From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen: Dwight Howard will finally be a free agent July 1. After a few years of breaking up, then making up, with the Orlando Magic front office he was finally sent out of Florida and into Los Angeles, becoming aLaker. Howard joined a star-studded lineup featuring Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Steve Nash. They were going to pick and troll the entire league. We all know how the season played out. Injuries stacked, expectations crumbled, and the Lakers were swept out of the first round of the NBA playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs. Nothing has changed since. Bryant continues to rehab his Achilles, and the Lakers front office continues to hold their collective breath as their two superstars’ statuses remains in the air.
From Jovan Buha, ESPN LA: Those expecting a major upheaval from the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason are likely to be disappointed. Unless Dwight Howard bolts in free agency or Pau Gasol is traded, the primary cast of this season’s underachieving squad is all but certain to remain intact as the Lakers look to preserve cap space for the summer of 2014, when only Steve Nash and Howard would be on the books and the team would be in prime position to reload. Heading into the 2013-14 season, the Lakers have five players under guaranteed contracts:Kobe Bryant, Gasol, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill and Nash. While Metta World Peace has an early termination option, he’s likely to remain with the team and not opt out. Jodie Meeks has a team option, meaning the Lakers decide his future, but he’ll probably return since his salary is relatively inexpensive ($1.5 million). Chris Duhon has a non-guaranteed deal and can be waived by June 30 to alleviate cap space.
From Suki Thind, Lakers Nation: For our second edition of historic box scores, we’ll take a look back at Magic Johnson’s legendary performance against the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1980 NBA Finals. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the Lakers’ leading scorer and rebounder at the time–badly injured his ankle during Game 5 of the Finals. Although he returned to the game to score 14 points in the fourth quarter and lead the Lakers to a close victory, he simply couldn’t go in the potential championship clinching Game 6. That set the stage for then-rookie Magic Johnson, who shifted his role from playing point guard to starting at center. Not only did he start at center, but he ended up playing all five positions! In one of his greatest performances–and certainly his most memorable–Magic Johnson led the Lakers to the 1980 NBA championship by putting up 42 points, pulling down 15 rebounds, and dishing out seven assists.
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: On Sunday night, Kobe Bryant announced “Kobe up Close,” an Aug. 15 charity event to be held at Nokia Theatre. “I’d like to officially announce that I’m partnering with the Sports Spectacular to help eradicate homelessness,” said Bryant in a pre-recorded video, aired at the Sports Spectacular 2013 gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. “You can learn about my past, present and future,” said Bryant of the event, which will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. “It’s for an incredible cause.”
From Zach Harper, CBS Sports: Internet rumors can spread like wildfire and lots of people will believe them without considering the source. A hoax Twitter account got the ball rolling on the idea that Kobe Bryant was going to say goodbye to the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA by retiring this summer. Bryant did have a major announcement this past weekend for his fans, but it had nothing to do ending his basketball career.