Lakers’ Brandon Ingram listed as probable to play vs. Thunder on Sunday

Lakers' Brandon Ingram watches a free throw during a preseason game against the Kings at Honda Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (Photo by Kyusung Gong, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Lakers’ Brandon Ingram watches a free throw during a preseason game against the Kings at Honda Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (Photo by Kyusung Gong, Orange County Register/SCNG)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The smile on Brandon Ingram’s face told the whole story. After completing a full-contact scrimmage on Saturday, the Lakers’ rookie forward sat by the scorer’s table chatting with Lakers coach Luke Walton and head athletic trainer Marco Nunez.

Moments later, both Walton and Ingram said he plans to play when the Lakers (1-1) visit the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-0) on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena so long as he does not experience any setbacks in his sore right knee. The Lakers later diagnosed Ingram with knee tendinitis after an MRI revealed no structural damage, therefore listing him as probable for Sunday’s game.

“As far as my understanding, I’ll come back to shoot around tomorrow and see how I feel after that,” Ingram said. “If I feel good to play, I’ll play.”

Ingram did not feel good to play for most of Friday’s loss in Utah. After asking out of the game early in the first quarter, Ingram received clearance from doctors to reenter the game early in the second. Ingram only lasted a total of four minutes before the Lakers decided to sit him out in the second half.

Yet, Ingram felt good to complete all of Saturday’s practice without feeling any additional soreness. He also provided a positive report on his ability to run up and down the court and make hard cuts.

“If the trainers and doctors tell you he’s fine, you’ll play him,” Walton said. “When he’s out there and limping around, it goes back on me to take him oiut of the game. If he’s cleared, there’sno reason to hold him out.”

The Lakers no longer plan to hold out backup guard Jose Calderon, who will is expected to return for Sunday’s game against the Thunder after missing the previous two contests because of a slight strain in his left calf. Despite participating in Thursday’s practice and Friday’s morning shootaround, the Lakers wanted to keep Calderon out until he completed a full-contact practice.

Walton said he will stay flexible on Calderon’s workload depending on what happens in the game, though he added he won’t play 30 minutes.

“I don’t expect to play a 1,000 minutes,” Calderon joked. “Whatever he needs. We’ve been practicing long and hard. I’m ready for whatever it takes. Whatever he needs, I’ll be ready to do what I need to do out there and help out the team.”

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Lakers’ Luke Walton upset with officiating in 96-89 loss to Utah Jazz

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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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Lakers’ Luke Walton upset with officiating in 96-89 loss to Utah Jazz

Lakers coach Luke Walton reacts to a call during the second half of his team's 96-89 loss to the Jazz on Friday night in Salt Lake City. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Lakers coach Luke Walton reacts to a call during the second half of his team’s 96-89 loss to the Jazz on Friday night in Salt Lake City. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

SALT LAKE CITY — The man in charge has stayed patient as he has explained concepts to a young group that still needs time to fully grasp them. He has displayed his appealing personality by treating everyone as equals, empowering his players with positive reinforcement and offering good-natured teasing.

But for all the approaches Luke Walton’s upbringing and coaching style has mirrored Phil Jackson with his calm approach, Walton has emulated one of his mentors in another way. Walton did not hesitate in offering honest critiquing toward the officiating in the Lakers’ 96-89 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

First, Walton narrowed in on the Lakers committing 29 fouls that resulted in the Jazz going 28-of-40 from the free-throw line. Walton has decried the Lakers’ high foul volume in training camp, but Walton’s frustration pointed more toward the men in the black and white shirts than his players still learning defensive concepts.

“They shot 40 free throws, which is ridiculous to me,” Walton said. “But that’s kind of what happens when you play here in Utah.”

Walton then questioned why officials retroactively discounted a Jordan Clarkson 3-pointer in the third quarter after a review of the play showed he stepped out of bounds.

“I have to look on the rules on that. That made no sense to me,” Walton said. “If that’s the case, you should just review entire the game all day long. Anytime you miss something, keep coming back and take stuff away. That doesn’t make any sense to me.”
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Lakers’ Brandon Ingram expresses confidence knee injury isn’t serious

Brandon Ingram, 14, at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

Brandon Ingram, 14, at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

SALT LAKE CITY — The ice stayed wrapped around Brandon Ingram’s right knee as he sat by his locker. He had felt enough soreness in his right knee that he sat in the second half of the Lakers’ 96-89 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday at Vivint Smart Home Arena, initially prompting some concern on if the Lakers’ No. 2 pick would face challenges more serious than typical rookie hiccups.

But then Ingram stood up and offered various tidbits that should ease the Lakers. Doctors told him he does not need to take any medical tests. Ingram plans to practice on Saturday, and he “absolutely” felt confident he could play in Sunday’s game in Oklahoma City.

“It’s nothing too serious,” Ingram said. “It’s just a little tendinitis; nothing serious.”
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NBA experts share intrigue & uncertainty surrounding Lakers’ 2016-17 season

Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton, left, talks with guard D'Angelo Russell during the second half of the team's NBA preseason basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton, left, talks with guard D’Angelo Russell during the second half of the team’s NBA preseason basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

So many interesting storylines and question marks surround the Lakers for the 2016-17 season. Sure, the Lakers (1-0) enter Friday’s game against the Utah Jazz (0-1) at Vivnt Smart Home Arena only two days removed from a commanding win over Houston in the season opener. But as Lakers forward Julius Randle said, “it’s just one game; it’s not the dang Super Bowl.”

So as the Lakers’ journey begins, a few NBA experts chimed in about what makes them both encouraged and uncertain about the Lakers’ future.

What can the Lakers accomplish this season??

Reggie Miller, TNT analyst: “It’s building toward the future. Obviously it was the Kobe Bryant farewell show a season ago. I think a lot of times D’Angelo [Russell], Julius and Jordan [Clarkson] got caught up being spectators. It’s a fresh start. Luke Walton is coming in with a totally new system … “The Lakers need to win. If this young core can continue to get better, that will help with recruiting the free agents of the future to come to LA to try to bring this franchise back to prominence … They’ll take their lumps. I don’t see them anywhere near the Western Confernece playoffs. Btu they’ll be much better at home than they are on the road. That’s how most young teams are.”

Grant Hill, NBA TV/TNT analyst: “The playoffs, I don’t see that as a possibility. Crazy things have and will happen. But I like that young core …You hope they are better and playing with more confidence the last third of the season. It doesn’t necessarily translate into wins. But it’s more about these guys developing and becoming better players and using this year as a chance to get better.”

Kevin McHale, TNT analyst:
“Luke’s biggest challenge is going to be on the defensive end with those guys. I watched the exhibition games. They’re not tied together. But they’re young kids. They don’t understand how to shrink the paint and how to get out and cover for each other … Luke will have some gray hair at the end of this year. I can’t wait to run into Luke and talk to him. He’ll do a great job with that team.”

Anonymous NBA executive:“They’re not going to win a lot of games. They have to be self aware enough that no matter what lineups you put on the floor, they’re not a playoff team. They’re good for 25 to 30 wins … Luke will play a style they’ll enjoy and he’ll relate to the other players well. Luke has the luxury of not having to manage the whole Kobe situation and he can play who he wants to play. It’s a great situation for Luke. No one is expecting much from the Lakers this season so he can get on-the-job training.”


Anonymous NBA assistant coach:
“They’re going to be a better team obviously than last year. But like anything in the NBA, it takes good teams time to gel. I think it’s like cooking a dinner. If you could bake it in 15 minutes or 10 minutes, it won’t be that good of a dinner. That’s why the best meals are on Christmas and Thanksgiving. It takes lots of preparation.”

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Gary Payton puts Lakers’ leadership role on D’Angelo Russell

Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton says D'Angelo Russell needs to the Lakers' leader. Photo courtesy of Dew NBA 3X

Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton says D’Angelo Russell needs to the Lakers’ leader. Photo courtesy of Dew NBA 3X

The brash confidence represented a key part of Gary Payton’s personality. It also partly explained how the Hall of Famer became a defensive specialist, landed nine NBA All-Star appearances and won one NBA championship.

So it hardly sounded surprising to hear Payton’s blunt take on the Lakers heading into Wednesday’s season opener against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. After rattling off second-year guard D’Angelo Russell, third-year forward Julius Randle and rookie forward Brandon Ingram as the team’s “core,” Payton quickly zeroed in on who should become the Lakers’ leader.

“The one that has to do it is D’Angelo,” said Payton, an NBA analyst for Fox Sports 1. “He’s the point guard. He has to step up and get everybody else better. They can if they work hard enough.”

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Lakers’ young core shows off fashion taste in GQ photo shoot

Photo courtesy of GQ

Photo courtesy of GQ

The memory brought smiles to their faces at a time when the Lakers’ young core has plenty of reasons to feel happy.

The Lakers open the 2016-17 season on Wednesday against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center with Kobe Bryant no longer the face of the franchise. Instead, the spotlight will shine on the team’s young players that include second-year guard D’Angelo Russell, rookie forward Brandon Ingram, third-year forward Julius Randle and third-year guard Jordan Clarkson.

So it only seemed natural that all four players also appeared in a GQ photo shoot both to show off their new identity and display their fashion sense. An interesting story came out of that experience.

“It’s funny. I wasn’t even there,” Randle said. “They went the day before me and I had to come the day after. It looks like we’re all together. But we really weren’t. But it was a fun experience.”
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Lakers’ Luke Walton “shocked” Thomas Robinson has not stayed long with a team

Thomas Robinson at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

Thomas Robinson at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

Of all the things that initially consumed himself with his first head-coaching job, Luke Walton did not think for one second about Thomas Robinson.

Walton had other things to worry about, in no particular order. How can he adjust as an assistant coach to a head coach? How will he implement Golden State’s culture with the Lakers given the talent and experience disparity between the two franchises? How much can Walton elevate D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr? How much can Walton revamp the Lakers’ poorly-ranked defense?

Once informal workouts started this past summer, though, Walton soon began thinking about Robinson. Every day at the Lakers’ practice facility, Robinson would arrive and perform two feats. He always exerted maximum effort. His teams usually won the scrimmages. So, Walton talked to the Lakers’ front office and both agreed about inviting Robinson for training camp.

But with the former No. 5 overall draft pick hardly lasting long in Sacramento (2012-13), Houston (2012-13), Portland (2013-15), Philadelphia (2014-15) and Brooklyn (2015-16), Walton stayed alert for any warning signs. He never saw them. All of which left Walton “shocked” Robinson has not lasted long with any of his previous five NBA teams in the past four years.

“You assume once you get to a more structured setting, you’d see some reasons why he hasn’t stuck,” Walton said. “Bur he was great.”

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Lakers’ Metta World Peace attributes longevity to lifestyle habits

Metta World Peace at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

Metta World Peace at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

The talent seemed too good to pass up. Ron Artest locked down scorers, bulldozed defenders and made opponents fear his mere presence. But then concerns emerged about his anger, his partying and his focus.

The talent seemed too diminished. Metta World Peace struggled to score, defend and run as efficiently as he once did. But then encouraging signs emerged with his unyielding work ethic, strong conditioning and valuable wisdom to teammates.

World Peace became a changed man well before he legally changed his name nearly five years ago. He had already played a large part in winning his lone NBA title with the Lakers in 2010. He had already seen a sports psychologist to handle his anger that infamously contributed to his role in the Palace Brawl in 2004 that drew an 86-game suspension. He had already used his large platform to help various mental health charities.

But the end of World Peace’s career has represented an interesting contrast to the beginning of Artest’s career. Teams absorbed concerns about Artest’s behavior because of his superior talent. For the second consecutive year as World Peace nears closer toward retirement, the Lakers retained him on a non-guaranteed contract by willingly absorbing his diminished play because of his superior conditioning and leadership, two qualities that could significantly shape the team’s young roster.

“At the end of my career, I feel at the beginning,” World Peace said after practice on Monday at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “I have a personal goal of trying to reach 20 years. In order to reach those goals, I have to take care of my body.”
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Lakers waive Anthony Brown, retain Thomas Robinson & Metta World Peace

The Lakers formally waived second-year forward Anthony Brown. (Photo by Kyusung Gong, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The Lakers formally waived second-year forward Anthony Brown. (Photo by Kyusung Gong, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Even as they attempt to rebuild their organization with a young core, the Lakers have trimmed their roster by parting ways with one of those young players.

The Lakers have waived second-year forward and former Ocean View High School product Anthony Brown. That move, coincided with Yi Jianlian’s requested release, paves the way for both 16-year NBA veteran Metta World Peace and four-year NBA pro Thomas Robinson to make the team on non-guaranteed deals.

The Lakers have a 15-man roster and do not plan on making any more cuts entering their season opener against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday at Staples Center.

Despite averaging only 3.16 points on a 46.6 percent clip in only 8.3 minutes per contest through six preseason appearances, Brown’s departure was somewhat surprising. The Lakers were expected to narrow their choices between keeping an established veteran (World Peace) or a young forward (Robinson). But some on the Lakers had become concerned on whether Brown would ever become a dependable outside shooter after selecting him 34th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Brown averaged only four points on 31 percent shooting in 20.7 minutes his rookie season, and was not expected to play significant minutes behind Luol Deng, Brandon Ingram and Nick Young. That marked a far cry from when Brown shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range his last two seasons at Stanford. Brown was in the last year of a guaranteed contract worth $2 million.
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Lakers plan to waive Yi Jianlian

#11 Yi Jianlian at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

#11 Yi Jianlian at LA Lakers Media Day at their El Segundo training facility. Photos by Brad Graverson/SCNG/The Daily Breeze/09-26-16

The Lakers plan to waive Chinese center Yi Jianlian on Monday, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

The Lakers had signed Yi to a non-guaranteed contract at the veteran’s minimum, including incentives that could have made the deal worth as much as $8 million. But after hoping Yi could provide some outside shooting at the backup center spot, Yi averaged only 3.6 points on a 36.8 percent clip in 12.2 minutes through five exhibition games. Yi also shot only 16.7 percent from 3-point range.

Yi had met with the Lakers on Sunday and asked for his release, according to a league source. The Lakers still have to trim their 16-man roster down to 15 by 2 p.m. PT on Monday. Yi’s departure likely narrows the remaining candidates between forwards Metta World Peace and Thomas Robinson.

The Lakers had pursued Yi for the past two years while he played with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in his native China. It is not immediately clear if Yi hopes to land with another NBA team or return to China.

Yi previously played in the NBA in Milwaukee (2007-08), New Jersey (2008-10), Washington (2010-11) and Dallas (2011-12). After the Bucks selected him sixth overall in 2007, Yi averaged 7.9 points on a 40.4 percent clip.

ESPN first reported the news about the Lakers’ plans to waive Yi.

RELATED:

Lakers’ Anthony Brown finds encouragement in Coach Luke Walton’s words

Lakers’ Luke Walton will likely change lineups throughout season

Suns coach Earl Watson raves about Lakers’ Luke Walton, younger generation

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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