West Notes: Lakers, LeBron James, Clippers, James Harden, Warriors, Klay Thompson


The Lakers will win the inaugural In-Season Tournament and NBA Cup, predicts Mark Medina of Sportsnaut. And the Lakers are indeed aiming for it, it seems.LeBron James drives by Klay Thompson

“Obviously the Cup will never supplant the Larry O’Brien,” coach Darvin Ham said, via Medina. “But it puts a whole lot of intensity within the game. These guys are aware of that. I definitely think it’s going to stick.”

  • Meanwhile, Medina wrote that the Lakers “The Lakers have shown inconsistency with their health and chemistry. Yet, the Lakers have displayed dominance both in the In-Season Tournament (4-0) and at home (8-2).”
  • LeBron James leads the Lakers in scoring at 24.4 ppg, but it’s his lowest scoring average since his rookie season of 20003-04. Last time he averaged less than 28 points, the Lakers lost in the first round (to the Suns in 2020-21).


James Harden said he could tell 76ers head of basketball operations Daryl Morey wasn’t going to follow through on a promise to offer Harden a max contract after last season. Harden alleged that Morey stopped communicating with him once the playoffs ended, via Sam Amick of The Athletic.

“Yeah, me and Daryl had a really good relationship,” Harden said, via Amick. “So (in the past), a week or two after we lose in the playoffs, it would be all about trying to figure out how to improve the team,” Harden said. “(They’d talk about) ‘How do we get better?’ And that’s been going on for 10-plus years, you know what I mean? And then this year, there was no communication. And at that point, it’s like, ‘OK, I see what’s going on.’ I’m very intelligent. So then I just figure out ‘What’s my next move, and what do I want to do?’ So I understand that, at the end of the day, this is a business. And just like he has to do what’s best for his organization, I’ve got to do what’s best for me and my family. It’s as simple as that.”

Harden added that he doesn’t view a reconciliation with Morey as a possibility.

“There’s too much money, too much respect (lost) and too much loyalty on my end to even double back (with Morey),” he said. “There’s nothing to talk about. There’s nothing to talk about. This is real money.”

  • The Clippers overcame a 22-point deficit by going on a 65-42 to close the game and beat the Warriors in their previous game. “This was a gutsy win for us,” coach Tyronn Lue told reporters. “We needed to win like this just to keep fighting, keep scraping, keep competing and winning a big game like this.”


One rival executive shot down the idea of the Warriors potentially trading Klay Thompson, via Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports.

“Everybody knows Klay is frustrated,” the exec told Deveney. “There is no hiding that. But there has not been one conversation about trading him at this point, and that won’t change as long as (Stephen Curry) is around. Steph would rather go down swinging with Klay than trade him for some shiny object that might or might not improve you a little. And, really, ownership would too, even if they’re frustrated with Klay on the contract stuff.”

Still, unless Thompson and the Warriors agree to a contract extension, the rumors will continue to swirl.

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