Summer League typically belongs to the Lakers. This year, the Lakers didn’t have any marquee players, but they managed some highlights anyway.
For the first time since Anthony Davis secured a trade to the Lakers, he and LeBron James appeared together publicly. It happened during the first quarter of the New Orleans Pelicans’ game against the New York Knicks, the night’s marquee contest.
James arrived for the previous contest to watch the Lakers play. He stayed throughout their 96-76 loss to the Chicago Bulls. But he didn’t leave right away when their game ended. A noticeable buzz began rising through the arena for a game that pitted No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, with the Pelicans, against Knicks draft pick RJ Barrett, who was selected third overall. The two were teammates at Duke.
Pelicans guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart arrived between games, heading straight to James to say hello to their former teammate. They each greeted each other with hugs. Three weeks ago, they had been traded to the Pelicans for star forward Davis.
Davis arrived not long after the Pelicans-Knicks game began. He sat between James and their agent, Rich Paul, who helped facilitate his trade to the Lakers. When the arena scoreboard showed James and Davis together, the arena erupted. Even when the Lakers weren’t the main attraction, they managed some highlights.
Still, the product on the court drew the most attention when Williamson and Barrett were involved. Fans delighted in Williamson’s dunks and the star power they got to see before them.
“It reminds me of the buzz for us last year,” Lakers summer league coach Miles Simon said. “The last few years. Especially two years ago when we had Lonzo, Kuz, J Hart, BI was playing. And then last year we come back as the defending champs and we had just got LeBron so the buzz was crazy for the Lakers. Now obviously Zion, RJ Barrett are two studs and they’re going to be great players in our league moving forward.”
Williamson sat out the second half because of a knee-to-knee injury.
Lakers second-round pick Talen Horton-Tucker will not participate in Las Vegas Summer League after the Lakers re-evaluated Horton-Tucker’s stress reaction in his right foot Friday.
The Lakers knew about Horton-Tucker’s issue when they drafted him. Initially he was ruled out only of the Lakers’ summer league games in Sacramento.
“He’s been great just wanting to learn the offense, learn what to do defensively,” Simon said. “We’ve had coaches showing him film. He has stayed heavily involved in really just trying to absorb as much as he can [while] not being able to participate in anything.”
Walton files answer to lawsuit
Former Lakers coach Luke Walton filed an answer to a lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted former Spectrum SportsNet host Kelli Tennant. According to court records, his answer denied all of Tennant’s allegations, including the description of the incident and the date it occurred. Walton said Tennant was now bringing forth this suit to gain money and publicity.
The document describes the encounter as completely platonic” and “did not involve any raised voices or grabbing/groping/restraining of her arms hands or her person.”
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