From Sebastian Pruiti, NBA Playbook: Ettore Messina was one of the best head coaches in European Club Basketball history, winning the EuroLeague title four times with two different teams. Messina has been rumored to take a number of different head coaching jobs over the years, and for whatever reason he just didn’t seem to be interested, until now. Messina has finally joined the NBA, agreeing to join the Lakers’ staff and as Ric Bucher reported, even though he will be listed as an assistant coach, his role will be to act as more of a consultant than an assistant coach. With Mike Brown being a defensive head coach, it is my opinion that Messina will be a consultant on the offensive end more than the defensive end, so I thought it would be interesting to look at Messina’s offense with Real Madrid (the team that he coached for the past two seasons), and see if there is anything interesting that he could bring over to the Lakers.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: All that “substantial progress” in the NBA’s labor negotiations? Don’t hang your hat on it. That’s essentially what National Basketball Players Assocition President Derek Fisher told Stephen A. Smith on ESPN 1050 radio in New York (via Sports Radio Interviews). And he was not backing down over a lockout. “If the owners decide they want to lock us out because we don’t agree to the most dramatic rollback in professional sports history, then that’s the choice that they have.” While the two sides continue to meet Fisher is clear that the two sides are far apart, in part because the two sides are coming from very different starting points, making it hard to agree on what a compromise in the middle looks like.
A collaborated effort on Ed The Sports Fan: How can a face foul an elbow?” That’s what I think of time and time again when I think about the dominance of Shaquille O’Neal. For those of you who are unfamiliar, those are the words of Vlade Divac discussing his battle with Shaquille O’Neal when the Lakers played the Kings in the playoffs. It’s also a sign someone held up in Philadelphia during the 2001 NBA Finals, when Dikembe Mutombo played Shaq about as well as anyone ever has one-on-one, yet still got torched. For all Shaquille O’Neal has done as an entertainer and athlete with cross-over appeal, there are drones of people who forget how incredibly awesome Shaquille O’Neal the basketball player was. There are those who say he didn’t reach his full potential, didn’t work hard enough to stay in shape, and took regular-season games off. All those people miss the point.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, the Lakers’ two second-round picks a year ago, made the team. Ebanks and perhaps even Caracter will be with the team next season despite nonguaranteed contracts. That moderate success with their 2010 second-round chances – even though neither Ebanks nor Caracter had much on-court impact as rookies – means even less room on the next Lakers roster for 2011 second-round picks. Despite most of the focus going toward the start of the NBA draft and Arizona’s possible No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams (right), whom the Lakers were rumored to want via trade, the Lakers are prepared to use their four second-round picks on players such as Washington’s Justin Holiday (22) and Matthew Bryan-Amaning (11). Page through the photos for prospects the Lakers are particularly scrutinizing. And the Lakers have a lot of them: Nos. 41, 46, 56 and 58. The Lakers will be looking foremost for some possible backcourt depth. Secondarily, though, they just don’t want to waste the picks completely – which could mean drafting prospects whose rights could be stashed away for the future while they mature in Europe.
From Broderick Turner, LATimes: Armed with only second-round draft picks in the NBA draft and an aging roster, the Lakers unsuccessfully tried to trade for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ No. 2 overall pick in the first round. The Lakers offered sixth man of the year Lamar Odom for Minnesota’s No. 2 pick, according to two NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publically on the matter, but L.A. was turned down. When the Odom deal was rebuffed by Minnesota, the Timberwolves then inquired about trying to acquire All-Star forward Pau Gasol or center Andrew Bynum from the Lakers, both officials said.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Oklahoma City made one of the biggest trades last season before the deadline when it acquired Kendrick Perkins from the Boston Celtics, immediately adding a layer of championship experience and toughness that the youthful Thunder lacked, and immediately ending the Laker archrivals’ chances of getting another NBA championship. But that deal also included the Thunder acquiring veteran Charlotte center Nazr Mohammed while trading three-point-shooting power forward Jeff Green and backup center Nenad Kristic. Mohammed has fulfilled that NBA journeyman-type role, playing for six teams since the Utah Jazz selected him with the 29th pick in the 1998 draft. But he immediately found his niche on the Thunder roster. Mohammed averaged seven points and five rebounds on 52.2% shooting, improved the Thunder’s interior defense and helped elevate the team’s frontline presence in Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: This doesn’t exactly qualify as breaking news. Lakers forward Matt Barnes said unequivocally after Mike Brown’s introductory news conference May 31 that he would exercise his $1.91-million option to return to the Lakers next season. But for the sake of dotting the I’s and crossing the Ts, the Lakers made the official announcement Wednesday that has gone according to plan. Aside from wanting to have stability after playing with eight teams in his nine-year NBA career, Barnes cited his frustration over the Lakers’ four-game loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals and his own limited effectiveness after right-knee surgery as reasons for returning.