Lakers News: Latest on LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Trevor Ariza, More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIOctober 7, 2021

Lakers News: Latest on LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Trevor Ariza, More

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers played their second game of the NBA preseason on Wednesday night, losing 117-105 in a road matchup against the Phoenix Suns. Now, there are only three games remaining on the preseason slate before the Lakers head into regular-season action.

    Considering LeBron James and Russell Westbrook haven't played in a game yet, we still haven't seen what Los Angeles will actually look like when the regular season gets underway. But we have gotten to see some of the Lakers' offseason acquisitions take the court in purple and gold for the first time.

    Los Angeles' next preseason matchup comes Friday when it goes on the road to face the Golden State Warriors. It will be another tune-up for the 2021-22 regular-season opener, which is set for Oct. 19 against the Warriors at Staples Center.

    Here's some of the top news coming out of the Lakers' latest preseason contest.

Lakers Still Waiting for LeBron, Westbrook to Take Court

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    James and Westbrook have yet to play in a preseason game, but they're going to get some court time before the regular season arrives in a little less than two weeks. On Wednesday, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters that James and Westbrook will each play in "at least two" preseason contests.

    After Los Angeles faces Golden State on Friday, it will host the Suns on Sunday, host the Warriors on Tuesday and go on the road to face the Sacramento Kings next Thursday. However, it hasn't yet been decided which games James and Westbrook will be playing in, according to Vogel.

    Whenever Westbrook gets into preseason action, it will be the first time he plays a game in a Lakers uniform. It will be interesting to see how Los Angeles' offense operates with him, James and Anthony Davis all on the court at the same time, along with some of the other veteran scoring options on the Lakers' roster.

    It isn't surprising that James and Westbrook haven't taken the court yet, as they're both veteran players with plenty of NBA experience. But it will be exciting nonetheless to see them in action once they eventually do at some point over the next week.

Ariza to Miss About 8 Weeks Following Ankle Surgery

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The Lakers brought in a bunch of veteran role players to fill out their roster during the offseason. However, one of them won't be ready to go when the season tips off later this month.

    On Wednesday, the team announced that forward Trevor Ariza underwent an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his right ankle. Although the 36-year-old is expected to make a full recovery, he won't be re-evaluated by team doctors until about eight weeks from now, which is when the Lakers will provide another update.

    Ariza signed a one-year, $2.6 million deal with Los Angeles in August. This is his second stint with the Lakers, as he played two seasons with the team from 2007-09. He's played for 10 different teams over his 17-year NBA career, and he spent the 2020-21 campaign with the Miami Heat.

    Once Ariza is healthy, he should be a valuable role player off the Lakers' bench. Until then, Los Angeles will have to rely on some of the other veterans it signed during free agency, as it will prove how valuable its depth is over the first two months of the season.

Carmelo, AD Take Court Together for First Time

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Carmelo Anthony is playing with a bunch of new players in Los Angeles. The 37-year-old forward is entering his 19th NBA season, but this will be his first with the Lakers, and he won't be too familiar with many of his new teammates.

    Among them is Davis, who is heading into his third season in Los Angeles and will be looking to win his second NBA title with the Lakers. On Wednesday night, Anthony and Davis played together for the first time. Anthony had eight points and two rebounds in 17 minutes, while Davis had 14 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes.

    But there's going to be a learning process for Anthony and Davis when they're on the court at the same time, as there often is between new teammates.

    "There was a little hesitation from both of us," Davis said, per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. "We’ve never played with each other before, so we’re trying to figure that out. But we’re constantly talking to each other, got the bench talking to us. The more we communicate what we want to do, the easier it’ll be as the season progresses."

    Anthony may no longer be in his prime, but he could still provide valuable minutes for the Lakers this season. And now that he's played alongside Davis, he'll still have to team up with James for the first time in Los Angeles.