018. Muhammad quickly signed with the Bucks but was later released on October 11, 2018.

The veteran played internationally in China and most recently in the Philippines. Muhammad admitted he wasn’t at his best during his last NBA stint but argued why another team should give him a chance.

“I think obviously [I bring] Scoring,” Muhammad Scotto said during a March 9 interview. “There are a lot of small balls in the NBA now. I’m a really good rebounder and it’s a thing where I take the initiative. I would bring energy from the bank. That’s one thing I know I did when I was in Minnesota. I would make sure I always stay fit and ready while being the best teammate I can be, including for the youngsters.

“I would let them know that they cannot take the league for granted. I would make sure to get extra shots and do all the little things. You can get frustrated when you’re not playing and all of a sudden you walk into a game at the 45th game of the season and they throw you in the game.”

The Lakers continue to explore additional avenues to improve their roster for the 2022-23 season. With LeBron James eligible to sign a contract extension this offseason, the pressure is on the Lakers to craft another title contender. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that the Lakers have “resumed” trade talks with the Pacers centered around sniper Buddy Hield and big man Myles Turner as potential targets.

“Behind the scenes, Lakers general manager and president of the pro basketball staff, Rob Pelinka, has been calling teams to sell Russell Westbrook out of town,” McMenamin noted during an appearance on the July 20 episode of NBA Today. “Well, the latest information I have is that things haven’t moved on the Brooklyn front. A deal that would send Russell Westbrook out and bring Kyrie Irving in is inconclusive.

“One thing I’ve learned on the edge of the last day or two [is] that there have been some talks between the Lakers and the Indiana Pacers. Well, that would revolve around a deal with Buddy Hield and could be a deal that would involve Russell Westbrook if you’re talking about also having Myles Turner in that deal,” McMenamin said. “Or maybe it could be a secondary step where you would talk about a Talen Horton-Tucker type package to try and get Buddy Hield. So we could see if that would affect Russell or not.”

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