Lakers addressed Larry Nance Jr’s tweet in 2012 about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault charge

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant didn’t practice Tuesday in Phoenix and may not play in today’s game in New Orleans to preserve his 36-year-old body. Hans Gutknecht ‑ Staff Photographer

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant didn’t practice Tuesday in Phoenix and may not play in today’s game in New Orleans to preserve his 36-year-old body. Hans Gutknecht ‑ Staff Photographer

It seemed inevitable Kobe Bryant would treat Larry Nance Jr. harshly on the first day of training camp, a rite of passage every rookie experiences with the Lakers’ star as a way to measure his mental toughness.

After the Lakers selected Nance Jr. with the 27th pick out of the 2015 NBA Draft, his adjustment may go beyond seeing if he can establish a niche at the power forward position after excelling through four seasons at the University of Wyoming. In 2012, Nance Jr. made light of Bryant’s sexual assault case in Eagle, Colo. in 2003, charges that have since been dropped.

“Gee, I sure hope Kobe can keep his hands to himself in Denver this time,” Nance Jr. tweeted before adding the hashtag ‘rapist.’

Most Lakers media members were not immediately aware of his tweet, and Nance Jr. was not asked about it. But the tweet then became viral and the Lakers soon caught wind of it. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said he and team spokesman John Black addressed Nance Jr. about his tweet, which has since been deleted.

“I’m not in a position to really share information,” Kupchak said after the NBA Draft on Thursday. “But it is something that they will have to discuss amongst the two of them. It’s my understanding that it’s something that happened a few years ago. And in today’s world, things don’t go away, which doesn’t make it any less offensive.”

The Lakers went through a pretty exhaustive evaluation process during the NBA draft, which included hosting workouts for 83 prospects to consider for their No. 2, 27 and 34th picks. For Nance Jr., that also included Kupchak talking to numerous coaches and assistant coaches he knows about at the University of Wyoming and the college ranks. Accounts painted Nance Jr. in a positive light surrounding his hustle and attitude, but Kupchak said he wasn’t aware of the tweet about Bryant since after the draft.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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NBA Draft: Lakers select Larry Nance Jr. with 27th pick

The Lakers selected Wyoming senior power forward Larry Nance. Jr with the 27th pick of the 2015 NBA draft, a move that went against most mock-draft selections that pegged him as a second-round pick.

Nance Jr. averaged 11.3 points on 52.1 percent shooting, 6.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game with the Cowboys. His father, who goes carries the same name as Larry Nance, enjoyed a 13-year NBA career with the Phoenix Suns (1981-88) and Cleveland Cavaliers (1988-1994). During that stretch, Nance became an athletic power forward that scored 15,687 career points, grabbed 7,352 career rebounds and won the 1984 NBA Dunk contest.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Will Kings accommodate DeMarcus Cousins’ hope to be traded to the Lakers?

Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins is at the center of trade rumors leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft, with some speculating the Lakers could be shopping their No. 2 pick for the Kings’ talented big man. (Rich Pedroncelli/The Associated Press)

Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins is at the center of trade rumors leading up to Thursday’s NBA Draft, with some speculating the Lakers could be shopping their No. 2 pick for the Kings’ talented big man. (Rich Pedroncelli/The Associated Press)

The Lakers’ rebuilding process may involve acquiring an All-Star center instead of drafting a promising prospect.

Amid Sacramento Kings coach George Karl leading a campaign for the franchise to trade him, DeMarcus Cousins wants the team to send him in a deal to the Lakers, according to a league source familiar with his thinking.

Though the Kings will listen to offers, they are still holding out hope in retaining him, according to an NBA source familiar with Sacramento’s thinking.
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DeMarcus Cousins open about possibly going to the Lakers

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, right, protects the ball from Milwaukee Bucks center Zaza Pachulia, of Georgia, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, March 23, 2014. The Kings won 124-107. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, right, protects the ball from Milwaukee Bucks center Zaza Pachulia, of Georgia, during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, March 23, 2014. The Kings won 124-107. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

So many complicating variables hinge on whether Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins would wind up in a Lakers uniform.

But consider at least one significant party interested.

“DeMarcus would not be unhappy if he got moved to the Lakers,” said a league source familiar with Cousins’ thinking.

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NBA Draft: Michael Frazier says he’s “the best shooter in the draft”

The uncertainties loom on where his draft order ends up. But whether Michael Frazier lands in the second round or climbs up to first, the Florida junior shooting guard made one unsolicited promise to any NBA team considering him.

“I’m the best shooter in this draft,” Frazier said last week after working out with the Lakers at their practice facility in El Segundo. “Whoever takes me is the best shooter in the draft. I’ve shown that in the past few years of my career. So the numbers speak for itself.”
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NBA Draft: Larry Nance Jr. models game after his dad

His pre-draft workout just ended with the Lakers, and Wyoming senior forward Larry Nance Jr. already sensed his dad would soon feel concerned on how it all went.

“I’m sure I have four missed calls already asking, ‘How did your workout go?'” Nance Jr. said after working out with the Lakers on Friday at their practice facility in El Segundo. “He’s a dad worried about his kid.”

But Nance Jr. is no ordinary dad.

His father, who goes carries the same name as Larry Nance, enjoyed a 13-year NBA career with the Phoenix Suns (1981-88) and Cleveland Cavaliers (1988-1994). During that stretch, Nance became an athletic power forward that scored 15,687 career points, grabbed 7,352 career rebounds and won the 1984 NBA Dunk contest.

Hence, it hardly sounds surprising who Nance Jr. modeled his game after through four seasons at Wyoming where he averaged 11.3 points on 52.1 percent shooting, 6.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

“The obvious answer would be Dad,” Nance Jr. said. “I definitely stole a few of his moves watching some black and white VHS tapes. But he’s definitely someone I would like to be like.”

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NBA Draft: Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison believes “sky is the limit” for Karl-Anthony Towns

The Lakers would love to bring in Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns for a workout, both to see if his play matches the hype and if he unexpectedly becomes available with the No. 2 pick in next weeks’ NBA Draft.

But the Lakers have not made any progress on that front presumably because the Minnesota Timberwolves will select Towns with their No. 1 pick. That left the Lakers perhaps resorting to gathering information on Towns from a supportive teammate.

“He’s a consistent post player,” Kentucky sophomore point guard Andrew Harrison said of Towns after working out with the Lakers on Friday at their practice facility in El Segundo. “He can do what he wants on the court. IF he’s focused and stays humble, the sky is the limit for him.”

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NBA Draft: Jahlil Okafor has second workout with Lakers

Six-foot-11 freshman center Jahlil Okafor helped lead Duke to the NCAA national championship earlier this year. Streeter Lecka — Getty Images

Six-foot-11 freshman center Jahlil Okafor helped lead Duke to the NCAA national championship earlier this year. Streeter Lecka — Getty Images

In less than a week, the Lakers will embark on an NBA draft that could significantly influence the pace of their massive rebuilding project. So with six days remaining before that date on June 25, the Lakers have scheduled numerous workouts in hopes for more clarity involving their No. 2, 27 and 34th picks.

The Lakers will host a private workout for Duke center Jahlil Okafor on Friday afternoon at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, marking the second individual workout Okafor has had wearing a purple and gold practice jersey. The Lakers also plan to host a private workout on Saturday both for Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell and for prospects that might be available at the No. 27 and 34th draft slots. The Lakers will then have private workouts next Monday and Wednesday just for prospects they would consider with the 27th and 34h picks.

The Lakers also held a second workout on Thursday for point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, though his session entailed training with prospects slated for the second round. On Monday, the Lakers invited Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis for an individual workout after seeing him train last weekend in Las Vegas.

The Lakers have also become increasingly doubtful they will have a workout for Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns. The Lakers believe their lack of progress with those efforts stem from most NBA mock drafts predicting the Minnesota Timberwolves will select with their No. 1 pick. But the Lakers will accommodate their workout schedule should Towns and his representatives express interest in a workout.

On Friday morning, the Lakers also hosted a workout for Kentucky sophomore point guard Andrew Harrison, Louisville sophomore point guard Terry Rozier, St. John’s senior guard/forward Sir’Dominic Pointer, Florida junior shooting guard Michael Frazier, Wyoming senior power forward Larry Nance and Georgia senior forward Marcus Thornton.

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Should Lakers go big or small in the NBA Draft?

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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NBA Draft: Emmanuel Mudiay has second workout with Lakers

File photo: NBA draft prospect Emmanuel Mudaiy, who played professionally in China last year, worked out for the Lakers twice. (Getty Images/File photo)

File photo: NBA draft prospect Emmanuel Mudaiy, who played professionally in China last year, worked out for the Lakers twice. (Getty Images/File photo)

The Lakers have continuously narrowed their search on who they will consider for their No. 2 pick for the NBA Draft on June 25.

That has entailed working to bring back prospects for a second look. The Lakers made progress on that front on Thursday by hosting point guard Emmanuel Mudiay for his second pre-draft workout at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. The Lakers hope to do the same with Duke center Jahlil Okafor and Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell. Mudiay’s individual workout was not open to the media, and the Lakers will follow the same course presuming Okafor and Russell work out again. The Lakers will have open workouts, however, for prospects they will consider with their 27th and 34th picks on Friday.

The Lakers also hosted a private workout on Monday for Kristaps Porzingis and are hoping for a workout for Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns. But that might not happen since Minnesota is expected to select Towns with the No. 1 pick.

Mudiay has worked out plenty recently in Los Angeles in which he has offered both glimpses of his athleticism and speed and uncertainty regarding his shooting. Mudiay appeared streaky with his outside shooting both in an individual workout with the Lakers on June 6 and a private workout at an athletic club in Reseda on June 11. But in his private workout open to members of his agency, Rival Sports Group, and a handful of reporters, Mudiay showed more of his speed, dunking and athleticism that has intrigued NBA talent evaluators. Mudiay has also worked out with the New York Knicks, Philadephia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
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