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Nets shrug off Jeanie Buss’ fierce Lakers message

If the Lakers wish to be topped the too-early favorites for the NBA title, the Nets are pleased to oblige.

After watching the Nets add James Harden through commerce in January and, extra not too long ago, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge off the buyout market, Lakers proprietor Jeanie Buss had a message heard coast-to-coast: Bring it on.

“It brings out the best in us,” Buss stated Monday on “Stephen A’s World” on ESPN+. “When teams identify us as the team to beat and they gear up to go at us head-to-head, that makes us work harder. So, bring it on.”

Nets coach Steve Nash, who performed the ultimate two seasons of his Hall of Fame career for the Lakers earlier than retiring in 2015, didn’t precisely throw down a gauntlet in return.

“They are a great team, great franchise, defending champs,” Nash stated. “So, they are the team to beat.”

Aldridge acknowledged he listened to pitches from different unspecified groups — the Lakers had been within the combine however the Heat had been thought of the front-runners, based on Yahoo — earlier than selecting the Nets. Asked immediately if his becoming a member of a workforce that now has 41 career All-Star appearances on the roster was a message that he thinks it offers him the most effective likelihood to win a hoop, Aldridge side-stepped championship expectations.

Lakers
Jeanie Buss
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But are the Nets the NBA’s villains, as different super-teams have been?

“I don’t follow any of that stuff,” Aldridge stated. “If you’ve followed me during my career I don’t really read clippings and all those types of things. I had no clue about it. Just here to play basketball. I’m older, so it’s an opportunity to be on a winning team and bring some things that I think can help — and that’s all it is.”

The Nets beat the Lakers as soon as and the 2 groups sq. off once more April 10 in Brooklyn. But even that recreation won’t be a real measuring stick if show-stoppers Kevin Durant (hamstring) and LeBron James (ankle) are usually not again by then. Kyrie Irving has been out and in of the Nets’ lineup and Anthony Davis hasn’t performed for the Lakers since Feb. 14.

“I don’t think we do anything necessarily picking out a team,” Nash stated. “We just try to improve every day, in-house and with our player personnel. They [Lakers] have been fantastic.”

The Lakers appeared to examine the Nets within the arms race after they signed Andre Drummond this week. Griffin, Aldridge and Drummond are the three largest names who had their contracts purchased out by their former groups and have become free brokers out there to contenders.

The Lakers appeared to examine the Nets within the arms race after they signed Andre Drummond this week. Griffin, Aldridge and Drummond are the three largest names who had their contracts purchased out by their former groups and have become free brokers out there to contenders.

In addition to taking part in with out Davis and James, the Lakers had been with out Marc Gasol for a stretch after which stored him on a minutes restriction attributable to COVID-19.

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

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

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