From Sukhi Thind, Lakers Nation: While Metta World Peace probably doesn’t know himself what he plans to do after being amnestied by the Lakers last week, contemplating retirement or playing in China being just a couple options being weighed in Peace’s head, I for one don’t think he should retire. Additionally, while I hate the fact that World Peace won’t be suiting up for my favorite team any more, I would hate to see him retire now, as I feel he still has a couple years left in him and a lot to offer teams. First off, he has a warrior mentality on the court, which can certainly be contagious. Additionally, that type of attribute coupled with his defensive prowess would be an asset to any team–young, old, experienced, inexperienced, title contender, or even a lowly team.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: In the week since Dwight Howard announced his decision to go to theHouston Rockets, players and front-office members of the Los Angeles Lakers have been treading pretty lightly on the subject. General manager Mitch Kupchak released a statement wishing Howard luck. Even Kobe Bryantsaid, ”I’m happy for him.” Leave it to L.A. native and newly-minted Laker Nick Young to say what everybody seemed to be thinking at his introductory news conference on Friday. ”That was the first time I’ve ever seen anybody leave L.A., wanting to leave L.A., and I’m from here so I haven’t seen that,” said the 28-year-old Young, who not only played high school ball at Reseda Cleveland but also played his college basketball at USC. “But Dwight had to do what he had to do.”
From TheGreatMambino, Silver Screen & Roll: How do you appease a fan base that’s unaccustomed to losing, keep a Black Mamba from annihilating any front office official within striking distance and at the same time, keep a 2014 draft choice in the high lottery?You take a lesson from Mitch Kupchak and Jimmy Buss. A master course, even. Class is in session. The Lakers have just finished a wild 12-day span in which they saw all three players from last August’s mega-deal depart in one way or another (Chris Duhon, Earl Clark and some other guy), one post-season hero (and amazing post-Finals press conference giver) being waived for luxury tax reasons (Metta World Peace, née Ron Artest), while adding three veterans for less than $7 million (Chris Kaman, Nick Young and possibly Jordan Farmar).
From Eric Pincus, LA Times: In guard-forward Wesley Johnson, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak has found another other quality player on a minimum-salary contract. Drafted fourth in 2010 by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Johnson never quite lived up to his potential coming out of Syracuse. Now 26, Johnson showed some improvement in Phoenix with the Suns last season after a July 2012 trade from the Wolves. Johnson has good length with the potential to be a strong perimeter defender. In stretches he was able to hit the three-point shot last season with the Suns. If the Lakers can stay healthy, with the attention veterans Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash demand, Johnson might be able to develop into a valuable role player.
From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Lakers fans don’t want to hear this, but Dwight Howard handled the mechanics of his free agency pretty well. He met with teams but relatively quietly, not with media really camped outside the meetings. He made his decision quickly. He called the teams personally to inform them. Word leaked out faster than he and his team wanted (they should have been prepared for that) but there was no PR disaster of a television announcement. But a lot of fans — as well as players like new Clipper Jared Dudley — want to know why he really left Los Angeles. Because his explanation that it was a number of factors may be true but doesn’t mesh with our desire for one simple, clean reason.