Archives For Uncategorized

From Ross Gasmer, Lakers Nation: The long awaited schedule release happened yesterday as Laker fans got to circle when Dwight Howard returns to Staples Center as well as Metta World Peace. With 29 nationally televised games, it’s clear everyone is interested in the Lakers, regardless if they’ll sink or succeed this season. At first glance, the schedule looks to be quite difficult at of the gate and the final stretch doesn’t look too inviting either. Regardless, with all the change this off-season, several new Lakers will make returns to their former homes as we take a look at the Lakers who are trending up and down.

From C.A. Clark, Silver Screen & Roll:The other night, I was lazily half paying attention to The Daily Show, as I am wont to do, when I heard a familiar name pop up in an altogether unfamiliar place. I paused, rewound, and confirmed my ears did not deceive me; for some strange reason, John Oliver was talking about Dwight Howard. (13:30 mark). He was doing so because Howard’s decision to choose the Houston Rockets over the Los Angeles Lakers made its way onto Fox Business Channel, who highlighted a report by anti-tax advocates Americans for Tax Reform claiming Howard’s choice as a victory for the “No State Income Tax” policy of Texas over the “High State Income Tax” policy of California. The quick breakdown is this: Despite the fact that the Lakers could offer Dwight a larger contract, both in length and in annual salary, California’s high state income tax rate (especially on the very wealthy like Dwight, who pay a marginal tax rate of 13.3% ), in comparison to Texas’ lack of state income taxes, would cause Dwight to take home less money at the end of the day as a Laker then he would as a Rocket.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: Tears welled up in Pau Gasol’s eyes following a Lakers shootaround back in May, 2012. Gasol was to receive the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, recognizing his efforts in promoting programs aimed at children’s nutrition and education, later that evening and even though the Lakers were in the midst of a playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Gasol got emotional when he thought about the children with whom he’d come in contact through his charitable work in places like South Africa, Angola and Ethiopia, as well as in hospitals throughout the U.S.

From Broderick Turner, LA Times: When the NBA released its 2013-14 regular-season schedule Tuesday, it made sense that the Lakers would host the Clippers in a nationally televised game Oct. 29 at Staples Center in the season opener for both teams. After all, the arena rivals appear to be going in different directions, with the Clippers being on the rise and the Lakers at the crossroads for one of the few times in their storied history. New Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, the re-signed Chris Paul, All-Star Blake Griffin and the team’s cast of returning and new players will have 21 nationally televised games, showing just how far this franchise has come and how high the expectations are.

From Zach Harper, CBS Sports: The Los Angeles Lakers are starting a new season. This isn’t a joke about how many restart buttons they seemed to hit throughout the 2012-13 season, when injuries and cohesion issues plagued their championship expectations. The Lakers are actually beginning anew, and without Dwight Howard, who left LA for the Houston Rockets this summer. Mike D’Antoni missed the Lakers’ training camp and preseason, taking over for the fired Mike Brown 10 games into the regular season. If he’d had that preparation time, maybe he could have found a way to implement an attack with both Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol when they were on the floor. Instead, it sounds like the Lakers’ latest coach had to try to recruit Howard by going through him more and away from Gasol as the team began courting their free agent-to-be months before he hit the market.

From Suki Thind, Lakers Nation: I recently wrote an article on how Lakers fans were stuck with Mike D’Antoni, and how we as fans might as well embrace him and see how far he can take the team in a restructuring period. Naturally, I took some heat for it (although surprisingly, many fans were actually receptive to it). However, now with the addition of Kurt Rambis to D’Antoni’s staff, perhaps that stance will lighten, or fans will at least experience some level of comfort knowing one key member of the Lakers’ 2009 championship coaching staff is back on the sidelines (Rambis left to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves the following season). Rambis, who had often been critical of Mike D’Antoni’s system–or lack thereof–will likely be there for one reason: Defense.

From Associated Press, ESPN LA: With Dwight Howard gone and Kobe Bryant injured, Pau Gasol is looking to reassert himself as a leader of the Los Angeles Lakers. Knees allowing, he wants to be the dominant player of old who helped Bryant & Co. win NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.”I think I have the most uncertain period behind me,” Gasol told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “The team has suffered a lot of changes, but as far as me, I am back in the position of a lot of responsibility, which I like, and I’m just going to focus on getting healthy.”

The Great Mambino, Silver Screen & Roll: The story has been the same for years: if Kobe Bryant nails a game winning shot or Derek Jeter gets a walk-off RBI, the sports world at large shudders in disappointment. Two of the greats in their respective games, reviled by a vocal majority but loved by a passionate fan base of millions, are also two of the easiest players to root against. At this point, there’s really no debate as to whether either man is a Hall of Famer–those honors were cemented years ago. What’s left are simply more records to topple and fellow legends to surpass. They play for the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Yankees, the two lumbering giants in their respective sports.

Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: A lot has happened to the Lakers since General ManagerMitch Kupchak last spoke to reporters. Dwight Howard left for Houston despite the Lakers’ very public campaign to keep him. Metta World Peace was waived via the amnesty provision and quickly joined New York. Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson were all signed as free agents. It leaves the Lakers … where, exactly? But first, the obvious question for Kupchak, who spoke Monday to The Times in his first interview in more than a month: How disappointed was he to lose Howard in free agency to the “little town” of Houston, as Shaquille O’Neal derisively called it?

From Broderick Turner, LA Times: World Peace, 33, told reporters Monday at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas that he was signing with the Knicks. He cleared waivers Sunday after being let go in a cost-cutting move by the Lakers under the league’s amnesty provision Thursday. Apparently the lure of playing near where he grew up in Queens, N.Y., was more than enough for World Peace to choose the Knicks over the Clippers, who were also interested in signing him. But the most the Clippers could offer World Peace was the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million.

From Kurt Helin, Pro Basketball Talk: Dwight Howard wants touches in the post — and he’s pretty good in the post despite not having a lot of counter moves to fall back on. He shot 44 percent on post up situations last season despite the injury, 49 percent and 50 percent the two years before that. But in Mike D’Antoni’s style of basketball, just throwing the ball into the post and waiting for him to make a move or kick the ball back out stalls the ball and player movement out. Guys stand around, the offense withers.

From Ramona Shelburne, ESPN LA: So, about that torch pass? The one Dwight Howard was supposed to take from Kobe Bryant one day …Call it a failed exchange, dropped baton, whatever metaphor suits you, but lost in the immediate aftermath of Howard’s decision to bolt for the Houston Rockets is the fairly urgent need for a new casting call for the Lakers’ next leading man. Bryant, of course, said last week that he fully intends to retire as a Laker and doesn’t believe there will be a problem working out an extension to his current contract, which expires after the coming season. So for another two or three or four more years, he’ll hold it down.

From Josh Basali, Lakers Nation: Kobe Bryant is healing up faster than most people would have predicted. Recently, the Mamba told Chris Douglas-Roberts that he is three months ahead of schedule in the recovery process and rehab of his Achillesa surgery. CDR is currently playing for the Lakers’ Summer League team. Chris told reporters that Kobe and him text regularly and that the Vino told him he is ahead of the projected schedule. According to Drew Garrison of Silver Screen and Roll: ”He told me he’s three months ahead of schedule, which is very Kobe-like,” Douglas-Roberts said.

From Drew Garrison, Silver Screen & Roll: This isn’t Chris Douglas-Roberts’ first time trying to earn his way onto the Los Angeles Lakers’ roster. He made it as far as the Lakers’ preseason roster last summer but ultimately did not make the team. He would go on to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, where he played only six games for a total of 63 minutes. He still talks to Kobe Bryant though, who he spoke glowingly of after the Lakers 77-65 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers Monday. You could hear a flicker of excitement when he spoke of the Lakers’ superstar.

With all the courtship that has been going on for Dwight Howard’s services over the last week, one may be inclined to think that if he leaves Los Angeles, the Lakers will enter a downward spiral and burn into flames. However, this is definitely not the case.

Sure, the Lakers will be better off with Howard on their roster. He is and should be the biggest priority for the Lakers this offseason. He’s a dominant force on both ends of the court and if his shoulder shows signs of improvement, he could put up MVP type numbers like he did in Orlando in 2013-14. There is no doubt that the team has a better chance to win a title with him in the lineup.

With that said, having Howard in purple and gold is not a necessity for the team to be successful this year and beyond. This isn’t the same situation the Cleveland Cavaliers faced when LeBron James bolted to Miami, leaving Cleveland with limited and marginal players.

If Howard leaves, the Lakers will have seven players on the roster for 2013-14 in Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Jordan Hill, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jodie Meeks. The team has also given center Robert Sacre a qualifying offer to bring him back. Finally, assuming they sign second round pick Ryan Kelly, the Lakers will have nine men on the team.

No matter what happens with Howard, the Lakers must bring in a few bench players this summer who can shoot, defend, and show signs of athleticism that will fit in Mike D’Antoni’s fast paced system. Even if Howard stays, the Lakers aren’t winning anything without some much needed depth.

But, if Howard leaves, even more importance will be placed on the quality of the players they decide to bring this summer.  There are plenty of shooting options available for the Lakers in free agency and they can definitely improve their depth if they make the right moves. They’ll need to rely on their mini mid-level exception plus a few good pickups with their veteran’s minimum, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that they succeed using their exceptions.

Continue Reading…

From Daniel Buerge, Lakers Nation: After his surprise announcement this morning (that ended up just being him announcing a reality show with Terrell Owens), it was then announced that he will exercise his player option to remain with the Lakers for next season. According to Sam Amick of USA Today, World Peace will be back with the Lakers next season (assuming the team doesn’t use their Amnesty option).”According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the veteran small forward will play out the final year of his contract (worth $7.7 million) rather than exercise the early termination option on his deal.”There were rumors that World Peace might consider walking away from the final year of his deal, but few expected him to turn down nearly $8 million, a number he wouldn’t come close to receiving if he was to be a free agent and picked up by another team.

From Staff And Wire Reports, LA Times: A person with knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press that Indiana Pacers assistant coach Brian Shaw has agreed to succeed George Karl as coach of theDenver Nuggets. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday night because the deal hadn’t been officially announced. The Nuggets called a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to introduce their new coach. The Denver Post first reported the agreement with Shaw, and the former Phil Jackson pupil told the newspaper he has been “prepared by the best of the best” for his first NBA head coaching job.

From Dave McMenamin, ESPN LA: While two former No. 1 picks in LeBron James and Tim Duncan dominated and defined the NBA Finals for their respective teams, the series wouldn’t have been what it was without a couple of second-round picks. Manu Ginobili, selected No. 57 by San Antonio in 1999, was brilliant in Game 5 of the Finals and gave the Spurs a 3-2 series lead by putting up 24 points and 10 assists. Mario Chalmers, who went No. 34 in 2008 to Minnesota before being traded to Miami, came up huge in all three of the Heat’s home wins and averaged 17.7 points in Games 2, 6 and 7 to help the Heat to the title. In Thursday’s NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers will find themselves looking for a similar impact player in the second round. For the sixth straight year, the Lakers do not have a first round pick.

From Ben R, Silver Screen & Roll: To say that mock drafts are an inexact science goes without saying. Ultimately, they are collections of educated guesses and pretty much worthless in predictive value aside from obvious choices at the top of the order. And this year, even that last item is not the case, as the Cavaliers debate whether to pick Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, or a number of other options. All of this notwithstanding, merely by attempting to make sense of a crapshoot of a process, we stir the imagination and at least introduce the possibilities for what your team will be looking at in your range, which is all you can ask for on draft night.

Metta’s Announcement