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Rob Pelinka: Russell Trade the ‘perfect storm’ for Lakers

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Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday explained the team’s logic for pulling off its draft-week trade with the Brooklyn Nets, which included shipping out promising point guard D’Angelo Russell in what amounted to a salary dump. The trade was made official Thursday.

“One is we got an All-Star caliber [center] that can spread the floor and open things up. Brook Lopez really transformed his game last year and became a guy that was making 3s.”

“Then of course, we were able to get amazing salary-cap relief and space, so in July of 2018 we have the ability to add hopefully two max-salary players to our franchise,” Pelinka said. “And that really fit into our long-term play.

“And then three, it gave us the ability to have four picks in the draft [Thursday]. So we accomplished so much in one trade. It was really the perfect storm for us and we felt like it’s going to have a big impact.”

Source: Baxter Holmes of ESPN

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LeBron James Becomes Youngest Player Ever to Score 30,000 Career Points

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For a player who never identified himself as a “scorer,” LeBron James has sure found himself in elite company among the most potent offensive threats in NBA history.

James’ jumper with 1.1 seconds remaining in the first quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ game against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday gave him eight points for the game and 30,001 points for his career. He is the seventh player to enter the 30,000-point club and also the youngest at 33 years and 24 days, besting Kobe Bryant’s previous mark (34 years and 104 days).

“Just a special moment,” James said after the game. “I just started thinking about everything. My journey from being a kid who first picked up a basketball when I was 5 years old to first playing organized basketball when I was 9 all the way up to this point.

Along with Bryant, who is third all-time in scoring with 33,643 points, James joined all-time points leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone(36,928), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,837 and counting) in the exclusive crew.

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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Sources: Damian Lillard Met with Blazers Owner to Discuss Future

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Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard met with team owner Paul Allen to gather an understanding of the organization’s direction, league sources told ESPN.

The two met discreetly for approximately one hour in Allen’s office at Moda Center before hosting the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, sources said. It was the first home game Allen attended in 2018.

Lillard, who will turn 28 on July 15, requested the meeting in part to reaffirm his commitment to the only professional franchise he has suited up for, but also to gain assurances that the organization was just as devoted to expeditiously crafting a title-contending team, sources said.

According to sources, the meeting was held without knowledge of anyone else in the organization. Allen notified the Trail Blazers’ basketball operations and business branch afterward.

In the weeks leading up to the meeting, Allen feared Lillard would request a trade, sources said, but a trade request was not made. The two-time All-Star made it clear, though, that he has championship aspirations and wanted to fulfill those lofty goals during the remaining years of his prime window.

Source: Chris Haynes of ESPN

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Sources: Kings Discussing Trades for Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson

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Sacramento has to clear a roster spot to take on one or two additional players in a trade with Cleveland and has been discussing deals for the Kings’ young forwards Malachi Richardson and Skal Labissiere, league sources said.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN

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