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Lakers players not worried about future ahead of trade deadline

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Within the NBA equal of the instructor telling the category, “Pencils down,” as a result of take a look at time is over, the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Charlotte Hornets 124-118 on Monday to enhance to 27-25 and now will wait to see what occurs to their crew main as much as Thursday’s commerce deadline.

The victory assured L.A. a profitable 4-2 highway journey and prolonged its win streak to 3 — the longest the Lakers have strung collectively since profitable 4 straight in early December, culminating in profitable the in-season event championship in Las Vegas.

Whereas wins over high quality opponents such because the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks had been encouraging, and even the Hornets win required some temerity to stave off a late run by a younger ballclub enjoying with no stress, Lakers vice chairman of basketball operations and basic supervisor Rob Pelinka was “caught on calls” all day, a crew supply instructed ESPN, discussing potential offers.

Ought to something materialize, L.A.’s roster might look lots completely different the subsequent time it takes the courtroom Thursday evening towards the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

After a run to the Western Convention finals final spring, L.A. is No. 9 within the West and would want to catch the No. 6 Phoenix Suns, who’re three video games forward with 30 video games left, to keep away from the play-in event.

The Lakers’ finest point-of-attack defender, Jarred Vanderbilt, was recognized with a proper midfoot sprain on Monday that can preserve him out at the very least the subsequent three to 4 weeks earlier than being reevaluated, and their backup level guard, Gabe Vincent, continues to be sidelined with a knee damage after having performed solely 5 video games to date this season.

With the Lakers going through these indeniable challenges, whereas additionally rating twentieth in offense and 14th in protection general, LeBron James was requested whether or not he believes the crew is sweet sufficient as at the moment constructed to win a championship or if adjustments can be prudent.

“It is not a query for me,” James stated after closing out the highway journey with 26 factors on 12-for-22 capturing — together with a number of rim-rattling dunks — in 40 minutes to safe the win. “I like who we’ve within the locker room. And that is all I fear about.”

James added: “We will exit and put together ourselves each single evening it doesn’t matter what it’s. Irrespective of who’s out on this crew. It doesn’t matter what.”

The one Laker to outscore James on Monday was D’Angelo Russell, who led the crew with 28 factors and added six assists.

Russell’s title has been talked about in commerce talks with the Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks in current weeks, sources instructed ESPN, whereas the purpose guard managed to play a number of the finest basketball of his profession.

Over his previous 16 video games, since getting back from a bruised tailbone, Russell has averaged 22.2 factors on 46.3% capturing (44.9% from 3) with 2.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists per recreation, and L.A. went 10-6.

“I do not care. In any respect,” Russell stated when requested how he’ll take care of the hypothesis main as much as the deadline. “Present as much as work. That is it.”

When requested to elaborate, the 27-year-old alluded to the phrases of his $17.3 million contract, which incorporates an $18.7 million participant possibility for subsequent season, as a easy reality of being a dimension that would match right into a plethora of potential offers.

“I imply, I am unable to management that my contract is sensible to be traded, both,” Russell stated. “So, I imply, simply play. You may’t management that. As soon as once more, I do not care. In any respect.”

Russell might have averted this example within the summertime when he re-upped with the Lakers. The character of his contract would have included an implied no-trade clause; nonetheless, he and his agent waived that stipulation.

Russell was requested to elucidate why he selected to waive his capability to dam any commerce this season.

“I simply thought it made sense,” Russell stated. “Clearly I have been right here earlier than, I performed for the Lakers earlier than, so I do know what the necessities are to achieve success listed here are. So, in case you’re a part of the longer term right here you may achieve success. For those who’re not, you may get traded. And I have been traded earlier than right here. So, my method is just a bit completely different.

“I actually simply genuinely, humbly do not care as a result of I do know I am unable to management it, one. And, two, I simply will not permit my thoughts to go there. I prefer to concentrate on this and also you guys see how I have been specializing in basketball and never feedback and what’s trending on social.”

Whereas their play hasn’t all the time meshed completely this season, Russell’s and James’ solutions had been actually in sync in Charlotte.

Till one thing occurs, the gamers’ duty is to do their jobs, enterprise as standard.

“That is who we’ve,” James stated. “So there’s nothing else to speak about.”

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