David Griffin saw the future of the New Orleans Pelicans in a brief moment during NBA Summer League practice, and the executive vice president of basketball operations said things look "crazy" good.

Griffin introduced recruits Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart after a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers centred on Anthony Davis, and Derrick Favors – acquired from the Utah Jazz.

Coupled with first pick Zion Williamson and eighth selection Jaxson Hayes, along with returning guard Jrue Holiday, and the Pelicans are expected to be one of the most-improved teams in the NBA in 2019-20.

Griffin is thrilled with what he has seen so far, like that special moment in a recent Summer League practice.

"There was a moment where Jaxson Hayes was out running the floor in a practice with Zion on the other side, and they were sort of just messing around … and the speed those guys have just at a trot is mind-numbing," Griffin told reporters on Tuesday. "Alvin and I looked at it and we thought, 'Man with those guys on the wing, and with Lonzo at the point, what we'll be able to do speed-wise is crazy'."

That is crazy in a good way for the Pelicans, unlike last season's 33-49 craziness, lowlighted by the persistent trade rumours surrounding Davis.

Griffin said he is excited all the acquisitions come from winning backgrounds, adding: "We want to surround ourselves with people that have won championships on any level, because it's a frequency you learn to tune to. We're deep with selfless winners."

Former Lakers guard Ball welcomes the move to New Orleans, saying: "It's a fresh start. It's a restart. … I know the media is not like it was in LA, but I know the fans are great and come out and support [us]."

Ball added: "I'm getting back to playing the style I've been playing my whole life, I'm very comfortable in a high uptempo offense like coach Gentry has."

The Pelicans will enter this season with high expectations and playing under a microscope with Williamson on display. But Griffin wants the players to believe anything is possible.

"Look at what the NBA has become, and the way teams are built," Griffin said. "You can't dream big enough in this league. I think I want everyone's approach to this to be, 'Why not us?'"

Lonzo Ball insists his trade from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New Orleans Pelicans is "good news".

The 21-year-old guard was sent from the Lakers to the Pelicans earlier this month - along with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks - in exchange for Anthony Davis.

"You probably heard the news, it's good news in my opinion," Ball said in a video published on Facebook. 

"[Ball's younger brother] Melo had a game today, he did good... I got traded, that was good. And yeah, now we're going to be taking the show to New Orleans and turning up out there. So, until next time, ciao!"

Ball, the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, struggled with an ankle injury last season and was limited to just 47 games. He averaged 9.9 points and 5.4 assists while shooting 32.9 per cent from three-point range.

The Pelicans underwent a major roster overhaul this month. In addition to the Davis deal, they selected Zion Williamson with the top pick in the 2019 draft.

The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly landed Anthony Davis in a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.

According to ESPN, the Lakers have acquired All-Star center Davis from the Pelicans for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round NBA draft picks – including this year's fourth selection.

The Pelicans endured a season filled with speculation around Davis' future after the big man requested a trade in January.

A reported possible deal with the Lakers was not agreed before the deadline.

New Orleans executive vice-president David Griffin said he was confident of keeping Davis after the Pelicans secured the first pick in the upcoming draft.

However, Davis – who had no intention of signing a new deal with the Pelicans – is set to team up with LeBron James in Los Angeles.

The Boston Celtics were also reportedly interested in Davis but could not strike a deal with the Pelicans.

Lonzo Ball enjoyed playing with Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, describing it as a "dream come true".

James arrived from the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2018-19 season and averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists during his debut campaign in Los Angeles.

The three-time NBA champion, however, was unable to end the Lakers' playoff drought, with the 34-year-old missing the postseason for the first time since 2005.

Lakers guard Ball was asked about sharing the court with James during a news conference on Wednesday.

"It was a dream come true for me," Ball said. "Watching him my whole life, it was everything I thought it would be.

"He's not only a great basketball player but a great person. I looked at him like a big brother."

Los Angeles began the season with a 20-14 record before James suffered a strained groin on Christmas Day.

James missed the next 17 games and the team never recovered. He was eventually shut down in late March.

The Lakers also dealt with injuries to key role players, including Ball – who sprained his ankle in late January and never returned to the court.

"Obviously it's been a long process," Ball added. "It's finally starting to show some great progress, coming along. Hopefully just a few more weeks and then I can go out there."

Lakers president Magic Johnson stunningly announced he was resigning from his position on Tuesday before the team's final game of the season.

"It shocked me, like it did the rest of the world," Ball said. "It's what's best for him. I wish him the best. He drafted me, and this is better for his life. This is what he wants to do, and I'm behind him 100 per cent."

Ball finished the season averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 47 appearances. He shot 40.6 per cent from the field and 32.9 per cent from three-point range.

The Lakers originally selected Ball out of UCLA with the second pick in the 2017 draft.

Lonzo Ball remains sidelined for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 21-year-old guard will be out for at least one more week, the Lakers announced on Thursday.

Los Angeles are set to face the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns this weekend before hosting the Clippers on Monday. It will then match up with the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

Ball has not played since spraining his ankle on January 19 and was originally expected to miss four to six weeks. But, he was later diagnosed with a bone bruise, which delayed his return.

Ball is averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists this season. He is shooting 40.6 per cent from the field and 32.9 per cent from three-point range.

The Lakers entered play on Thursday three games behind the Clippers for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 30-31 record.

Lonzo Ball's father has a preference for where his son should go if he is traded by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ball is out with an ankle sprain, but has been linked in trade rumours as of late.

Los Angeles are targeting New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis and have reportedly offered multiple young players, like Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and others, in deals to acquire the star center.

LaVar Ball told ESPN he wanted the Lakers guard at the Phoenix Suns if he was traded.

"We want to be in LA. But if he's traded, I don't want Lonzo in New Orleans. Phoenix is the best fit for him. And I am going to speak it into existence," he said.

Ball is averaging 9.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 2018-19.

The Lakers are 27-26 and sit outside the playoff picture. They will face the Pacers on Tuesday in Indiana.

LeBron James is unlikely to return for the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, but Rajon Rondo could be back to help Luke Walton's depleted side.

Superstar James has missed 14 games since straining his left groin on December 25, with the Lakers going 5-9 since he and Rondo were injured.

Head coach Walton says James is making progress but does not foresee him taking to the court against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I haven't seen him do contact yet, so I don't feel as confident," Walton said after Monday's 130-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors. 

"But I know you know how serious he is about his rehab. So he's doing everything possible and we've talked. 

"I know he's dying to get back on the basketball court, but he also knows that getting healthy is the top priority. 

"So whenever that day comes, he'll be back out there."

Rondo has also missed 14 games since having surgery to repair a ligament in his right ring finger

"I think Rondo will play Thursday as long as he continues to move with no setbacks until then, but that will be something that we'll keep pushing him and we'll re-evaluate each morning," Walton added.

With Lonzo Ball also out for four to six weeks with a sprained ankle, Brandon Ingram started at point guard and had three assists but also two turnovers against the Warriors.

Speaking after the game, Ingram said he was was eager to see Rondo's impact - beyond his 8.4 points, 6.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds in only 14 of the Lakers' 48 games this season.

"It gives us a leader, a leader on the basketball floor," Ingram said of Rondo. "It puts us in our spots on the offensive end. Pushes the pace, he can score the basketball. And it just makes our team better."

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball will spend at least a month on the sidelines due to an ankle sprain.

Lonzo Ball is set for a spell on the sidelines after injuring his ankle on Saturday, yet Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton insists it will not cause him to rush back LeBron James or Rajon Rondo.

NBA referee Tom Washington conceded officials were wrong to award the Oklahoma City Thunder three free throws following Lonzo Ball's late foul after LeBron James had criticised the initial decision.

With his team winning 122-119 with less than five seconds to play, Lakers guard Ball reached in and fouled Thunder star Russell Westbrook. 

The referees ruled Westbrook was in the shooting motion, which gave him three free throws.

Westbrook made all three shots, sending the game to overtime, with the Lakers going on to win the game 138-128.

However, Washington explained afterwards that the call on Ball was wrong.

"The official called the foul because at the time he thought Russell had started his shooting motion and he was clearly behind the three-point line and there was illegal contact by Ball," he explained.

"There is not a trigger to review whether or not there is a foul prior to or on the shot.

"The trigger would be whether or not it is a three-point shot or not. And upon being able to see the review of the play, we realised that the illegal contact actually happened prior to his upward motion, so it should have been a side-out."

James had expressed his disbelief at the call on Twitter.

"So what really is 'in the shooting motion' rule?!?!?" James asked. "Asking for a friend @OfficialNBARefs."

The Los Angeles Lakers insist they will not rush LeBron James back from a groin injury after losing their first outing without him on Thursday.

James was hurt during the Lakers' Christmas Day victory over the Golden State Warriors and no timetable has been set for his return to action.

Without the four-time MVP, who saw his consecutive games streak end at 156, the team slipped to a 117-116 defeat away to the Sacramento Kings, despite leading by as many as 15 points during the fourth quarter.

Bogdan Bogdanovic sealed victory for the Kings with a three-pointer at the buzzer, leaving Lakers head coach Luke Walton to lament the absence of the "best closer" in the NBA.

"This is the first close game we've been in that he's not there," Walton said.

"If LeBron James is playing in that game it probably finishes a little differently. When you get the best closer in the game on your team, then you rely on him to do that. All that said, we made enough plays to win."

However, Walton had confirmed before the game that the Lakers are taking a cautious approach over James' comeback to the court.

The 33-year-old underwent an MRI on December 26 which confirmed a strained left groin, rather than a muscle tear.

"It's one of those things we want to make sure he's healthy before we get him back out there," Walton said.

"That could be an injury where if you come back too early you re-injure it and then you're out longer. We'll be careful and cautious when he starts playing again."

Kyle Kuzma led the way for the LeBron-less Lakers with 33 points in Sacramento, while Lonzo Ball contributed 20 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds in a losing cause.

The Sacramento Kings reigned supreme with a 117-116 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers thanks to Bogdan Bogdanovic's buzzer-beater.

In the Lakers' first game without LeBron James – who is sidelined with a groin injury – Bogdanovic stepped up for the Kings and drilled a three-pointer as time expired to seal Thursday's NBA win.

Bogdanovic came off the bench to lead all Kings players with 23 points.

Kyle Kuzma tried to fill James' shoes, logging 33 points with four assists and nine rebounds, while Lonzo Ball was just short of a triple-double following 20 points,12 assists and nine rebounds. 

 

Harden lifts Rockets

James Harden is the reigning league MVP, and he is making his case for a second campaign. The NBA star scored 45 points, marking the sixth game in a row he has scored 35 points or more as the Houston Rockets topped the Boston Celtics 127-113. Harden also made nine three-pointers, which tied his career-high.

Ben Simmons posted his fifth triple-double of the season in the Philadelphia 76ers' 114-97 victory at the Utah Jazz. The Australian finished with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists.

 

Thompson headlines Warriors' woes

Klay Thompson's slump continued as the Golden State Warriors fell to the Trail Portland Blazers 110-109 in overtime. Thompson scored just 15 points off six of 19 field goal attempts, went two-for-nine beyond the arc and went one-for-four in free throws.

 

Age just a number for Korver

Jazz veteran Kyle Korver may be 37, but he can still shoot threes like he did in his younger years. Korver sank this beauty right before the shot clock ran out at the end of the first quarter.

 

Thursday's results

Houston Rockets 127-113 Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks 112-96 New York Knicks
Sacramento Kings 117-116 Los Angeles Lakers
Portland Trail Blazers 110-109 Golden State Warriors (OT)
Philadelphia 76ers 114-97 Utah Jazz

 

Nuggets at Spurs

The Denver Nuggets will travel to the San Antonio Spurs for the two team's first matchup of the season. The surging Spurs have won seven of their last 10 games, while the Nuggets are half a game behind the Warriors in the Western Conference. Denver will be looking to shake off a tough loss against the Los Angeles Clippers, which saw Nikola Jokic ejected, while the Spurs will try to bounce back from a loss against the Rockets. It will be a clash between two Western Conference teams that look poised for the postseason.

LeBron James' move to the Los Angeles Lakers has made life "a little easier" for Lonzo Ball, according to the point guard.

The Lakers struggled during Ball’s rookie campaign but they have improved drastically since signing NBA superstar James to a four-year, $153.3million contract this off-season.

Ball discussed sharing the court with James in a recent interview with The Athletic.

"I would say it takes pressure off of me and the rest of the young guys," Ball told The Athletic. "Obviously you have LeBron, the best player in the world, all the attention is on him. A lot of the wins and losses are targeted towards him.

"I know he's dealt with that his whole career so he's fine with it. But myself, it's taken the spotlight off a little bit, just making things a little easier for me."

Ball had an up-and-down first season in the NBA after Los Angeles selected him out of UCLA with the second pick in the 2017 draft.

He was limited to 50 games because of injuries and tallied 10.2 points per appearance while shooting just 36 per cent from the floor.

"Every team I played for, I pretty much been the dude on it," Ball said. "Picked second, I was supposed to come in and impact the franchise right from the jump."

With James on the team, Ball has played more of a complimentary role this season. He is averaging nine points and 4.8 assists in 29.1 minutes per game.

"That's just how it is playing with [James]," Ball said. "Obviously if you do dumb stuff, it's going to show up like any other player, but most of it's always towards him, that's just how it is. Best player in the league, best player on our team."

Ball said he has had to adjust to playing off the ball.

"I've never really had to move without the ball my whole life as far as setting screens and cutting like that," Ball added. "So, trying to get better at that, trying to get better at catch-and-shoot.

"Growing up, a lot of my shots came off of me dribbling and shooting it. Trying to get the catch-and-shoot down and go from there."

The Lakers will face the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. They will enter that matchup with a 19-14 record.

The lowly Chicago Bulls overturned a 21-point deficit to upstage the San Antonio Spurs 98-93 in NBA action on Saturday.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and team-mate Lonzo Ball revelled in their triple-double feat, though the pair were just happy to avoid back-to-back NBA losses.

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