From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: When the Sacramento Kings appeared destined to become the Anaheim Royals, the Lakers objected to the move. Still, beyond some real economic considerations related to the team’s TV upcoming TV deal with Time Warner, even with a third team in the L.A./Orange County market (separate in many ways, but sharing TV and radio imprints), it was reasonable to ask how much the presence of the Kings would actually damage the Lakers brand. Maybe a lot, probably much not at all. One thing, though, was absolutely beyond debate: Save the difference in cost between a bus ride to Honda Center and a few flights a year to Sacramento, there was no upside. Now the NBA officially in lockout mode. We’re a long way from gaining any kind of picture of how long it will last, and because the two sides are unlikely to meet for a while– a little distance is probably a good thing– are likely to remain in this purgatorial state for the time being. When everyone finally gets back to the negotiating table, players and the union remain miles apart on key issues, so what the new CBA looks like when finally hashed out is obviously a wide open question. But just as it was with the Kings and Anaheim, as it relates to questions of competitive advantage for the Lakers under a new agreement, one thing is pretty clear:
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: In news none too shocking, Shannon Brown officially opted out of his contract with the Lakers and became a free agent. As he told Dave McMenamin, this decision doesn’t rule out another go around with the Lakers, but the odds feel low. For two consecutive seasons, Shannon faded over the second half, perhaps revealing himself a bad fit. Plus, the organization appeared to anticipate a parting of the ways. As Shannon noted, two guards were drafted in the second round. Even if Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock aren’t quite seasoned enough to replicate his role, thematically, it feels like handwriting on the wall. I recently shared thoughts on the impact of Shannon’s departure — namely, who can pick up his slack — so there’s no need to repeat myself. In a nutshell, he’s a replaceable player, although the options from within the roster as constructed are imperfect. But either way, Brown’s time here was pretty remarkable in its own right.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: We suspected this was coming, but it’s now official. Shannon Brown has opted out of the last year of his contract, electing to become a free agent. He would’ve made $2.37 million next season had he agreed to stay with the purple and gold. This doesn’t necessarily spell the end of Shannon’s time with the Lakers. He could still sign a new deal with the team, and if you recall, this is exactly what happened a year ago. After the 2009-10 season, he opted out of the last year of his contract. After several weeks went by in which neither he nor the team could find better alternatives on the free-agent market, he reupped with the Lakers. That could certainly happen again, and in fact both he and his agent say a return to the Lakers is something he’d consider.
From Gary Lee, Lakers Nation: Phil Jackson is widely considered the best head coach in NBA history. He’s won 11 NBA championships, more than any other coach. He is also considered one of the best Laker coaches of all time, bringing five titles to Los Angeles after joining the Lakers in 1999. “If you meet the Buddha in the lane, feed him the ball.” – Phil Jackson This particular wallpaper shows Jackson celebrating one of his 11 NBA championships in perfect fashion, with a victory cigar. No other coach ever won championships like Phil Jackson, and no other coach could celebrate a championship like Phil Jackson. This wallpaper shows the greatest coach having a great time after reaching the top of the NBA mountain.
From David Brickley, Laker Nation: Darius Morris joined the Voice of the Nation on Wednesday night, and talked about being selected by the Lakers. Below is the entire transcript of the interview: David Brickley: What is Mike Brown and Mitch Kupchak telling you? As far as your chances to make the team, what they are envisioning, and what the best-case scenario is for you? “There is definitely opportunity for me [to play with the Lakers]. They need help in the backcourt. The guys that are there right now are getting up in age so they are looking for good young talent in the backcourt that can come in and help out. [The Lakers] said I have a very good chance of doing that. I just got to work hard and keep on getting better.”
From Lakers.com: The Los Angeles Lakers have hired John Kuester to serve as an assistant coach, it was announced today by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “I’m extremely excited to have John join the team as a member of my coaching staff,” said Lakers Head Coach Mike Brown. “Having previously worked together in Cleveland, I know what assets he will bring to the team. His ability to effectively communicate with the players while teaching them valuable skills on both ends of the court is a quality that I respect and value. I look forward to working with him again.” Kuester joins the Lakers after a two-year stint as head coach for the Detroit Pistons. Prior to his time in Detroit, Kuester spent 14 years as an assistant coach in the NBA, working for six different franchises (Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Jersey, Orlando and Cleveland).
From Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner, LA Times: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has taken an unusual step to try to strengthen his ailing right knee, undergoing an innovative procedure in Germany about a month ago, according to four people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly. The treatment is a derivation of platelet-rich plasma therapy. PRP procedures are less invasive than many surgeries involving the knee and are viewed as either an emerging solution to knee problems or a financial gamble on unproven science. Bryant, who turns 33 next month, has been bothered in recent seasons by an arthritic joint in his right knee. He has undergone three other knee procedures since 2003, including surgery last July to remove unspecified loose bodies. He sat out an overwhelming majority of the Lakers’ practices this past season and saw his scoring, shooting percentage and minutes decrease in his 15th NBA season. He has three years and $83.5 million left on his contract with the Lakers.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: In the upcoming Mike Brown era, Lakers guard Derek Fisher will, at worst, see his role reduced as the offense emphasizes a faster tempo. At best, his ability to pick up the speed will truly be put to the test. With a defense that stresses preventing middle drives to the basket, Fisher’s team-first mentality — taking charges, causing deflections and keeping the unit organized — likely won’t be enough to offset the way he reacts to screen-and-rolls and his ability to keep up with young guards. And with a likely prolonged offseason, which the Lakers hope will allow them to address their backcourt needs, Fisher will soon find out exactly how much the organization values the remaining two years on his contract. But there’s one specific and important area that won’t change: Fisher’s relationship with Kobe Bryant. It’s remained strong ever since the two entered the league together in 1996 and has strengthened over time with five championship rings. Even if the level of talent between the two is wide, they share an unmatched work ethic. And their bond will prove critical.