The Latest on the NBA Awards show in Santa Monica, California (all times local):
Mike Conley Jr. was part of a wave of trades around the draft, moving from Memphis to Utah, and the veteran says he expects a lot of players to be on different teams next season.
Kyrie Irving is one of more than 200 free agents. Conley says he doesn’t know if the Los Angeles Lakers “are in there as much” as the Brooklyn Nets right now to land Irving.
Former NBA Finals MVP Isiah Thomas credits the Lakers with having had the best two summers of any NBA team, landing LeBron James last year and now Anthony Davis, although his pending trade won’t be official until next month.
Shaquille O’Neal, who is hosting the NBA Awards, planted a smooch on Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss on the red carpet.
Buss calls Monday night’s event “our version of the Golden Globes.”
Buss says that since the season ended she had “a big surprise” when Magic Johnson suddenly quit as president of basketball operations. She hadn’t spoken publicly since Johnson’s stunning announcement before the final game of the Lakers’ sixth straight losing season.
Buss says she’s “very confident” in general manager Rob Pelinka and she noted that new coach Frank Vogel’s teams consistently play defense.
She says the Lakers “have a lot of other changes” that are coming but she cited NBA rules in not being able to discuss them yet.
The biggest names in pro basketball are gathering for the annual NBA Awards show.
Shaquille O’Neal presides over the festivities Monday night from Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport.
The finalists for the Most Valuable Player trophy are Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, Paul George of Oklahoma City and Houston’s James Harden, who won last year.
Antetokounmpo and George are also vying for Defensive Player of the Year, along with Utah’s Rudy Gobert.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award during the two-hour show airing on TNT.
Among the presenters are Tiffany Haddish, Issa Rae and Samuel L. Jackson.
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