Could Moves Be Made For Terrence Ross, Wayne Ellington?

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(Image/USA Today)

Many think that the Lakers should pull the trigger on a trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, although acquiring Davis would most certainly mean clearing house and relinquishing future flexibility. Future flexibility referring to the maximum salary slot currently available for the summer of 2019, circa $41.6 million. Money that could be used on a free agency class that boasts names such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and so on.

Would it be worth giving up numerous young players and assets to acquire a generational talent in Davis, who down the line will be eligible for a ‘super-max’ contract (up to 35% of the salary cap)? Some think so, some think not. It appears that President of Basketball Operations, Magic Johnson and General Manager, Rob Pelinka want to maintain financial flexibility to take a punt on the loaded 2019 free agency period. In the hopes of landing a second superstar.

Both Magic and Pelinka have made it public and stressed the importance of the Lakers remaining patient, trusting the process, with the aim of long-term success. However, if this is the case, this should not prevent the Lakers from improving the roster further this season by bringing in talent on expiring deals. After missing out on Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards, the front office may be shopping around to add wing depth.

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(Image/USA Today)

Terrence Ross: 

The 27-year-old of the Orlando Magic is currently averaging a career-best 13.3 points per game, off .436% shooting. Whilst adding some vital scoring from three-point land, Ross’ strong play this season could very well make him an appealing addition for Magic Johnson and Pelinka.

Orlando Magic are competing for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference at present time, as a result it may take a high price to persuade Orlando to part ways with Ross mid-season. The former top-10 pick is on a $10.5 million expiring deal and fits the criteria for bolstering the current roster whilst maintaining salary cap flexibility.

Terrence Ross is certainly an intriguing piece that would fit well in Los Angeles, but the expectation remains that Ross could be out of the Lakers’ range.

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Wayne Ellington:

Another scenario being thrown around is a possible reunion with sharpshooter, Wayne Ellington, who represented the Lakers during the 2014/15 season. The 31-year-old is a near career .400% three-point shooter who may sit as a more realistic option.

Ellington is averaging 8.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists for the Miami Heat this season and has found himself in and out of the rotation throughout December, due to personal reasons and more recently, illness. There is no doubt that the Heat guard could be a more viable option for the Lakers acting as a floor spacer alongside LeBron James. Various reports have suggested that a 1st round draft pick is what the Heat desire to move him on via trade.

Much like Terrence Ross, Wayne Ellington is currently signed to an expiring $6.2 million contract, which fits the measure of maintaining the Lakers’ long-term plans. Is it worth parting ways with a 1st round draft pick to bring Ellington back to Los Angeles before the upcoming February 7th trade deadline?

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(Image/NBA.com)

Other names on expiring contracts linked have been the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Taj Gibson and the Brooklyn Nets’ DeMarre Carroll. There is no doubt that more names and trade scenarios will be reported between now and the trade deadline, as the Lakers look to strengthen their roster to make a serious playoff push.


By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, The Ukrainian Sharpshooter

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(Image/USA Today)

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, often known as Svi, has had a busy start to his first few months in the professional ranks and as that time has progressed the Ukrainian sharpshooter has grown accustomed to life in the NBA. Looking more confident on and off the court, Mykhailiuk is slowing carving his way into the Lakers’ rotation for years to come.

Mykhailiuk was drafted by the Lakers with the 47th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, with the Lakers president of basketball operations, Magic Johnson, being a huge fan of Mykhailiuk’s game in college. The Lakers legend was particularly impressed with his performance for the Kansas Jayhawks against Duke in the 2018 NCAA Elite Eight. Where Svi hit a late three-pointer to take the game into overtime, a game that Kansas went onto win to advance to the Final Four.

Unfortunately for Mykhailiuk and Kansas, they were eliminated by the Villanova Wildcats in the 2018 NCAA Final Four. Nevertheless, Mykhailiuk had an impressive time during his four years at Kansas, shooting an eye-catching .409% from three-point range. In his senior year, Svi averaged 14.6 points per game, along with 3.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.2 steals, on .428% shooting. This was enough to draw the interest of several NBA teams, including the Lakers who ultimately drafted Mykhailiuk and signed him to a three-year, $4.6 million rookie scale contract.

Svi Mykhailiuk has had quite a journey to the NBA. Born in Cherkasy, Ukraine on June 10th, 1997, Mykhailiuk attended high school at Cherkasy First City Gymnasia. In 2012, Svi joined his local professional basketball team, Cherkaski Mavpy who play in the Ukrainian Super League. Over time, Mykhailiuk drew national interest and represented Ukraine at the 2013 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championships, averaging 25.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. This was enough for All-Tournament honours.

This earned Mykhailiuk a call-up to the senior national team where he competed at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. Mykhailiuk then received numerous offers to play college basketball in the United States, from Virginia, Iowa State, Oregon, and Kansas. With the latter being Svi’s preferred destination. The promising Ukrainian prospect represented his country again at the 2016 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championships, and led his team with 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 2.1 steals per game, through seven games.

The 6-foot-8 shooter represented the Ukrainian under-20 team again at the 2017 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championships, leading the entire tournament with 20.4 points per game. With his impressive showing during his final year at Kansas, it was time for Svi to take his talents to the NBA where he lit up the 2018 NBA Summer League over seven pre-season games, averaging 16.6 points, on .488% shooting. He went on to make his debut on October 22nd, 2018 against the San Antonio Spurs, scoring no points and recording one assist in 17 minutes.

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(Image/Getty Images)

It has been a relatively slow start for the 21-year-old in Los Angeles, who struggled to find playing time in the first two months of the season. However, in December we have seen flashes of why Magic Johnson was so high on the deadeye shooter coming out of Kansas. Svi has twice scored double-digits, in wins against the Memphis Grizzlies (11 pts, 3 reb) and Charlotte Hornets (12 pts, 1 reb, 4 ast).

Much like Isaac Bonga, as stated in our previous ‘Meet The Rookies’ post, Mykhailiuk is obviously a player that the Lakers are prepared to take their time with. As they look to develop a floor spacing catch-and-shoot three-point specialist to the roster. Keep an eye on this one, as it is only a matter of time before Mykhailiuk finds his shot and has a breakout game.

Thank you for reading, come and join the conversation on Twitter over at @lakersfanclubuk.

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Merry Christmas From Lakers Fanclub UK

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Merry Christmas, we hope that you have a great day today with your loved ones. Prepare for the big one later on, it is a game we’ve all been waiting for, where the Lakers will travel to Oakland to take on the defending NBA Champions, the Golden State Warriors (1am, UK Time).

I would like to take the time to thank everyone who has followed us on Twitter and have read the articles on the website. Lakers Fanclub UK was created around a month ago, with this website being three weeks ago, as a place where UK-based fans, like myself, can come together to form a community as there was not anything out there before for us UK Laker fans.

I am delighted with the process made over that time, I have met some great people myself and have introduced many fans to each other, who I have seen go back-and-forth with some great basketball chatter, people that did not know each other a matter of weeks ago. I am especially happy with the website, which has accumulated views from not just UK Laker fans, but fans from the US, Canada, Brazil, Columbia, India, China, Japan, Australia, among others. In total 18 countries!

The progress made in such a short time has been mindblowing, thank you all. If you wish to contribute in any way moving forward get in contact and we can discuss further. A few people have already reached out who will most likely be introduced in the New Year.

Happy Holidays, enjoy the time with your friends/family and stay safe.

All the best,

Matt 

Founder of Lakers Fanclub UK 

We Talk Lakers With Gallows Drummer Lee Barratt

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(Image/Right: @LeeGallows Twitter, Left: USA Today)

Back in October, it was announced that the British hardcore punk band, Gallows, would be returning after a three-year hiatus, much to our delight. Gallows were listed in the first wave of bands for the 2019 Slam Dunk Festival.

Gallows, formed in 2005, caught public attention following the release of their 2006 debut album ‘Orchestra of Wolves’. From this, the band have gone on to release three further albums, two of which made the UK Album Chart. Gallows have appeared on a game (Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock), featured in numerous magazines, including Kerrang!, Alternative Press and Rolling Stone, and have toured the world.

Recently we discovered that Gallows drummer, Lee Barratt, is a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. Knowing this, we reached out to Lee who kindly offered Lakers Fanclub UK some insight into the beginnings of his Lakers fandom, as well as his opinions on the current roster, among other topics.

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(Image/Slam Dunk Festival) Lee, far left.

Q: “First of all, I am a fan of Gallows and have seen the band on a few occasions. Congratulations on the success of the band over the past 13 years.”

Lee: “Thanks very much! Although you just made me feel extremely old by reminding me that the band has been going for 13 years!”

Q: “We see that you are a Laker fan through your Twitter bio. When did you start supporting the team, and why?”

Lee: “I started supporting the Lakers around 2010 when I was living in Southern California. The friends I had were all Lakers fans and we’d get together to watch games at our apartment or head to Staples to catch a live game whenever we could. Unfortunately, it was around the same time that the team started going downhill!”

Q: “What is your favourite memory of supporting the Lakers?”

Lee: “My first trip to Staples was such a fun experience, completely different to any kind of sporting event I’d been to in the UK. My best memory was in Kobe’s retirement year, I flew to LA in a week where the team had a homestand and managed to catch 4 games. Unfortunately, Kobe only played in 2 of them but I had great seats by the players tunnel for each and managed to get autographs off a few of the players back then.”

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(Image/Sneaker Bar Detroit)

Q: “What are your thoughts on the 2018/19 Lakers so far this season?”

Lee: “It seems like it’s still a work in progress but to be sitting 4th in the West and with a record over 500 is something Laker fans haven’t seen in a while! LeBron is obviously carrying the team a little and I think a couple of the kids will need to step up if they want to go further than the first round of the playoffs. Getting Rondo back will help a lot too.”

Q: “For you, what has been the most impressive moment of the season to this point?”

Lee: “Just the fact the team seem to be competing more as a collective is the most impressive thing. There have been some disappointments (losing twice to the Magic?!) but you get the feeling now that the Lakers could win against any team they’re up against.”

Q: “Where would you like to see the team improve? Would you be open to a trade?”

Lee: “Consistency is the key. 48 minutes per game for 82 games. You already know LeBron is dialed in but I think it will take the younger core longer to achieve that mindset. I’d like to see how this team progresses and not have to give up any pieces for a big trade but it depends on what the owners want in terms of success and how quickly they want it.”

Q: “What are your expectations for the rest of the season, and beyond?”

Lee: “I can see them reaching the playoffs but like I said earlier, whether they’ll have the focus and consistency to get beyond the first round is questionable. LeBron can’t do everything on his own and other players will have to step up and make sure the team are good enough to win a best of 7 series. Whoever they come up against will be a good team and will have that extra motivation of wanting to beat LeBron in the playoffs.”

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(Image/NBA.com)

We would like to thank Lee for talking to us and providing such insightful answers on the current Lakers and what his expectations are moving forward. Also, living in Southern California and watching Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on numerous occasions, including on his retirement tour, sounds like the life doesn’t it!

We wish Lee and Gallows the best of luck with their return, we’ll be keeping an eye out for more live shows as well as new music. You can follow Lee on Twitter over at @LeeGallows.

As always, thank you for reading. Come and join the conversation with us on Twitter at @lakersfanclubuk.

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Is A Trade For Anthony Davis Incoming?

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Recent trade discussions between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns for Trevor Ariza broke down because the Lakers refused to include any members of their young core. The Lakers remained hopeful of landing Ariza amid their refusal to include young assets, consequently talks fell apart and 33-year-old ended up being traded to the Washington Wizards, in exchange for Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers.

Why did the Lakers refuse to include any members of their young core in trade talks? Well, something bigger could be brewing.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski claims that the Lakers are stockpiling assets so they can make a move for superstar Anthony Davis, in the hope that he gets placed on the trade block by his current team, the New Orleans Pelicans.

Wojnarowski stated the following on the Woj/Lowe podcast, about the Lakers:

“They’re not going to give away picks and their top young players in some deal that makes them incrementally better this season because they have to save all those assets for Anthony Davis, a big trade this summer either pre- or post-free agency.”

The Lakers’ timeline accelerated following the signing of LeBron James in 2018 free agency, and whilst it is clear that the ambition is there to raise another championship banner in the rafters of the Staples Center whilst LeBron James is in Los Angeles, there is also the desire for the team to stay relevant beyond James’ tenure.

Anthony Davis could very well be the answer for the Lakers, he would immediately raise the ceiling of the current roster, propelling them into the championship contenders mix. Additionally, the 25-year-old generational talent could be the man to become the face of the franchise when the time comes for LeBron to move on, whether it be retirement or through other means.

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(Image/New York Post)

The general consensus is that the Lakers will wait until the summer of 2019 to make a move for Davis, although it might be best for the team to make a punt at landing the 6-foot-10 power forward before the February 7th trade-deadline. Longtime rivals of the Lakers, the Boston Celtics appear as another suiter to trade for Davis, as they host many assets that may be appealing for the Pelicans.

However, the Celtics are unable to make a move until the summer due to the “5th Year 30% Max Criteria” rule, otherwise known as the “Rose Rule”. Introduced in 2011, the ruling allows for players coming off their rookie contracts to sign for a high percentage of their team’s salary cap (30%, instead of 25%), if the player becomes either an MVP, two-time All-NBA Team selection or gets voted an All-Star starter. Anthony Davis fits this criteria.

Why does this affect the Celtics’ chances of landing Davis? Well, teams in the NBA are not allowed to trade for two players signed using the Rose Rule. Boston already possesses one such player on its roster in point guard, Kyrie Irving. Irving was signed using the Rose Rule in 2014 by his then team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. As long as the 26-year-old point guard is on his current contract, which ends in the summer, the Celtics are unable to trade for Anthony Davis. This gives the Lakers a window until the February trade deadline, to make an unrivaled move for Davis if they wish.

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(Image/Sports Illustrated)

Davis will not be an unrestricted free agent until the summer of 2021, however as the time nears the Pelicans will face huge pressure on whether they want to chance the five-time All-Star walking away for nothing, or cash in on his talents. Obviously, this depends on whether Davis states his intent to play elsewhere and move on from the Pelicans. If so, the Lakers appear to be one of the few locations that hosts the pieces to tempt New Orleans to part-ways with their superstar.

What do you think, should the Lakers trade for Anthony Davis or keep developing their young core? Let us know on Twitter over at @lakersfanclubuk. 

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Trade Options For The Lakers

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Most Laker fans seem satisfied with the season so far, despite starting 2-5, the team have improved considerably finding themselves lurking in the midpoint of the Western Conference playoff picture, within touching distance of top spot. Regardless of this, fans do have an eye on prospective trades to improve the roster further. It appears that the Lakers hierarchy may be having similar thoughts, too.

December 15th is the important date and is the date that it seems every NBA fan has been waiting patiently for. This is when players who were signed in summer free agency are eligible to be traded. Trade rumours and speculation have been spiraling over the past few weeks, and whilst many names have been linked to join the Lakers, some have been touted as potential trade chips. One name, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, seems to be the centerpiece of any trade rumour, mainly due to his flexible 1-year $12 million contract.

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It seems that Caldwell-Pope may be open to a move away from Los Angeles, as reports suggest that his representatives are working to find the 25-year-old a better situation as he aims to secure a lucrative long-term contract in 2019 free agency. The Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets have been named as possible destinations for Caldwell-Pope.

A trade may be looming, with multiple names rumoured to be joining the Lakers. I am sure more will be associated in the forthcoming weeks as we fast-approach the New Year, although for the time being we are going to review some of the names touted to join forces with LeBron James in Los Angeles.

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(Image/Sixers Wire)

Trevor Ariza

As first reported by ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski earlier on in the week, former Laker Trevor Ariza could be a possible option via a three-team trade. The struggling Pheonix Suns will not be short of choice when it comes to moving the 2009 NBA Champion, as contending teams look to bolster their rosters. However, it is evidently clear that Pheonix will be looking for assets in return.

Ariza would be a welcomed addition to the Lakers, bringing a veteran presence to the team. As a defensive wing with length that can drain the three-pointer, many can see why the 33-year-old could contribute to a Lakers team that desire to make noise come playoff time. In almost every scenario, Caldwell-Pope would be included for salary purposes, possibly to the third team, as Ariza is on a 1-year $15 million contract. The question remains, what further assets would it take to tempt the Suns to part ways with Ariza?

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(Image/NBC Sports)

John Wall

I’m not too sure where to start with this one. A few weeks back, it was rumoured that the Lakers had offered numerous young assets and draft picks for the 28-year-old point guard of the Washington Wizards. Apparently Lonzo Ball, Caldwell-Pope (for obvious reasons) and a third player believed to be out of Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Kyle Kuzma, had been involved in trade discussions.

Undoubtedly, Wall is a star player and could potentially fit well alongside LeBron James, although Wall is in the final year of his current contract ($19.1 million) before a huge $170 million extension kicks in. The extension, strongly considered the worst contract in the NBA, will lock him in until 2023 and see Wall being paid $47.3 million at 32-years-old.

Washington look in disarray at the moment and are potentially looking to rebuild, therefore a trade centered around the Lakers’ young assets and draft picks would be appealing for the Wizards. On the other hand, the Lakers may not be willing to break up their young core to take on Wall and that enormous contract.

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(Image/Sports Illustrated)

Bradley Beal

Staying with the Washington Wizards, their star shooting guard Bradley Beal may be a more sustainable option for the Lakers. Much like the John Wall speculation, to get Beal to Los Angeles would most certainly involve breaking up the young core, with future draft picks being included also. Beal has two more years remaining on his current contract beyond this season, that will see him being paid $27.1 million for the 2019/20 season and $28.7 million in his final year.

Obviously, Beal is a more appealing option financially and is still only 25-years-old. This move would provide the Lakers with a much-needed shooter and could be deemed more of a long-term option for the team. Beal has a much broader market than Wall, so if the Lakers come knocking, they’ll most likely not be the only team.

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(Image/Yahoo! Sports)

Kemba Walker

Now this one would be a great fit. Not many reports have specified that the Lakers are interested in the Charlotte Hornets star, but he could be an option for sure. Walker is having a fantastic season so far, averaging 25.8 points per game, 4.4 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals. In the closing stages of games, the Lakers have been heavily reliant on LeBron James, signing Walker would immediately solve that issue.

Walker is in the final year of his current contract and becomes an unrestricted free agent in the summer, so the Lakers would not have to give up as much asset-wise as the options noted above but would need assurances of Walker signing long-term. Although, this trade would under most circumstances involve giving up a young asset, at the very least. Is it worth pulling the trigger to acquire a player of Kemba Walker’s pedigree?

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Anthony Davis

The thought of this one has most Laker fans drooling. A generational talent, Davis would certainly involve clearing house as the majority of the young core would be moved on, along with veterans to match salaries and numerous draft picks.

Earlier this month, a trade scenario was reported by Brandon Robinson that included three teams, the Lakers and Pelicans along with the Orlando Magic. It was reported that Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Caldwell-Pope would be the players involved, with the Lakers asking for Elfrid Payton or Ian Clark in return. In regards to draft picks, Robinson reported that “next year’s first-round pick is involved and most likely multiple picks”.

Rob Pelinka is apparently working on numerous trade packages to acquire Davis. Who, if he was to be acquired, would make the Lakers a contender moving forward and a legitimate threat to the Golden State Warriors. However, the Pelicans currently have the 25-year-old under contract until 2021 and are not forced to part ways with their superstar unless Davis states his intent to play elsewhere.

Obviously, apart from Trevor Ariza, all of the above scenarios are dependent on whether Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka want to keep the young core intact and whether they want to remain with cap flexibility going into 2019 free agency. A free agency period which boasts names such as Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and so on.

What do you think? Let us know on Twitter over at @lakersfanclubuk.

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Isaac Bonga, The Youngest Player In The NBA

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(Image/Getty Images)

Rookie, Isaac Bonga made his NBA debut for the Los Angeles Lakers in the closing stages of 133-120 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs, on 7th December 2018. The German guard recorded his first NBA point the following night, in LA’s 111-86 blowout of the Memphis Grizzlies, much to the delight of the veterans on the team. Having been called up to the Lakers from the G-League affiliate the South Bay Lakers, the team turned to Bonga in the wake of Brandon Ingram’s injury leaving the rotations thin.

Spending the main bulk of his time in the G-League developing his craft, Bonga is actually the youngest active player in the NBA with the birth date of November 8th, 1999. Bonga is 1 month and 24 days younger than the Memphis Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. Third youngest sits in the form of the New York Knick’s Kevin Knox, with Troy Brown of the Washington Wizards and Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers rounding out the top-5.

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(Image/Eurohoops)

Standing at 6-foot-8, Bonga has the size to play on the wing but for the most part, plays through the point guard position. Through 12 games with the South Bay Lakers in the G-League, Bonga is averaging 14 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Shooting .472% from the field, and an impressive .444% from three-point range.

Isaac Bonga took a somewhat different path to the NBA, playing professionally in Germany for the Fraport Skyliners in the Basketball Bundesliga, between 2016 and 2018. During his time playing for the Fraport Skyliners’ junior and senior teams, Bonga averaged 7.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals. This gained Bonga a reputation going into the 2018 NBA Draft as being one of Europe’s top prospects.

Being selected with the 39th overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers on behalf of the Lakers, shortly after, Bonga was officially traded to Los Angeles for a 2019 second round pick and cash considerations.

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(Image/sbsun.com)

Bonga is certainly an intriguing talent, and if developed correctly, could very well be a contributor to the Lakers in the coming years. The team have already committed to Bonga with a 4-year, $2.5 million guaranteed contract, knowing full well that he is going to be a long-term project.

All eyes may not be on Isaac Bonga at present time to produce, however he is certainly one to keep a track of as his development continues.

Thank you for reading, follow us on Twitter at @lakersfanclubuk. 

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Carmelo Anthony To The Lakers?

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In amongst the team preparing for a road trip to San Antonio and Memphis, rumours began to circulate that LeBron James would be open to long-time friend Carmelo Anthony joining him in Los Angeles, as first reported by The Athletic. 

The 34-year-old is still on the books of the struggling Houston Rockets despite being frozen out of the team after just 10 games, having not played since November 8th where he shot 1-11 FG against his former team the Oklahoma City Thunder. Through 10 games with the Rockets, Carmelo Anthony averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, on .405 FG% shooting and .328 from three-point range.

It was strongly considered that the Rockets would buyout Anthony’s contract, allowing him to move on. However, this has not occurred and it is now expected that the Rockets will explore a conclusion to the saga from December 15th, when Anthony can be officially moved on via trade.

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(Image/USA Today)

Although, The Athletic have included in their report that LeBron James has not made an official request and does not plan to make an official plea to Lakers team president Magic Johnson or general manager Rob Pelinka to sign Melo. However, it is believed that James does believe that Melo can contribute to the 15-9 Lakers, who currently sit #5 in a packed Western Conference.

Since, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne has commented on the story:

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It seems that most Laker fans are against the signing of Carmelo Anthony, who are of the opinion that Anthony would not improve the team, with his defense being identified as a glaring issue. Since moving from the New York Knicks, the 10-time All-Star’s reputation has taken a huge hit, after a failed season in Oklahoma many thought that the Rockets would be a good fit for Anthony, taking on a reduced role alongside James Harden and Chris Paul. Unfortunately for Melo, his stint in Houston has not panned out.

Carmelo Anthony’s rapid decline in popularity around the league has now got to the point where, in spite of The Athletic’s recent report, it is unclear whether Anthony will play NBA basketball again.

What do you think, would Carmelo Anthony be a good fit for the Lakers, or not? Tweet us at @lakersfanclubuk and join the discussion.

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)

Have the 2018/19 Lakers Met Expectations?

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Cleveland Cavaliers
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Ever since this Lakers roster was built the media have been all over the team, criticising the lack of shooting, whilst insisting that the strong personalities acquired would clash. Well, it hasn’t looked too bad so far, at the time of writing this article the Lakers are on a three-game winning streak and hold a 14-9 record, sitting #5 in a packed Western Conference. The team have won 12 of their last 16 games, after a poor 2-5 start to the season.

As we pass the quarter mark of the 2018/19 NBA season, we take a look to see if the Lakers have met expectations so far. Various UK-based Lakers fans (well, one is from Germany!) have jumped on board to give us their views and opinions.

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What are your thoughts on the Lakers’ season so far? 

  • Tom: “I think the Lakers are definitely heading in the right direction. A good run of wins has put them in about the right place and I believe home court advantage in the playoffs isn’t an unrealistic possibility right now.”
  • Timi: “I think the Lakers are about where they should be. They have shown some good signs and some bad, as the team gets used to playing with LeBron. The young core is growing, vets are also working their way into the team. I’m glad to see the pace slowing down a little, as it allows us to play better defense.”
  • Steve: “I think the Lakers are pretty much where they belong talent wise. The Lakers are playoff bound but clearly not a contender.”
  • Russell: “Really happy to be 14-9, it’s been a solid start to the season. I am extremely happy with the overall feeling and chemistry this team has together, the way they are energised on the bench, look at the way they cheered Moe (Wagner) on when he got his first points in the NBA.”
  • Jamie: “Since I got the NBA League Pass a few years ago, this is the best we have been so far, mostly due to the King obviously!. We could be a couple of games better off but I think everyone is pretty happy where we are in a ridiculously strong Western Conference.”

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So far, what are you views on the young core? 

  • Tom: “The young core is improving game by game. Kuz has been outstanding so far and is the stand out from the others. Lonzo is doing well in terms of defense but his shooting has to improve, it’s not been good enough. Ingram is still a work in progress, but he clearly isn’t where we would expect him to be by now.”
  • Timi: “The young core has shown growing pains, but ultimately are starting to grow well with LeBron. Whilst Zo, Kuz and Hart have grown with ‘Bron better, Ingram has looked the best as an individual (when LBJ isn’t on the floor).”
  • Steve: “The young core seems to have hit a road block which came in person of LeBron. Zo has impressed me, whilst Kuz is stagnant and Ingram has looked worse on several occasions.”
  • Russell: “I am not ready to give up on them yet. Lonzo brings fantastic D and energy, the shooting needs to improve desperately though. Kuz is my favourite player, he’s very streaky at the moment but I’m hoping he becomes more consistent. Ingram frustrates me, he’s an immense talent, but doesn’t fit with LBJ. As for Hart, he’s a decent player off the bench, he needs to select when to shoot better but when he’s set correctly he can drain the 3 ball.”
  • Jamie: “I am hoping for a big improvement from Ingram, as well as Zo becoming more aggressive as his shot is pretty much a bust.” 

ts_181116ball-ingram
(Image/NBA.com)

Would you be open to a trade? 

  • Tom: “Trade-wise, I think it would have to be the one that improves their offensive play but who I don’t know. We would have to see who is available and what it would cost, before making a definite decision.”
  • Timi: “I would trade Ingram potentially.”
  • Russell: “I might be in the minority here but I wouldn’t make a trade. I want to see how far these young players can go and then hopefully add in free agency.”
  • Jamie: “We have been in the doldrums for too long now – we need to start contending! Being a (Kentucky) Wildcats fan, I loved watching Anthony Davis play and win an NCAA title. Sadly, acquiring him would mean us losing some young talent. If Lonzo and Ingram are part of the deal and we still keep Kuz and Hart, then it’s not that bad.”

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
(Image/USA Today)

Which player has exceeded your expectations so far? 

  • Tom: “JaVale McGee, without a doubt. What a signing he has been! He has been the best defender on the team and works stupidly hard to protect the basket and also crushes teams at the other end with every chance he gets.”
  • Timi: “JaVale (McGee) is definitely the biggest surprise. I knew he’d be a rim protector but to be top-3 in blocks, plus providing a decent offensive presence in the paint has been great. Looks like the years in Golden State have really helped him develop as a player.”
  • Russell: “For me, it’s Tyson (Chandler) and JaVale (McGee), I love the energy, the D and the tandem they have created together!.”
  • Jamie: “Definitely McGee. He seemed a bit of an average signing at first but I have loved watching him play. He seems like a proper team guy and is excited when cheer-leading on the sideline. I love watching his blocks, they are almost as exciting as LBJ’s monster slams!”

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(Image/NBA.com)

What are your expectations moving forward for the team? 

  • Tom: “Going forward I would like to see the number of turnovers drop, especially the unforced turnovers. We need to start games better as it seems sometimes that it takes an age for the team to wake up and actually get into the game. And plenty more winning streaks please!”
  • Timi: “I think the Lakers moving forward will start to play more consistently as they work with Walton’s schemes and learn to play with one another. I think we’ll continue to be a poor free throw shooting team but the turnovers will start to decline. Ultimately we won’t start to hit top gear in the next quarter, but it’s looking good.”
  • Steve: “My expectations are a 7th or 8th seed, but a first round exit against almost any opponent.”
  • Russell: “It would be to make the playoffs, the young core needs to improve and we can possibly win a playoff series. I would be extremely happy with that moving into free agency in the summer.”
  • Jamie: “At least one series win in the playoffs, if the team stays as it is. If we get Davis, we have to be looking at the Conference Finals and a date with the Warriors! That would be awesome!.”

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Welcome to Lakers Fanclub UK

This article was originally posted on my Medium account, however upon the creation of this website, this was the obvious new home for Lakers Fanclub UK’s first post.

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(Image/Los Angeles Lakers)

For all NBA fans living in the United Kingdom, keeping up with our favourite team has its challenges. Especially when that team is based on the west coast, as it is with the Los Angeles Lakers, whose home games frequently tip-off deep into the night, usually at 3.30am. Every now and then, we are blessed with a tip-off time before midnight if a game falls on a Sunday or if the team is in-amongst an east coast road trip.

Every fan has their own story that shaped their fandom, their love for the game and in particular the dedication devoted to their favoured team. I have recently created Lakers Fanclub UK, as a place where all UK-based fans can come together and talk Lakers basketball.

For years I have been interacting with Lakers fans through my personal Twitter account (@mattyyyevans). Upon the creation of Lakers Fanclub UK, I have been in contact with a few UK-based Laker fans to gain an understanding and share their experiences of following the team.

Bryant All-Star Slam dunk
(Image/CBS Cleveland)

Martin — @MartinNorris82

  • When did you start supporting the Lakers?

I fell in love with basketball in 1994, this was the first time I played (first year of high school). I didn’t really support anyone as the coverage wasn’t great back then, but in ’97 I watched my first all-star weekend and slam dunk contest, I think it was on Channel 5. If I remember correctly Kobe ‘Bean’ Bryant through the legs 50 point dunk crowned him the slam dunk champion. I’d never seen anyone do anything like it so from that moment every brick I threw up in the playground was followed by a ‘Kobe!’ shout whilst everyone else still wanted to be like Mike.”

  • Why The Lakers?

From that, I naturally followed the Lakers and watched them every opportunity I could, wanting to see what he (Kobe) would do next. My love for the Lakers was born.”

  • What is your best memory of supporting the Lakers?

The 2010 Championship, beating the Celtics makes it that bit more special than the rest I have witnessed. That and Kobe’s final game, I still have it saved on my Virgin box!”

  • Describe The Lakers in one word?

Dynasty!”

  • What are your expectations for the team this season, and beyond?

I’d be happy to make the Western Conference semis as we are still growing. I think next year and the year after, we should be looking at banner number 17.”

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(Image/ESPN.com)

Jamie — @_TheJMan81

  • When did you start supporting the Lakers? Why The Lakers?

I started supporting the Lakers in the mid-80s. From memory (bit hazy now!!) there was an NBA highlights show on BBC on a Saturday night. I can’t remember if it was on all season or just for the finals but my first memory is watching the Lakers v Celtics in a finals series. We had basketball nets up at my school in the front yard, so me and my mates decided we preferred the Lakers because of Magic and Showtime, we were always them when playing in the yard. I was always Magic!!!”

  • What is your best memory of supporting the Lakers?

The 2010 finals, beating the Celtics as it was covered on a channel over here in the UK. I was in Poland at the time but got the game seven result online and couldn’t wait to get home and watch it!!”

  • Describe The Lakers in one word?

Greatest. As I think we are the greatest franchise in world sport. That, or Showtime!”

  • What are your expectations for the team this season, and beyond?

Making the play-offs would be good, any wins in the play-offs would be great. We need the young core to improve though as they seem to have stagnated a bit this year so far. Going forward, hopefully we can win another championship while LeBron is here. If we have the right pieces in the next year or 2, we have a great chance I think. Whilst I am desperate to win another title, I am more desperate to visit LA to see LeBron in a Lakers uniform! I really want the Lakers to come over for the London game also.”

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(Image/NBA.com)

Russell — @keddie_russell

  • When did you start supporting the Lakers?

I started following the Lakers in 1997.”

  • Why The Lakers?

They were the first team I saw on TV. They are a big difference to my baseball team as I love the Giants who hate the Dodgers, lol.”

  • Describe The Lakers in one word?

Epic.”

  • What are your expectations for the team this season, and beyond?

Hopefully we can make the play-offs and keep improving. Ingram and Kuz need to continue to improve and get better. Then hopefully we can land Kevin Durant next summer.”

NBA: June 17: NBA Finals: Game 7:  Celtics at Lakers
(Image/Amino Apps)

Matt  — @mattyyyevans

  • When did you start supporting the Lakers? Why The Lakers?

I started supporting the Lakers during the 2010 season. I used to play NBA 2k on Playstation and picked the Lakers all the time as they were the best team (I was young ok!). NBA 2k grew my knowledge of the rules and how the game is played. From there I started watching games and witnessed us beat the Celtics to win the championship. What a first season supporting the team! I have stuck with them ever since.”

  • What is your best memory of supporting the Lakers?

My best memory has to be travelling to the TD Garden in Boston, for my first-ever live Lakers game. This was during the 2014/15 season so the team was terrible and we were blown out by our fierce rivals. However I loved every moment sat in the nosebleed seats with my Lakers jersey on, getting the chance to see Kobe Bryant play! Something I’d only dreamt of doing. I’d love to go out to LA for a game at Staples, that will be on the horizon soon!”

  • Describe The Lakers in one word?

Golden. This is a winning franchise, the history of the team reflects that. The amount of championships won, reflects that. Hopefully it is not too long until we get another championship banner.”

  • What are your expectations for the team this season, and beyond?

I would say making the play-offs and winning a series would be enough for me this season. That will place us in a good situation going into free agency where hopefully we can land another star. During LeBron’s time in LA, it would be great to add another championship!”


Lakers Fanclub UK is predominantly on Twitter, where you can follow us here. Thanks to Martin, Jamie and Russell for taking part, give them a follow on Twitter.

If you wish to contribute or be involved in any way, feel free to send the Twitter page a DM and I’m sure we can sort something out.

By Matt Evans (@mattyyyevans)