Archive for the ‘ Los Angeles Lakers Blog ’ Category

Lakers sign rookie Jordan Clarkson

Lakers sign rookie Jordan Clarkson

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Jordan Clarkson, the 46th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, whose rights were acquired from the Washington Wizards on draft night, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

In the 2014 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, Clarkson led the Lakers’ entry in scoring, (15.8 points per game) and rebounding (5.0) while shooting 42.1% (8-19) from beyond-the-arc in five games (all starts). In his debut vs. Toronto, he led the team with 21 points on 7-15 shooting (2-4 from three-point range) with four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The 6’5’’ guard from Missouri was named Second Team All-SEC by the coaches in his lone season with the Tigers. An early entry candidate after his junior season, Clarkson spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Tulsa, where he was selected First Team All-Conference USA in 2011-12, following his C-USA All-Freshman team honors in 2010-11.

The Los Angeles Lakers struggled last season, finishing with a 27-55 record. But they still had some highlights. Enjoy this video of the best Lakers plays from the 2013-14 season:

Lakers may want Michael Beasley

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on Heat free agent forward Michael Beasley:

Lakers may want Mike Beasley

The Michael Beasley reunion tour is looking more and more like a limited engagement with the Miami Heat.

ESPN reported that the offensive-minded forward had a free-agent workout Wednesday with the Los Angeles Lakers at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, Calif. Beasley has been in Los Angeles working out with childhood friend Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder forward who now is working in Las Vegas with the U.S. national team.

Selected at No. 2 in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Heat and then dealt in the 2010 offseason makeover after the signings of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, Beasley was brought back in a limited role this past season, unable to crack the rotation. He appeared in just four of the Heat’s 20 playoff games.

Lakers re-sign Wesley Johnson

Lakers re-sign Wesley Johnson

The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed free agent forward Wesley Johnson, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“I’m happy to welcome Wesley back to our team and am excited to see him develop further after taking such great strides last season,” said Kupchak. “Wesley possesses elite athleticism, and has the potential to develop into an excellent defender.”

A four-year NBA veteran, Johnson had his best professional season last year with the Lakers, averaging career-highs in points per game (9.1), rebounds (4.4), steals (1.1), blocks (1.0), field goal percentage (.425) and three-point field goal percentage (.369) while appearing in a team-high 79 games. Johnson also set numerous single-game career marks in 2013-14, including rebounds (15, vs. MEM 4/13), steals (five, three times), blocks (five, at DEN 11/13) and three-pointers (six, two times).

Originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the fourth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Johnson has appeared in 273 career games (210 starts), averaging 8.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 24.7 minutes per game as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves (2010-2012), Phoenix Suns (2012-13) and Lakers (2013-14).

Johnson spent his first two collegiate seasons at Iowa State (2006-08) before transferring to Syracuse, where he helped the Orange to a 30-5 record in 2009-10 and was named a First Team All-American.  The 6-7 forward averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in his lone season at Syracuse, and was named Big East Player of the Year and a finalist for the Naismith, John Wooden and Oscar Robertson national player of the year awards.

Lakers officially name Byron Scott head coach

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Byron Scott to a multi-year contract as head coach, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“After an extensive and thorough search, we’re proud to welcome Byron back to the Lakers family as our next head coach,” said Kupchak. “Byron has proven himself at the highest levels of the game as both a player and a coach in his almost 30 years of NBA experience. His leadership skills and track record for success make him the ideal person to lead this franchise forward.”

“I am ecstatic to once again be a Laker and to have the opportunity to work alongside Mitch and the Buss family,” said Scott. “I know firsthand what it takes to bring a championship to this city, and as someone who both grew up in L.A. and played the majority of my career here, I know how passionate and dedicated our fans are. I will give everything I have to fulfill the championship expectations that our supporters have for us, and that we have for ourselves.”

The Inglewood, CA native becomes the 25th head coach in franchise history and 21st in the Los Angeles era, after previously amassing 416 wins over 13 seasons as head coach with the New Jersey Nets (2000-2004), New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (2004-2009) and Cleveland Cavaliers (2010-2013). Scott began his coaching career as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings for two seasons beginning in 1998.

The 2007-2008 NBA Coach of the Year has led his teams to the postseason four times, including back-to-back NBA Finals appearances with New Jersey in 2002 and 2003. Scott has also served as an NBA All-Star Game head coach on two occasions: 2002 (Eastern Conference) and 2008 (Western Conference).

Among his other coaching achievements, Scott was at the helm for the best season in franchise history of two teams: the 2007-08 Hornets who went 56-26 (.683) and the 2001-02 Eastern Conference Champion Nets who went 52-30 (.634). The ’07-’08 campaign was a 17-win improvement from the previous season in New Orleans, and resulted in an appearance in the Western Conference Semifinals. Scott also saw marked success in his second season with the Hornets during the 2005-06 season, leading the team to a 20-win improvement (the NBA’s best that year) from his first season, despite Hurricane Katrina displacing the team from New Orleans and playing in four different home arenas throughout the season. Scott had a similar impact in his first head coaching stop, improving the Nets by 26 wins between his first and second seasons, marking the sixth-largest improvement in NBA history.

Most recently, Scott was an on-air talent for a variety of Time Warner Cable SportsNet’s studio programming last season, his only full season away from the game as a coach or player since he entered the NBA in 1983.

The 53-year-old Scott enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, 11 of which were spent in purple-and-gold (1983-93 and the 1996-97 season) with stints in Indiana (1993-95) and Vancouver (1995-96) in between. He was a starter on three Lakers championship teams (1985, 1987 and 1988) and made the postseason in all but one of his NBA campaigns, totaling 183 games of playoff experience. One of the marquee shooting guards of his time, starring on the Showtime Lakers, Scott concluded his 1,073-game NBA career with averages of 14.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, highlighted by his 1987-88 season where he achieved career-high per game averages of 21.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

The Morningside High School alumnus originally became a Laker on October 16, 1983 when the San Diego Clippers (who had drafted him with the 4th overall pick of the 1983 NBA Draft four months earlier) traded him along with Swen Nater to L.A. in exchange for Eddie Jordan, Norm Nixon and a second round pick. The Arizona State product saw his NBA playing career come full-circle after signing as a free agent prior to the 1996-97 season (his last in the league) when the 35-year-old shooting guard mentored an 18-year-old rookie Kobe Bryant.

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on the Lakers:

Jeremy Lin introduced as new member of Lakers

Jeremy Lin remains one of the most recognizable basketball players in the world, and he’s joined perhaps the most popular global brand of any basketball team in the Los Angeles Lakers.

But it doesn’t mean Lin is looking to use all that attention to replicate the same lightning-in-a-bottle situation he had with the New York Knicks four years ago when he burst onto the scene.

“I’m not trying to relive that banner season,” Lin said during his introductory news conference with the Lakers on Thursday. “I think that’s been a big weight off my shoulders and I think that’s very important for me as a player. I’m not trying to recreate a ‘Linsanity.’ I’m not trying to be that phenomenon that happened in New York. I think I just want to be myself more than ever.”

The player Lin is today in some respects is even better than the one who dropped a career-high 38 points on the Lakers at Madison Square Garden in February 2012. Even though Lin lost his starting point guard role to Patrick Beverly with the Houston Rockets last season, he still shot career bests from the field (44.6 percent), from 3-point range (35.8 percent) and from the free throw line (82.3 percent). He also limited his turnovers to just 2.5 per game after averaging 3.6 with the Knicks.

Lakers re-sign Jordan Hill

Lakers re-sign Jordan Hill

The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed forward/center Jordan Hill to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“Jordan has been a consistent contributor for us over the last three seasons and we are pleased to keep him in the Laker family,” said Kupchak. “Jordan’s frontcourt versatility is a benefit to our roster and his on-court work ethic is something we value on our team. We hope he’ll continue to work hard and develop as an NBA player”

Hill had the best season of his NBA career in 2013-14, his third with the Lakers since being acquired at the trade deadline in March of 2012, averaging career-highs across-the-board in points (9.7), rebounds (7.4) and blocks (0.9) per game while shooting a personal-best 54.9% from the field in 32 starts. The 26-year-old finished 3rd in the NBA in offensive rebounding percentage (13.8), 9th in total rebounding percentage (19.0), and 20th in defensive rebounding percentage (24.3) in his 20.8 minutes per game. The 6’10’’ Hill also had a number of standout individual-game performances, highlighted by a career-high 28 points 3/23/17 vs. Orlando and 3/27/14 at Milwaukee and a career-high 17 rebounds (12 defensive, also his high mark) 11/17/13 vs. Detroit.

Selected by the Knicks with the eighth pick in the in the 2009 NBA Draft, Hill played 24 games in New York before being traded to the Houston in a three-way deal involving Sacramento in February 2010. Hill, the second-longest tenured Laker (Kobe Bryant), was dealt to the Lakers in exchange for Derek Fisher and a 2014 first round draft pick on March 15, 2012.

Lakers sign forward Ed Davis

Lakers sign forward Ed Davis

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent forward Ed Davis, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“Ed is a versatile, young frontcourt player who, if he continues to work hard, will be a valuable contributor,” said Kupchak. “We look forward to him furthering his development with the Lakers and are excited by what we think he can offer our team.”

Davis, a four-year NBA veteran, appeared in 63 games (four starts) last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 5.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 15.2 minutes per game, and led the team in field goal percentage (53.4%) during the regular season.

Originally selected 13th overall by Toronto in the 2010 NBA Draft, Davis was acquired by the Grizzlies in a three-team trade that also included Detroit on January 30, 2013. In 275 career NBA games (58 starts), Davis has averaged 6.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 20.8 minutes. Additionally, the Washington D.C. native has appeared in the playoffs each of the last two postseasons, logging 15 games.

A 6’10” forward, Davis was a member of the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship-winning UNC Tar Heel team and was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team the same year before declaring for the Draft following his sophomore season.

Lakers re-sign Ryan Kelly

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent forward Ryan Kelly, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“When we extended a qualifying offer to Ryan in June, we fully expected him to be a part of our future,” said Kupchak. “Ryan did everything we asked of him as a rookie and showed great promise and potential. After rehabbing an injury last summer, he will have the benefit of a full offseason regimen and training camp for the first time in his NBA career, and we anticipate further development as a result.”

In 2013-14, his rookie NBA season, Kelly averaged 8.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.8 blocks in 22.2 minutes per game, and started 25 contests while appearing in 59 total games. The 23-year-old Kelly scored 20+ points on three occasions last season, including a career-high 26 on February 5th at Cleveland and became just the third Laker rookie in the last 20 years (Kobe Bryant and Eddie Jones) to score 17+ points in consecutive games when he did so 1/17 at BOS and 1/19 at TOR.

In five games while on assignment with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA D-League, Kelly averaged 25.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks in 39.6 minutes.

The 6’11’’ forward was selected by the Lakers in the second round (48th overall pick) in the 2013 NBA draft. The former McDonald’s All-American, who earned a 2010 NCAA Championship as well as two ACC Championships with Duke, played all four seasons for the Blue Devils, where he averaged 7.5 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 46% from the field. As a senior, Kelly was named ACC Player of the Week twice and earned honorable mention All-ACC honors despite missing 13 games due to injury. Kelly finished his final season with the Blue Devils averaging 12.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocked shots in 28.9 minutes per game.

Lakers re-sign Nick Young

Lakers re-sign Nick Young

The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed guard Nick Young to a multi-year contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“When Nick became a free agent in June, I expressed hope that we would be able to bring him back on a contract that was in the best interest of both the Lakers and himself, and I am proud to say we were able to do so,” said Kupchak. “Nick was a bright spot for us last season, and we are happy to retain such a skilled player who is committed to being a part of what we are building as a franchise.”

Young had a career year in 2013-14 after originally signing with the Lakers as a free agent in July, 2013. The Los Angeles native averaged a career-high 17.9 points in his first season in the purple-and-gold, twice hitting the 40-point mark, and led the team in scoring a team-best 22 times. In a predominantly bench role (nine starts in 64 games), Young averaged 18.8 points as a reserve, ranking him 1st in the NBA for points per game among players who came off the bench 20 or more times. Young also led the league in four-point plays last season (seven, also a Lakers franchise record) and finished 3rd in the NBA in points per touch (0.45).

After a three-year collegiate career at USC, the seven-year pro was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 16th pick of the 2007 NBA Draft. Young was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in March 2012 and played the following season (2012-13) for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on a Kobe Bryant documentary that every basketball fan on the planet is probably going to watch:

Kobe Bryant documentary coming in November

Kobe Bryant says he’s “scared” about his future after basketball, although he’s embracing the challenge of finding something that he can be as passionate about as sports.

Bryant turns 36 next month and is under contract with the Los Angeles Lakers for two more years. He was limited to just six games last season because of two major leg injuries, leaving him with the kind of idle time he never had before in his career.

Bryant gives a peek into his life in a Showtime documentary airing in November. “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” covers much of last season, when Bryant was sidelined and the Lakers finished 27-55, the most losses in club history.

“It’s a fascinating time to be around this guy,” said Gotham Chopra, who directed the film. “There’s this sort of looking forward to life after basketball. This is a guy that’s asking a lot of questions.”

Lakers get Carlos Boozer

The Los Angeles Lakers have been awarded the contract of Carlos Boozer on a partial waiver claim, it was announced today by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Boozer had been waived by the Chicago Bulls pursuant to the amnesty provision of the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article VII, Section 12 (f)(5)).

“Carlos is an established veteran and a proven all-star, who will be a welcome addition to our team,” said Kupchak. “We’re very pleased to have won the bidding process and to have gained his rights, and look forward to his contributions next season.”

Boozer, a 12-year NBA veteran and two-time NBA All-Star who has appeared in the postseason eight consecutive years, started and appeared in 76 games for the Chicago Bulls in 2013-14, averaging 13.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 28.2 minutes per game. In his fourth season with the Bulls, the 6’9” forward posted 25 double-doubles and led the team in scoring 13 times.

Originally selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round (35th overall) of the 2002 NBA Draft, Boozer has averaged 16.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 790 career NBA games (749 starts) with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and Bulls while shooting 52.3% from the field. Boozer has received All-NBA Third Team (2008) and NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2003) honors during his career in addition to being named the Player of the Week six times and the Player of the Month twice.

Lakers sign first round draft pick Julius Randle

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Julius Randle, the seventh overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Randle will be available to play in today’s NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas against the New Orleans Pelicans at 1:30 p.m.

In his lone season at Kentucky, Randle appeared in 40 games (all starts) for the Wildcats, averaging 15.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 blocks in 30.8 minutes per game en route to being named the SEC Freshman of the Year in addition to being a First Team All-SEC, SEC All-Freshman and SEC All-Tournament Team selection.

The Dallas, TX native led the nation with 24 double-doubles and had seven games of scoring 20+ points in 2013-14. The 19-year-old led Kentucky to the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship game with consecutive double-doubles in Sweet 16 and Elite Eight victories before scoring 16 points with five rebounds against Wisconsin in the Final Four and notching 10 points with six rebounds and four assists in the final.

Here’s the Associated Press, via Philly.com, reporting the latest on veteran star forward Carmelo Anthony:

Knicks, Lakers among teams that want Carmelo Anthony

The Knicks went coast to coast to let Carmelo Anthony know they want him to stay in New York.

Team officials traveled to Los Angeles on Thursday night to meet with the free agent and offered him the maximum contract allowable, a person with knowledge of the details said.

Team President Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills were part of the meeting but not Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, an official with knowledge of the plans told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the meeting were to remain private.

The meeting was first reported by ESPN.

Anthony was in Los Angeles to meet with the Lakers, who are among the teams hoping to convince the All-Star forward to leave New York. Anthony already visited Chicago, Houston and Dallas this week.

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on some Pau Gasol free agency possibilities:

Lakers, Knicks could be Pau Gasol free agency possibilities

While free-agent forward Pau Gasol grew tired of the persistent trade rumors that followed him for the better part of the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, he would give strong consideration to re-signing with the team, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Gasol has strong ties to Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who has advocated for his return, and a deep affinity for Los Angeles and the franchise he won two NBA titles with. While the constant trade rumors stung, Gasol learned to live with them and has a level of expectation that a new coaching staff would prioritize him more than Mike D’Antoni did, sources said.

ESPN reported Friday that the New York Knicks are preparing to make a run at the 7-foot Spaniard who thrived in new Knicks president Phil Jackson’s triangle offense in L.A. The Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are also expected to pursue Gasol in free agency, sources said.

However, Gasol may have to wait until free-agent forwards Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James make their decisions, as many of the teams with an interest in Gasol also have an interest in Anthony and James.

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired the draft rights to Jordan Clarkson, selected 46th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, from the Washington Wizards in exchange for cash considerations, it was announced tonight by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Clarkson, a 6’5’’ junior guard from Missouri, was named Second Team All-SEC by the coaches in his lone season with the Tigers. An early entry candidate, Clarkson ranked among NCAA leaders in both free throws made (72nd) and percentage (101st), as well as field goals (51st) in 2013-14. The San Antonio, TX native spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at Tulsa, where he was selected First Team All-Conference USA in 2011-12, following his C-USA All-Freshman team honors in 2010-11.

Nick Young decides to become free agent

Nick Young decides to become free agent

The Los Angeles Lakers were informed today by agent Mark Bartelstein that his client Nick Young will not be exercising his option to extend his contract, making him a free agent.

“We anticipated and expected that Nick would choose to become a free agent,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “We very much appreciate his contributions to last season’s team, and we will hopefully be able to bring him back. However, he, his agent and the market will dictate his future direction.”

In 64 games (nine starts) during the 2013-14 season, his first with the Lakers, Young averaged a career-high 17.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 28.3 minutes per game. The Los Angeles native maintained the highest scoring average (18.8 points per game off the bench) for a reserve in the NBA and scored 40+ points as a member of the second unit two times.

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on the Lakers, who have many needs, one of which is a new head coach:

Lakers interested in Byron Scott for coaching job

While the Lakers remain focused on Thursday’s draft and the start of free agency July 1, sources tell ESPN.com that former Lakers star Byron Scott has emerged as the leading candidate for the head-coaching job after impressing in three interviews with the team.

Talks with the former Nets and Cavaliers coach have not progressed to the contract stage, as the Lakers continue to weigh whether to hold off on hiring a coach before they make their pitches to free agents.

Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting that the Los Angeles Lakers have interest in Alvin Gentry, who has been around:

Alvin Gentry is a Lakers coaching candidate

Add Clippers associate head coach Alvin Gentry to the list of candidates the Lakers plan on interviewing for their head-coaching vacancy, The Times has learned.

After talking with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak by phone last Friday, Gentry has an interview with Kupchak and vice president Jim Buss on Wednesday to talk about replacing Mike D’Antoni, according to several NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Gentry also has an interview for the head coaching opening with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, the executives said.

The Los Angeles Lakers need a new head coach. And veteran star Kobe Bryant wants his opinion to be heard as the team figures out who to hire. Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting:

Kobe Bryant wants Lakers to consult him on head coach hire

Bryant hopes the Lakers will sing a different tune than they have in the past when it comes to consulting him about hiring their next coach.

“On the last two they didn’t,” Bryant said, referring to Mike Brown and D’Antoni, who both failed to endure the length of the initial contracts they signed with the Lakers before parting ways. “On the third one, I’m hoping they do.”

Taking over for a legend like Phil Jackson is never easy, of course. Bryant said he still speaks to Jackson “often” and expects the 11-time championship winning coach to transfer those results to his front-office role with the New York Knicks.

“I think he’ll do fantastic,” Bryant said. “Especially the more people say that he won’t be successful.”

Bryant had similar faith in the Lakers’ brass, endorsing the efforts by Jackson’s fiancée and Lakers president, Jeanie Buss, as well as her brother and Lakers executive vice president of player personnel, Jim Buss, in steering the franchise in the right direction.

“Jimmy and Jeanie both, they’re just really determined and excited about the possibilities of next season and rebuilding this and building on their father’s legacy and everything that he’s accomplished,” Bryant said.

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