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Los Angeles Lakers unsure to have full roster to wrap up regular season, coach Frank Vogel says

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LOS ANGELES — As the Lakers look ahead to their final two games of the regular season this weekend, coach Frank Vogel said, “I don’t know if it’s going to be possible,” when asked if he would have his full roster together on the court.

LeBron James, sidelined the past six games to continue to recover from a high ankle sprain, practiced Friday before the Lakers’ flight to Indianapolis, but Vogel said James is listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against the Pacers.

“We want to see how he feels in response to today’s work, like always,” Vogel said, “but there’s a chance that he plays if things go well.”

Dennis Schroder, out the past seven games because of the league’s health and safety protocols, was cleared to return and is available to play against Indiana, but he did not participate in the group practice Friday, opting for individual work.

“We’ll make a decision tomorrow as to whether he’s able,” Vogel said.

On a positive note, Anthony Davis is listed as probable for the Pacers game, according to Vogel, even though he didn’t join in the group work either. Davis missed the Lakers’ 124-122 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday because of tightness in his groin.

“I feel fine. I feel great,” Davis said. “Went through some things during practice, not everything, but got some work going on, got some work in on the side. So felt great, felt great today.”

Los Angeles, on a three-game winning streak for the first time since mid-March, is currently the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers can move up to No. 6, at worst, and avoid the play-in tournament if they finish 2-0 in Indiana on Saturday and New Orleans on Sunday and the Portland Trail Blazers lose to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

If the Lakers finish the season as No. 7, they will host a play-in tournament game against the No. 8 seed — which will be either the Golden State Warriors or Memphis Grizzlies — with the winner moving on to play the No. 2 team, currently the Phoenix Suns, in a first-round playoff series.

If the Lakers lose their first play-in game, they will host another play-in game against the winner of the 9-10 game, with a first-round berth against the No. 1 team, currently the Utah Jazz, on the line.

If Los Angeles goes 0-2 in the play-in tournament, the season is over.

“Anytime you’ve had guys that have been out for extended absences and they’re returning to play, it’s always going to be a little bit imperfect,” Vogel said. “So the more minutes you can get those guys the better off it’s going to be for us, in terms of the readjustment period. So if we’re able to do that, that would be great.”

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CP3, Kawhi, Kemba, oh my: NBA (news) never sleeps

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The NBA news cycle takes no days off and Chris Paul can catch no breaks. Here’s what went down during a wild week in the association.

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Dirk Nowitzki rejoins Dallas Mavericks as special adviser

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With the Dallas Mavericks charting a new direction following the departures of coach Rick Carlisle and general manager Donnie Nelson, the franchise is turning to one of its all-time greats to help in the journey.

Dirk Nowitzki has rejoined the Mavericks as a special adviser to the franchise, the team announced Friday. In his role, Nowitzki will assist with the searches for coach and general manager while also consulting on other front-office decisions.

“Mark Cuban approached me about a role as special advisor and I am happy to support my Mavs,” Nowitzki said in a statement. “Donnie Nelson and Rick Carlisle were both mentors and played huge roles in my career and the success of this franchise, and I am going to miss them. It is important for me now to join Mark and contribute as much as I can as we move forward.”

Nowitzki played 21 seasons with the Mavericks — the most in NBA history for one player with one team — before retiring after the 2018-19 season and is the franchise career leader in games, points, rebounds and blocks, among other categories. He was also the Finals MVP in 2011 for Dallas’ first and only NBA championship.

Carlisle resigned Thursday after 13 years as Mavericks coach. That decision was revealed one day after the departure of Nelson following 24 seasons with the franchise.

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Boston Celtics trading Kemba Walker, 2021 first-rounder to Oklahoma City Thunder, sources say

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The Boston Celtics are trading Kemba Walker and their 2021 first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a package that includes Al Horford, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Along with Walker and the No. 16 overall pick in 2021, the Celtics are also sending a 2025 second-round pick to the Thunder in exchange for Horford, Moses Brown and a 2023 second-rounder, sources said.

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