West Notes: Lakers, LeBron James, Spurs, Victor Wembanyama, Suns


There’s been a lot of chatter about what LeBron James may do next, given that he has an option on his contract at the end of the season.LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

But according to former point guard Gary Payton, James will remain precisely where he is — with the Lakers.

“He’s been traveling too many times, been to Cleveland, you know. He been to Miami, went back to Cleveland. This is his last stop, man,” Payton told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.

Payton added that the late Kobe Bryant, who spent his entire career in Los Angeles, will always be the favorite of the modern era.

“LeBron is not going nowhere. L.A. is his city right now, his town,” Payton said. “Kobe is really … it’s Kobe’s city. But LeBron is taking over now.”


Rookie center Victor Wembanyama indicated he’s anxious to take his game to another level, via Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.

“I’ve been told never to skip steps my whole life, but it didn’t stop me from running up the stairs,” Wembanyama said.

That said, coach Gregg Popovich continues to preach patience.

“The talent is there,” Popovich said, via Orsborn, “but the experience, the habits, the consistency, that takes time for every young player. He just turned 20 a couple of weeks ago. We’re in no rush. We don’t want to skip any steps with him. And he’s a willing learner, which is good.”

  • Wembanyama played in the Rising Stars game and was set to compete in the Skills Challenge at All-Star Weekend. He is hopeful of competing in the 3-point and dunk contests someday, too. “Yeah, it’s on my bucket list,” he told reporters, via Orsborn.


  • In case you missed it, the Suns signed veteran big man Thaddeus Young to a contract for the rest of the season. Young is averaging 5.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists this season while shooting 62.1% from the field, 16.7% from beyond the arc and 41.7% from the free-throw line in 23 games with the Raptors.
  • Young also drew interest from the 76ers, Celtics and Pelicans before landing in Phoenix. (Full post.)
  • The Suns quickly shot down the 76ers’ trade inquiries on star forward Kevin Durant, as our Ashish Mathur relayed here. Instead, the Suns have added Young, and forwards Royce O’Neale and David Roddy since the trade deadline.

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