Archives For

Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  July 5, 2013

Dwight Howard sat cross-legged at the edge of the bluff, hawks circling lazily through thermal drafts, a winding river below. He was deep into his contemplative flow. A U-shaped phalanx of advisers dressed in Patagonia and Eddie Bauer outdoor wear sat nearby, ultimately attentive. Behind the first row sat a couple junior advisers whose sole duties were monitoring various social media applications and condensing them into whispered one-sentence sound bites for the prime row advisers.

Dwight furrowed his brow. “I’m just not sure. It’s a lot to think about.”

Greek Chorus: “It’s is a lot to think about Dwight. It is a lot!”

Dwight sighed. “I’m not looking to hurt anybody.”

Greek Chorus: “Of course you aren’t. It’s just business, everyone understands.”

Dwight squinted as he tracked a Zone-tailed hawk. “Did we ever hear from Phil?”

Greek Chorus: “That is a negative, sir.”

One of the back row underlings whispered something urgently.

Greek Chorus: “Lakers bracing for the worst, buddy. Bracing for the worst.”

Dwight frowned. “Hey, the purple and gold’s still prominent in my mind.. I like Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel. I like my favorite restaurants.”

One of the less intense members of the chorus spoke up. “We’ll have very nice breakfast after the morning contemplation. Seared rainbow trout crepes with wild strawberry compote.”

The underling whispered frantically again.

Greek Chorus: “Hakeem says 85 percent it’s Houston.”

Dwight cocked his head. “Is that coming from us?”

The members quickly exchanged looks, weighing possible answers. Again, one bold soul spoke up. “Houston’s offering free food, y’know.”

The very tall man relaxed again. Free things were always nice. “I like it here. All my stress is melting away. What d’you think a nice mountain retreat would run me? Nothing real fancy, maybe a post and beam cabin, lots of indigenous stone, maybe ten, fifteen thousand square feet inside?”

One of the tanned and extraordinarily intuitive advisers whipped his head around to stare directly at one of the social media monitors. “Get me some MLS printouts right now, nice glossy pics.”

The underling hesitated. “I can’t print from my iPhone.”

The tanned adviser glared bullets. “Yes you can. Go get the portable printer from the sweat lodge. Do it, now! No breakfast for you.”

Dwight adjusted his position, squared his shoulders and breathed deeply of the mountain air. There was no reason to rush his decision. It was a nice Friday morning and his team had things well in hand. He was looking forward to breakfast. Maybe a nice late morning hike afterward.

 

Wednesday Storylines

Dave Murphy —  July 3, 2013

The NBA free agency period has only been on the books since the stroke of midnight Sunday but it already seems like an eternity. The Lakers have been busy on multiple fronts, exploring ways to shore up the roster without much money to spend and also looking at ways to hang onto some of our own free agents. One in particular has been attracting a bit of attention – Dwight Howard may or not choose to remain in Los Angeles and will deliberate these matters with his representatives over the long 4th of July weekend. There’s plenty of variables to consider, chief among them being the desire to win. Team Dwight appears to have chosen Aspen, Colorado as the place to get clear.

Among the Lakers’ non-Dwight priorities is Earl Clark: Mark Medina, L.A. Daily News.

Meanwhile, Earl has a second meeting with the Cleveland Cavs: Drew Harrison Silver Screen & Roll.

An outline of Lakers FA prospects, from current to old to new faces: Dave McMenamin, ESPN.

Golden State is right in the mix with Dwight but would need a sign and trade: Kurt Helin, ProBasketballTalk

Why a Warriors trade makes sense: C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll.

True to spirit, Kobe challenged rather than schmoozed Dwight: Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo!

Timing’s everything in pitch meetings: Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’Lakers.

The Lakers focus on franchise, fans, community and branding with Dwight: Mike Bresnahan, L.A. Times.

The Lakers are not about to start tanking if Dwight leaves: Mark Heisler, Lakers Nation.

So this is the part called the waiting game. The Lakers have taken down the banner at Staples Center, and other teams have decided to follow suit, concentrating instead on picnics and softball games. Dwight and his team of advisers will be fully cloistered at a tranquil Rocky Mountain retreat. Just hanging out, doing a little fishing, maybe tubing down an excellent stream. No social media, no cell phones, no pesky calls from annoying team execs professing their undying love. Nope. Just Dwight and his crew, communing with mother nature, away from the world. And this means there will be no further media reports, no twitter, no trade machines, no more speculation. Cue the chirping crickets. Right?

Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  June 28, 2013

Last night’s 2013 NBA draft went from a changing of eras as David Stern passed on his 30-year baton, to a sharp turn down a rabbit hole. Writer/personality Bill Simmons became increasingly agitated over the course of the evening by news of Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett being moved from Boston to Brooklyn. Matters were compounded by the Doc Rivers trade to the Clippers which had been eating away at the Sports Guy for days. It’s one thing to be a fan of particular regional franchises, it’s another to let your fandom hijack the proceedings. That’s exactly what happened when Simmons opined that Rivers had quit on his team this past season. Moments later, the quote was eagerly relayed to Rivers by reporter Shelley Smith. The rejoinder was that Doc would “call him an idiot but I’m too classy for that.” The jump-cut back to the ESPN panel was more than a little awkward.

Similar to news item number one, the beating to death of Dwight Howard’s supposed intentions took up a good part of the evening. For anyone living under a rock, this mainly stemmed from a breathless Chris Broussard report which per usual, was attributed to sources close to the situation. I’m not adding quotation marks given that Broussard didn’t bother with them either. No need for a hyperlink here – it was provided yesterday

Threading its way through all of this was an actual draft, although it became increasingly byzantine as picks were traded like penny stocks. Be that as it may, the night went on and at some point toward the end of the festive proceedings came the hotly anticipated #48 pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. It was somewhat anti-climatic in the sense that the pick actually makes sense.

Nicknamed the ‘White Raven’ after his high school team, Ryan Kelly was a four-year man and co-captain at Duke. He’s had a history of right foot problems, causing him to miss the 2012 NCAA tournament. This past season he hurt the foot again and missed 13 games. Asked about reintegrating Kelly into the lineup this spring, Coach Krzyzewski praised the senior’s adaptability and intelligence. The stretch forward returned to drop 36 points against the Miami Hurricanes but ultimately re-injured the foot He made it through the Elite Eight where Duke eventually lost to Louisville. At season’s end he had surgery with a 12-week recovery timetable which brought him right up to draft night. Assuming his foot issues are behind him, it’s reasonable to expect he could be of some use in a role player position. Those who chronicled the Blue Devils likened Kelly to a possible Matt Bonner or Steve Novak-type.

Next season’s Lakers’ roster is far from set. While there isn’t any real cap flexibility, players will have to be signed. The latest news has the team declining to renew contracts on Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock. This comes on the heels of yesterday’s news that Devin Ebanks and Chris Duhon will also be moving on to other pastures. And then there’s the Dwight situation which will be bled dry for discussion until it finally resolves itself (my guess is later rather than sooner). If rookie Ryan Kelly can give us 36 points each and every night next season, we should be just fine. Have a good weekend, y’all.

Just a few quick updates to toss out. As always on draft day, there’s plenty of action around the league with teams maneuvering for position including roster home cleaning. With only the #48 pick, a big payroll and limited trade options, it’s doubtful that Mitch can move up the charts in a major way but you never know – the Lakers war room will be well-stocked with extra cell batteries and bottomless cups of coffee.

According to Silver Screen & Roll, the Lakers declined to pick up the options of Chris Duhon and Devin Ebanks. Neither is a surprise, especially when it comes to Ebanks, a once-promising prospect who fell out of favor this past season due in no small part to his lackadaisical conditioning routine. Backup big Robert Sacre has reportedly received the team’s qualifying offer.

Speaking of SS&R, here’s their draft day template from Drew Garrison with great info and updates.

From Chris Broussard at ESPN, it’s “very, very unlikely” that Dwight Howard will return to the Lakers. This could be a bit of ratchet-up hyperbole on a day when the NBA media blitz scrambles for breaking items but it should at least be mentioned – we’ll see if the story picks up some serious legs.

Draft Express runs one of the top sites and feeds it all year long with great news and analysis on high school can college prospects. Here’s their current mock draft which shows Archie Goodwin at the #48 slot.

Here’s the ESPN GO draft board with the various Chad Ford picks. If you dig deep enough you might be able to find something about the second round. It’s pretty driven by the lottery.

Mike Bresnahan of the LATimes writes an overview of draft day for the Lakers, noting that they’re unlikely to make a splash.

We’ll all keep our eyes and ears open heading into tonight’s Barclay’s Center extravaganza. Add your own links and tidbits in the comments. Maybe the Lakers nab a solid option at the point or swing position. Maybe they sign someone you’ve never heard of before. Always a thrill ride toward the back of the second round.

 

 

Friday Forum

Dave Murphy —  June 21, 2013

Winters surely come but the Spurs didn’t go quietly. On the road in Miami, nearly sealing the deal in Game 6, right in it until the closing moments of Game 7. They had a transcendent run, from opening day to the final buzzer. The rest of the league will filter back in now, the draft and free agency, coaching changes and summer league and the dog days that seem to turn hotter and more insufferable each year. Our long NBA season itself however, is over. Long live the NBA season.

Quincy Scott for Pounding the Rock on the beautiful game of basketball.

Tom Haberstroh for the Heat Index asks if Miami is the best shooting team in history.

The Grantland Staff with their final edition of this year’s NBA Finals Shootaround.

Phil Jackson’s gravitational pull back to the Lakers’ orbit seems to be happening in a roundabout yet familial way. Arash Markazi from ESPN has the story.

Arielle Moyal for Lakers Nation reports on Jeanie Buss’s Wednesday night appearance at a Time Warner cable event, along with other news and rumors.

Brian Kamenetzky from Land O’Lakers on Kobe’s appearance on ESPNLA 710 Wednesday with John Ireland and Mike Trudell.

It has been 30 years since Randy Newman released his song “I Love L.A.”. C.A. Clark from Silver Screen and Roll writes about an enduring element of the Staples Center experience.

There’s been a lot of recent talk about a possible Doc River trade to the Clippers. Nonetheless, other interviews are moving ahead, including Pacers associate head coach Brian Shaw. Broderick Turner from the L.A. Times reports.

From Hoopshype Video, five Lakers needs heading into next season.

The NBA draft is just a week away. The Lakers haven’t exactly been burning up the draft boards in recent history and this year’s 48th pick isn’t apt to change the trend. Still, the event itself is something of a basketball rite of passage and if nothing else it’ll afford a chance to watch David Stern smirk benignly at the jeering crowd one more time. We’ll have more on possible picks, strategy and the ever enticing rumors of last minute trade-ups as draft night grows closer.