West Notes: Lakers, LeBron James, Rockets, Jazz

Lakers

LeBron James made his Drew League debut, teaming with Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan and scoring 42 points.

But it was what James told ESPN that has Lakers fans perhaps feeling better about the state of things. “I’m 100 percent healthy,” James said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

James, 37, experienced an injury-riddled season last year as the Lakers failed to qualify for even the play-in tournament. They continue to look for ways to trade Russell Westbrook, per multiple reports.

One thing LA can’t afford to do, those around the league seem to believe, is try to run it back with James, Westbrook and Anthony Davis. Not if they expect to get anywhere.

“New coach (Darvin Ham) or not, they aren’t beating the Warriors or Suns even if all those three actually click,” one source told Hoops Wire. “And I doubt they will.”

The Lakers are still waiting on James to make a decision on his contract, as we relayed here. He is eligible for an extension in early August.

Rockets 

Jae’Sean Tate spent a few seasons overseas after going undrafted out of Ohio State, and has become a vital part of the Rockets’ rebuild. He said he thinks that’s no accident.

“I’ve always thought I was an NBA player. From the time I was in college to all my years overseas, I knew it was going to be a longer route,” Tate told Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. “There was never a question of if I was good enough. I just knew that I was going to have to be able to put myself in a position to get to my dream. I think [agent] EJ Kusnyer did a good job of just putting me in certain situations that allowed me to be successful, allowed me to show my worth, and allowed me to be me while bringing what I do to a team every step of the way.”

  • The Rockets continue to shop veteran guard Eric Gordon and the Lakers remain among those most interested, sources told Hoops Wire. But as is always the case with the Lakers, they may be lacking the assets (namely, picks) that the Rockets are seeking. The Spurs and Mavericks are also said to be interested.

Jazz

Donovan Mitchell remains highly pursued, and many around the league seem to think the Knicks remain the frontrunner.

The list includes ESPN insider Tim MacMahon, who said he believes that Mitchell will “most likely” be traded to the Knicks, via Adam Zagoria of NJ.com.

“When? That I can’t tell you,” MacMahon said, via Zagoria. “But when you look at what the Jazz want, which is picks, picks, picks, picks, picks, young inexpensive talent and short-term salary-filler, the Knicks are by far in the best position to make that trade.

“And I think where Leon Rose and the Knicks have to be careful is, ‘Are we bidding against ourselves?’ Trader Danny Ainge, he’s trying to make history here. The Jazz are saying, ‘We got five first-round picks in the Rudy Gobert return. We want more than that for Donovan Mitchell. That would be a historic haul.’

“And again, nobody but the Knicks is really is going to be in the mix for Donovan Mitchell if you put that package on the table.”

We will continue to have much more on Mitchell on our Jazz page, so be sure to check back regularly.

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