Nets ignore Jeanie Buss’ fierce message to the Lakers

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Nets ignore Jeanie Buss' fierce message to the Lakers


If the Lakers want to be crowned favorites too early for the NBA title, the Nets are happy to oblige.

After seeing the Nets add James Harden via trade in January and, more recently, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge out of the buyout market, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has taken a message from coast to coast. : bring it.

“It brings out the best in us,” Buss said Monday on “Stephen A’s World” on ESPN +. “When teams identify us as the team to beat and prepare to face us, it forces us to work harder. Then do it.

Nets coach Steve Nash, who played the last two seasons of his Hall of Fame career for the Lakers before retiring in 2015, hasn’t really thrown a glove back.

“It’s a great team, a great franchise, defending champions,” said Nash. “So they’re the team to beat.”

Aldridge admitted to listening to the pitches of other unspecified teams – the Lakers were in the mix but the Heat were considered first, according to Yahoo – before choosing the Nets. When asked directly if his arrival at a team that now has 41 career All-Star appearances on the roster was a message that he thinks it gives him the best chance of winning a ring, Aldridge sidestepped expectations of the championship.

Lakers
Jeanie Buss
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But are the Nets the baddies in the NBA, like other super-teams have been?

“I’m none of that stuff,” Aldridge said. “If you’ve followed me through my career, I don’t really read newspaper clippings and stuff like that. I had no idea. Right here to play basketball. I’m older so this is the opportunity to be part of a winning team and bring things that I think can help – and that’s it.

The Nets have beaten the Lakers once and the two teams face off again on April 10 in Brooklyn. But even that game might not be a true yardstick if stopers Kevin Durant (hamstrings) and LeBron James (ankle) aren’t back by then. Kyrie Irving has been in and out of the Nets roster and Anthony Davis has not played for the Lakers since February 14.

“I don’t think we’re doing anything to pick a team,” Nash said. “We’re just trying to improve every day, internally and with our player staff. They [Lakers] have been fantastic.

The Lakers appeared to check the Nets in the arms race when they signed Andre Drummond this week. Griffin, Aldridge and Drummond are the three biggest names who have had their contracts bought out by their old teams and become free agents available to contenders.

The Lakers appeared to check the Nets in the arms race when they signed Andre Drummond this week. Griffin, Aldridge and Drummond are the three biggest names who have had their contracts bought out by their old teams and become free agents available to contenders.

In addition to playing without Davis and James, the Lakers were without Marc Gasol for a time and then kept him on a minute restriction due to COVID-19.

“What’s important is that they come back healthy – 100 percent healthy – before they come back,” Buss said, “so they stay healthy for the playoffs. ”

The irony is that neither the Nets (32-15) nor the Lakers (30-17) are in line for a No.1 seed in the playoffs. The 76ers entered Wednesday with a half game lead in the East and the Lakers are fourth in the tightly packed West, edging the Jazz by 5.5 games.

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