Archives For Laker News

Julius Randle had a frustrating rookie season, watching from the sideline for all but 12 minutes of his first campaign while healing up from a broken leg. Randle’s frustrations continued through summer league this past July as a he had a strict minutes restriction that saw him capped at 20 minutes a night while also sitting out back to back games.

Heading into the season, however, the hope was that those frustrations would dissipate. Randle has been working hard on his game, his body, and, via word of mouth, he looks very good. Just because he’s progressing nicely, though, does not guarantee his frustrations will be fully behind him. Especially if he was hoping to get a solid endorsement from his head coach about being the starting power forward once the season began.

Continue Reading…

Robert Upshaw recently signed a partially guaranteed two-year contract to join the Lakers for summer league. The odds of him fulfilling this contract by making the final roster are up to interpretation, but he has a steep climb ahead of him to beat out players the Lakers have invested more into than the undrafted free agent with the checkered past.

Upshaw, though, is seemingly looking forward to making the Lakers’ decision as difficult as possible. One way to accomplish that is by getting into the best shape possible after not looking to be in great condition for the team’s summer league team in Las Vegas. And it looks like he’s done just that.

Continue Reading…


Last month, Kobe Bryant started shooting for the first time since surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff prematurely ended his season. Last week, Mitch Kupchak updated us that Kobe was on track to be ready for the start of training camp.

Well, today, Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding is telling us Kobe is, in fact, all the way the back:

Bryant’s recovery from his latest devastating late-career injury, a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, is complete—and he currently has no physical limitations as he gears up for what he expects will be his final NBA season.

Bryant has been medically cleared for all basketball activities, according to league sources.

Though, via the previous updates mentioned, this was totally expected it does not make the news any less important. Kobe’s health has been the major storyline over the past three seasons and to finally have him back healthy is a plus for a team looking to make more noise than anyone really thinks they can.

Any success this team has will be, in a major way, still influenced by how well #24 can play and lead a team that has been constructed, at least partially, around him and what he can still provide. Add to the equation this potentially being his final season and the combination of hope with nostalgia brew a potent cocktail Lakers’ fans are ready to throw down.

The questions about what Kobe will be able to provide and whether he can remain healthy will always be present this season, but, at least for now, he’s back and ready to go. Camp can’t get here soon enough.

Bring up the name Steve Nash to Lakers’ fans and prepare to get some blowback about draft picks, injuries, and, essentially, a bunch of regret. But, while Nash’s time on the court couldn’t have been more difficult, his time off it did lend itself to some Lakers’ success, especially when he started to work out with Jordan Clarkson.

Well, it seems Nash is taking these skills north to the new darling of the Pacific Division:

I’ve no clue whether such a role was ever discussed between the Lakers and Nash. Considering Nash is based in Los Angeles and, as noted above, had a history of providing tutoring to Clarkson, I would hope it would have. When you consider the Lakers also just drafted D’Angelo Russell who, after summer league ended, said he would like to work out with Nash…well, let’s just say this announcement that Nash will likely work with the Warriors is disappointing.

Continue Reading…

Lakers’ training camp opens in 15 days and, with Monday’s signing of Robert Upshaw to a two-year contract, there’s no better time than now to provide an update on the team’s roster. As it stands the Lakers now have 18 players under contract:

Continue Reading…

Robert Upshaw told us he was going to go to Lakers’ training camp and it looks like he was right. Today the team officially announced his signing via press release:

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed center Robert Upshaw to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.

The still unknown terms of the contract are important, but likely not a huge difference maker here. My assumption is that Upshaw’s deal is either fully non-guaranteed like Marcelo Huertas’ or has only small, partial guarantees like those given to Jonathan Holmes and Michael Frazier. In either case, Upshaw will have to prove his worth in training camp to crack the final 15 and earn a roster spot. (UPDATE: Baxter Holmes of ESPN is reporting Upshaw’s deal has a partial guarantee in the 1st year and is fully non-guaranteed in the 2nd year. While not outright stated, I am assuming his contract is for the minimum both years.)

(UPDATE II: Eric Pincus of the LA Times is reporting that $35K of Upshaw’s first year salary is guaranteed. The 2nd year, as Holmes also reported, is non-guaranteed. The totals for the contract are (roughly) $525K in year one and $875K in year 2.)

The fact that we’ve gotten to this point, though, should not be ignored. Yes, Upshaw said he’d be joining camp (while adding he thinks he’ll make the team), but the rhetoric coming out of the Lakers’ front office did not make any such assurances. Those statements were likely just the carrot the team was hanging out in front of the big man as motivation to do what was needed of him, but the chance he wouldn’t was always there.

Continue Reading…

Earlier today we told you about how, after the Lakers announced some front office promotions, Mitch Kupchak went on the record with Sam Amick from USA Today to discuss the moves. Well, Amick also brings us updates from Kupchak on the team’s interest in Metta World Peace:

“We’ve got a couple more weeks (until training camp). Our roster’s not complete. And we’ll just take it from there. Nothing’s imminent in terms of a signing anytime soon, but it’s hard not to watch a guy when he’s in your gym every day going up and down the court, working with young guys, playing hard. Part of me says he can still play, so I don’t know where we’re going to end up on it. But that’s kind of where it is.”

For what it’s worth, Kupchak isn’t the only front office decision maker in town who has positive things to say about MWP. In a recent interview with Colin Cowherd, Clippers head coach and president echoed sentiments of Metta’s good form:

Continue Reading…

Lakers’ training camps opens on September 29th in Hawaii. We already know Jordan Clarkson will be there after it was determined he would not play for the Philippines at the FIBA Asia Championships which overlapped with the start of camp. We also know the names of the 16 other Lakers who will be there with Clarkson.

What we do not know, however, is what the rest of the camp invite list will look like. Per Brad Turner of the LA Times, however, we do know they are looking to add more players:

Based on recent reports, it would seem Metta World Peace might be one of those players. Another, if you take his word for it, might be Robert Upshaw. If the Lakers add another player to the camp roster, I’d imagine it would not be a player of consequence as they’re likely already going to have some difficult decisions to make on who to cut and who to keep on the opening night roster. As we’ve discussed, the training camp battles will be worth the price of admission to camp (if, you know, they actually sold tickets to camp).

Going into camp, my gut tells me the Lakers would still be open to exploring trades in order to try and find the right mix of veterans who can help on the court (and off) and young players who they think could be a part of the future. One thing to remember, though, is that the Lakers can assign as many as three players who are cut from their training camp as “affiliate players” to their D-League team.

Based on that, it would not surprise me if Jonathan Holmes, Michael Frazier, and Robert Upshaw (should he come to camp) end up getting cut and being those affiliate players who end up on the D-Fenders. They are the kind of guys who fit the profile of players who need seasoning to refine their games and figure out what type of players they would be at the NBA level.

In any event, we’re less than three weeks away until the start of camp. Expect the Lakers to add a few more guys to the list of invites to Hawaii.

(h/t to Pro Basketball Talk)