West Notes: Lakers, LeBron James, Nuggets, Thunder, Suns


While the news surrounding LeBron James and a potential return has not been great, coach Darvin Ham offered the first dose of positive vibes on Sunday.

“We anticipate him coming back at some point (this season),” Ham said, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

James has been sidelined since late February with a right foot tendon injury and is due to be reassessed this week. Until Ham’s comments, rumors have run rampant that James may not be able to return during the regular season.

“From what I’ve heard on LeBron James is that he is not close,”  ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective podcast, via HoopsHype. “That I was what I was told — ‘not close.’ Does that mean he’s out for six months? No.

“I know that everybody said the three weeks but I think it was very clear. Three weeks is when he’s going to get an official re-evaluation, it didn’t mean he is coming back in three weeks. I know that LeBron has played through injuries in the past. I’m not 100 percent sure this is an injury you can play through.”


Coach Michael Malone suggested the Nuggets may be getting back on track after a rough stretch.

“Obviously we were 1-5 in our last six, not playing up to our abilities, so just to get the win is the thing I’m most proud of,” Malone told reporters after Sunday’s road win over the Nets.


The Thunder have won four of five, including Sunday’s home victory over the Suns. In that one, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 40.

For OKC, the playoffs are within reach, and on this day, Gilgeous-Alexander said the home crowd sure helped.

“We had a home-court advantage for sure,” he told reporters. “They were energetic. They were their usual selves. It was a big game tonight, and it felt like it.”


The Suns were without the injured Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton in Sunday’s loss.

Durant recently got up some jumpers after shootaround, signifying he may be closing in on a return. He has appeared in just three games with Phoenix after being acquired from the Nets at the deadline.

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