Archives For Laker News

Okay…so this just happened.

As I pick my jaw up off the ground, here are a few scattered thoughts that probably won’t do the gravity of what just happened justice. But I will try to anyway…

I am a D’Angelo Russell fan. I believe his talent is fantastic and that, as a just turned 21 year old playing the hardest position in the league to adjust to, he was making real strides as a player. I see his trajectory going upwards and expected, if not this next season, than at some point in the next 18 months, we were going to see his full potential come into focus as an elite scoring guard who also possesses the type of court vision and passing acumen which can be the hub of a really good offense.

And now the Lakers have traded him as, basically, the grease to dump the salary of Timofey Mozgov. Read that sentence again. Did you do that? Now please do it again. Thank you.

Now to the nuts and bolts of this.

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When it was reported that Paul George had informed the Pacers he planned to depart in free agency in the summer of 2018 and that his preferred destination would be the Lakers, it was only a matter of time before the Pacers cut out the middle man and tried to receive compensation from the team George (reportedly) said he wanted to go to. It seems that day is today.

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Since Theo Robertson left his post as player development coach to serve as an assistant coach at his alma mater UC Berkeley, Luke Walton and the Lakers have had a spot to fill on the coaching staff. It seems they have made their choice, looking at (another) former Arizona Wildcat to step in:

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After Tim DiFrancesco resigned as Strength and Conditioning coach in early May, I was very much interested in who the team would find to replace him. After all, DiFrancesco had earned a lot of support within the Lakers and under the previous front office, and when you add how pivotal a role the person in that position plays, getting this specific hire right is important.

Well, the Lakers announced today they have found that person, naming Gunnar Peterson as their new Director of Strength and Endurance Training.

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YES.

YESYESYES.

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The NBA Combine has officially begun and with that executives and coaches from across the league are in Chicago to get a closer look at the talent of the future. That includes the Lakers’ decision making trio of Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka, and Luke Walton who will observe and likely meet with both top prospects and later-in-the-draft talents alike due to their potential to land near the top of the lottery while also possessing Houston’s 28th pick overall.

The draft, though, isn’t the only thing Lakers’ observers are interested in. The team’s entire summer plan offers intrigue and, when given the chance to speak with him during their combine coverage, ESPN asked Magic about potential scenarios this summer. Magic’s answer might surprise you:

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For all the change that has been happening in the Lakers’ front office, the team is also transitioning in a new way this year: they are opening a new practice facility. The announcement came last season with a ground breaking and virtual tour of what the new space would look like taking place earlier this year.

It’s all very exciting stuff and one of several ways the organization is beginning to leverage their deep pockets and stature as an LA institution (the team partnered with UCLA health to build the facility) to improve the outlook and trajectory of the franchise.

With construction nearly complete, the team put Mike Trudell in a hardhat, dispatched a camera crew, and took us inside the space for a tour. It looks as impressive in person as the list of amenities would imply:

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Shortly after we discussed the Lakers’ front office (and coaches) needing to find ways to improve for the organization to take a step forward this summer, reports have surfaced of changes within the front office which (they hope) will do just that. First it was Tim DiFrancesco resigning his post as strength and conditioning coach. Then came the resignation of director of basketball analytics Yuju Lee after the FO asked him to take on a reduced role.

And while these examples are “resignations” I would guess they are tied to a larger organizational shift being powered by Pelinka and Magic to revamp every area of the front office. I mean, the reporting on Lee already tells us the FO tried to demote him so it’s not hard to imagine DiFrancesco being presented with some marching orders he was not on board with and then resigning over them.

Anyways, what’s clear now is that the front office is not done. Far from it, actually. And it looks like the next area Pelinka and Magic want to impact is the scouting department. Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus takes us inside the team’s plans:

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