Star forward LeBron James expressed excitement over the Lakers’ trade deadline acquisitions, especially after getting to play with them for the first time Wednesday in a win over the Pelicans.
“First of all, I shout out and salute the guys that left,” James said, via Corey Hansford of Lakers Nation. “(Russell Westbrook), (Patrick Beverley), (Juan Toscano-Anderson), (Damian Jones), and (Thomas Bryant). Those five guys. We all started the season together and tried to work to make some things happen and be the best that we could be out on the floor. So I salute those guys and their commitment to us trying to be as good as we could be on the floor.”
Those five have been replaced by the likes of shooting guard Malik Beasley, power forward Jarred Vanderbilt and guard D’Angelo Russell — all of whom started alongside James and center/forward in the Lakers’ final game before the All-Star Break.
“And right now, I mean, I like the guys we have coming in … I mean, it’s going to take some time for us to get to know one another, but I know they play the game at a high level,” James said.
“I know D-Lo is a really good, shifty point guard. He can space the floor. Very crafty. Very deceiving with his quickness, the way he plays the game. We got a laser in Malik that we just never had this season. A guy, whenever he’s on the floor, no matter if he’s making it or not, you have to respect him because of his ability to shoot the ball. He has kind of that J.R. Smith feeling that he can miss 10 in a row and make 10 in a row right after that.”
Along with the aforementioned, the Lakers also acquired center Mo Bamba and guard Davon Reed at the deadline.
“I think Mo is going to give us a lot of presence as well,” James said. “You saw his shot-blocking ability and his ability to shoot the three. Whether he made them or not tonight, he’s a threat. And he will as he gets comfortable.
“I love what we were able to pick up. And Davon as well, if his opportunity is called. His length and his ability to play multiple positions help as well. So, I thought we did a really good job in the activity bracket (at the deadline).”
- Along with Beverley and draft compensation, the Lakers sent $2 million to the Magic in their trade for Bamba, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
- The Lakers and Russell have interest in a contract extension, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Russell is eligible for free agency this summer, but was not acquired to serve as a “rental,” per Wojnarowski.
- Guard Austin Reaves said it meant a lot to him that the Lakers would not include him in a trade for then-Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (now of the Mavericks), via Joseph Chapa of Lakers Nation.
Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?
Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 32 teams!