Archive for the ‘ Los Angeles Lakers Blog ’ Category

Lakers want Hassan Whiteside

Hassan Whiteside is one of the most intriguing young centers in the league. At worst, he’s an excellent defensive addition to any team. And at best — well, we don’t know yet because he’s still developing. Here’s ESPN.com reporting the latest on Whiteside’s free agency situation:

Lakers want Hassan Whiteside

The Los Angeles Lakers plan to aggressively pursue Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside when NBA free agency starts, according to league sources.

With rim protection and perimeter shooting ranking as the Lakers’ foremost areas of concern heading into the open market, sources told ESPN.com that Whiteside has emerged a priority target for L.A.

The Lakers, like the Heat, are still hopeful of securing a face-to-face recruiting meeting with Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant once free agency season commences at 12:01 a.m. on July 1. But the Lakers, sources say, are highly intrigued by Whiteside and what he could bring them as a double-double presence inside.

Buddy Hield works out for Lakers

The 2016 Draft is approaching, and one prospect worth keeping an eye on is 6-4, 214-pound senior Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield. Here’s ESPN LA reporting:

Buddy Hield wasn’t satisfied with his shooting performance during his private workout for the Los Angeles Lakers at their practice facility in El Segundo, California, on Saturday, so he asked for another try. And then another one.

During his last go-round, which was in front of a contingent of media, Hield started off hot before missing consecutive shots. He began yelling to pump himself up, saying, “C’mon Buddy Fresh!”

After the pep talk, Hield went on a shooting streak, exhibiting the elite stroke that made the Lakers bring him in for a second workout and has them considering him with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday.

When asked how “Buddy Fresh” inspired the uptick in shooting, Hield revealed his on-court alter ego.

“It’s my own nickname. It’s my alter ego,” Hield said.

Lakers remove Magic Johnson from staff listings

The Los Angeles Lakers have announced today that Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson has asked the team to remove his honorary title of Vice President, and to remove his name from the team staff directory in publications and other sources. Their explanation is as follows:

The change is being made in hopes of clarifying any confusion over Johnson’s involvement with or representation of the team.

“Earvin will always be a revered and beloved member of the Lakers family, but he does not have a position or role with the organization at this time,” said team spokesman John Black. “He is not an advisor or a consultant, and his opinions, comments and social media posts are solely his, and do not represent or reflect those of Lakers ownership or management. Hopefully this will eliminate any confusion over this issue in the future.”

Brian Shaw may become Lakers assistant coach

Warriors assistant coach Luke Walton will become head coach of the Lakers once the Warriors’ playoff run concludes. Golden State is currently tied 1-1 with the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, with Game 3 on Sunday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Shaw may soon become Walton’s lead assistant:

Shaw’s experience as a head coach, an assistant coach and as a championship player were the primary reasons why Walton wanted him on his staff, according to several NBA officials who are not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Shaw won three championships with the Lakers in 2000, 2001 and 2002, when he played on the Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant teams.

Shaw has previous head coaching experience and is considered one of the better assistants available.

2016-17 Lakers preseason schedule

2016-17 Lakers preseason schedule

It’s early, but the Los Angeles Lakers preseason schedule for the 2016-17 season was released today. The preseason line-up includes two games against the Golden State Warriors, in addition to contests against the Sacramento Kings, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers, and Phoenix Suns.

Lakers preseason also includes two games being played in the newly opened T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Full 2016-17 Los Angeles Lakers preseason schedule

DATE OPPONENT CITY ARENA TIME

October 4 vs. Sacramento Anaheim, CA Honda Center 7:00pm

October 7 vs. Denver Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center 7:30pm

October 9 vs. Denver Ontario, CA Citizens Business Bank Arena 6:30pm

October 11 vs. Portland Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center 7:30pm

October 13 vs. Sacramento Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena 7:30pm

October 15 vs. Golden State Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena 7:00pm

October 19 vs. Golden State San Diego, CA Valley View Casino Center 7:00pm

October 21 vs. Phoenix Anaheim, CA Honda Center 7:00pm

Report: Lakers fire Byron Scott

This is a summer of change for the Los Angeles Lakers. Although they already have some young talent, the saying goodbye to Kobe Bryant truly marks the start of a new era. And the first major move in that era is, according to reports, to say goodbye to head coach Byron Scott. Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog reporting:

Report: Lakers fire Byron Scott

After overseeing the Lakers finish with their worst record in franchise history for two consecutive years, Byron Scott will not coach the Lakers in the 2016-17 season, according to a source familiar with the situation.

It is not immediately clear who will replace Scott or if any of his assistants will be retained, including Paul Pressey, Mark Madsen, Larry Lewis and Thomas Scott. The Lakers lost out on potential coaching candidates after mulling Scott’s future for the week. Those possibilities included Tom Thibodeau (Minnesota) and Scott Brooks (Washington). Possible replacements for Scott could include Golden State Warriors assistant Luke Walton, former Rockets and Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, UConn coach Kevin Ollie and San Antonio Spurs assistant Ettore Messina.

Ryan Gomes named D-League Impact Player of the Year

Los Angeles D-Fenders forward Ryan Gomes was today named the 2015-16 NBA Development League Impact Player of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 19 head coaches. The award recognizes a player who joined an NBA D-League team after Nov. 26, 2015, and made the greatest contribution to his team’s success following that in-season acquisition.

Gomes (6-7, 245, Providence) joined the D-Fenders, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers, on Jan. 7, 2016, and played his first game on Jan. 9, 19 games into the 2015-16 season. He appeared in the team’s next 31 games (28 starts), averaging 18.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 32.0 minutes. He scored in double figures 28 times, including two 30-plus point outings, and recorded nine double-doubles.

Gomes helped the D-Fenders to a 27-23 regular-season record and the fourth overall seed in the NBA D-League Western Conference Playoffs. The team defeated the Reno Bighorns 2-1 in the Conference Semifinals and will face the Austin Spurs in the best-of-three Conference Finals.

An eight-year NBA veteran, Gomes was selected by the Boston Celtics in the second round (50th overall pick) of the 2005 NBA Draft. Gomes owns NBA career averages of 10.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 27.6 minutes in 487 games with the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

D`Angelo Russell putting up big stats lately

Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell has marked his return to the starting lineup with some of the best performances of his rookie season. The No. 2 pick of NBA Draft 2015 is averaging 19.9 points and 5.0 assists while shooting 49.0 percent from three-point range in his last eight games. That stretch includes five 20-point efforts and the first 39-point outing by a Lakers rookie since Elgin Baylor in 1959. Russell leads all rookies with 106 three-pointers and ranks fourth among first-year players in scoring at 13.1 points per game.

– Via NBA News

Vander Blue named D-League Performer of Week

Vander Blue of the Los Angeles D-Fenders was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Feb. 15 through Sunday, Feb. 21. The honor is the first of Blue’s career.

Blue (6-4, 200, Marquette) helped Los Angeles to a 3-0 week, averaging 29.7 points (second in the league) on 46.7 percent shooting (28-for-60) to go with 7.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals. He connected on 28-of-31free throw attempts, good for 90.3 percent.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Keifer Sykes, Erie’s Tyler Harvey, Idaho’s J.J. O’Brien, Iowa’s Andrew Harrison, Maine’s Coty Clarke and Malcolm Miller, Reno’s Ricky Ledo, Rio Grande Valley’s Will Cummings, Texas’ Brandon Ashley and Westchester’s Gani Lawal.

The Lakers (11-44) are getting 11.1 points and a very impressive 10.0 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game from forward Julius Randle this season. Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News with good news from the head coach’s perspective:

Byron Scott impressed by Julius Randle lately

The pouting Julius Randle showed as he went to bench left Lakers coach Byron Scott questioning the 21-year-old’s maturity.

Randle’s inconsistency with his jump shot prompted Scott to express skepticism whether he could fix it before this summer. An injury to Larry Nance Jr. still left Scott in doubt as to whether Randle could reclaim his starting spot.

But lately, Randle has given Scott a different impression.

“He’s been fantastic,” Scott said of Randle. “He’s not going overboard as far as trying to go too fast. He’s picking his moments and he’s rebounded the hell out of the ball.”

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News sharing a great flashback to the past:

Tyronn Lue recalls how Kobe Bryant wanted to fight him

In his second NBA season with the Lakers (1999-2000), Lue played in a five-on-five scrimmage that in most circumstances would have suggested Bryant would pull off an endless highlight reel. Lue played on the reserve unit with Devean George, Brian Shaw, Mark Madsen and Slava Medvedenko. Bryant represented the starters that also included Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Fisher.

But as Bryant drove baseline for a layup, Lue recalled cutting from the elbow down toward the paint to block his dunk attempt against the glass. George then made a layup to seal the win. Shaw then teased Bryant for Lue’s scrimmage-defining block.

“He went crazy. Kobe wanted to fight me at first,” said Lue, who is now the Cleveland Cavaliers coach. “He wanted to play one-on-one after practice. He said, ‘We’re going to play one-on-one, me and you.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not playing you one-on-one.’ He was so mad. Then after that, every day we stepped onto the court and he just went after me every single day. It was crazy.”

The Lakers are having a tough season. Here’s Larry Nance Jr generously helping the wrong team:

And, here’s Larry Nance Jr on Twitter having fun with it:

Russell Westbrook is dominant on the basketball court, and has made a huge move off of it, as reported by the Oklahoman:

Russell Westbrook makes big donation to UCLA

How does “Russell Westbrook Court” sound?

On Monday, UCLA announced that Westbrook has a made a “significant financial contribution” to its Mo Ostin Basketball Center project — the largest donation by a former basketball student-athlete in school history.

For his contribution, the university will honor Westbrook, who played two seasons at UCLA, by naming the new men’s basketball practice floor “Russell Westbrook Court.”

“When I heard that I was a little surprised,” Westbrook said Monday via conference call. “I can’t wait until it is all said and done to kind of go in there and shoot and see the court and see my name. It is going to be a great thing to see.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is always worth listening to — at least when he’s actually willing to talk and answer a question in straightforward fashion. Here’s the Los Angeles Times reporting Popovich’s views on Lakers great Kobe Bryant’s announcement that he will wrap up his career at season’s end:

Coach Gregg Popovich said he wasn’t surprised when Kobe Bryant announced this would be his final season, though Popovich added that the league will definitely be taking a hit.

“It will be a great personality gone,” Popovich said Friday before the Lakers played the Spurs. “He’s an iconic figure, and when those kind of guys stop playing, the league misses them. You miss them.”

Popovich said Bryant’s consistent intensity was a rarity.

“There aren’t too many people who understand how you bring it, night after night after night, for all those years at that level, and he’s one of the few guys who did that,” Popovich said.

James Harden calls Kobe Bryant a legend

Saturday night in Houston the Rockets (just 11-12 this season) host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers (an NBA second-worst 3-20). Unless something crazy happens, this will be Kobe Bryant’s final season in the league. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

james harden

“Obviously, we know the game is extra hyped because of Bean,” Rockets guard James Harden said. “We still have to go out and win the game and focus on what we have to do.

“He’s somebody I watched growing up since I was little. This is his 20th year. I’m just 26 years old. He’s been playing a long time. Obviously, you definitely want to win the game. That competitive nature, going against him, no matter how old he is, he still has the competitive nature. He still wants to go out there and compete at a high level. I’ll definitely take advantage of it and cherish it.

“He’s a legend, not just here but every arena you go to on the road, games are sold out, ticket prices are going up to see a legend in his last year.”

Lakers bench some key young talent

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog reporting on the Lakers starting lineup situation, which underwent some changes tonight:

Lakers bench some key young talent

The two players represent significant pieces toward the Lakers’ long-term future. But rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell and second-year power forward Julius Randle also represent the pawns in Lakers coach Byron Scott making his first starting lineup switch in hopes to turnaround their 3-17 record.

Both Russell and Randle will come off the bench when the Lakers visit the Toronto Raptors (12-9) on Monday at Air Canada Centre, while 10-year veteran guard Lou Williams and rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. will start in their place.

“Both of them are young, have a long way to go and have a lot of work to do. But this change wasn’t so much based on them not performing up to their capabilities,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Randle and Russell. “It’s based on where we are as a team.”

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News reporting on Lakers forward Metta World Peace and his long-time interest in coaching:

Metta World Peace has long-time interest in coaching

“It started when I first started playing basketball, I went to five star basketball camp back in 1999. It was fun. I coached Danny Green. He was one of my players. I remember him being the best on the team and I remember him sometimes not shooting. I would tell him to shoot. I was like, ‘Shoot the ball. Shoot the ball.’ It was fun. He remembers it too. That was when I was 19 or 20. I was young.

I always wanted to learn the game because I was never athletic. I picked the triangle offense quick in Chicago. I picked it up pretty well under Bill Cartwright. Then in Indiana, I was picking up everything quickly. I was young. But with all the defensive coverages I faced, was picking up everything. I was also giving input, not verbally but by example. Coach Carlisle said something one day I might be able to be a coach. I was 24 when he said that. I was confident when he said that. I have continued to coach. I have a little league team called ‘Triple Threat.’ I train people. Triple Threat was a team that my foundation funded. It was a team that we funded. I would coach them sometimes.” …

“I want to coach one day. I definitely have interest in coaching. But I want people to know I’m staying in tip top shape. Just because I want to coach doesn’t mean I’m retiring. If something opens up, I might apply for the job. It doesn’t mean I’m not staying in tip top shape. I’m not a player where I want to coach because I’m done playing basketball. I love playing basketball. I’m preparing for both.”

Unless something unexpected happens, Kobe Bryant is retiring from basketball at the end of this season. He spoke about it in a press conference before tonight’s Lakers game in Philadelphia. Here’s the Orange County Register reporting:

Kobe would be honored to remain involved with Lakers after retirement

When Kobe Bryant discusses his plans for post-retirement, basketball is rarely among them. Earlier this season he joked that he is uninterested in coaching because he doesn’t “feel like dealing with divas.”

But how about a different role?

Before his final game in his native Philadelphia, Bryant told reporters at Wells Fargo Center that it would be “an honor” to remain involved with the Lakers organization in some capacity.

“Me and the Buss family, we grew up together,” Bryant said, via a video stream of his press conference. “(Part-owners and top executives) Jeanie and Jimmy, they’ve known me since I was a kid. It would be an honor to help them with their transition to get them back to the top.”

In a subsequent interview on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, Jeanie Buss said, “I think Kobe can do anything. If that’s something that interests then absolutely I would talk to him about it.

Here’s the Orange County Register reporting on the upcoming retirement of Kobe Bryant, which will occur at the end of this NBA season:

Kobe Bryant will retire at end of season

Kobe Bryant, maybe the greatest Laker in the organization’s history, announced his plans to retire following the 2015-16 season Sunday.

The announcement came in a letter written for The Players’ Tribune.

“This season is all I have left to give,” Bryant wrote. “My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

Bryant is in the midst of his 20th season and struggingly like he’s never have before. Bryant is shooting a career-worst 31.5 percent from the field and 19.5 percent from 3-point range.

Adam Silver statement on Kobe Bryant retirement announcement

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement regarding Kobe Bryant’s announcement today that this will be his final season in the NBA:

“With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals and a relentless work ethic, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game. Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game.

“I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories.”

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