Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical

  • How the Lakers hit reset to begin life without Kobe

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    LOS ANGELES – Most of these young Lakers had grown accustomed to the Staples Center cheering on Kobe Bryant’s farewell, a separate season within the franchise’s most lost year of all. They had grown accustomed to the cheering of wayward, contested shots on the way out the door, on a young team trying to say hello when a legend was saying goodbye.

    As the final seconds bled away on a 120-114 opening-night victory on Wednesday over Houston, something had changed here. Everyone was cheering an ambitious young coach molding an ambitious young group. They are a long, long way from the Showtime Lakers, but everyone could see: Finally, they’ve started on the way somewhere now.

    “I’ll tell you what it felt like: It felt like a home game,” guard D’Angelo Russell told The Vertical outside his locker on Wednesday night. “Last year, we had Kobe and the fans. We had some diehard Lakers fans, and Kobe fans. But we had so many guys who didn’t have identities for the fans to recognize. But today, it felt like a home game.

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  • Vertical Pod with Woj: D'Angelo Russell

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell opens up about a variety of topics on The Vertical Podcast with Woj.

    Entering his second season, Russell discusses life as a No. 2 overall pick, new coach Luke Walton and what he learned from playing with Kobe Bryant last season.

    Russell also talks about growing up as a Rajon Rondo fan in Louisville, Ky., and playing with Ben Simmons in high school.

    1:19: What Russell now knows about the NBA that he didn’t a year ago.

    3:13: His relationship with Walton and the difference between Walton and former coach Byron Scott.

    5:56: Walton empowering Russell to be the team’s leader.

    7:33: What he has learned about what it means to play for the Lakers.

    10:26: Memories of Bryant’s 60-point finale against the Jazz.

    15:45: Being compared to former Lakers greats instead of just his contemporaries.

    18:16: Jerry West’s visit to the Lakers and his message.

    24:48: Leaving Louisville for a prep school.

    28:07: Being teammates with Ben Simmons at Montverde Academy in Florida.

    29:43: Not expecting to be a one-and-done player at Ohio State.

    35:04: What advice would Russell give to a player considering leaving college early?

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  • Sources: CBA will extend seven years

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are working on a seven-year extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, with a mutual opt-out in six years, league sources told The Vertical.

    The seven-year deal could potentially deliver the NBA labor peace through the 2023-24 season, unless the opt-outs are exercised in 2022, league sources told The Vertical.

    The new CBA will begin with the 2017-18 season.

    The NBA and union share a Dec. 15 opt-out date on the current 10-year labor agreement, but the sides are nearing completion on a new agreement that’ll be finalized within weeks, league sources said.

    The NBA and the union have agreed upon the major issues of the deal, and are finishing negotiations on smaller provisions, league sources said.

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  • Raptors' Jared Sullinger to have foot surgery

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago

    Toronto Raptors forward Jared Sullinger will undergo surgery on his left foot, minimally missing several weeks to start the season.

    The surgery – a preventative procedure in which a screw will be inserted into the fifth metatarsal of Sullinger’s left foot – is set for Monday in New York.

    Sullinger, 24, hadn’t played since injuring the foot in the Raptors’ preseason opener against Golden State on Oct. 1.

    He signed a one-year, $6 million free-agent deal with Toronto in July. In four seasons with the Boston Celtics, Sullinger averaged 11.1 points and 7.7 rebounds.

    Sullinger was the 21st overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft out of Ohio State.

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  • Sources: Patrick Beverley to have knee surgery

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, sidelining him for three weeks, league sources told The Vertical.

    Beverley will undergo the procedure early next week in Houston, league sources said.

    The loss of Beverley will move Eric Gordon into the Rockets’ starting backcourt with All-Star James Harden. The Rockets signed Gordon to a four-year, $53 million free-agent deal in July.

    Beverley has played only one preseason game for Houston this season.

    Beverley, 28, averaged 9.9 points, 3.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game in 2015-16 for the Rockets. He has thrived as a physical, intense defensive presence alongside Harden.

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  • Sources: NBA, players association close to new CBA

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    After a Wednesday meeting in New York, the National Basketball Association and National Basketball Players Association have pushed close to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources told The Vertical.

    NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts have led negotiations over several months and now have moved the league to the cusp of a new multiyear CBA of labor peace, league sources said.

    The owners and players believe a finalized deal is inevitable within the next few weeks, with sides already agreeing upon most of the major issues in the deal, league sources told The Vertical. There are still talks left on smaller provisions of the CBA, league sources said.

    The NBPA will need its players to ratify a new deal, but union player leadership is eager to sell the rank-and-file on the terms of a deal that’s nearly complete in its negotiations, league sources said.

    The NBA and its union will avoid a possible work stoppage in 2017. The NBA and NBPA have the ability to opt out of the current 10-year deal on Dec. 15, but a new agreement will be in place before then, league sources said.

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  • Sources: Timberwolves resisting trade overtures for Ricky Rubio

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    There is still time until the 2016 NBA draft’s fifth overall selection, Kris Dunn, takes over as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard – which is why the franchise is still resisting trade overtures for Ricky Rubio, league sources told The Vertical.

    The Sacramento Kings are the most determined of several teams expressing interest in finding a pathway to a Rubio deal, league sources said, but Minnesota president and coach Tom Thibodeau is reluctant to move Rubio – outside of bringing back a no-brainer package, of course – until Dunn’s progress illustrates this season that he’s ready to fully take over the team.

    Thibodeau doesn’t anticipate Dunn becoming the starter until approximately 20 games into the regular season, league sources said.

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  • Vertical Pod with Woj: Jerry West

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    Golden State Warriors executive Jerry West joins The Vertical Podcast with Woj for an illuminating visit that covers topics ranging from Kevin Durant's recruitment to Wilt Chamberlain, the Showtime Lakers to Kobe-Shaq, to growing up in an abusive home in rural West Virginia.

    West also discusses his thoughts on free agency and players having the right to decide where to play.

    1:48: Memories of playing in the NBA Finals in New York against the Knicks.

    4:46: Working on raising awareness for Atrial Fibrillation.

    8:42: His track record for recruiting star players, including helping the Warriors land Kevin Durant.

    16:17: Would West have considered joining the Celtics or Knicks if free agency existed during his career?

    17:41: Warriors owner Joe Lacob’s comments about the Warriors being light years ahead of the rest of the league.

    21:36: Nearly quitting his job with the Lakers when Jerry Buss wanted to trade James Worthy to the Mavericks.

    25:28: West’s reaction to criticism of players forming super teams.

    28:47: The formation of the NBPA and the players standing up to the owners to gain collective bargaining rights.

    39:46: Bringing his intense work ethic with him to the front office.

  • Why C.J. McCollum is built to handle his new status

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 10 days ago

    PORTLAND, Ore. – They prepared Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum for the aggression everyone would come for him with on the court now, born of his rise as the Robin to Damian Lillard’s Batman, born of earning the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, and yes, born of a summertime signing to a $106 million maximum contract extension.

    In McCollum’s mind, nothing’s changed: He’s still the 5-foot-2 high school sophomore who couldn’t start on the varsity team, who struggled to find a Division I scholarship offer. In his mind, he’s still the Lehigh University star who passed on the NBA draft as a junior only to fracture his foot shortly into his senior year and wonder: “Did I just blow my only opportunity?”

    “I’ve been a role player,” McCollum told The Vertical. “I’ve dressed in a suit on the end of the bench. I’ve been a [non-starter] in high school. I’ve been the guy with no scholarships trying to get an offer. I’ve been the guy taking ice baths in trash cans at Lehigh because that’s what we had.

    “I don’t take any of this for granted.”

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  • Vertical Pod with Woj: 2017 free agency

    Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks joins Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Podcast to set the table on the 2017 summer free-agent market, including Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry, and the latest on trade scenarios for Sacramento's Rudy Gay.

    Marks and Wojnarowski break down which players are eligible to sign extensions to their rookie contracts and the talented core the Suns have drafted in the last two years.

    They also look at expected changes in the next CBA, including the NBA’s desire to compete with college basketball for players.

    2:24: Chris Paul and Blake Griffin entering their final seasons under contract with the Clippers.

    6:17: Potential suitors for Paul in free agency, including the Knicks and Spurs.

    9:02: The difficulty the Clippers could have in re-signing JJ Redick.

    11:06: Kyle Lowry’s preference to return to the Raptors.

    17:10: Players eligible for rookie contract extensions.

    21:54: Steven Adams’ ability to get a max contract if he reaches restricted free agency.

    23:24: Rudy Gay’s free agency and hopes to be traded this season, including interest from the Pacers and Thunder.

    33:07: The optimism about the NBA and NBPA agreeing to a new CBA in the near future.