Just before free agency opened, whispers of the Denver Nuggets pursuing LeBron James emerged.
The truth is, James didn’t put much thought into signing with Denver, but the Nuggets did try.
James said Josh Kroenke, the vice chairman of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, whose mother technically owns the Nuggets and whose father owns the Los Angeles Rams, broached the subject with him.
“He sent those throwback jerseys, I think they’re wearing them tonight,” James said after the Lakers’ morning shoot-around Tuesday. “The white ones? With the mountains, I believe, that’s on it. Said you’d look good in one of these. But we’ve been on vacation, things of that nature, we have a great friendship. But I didn’t give it much thought.”
James met with Magic Johnson, Lakers president of basketball operations, as soon as league rules allowed at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on June 30. He agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers in the evening on July 1.
When Lakers coach Luke Walton was a player, then-Lakers coach Phil Jackson would let Walton sit in on coaching meetings while he was sidelined with an injury.
Walton is taking the same approach with Rajon Rondo now that he’s a coach.
“He talks a lot more than I talked, though,” Walton said.
Rondo has been invited to many of the Lakers’ coaching staff meetings, and he sometimes takes them up on that invitation. He has expressed in the past the desire to become a coach one day, and does some coaching on the floor during games.
Soon, though, Rondo will be playing again, leaving less time to delve into coaching. After attending the coaches’ meeting Tuesday morning, Rondo went through all of the shoot-around, with the Lakers being careful to watch the contact he takes. He has so far been cleared for non-contact practices.
Rondo had surgery to repair a broken third metacarpal in his right hand on Nov. 15. The Lakers originally announced a timetable of four to five weeks for his return.
Hart pushes through
Is Josh Hart always honest with the Lakers’ training staff about his level of pain?
Hart laughed when asked that Tuesday morning.
“Yeah I’m always honest,” Hart said, grinning. “I’m 100% honest all the time.”
Hart has not missed a game since spraining a tendon in his right ankle Wednesday in Cleveland. He even returned to the game after sustaining the injury. Hart will wake up in the mornings and his ankle will feel stiff, but as the day progresses it tends to feel better.
“Definitely was talk of skipping the first” game after the injury, Hart said. “That’s when I felt the most sore, the most aggravated. I tried to play through that one but I just wasn’t moving like normally and Luke saw that and kind of helped me out at the end of the third, fourth quarter. I wanted to play, I told him I was good and then last game it felt better. Today I’m ready to if my name’s called.”
Hart played 14 minutes and 29 seconds against the Utah Jazz on Friday, in the next game after he was injured. He played 15 minutes against the Orlando Magic on Sunday afternoon.
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli