Archive for the ‘ Los Angeles Lakers Blog ’ Category

Lakers sign Timofey Mozgov

Lakers sign Timofey Mozgov

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed center Timofey Mozgov, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Mozgov’s deal is reportedly a $65 million dollar contract over four years. Those are bigger dollar numbers than were expected for him.

“Timofey is a player who has shown the ability to change the game at the defensive end, and fills an area of need for us at the center position,” said Kupchak. “We are very pleased to add him to our team.”

Mozgov joins the Lakers after winning the 2016 NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In six NBA seasons with the Cavs, Denver Nuggets, and New York Knicks, the 7-1 Mozgov has a career field goal percentage of 53.7% and holds averages of 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game over 369 contests (208 starts). He started all 20 games of Cleveland’s run to the 2015 NBA Finals, averaging 10.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in 26.5 minutes while shooting 50.0% from the field.

Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia, Mozgov has represented his home country internationally, winning bronze medals at the 2012 Olympics in London and at the 2011 FIBA European Championships. Prior to beginning his NBA career with the Knicks in 2010, the 29-year-old played professionally in Russia for six seasons.

Bulls trade Jose Calderon to Lakers

Bulls trade Jose Calderon to Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have acquired José Calderón and two future second round draft picks from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the draft rights to Ater Majok, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

“Not only is José an elite shooter, he is also an established and versatile player whose skill and professionalism will supplement the talent on our roster,” said Kupchak.

In 11 seasons with the Toronto Raptors, Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, and New York Knicks, Calderón has averaged 9.9 points, 6.5 assists, and 2.6 rebounds in 28.8 minutes per game while shooting 41.2% from three-point range, 47.4% from the field, and 87.5% from the free throw line over 748 games (546 starts). He led the league in three-point shooting percentage (46.1%) during the 2012-13 season and free throw shooting (98.1%) in 2008-09, making 151 of his 154 attempts.

The 6’3’’ native of Spain played domestically in his home country prior to coming to the NBA, and is one of the most decorated international players in his country’s history. He was a member of the gold medal-winning teams at the 2006 World Championships and 2011 European Championships, and owns two Olympic silver medals from the 2012 games in London and 2008 games in Beijing. Calderón was honored with the responsibilities of team captaincy at the 2004 Olympic Games, and also owns medals from the 2013, 2007, and 2003 European Championships.

Lakers ink Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng and Ivica Zubac

The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed guard Jordan Clarkson, and signed forward Luol Deng and center Ivica Zubac, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Clarkson’s deal is reportedly a $50 million dollar contract over four years. Deng’s deal is reportedly a $72 million dollar contract over four years.

“Jordan is an important piece of our young core and resigning him was a priority of our offseason,” said Kupchak. “He has displayed a tremendous work ethic over the last two seasons, and we expect him to continue to develop. Luol is a versatile defender as well as offensively talented and is a high character individual who will be invaluable mentoring our young players on the court and in the locker room. Ivica is a player we feel has a bright future in this league and we are excited to see him grow alongside our group of young players.”

Clarkson was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2015 and was selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star 2016. In two seasons with the Lakers, Clarkson has averaged 14.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steals over 138 games (117 starts), and finished second on the team in scoring last year, averaging 15.5 points per game.

Acquired from the Washington Wizards on the night of the 2014 NBA Draft, the 24-year-old scored double-figures in a career-best 27 consecutive games in 2015-16, and scored 20+ points on 20 occasions. He led the Lakers in scoring 16 times last season, and tied his career-high with a 30-point performance 11/3 vs. DEN.

Lakers ink Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng and Ivica Zubac

A two-time NBA All-Star, 2012 NBA All-Defensive Second Team Selection, and member of the 2005 All-Rookie First Team, Deng comes to the Lakers after spending 12 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Miami Heat. In 823 games (776 starts), Deng has averaged 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.0 steals in 35.3 minutes per game, and has made the playoffs seven times. After spending one season at Duke University, Deng was drafted seventh overall in the 2004 NBA Draft.

Off the court, the South Sudan native was honored with the NBA’s 2014 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, given to the player who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community, and was the 2007 winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award, selected by his peers as the player who best exemplifies the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.

Zubac (pronounced EE-vits-uh ZOO-bahtz) was selected by the Lakers with the 32nd overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, one of a record-setting 26 international players drafted. The 19-year-old played in the Adriatic League and FIBA Euro Cup for Cibona Zagreb last season before joining Mega Leks, where he averaged 10.9 points and 5.1 rebounds as the team made the Serbian League semi-finals.

Born in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but a naturalized Croatian, the 7’1’’ center helped the Croatian U-19 team capture the silver medal at the 2015 World Championships, finishing third in the tournament in scoring with 17.9 points per game and seventh in rebounding (7.9). That same summer, he participated with the Croatian U-18 team at the 2015 European Championships, leading the tournament in rebounds per game (12.9), blocks (3.0), and double-doubles (six), and finished eighth in scoring (15.8).

Lakers hire new athletic trainer

The Los Angeles Lakers announced today the hiring of Marco Nuñez as the team’s new Athletic Trainer, replacing long-time Athletic Trainer Gary Vitti, who recently retired after 32 seasons with the organization. The team also promoted Nina Hsieh to Assistant Athletic Trainer and renewed the contract of Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim DiFrancesco.

Nuñez, who originally joined the Lakers as Assistant Athletic Trainer during the 2008-09 season, will expand his responsibilities working hand-in-hand with the training staff, coaching staff, and front office to ensure the highest level of on-court performance. In his new position, the Los Angeles native is charged with year-round oversight of the care, prevention, and treatment of injuries to the players on the roster, and is also chiefly responsible for player rehabilitation programs and emergency on-court procedures.

Prior to joining the Lakers, Nuñez spent two seasons as Athletic Trainer for the Lakers’ NBA D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, beginning with their inaugural season in 2006-07. While working in the D-League, Nuñez served simultaneously as Athletic Trainer for the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and was solely affiliated with the Sparks for the 2005-06 season. An Assistant Trainer for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League from 1999-2003, he also spent one season as Head Athletic Trainer for the Carolina Cobras of the AFL in 2004 prior to joining the Sparks.

In the summer and fall of that same year, Nuñez worked as a trainer for the movie “The Longest Yard,” attending to the actors, stuntmen, and athletes on set. In addition to winning NBA championships in his first two seasons with the Lakers (2009 and 2010), Nunez also served as the Assistant Athletic Trainer for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a B.S. in Kinesiology and emphasis in Sports Medicine, and went on to receive his M.S. in Biomechanics from A.T. Still University. In addition, he is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and holds Corrective Exercise Specialist and Performance Enhancement Specialist certifications from the NASM.

Hsieh transitions to the Lakers training staff after serving as Head Athletic Trainer for the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Lakers’ NBA D-League affiliate, beginning with the 2008-09 season, highlighted by D-League Finals appearances in 2012 and 2016. In her role with the D-Fenders, Hsieh oversaw all aspects of player health, including strength and conditioning, in addition to handling the team’s equipment and assisting with team travel. The Huntington Beach native is no stranger to NBA training rooms, as she joined the Lakers for both Summer League in Las Vegas and training camp each of the last four seasons.

Lakers will sign Luol Deng

Veteran forward Luol Deng had a quiet season for the Heat in 2015-16. Averaging just 12.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 32.4 minutes per game, he wasn’t a standout. But he’s still a solid addition to any team. Why the Lakers, though? A veteran presence, for one. Still, considering the Lakers youth movement, this is a surprising signing, especially considering how many years the deal is for. Not sure why the Lakers are doing it. Here’s the L.A. Daily News blog reporting:

Lakers will sign Luol Deng

The Lakers and Luol Deng agreed to a four-year, $72 million deal, according to league sources. Deng had extensive conversations with other NBA teams, including the Washington Wizards and Utah Jazz. Deng also had a meeting with the Jazz on Friday, sources said.

But Deng likes the Lakers young players, including D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. Deng also talked with Lakers coach Luke Walton and was “pleased with the conversation,” sources said. Deng also liked the Lakers consistently stayed in touch after reaching out shortly after free agency began on Thursday at 9:01 p.m. PT.

The Los Angeles Lakers have extended qualifying offers to Tarik Black, Jordan Clarkson, and Marcelo Huertas.

By extending qualifying offers, the players become restricted free agents.

Black was awarded to the Lakers on a waiver claim on December 28, 2014 and has averaged 5.3 points and 5.2 rebounds on 57.5% shooting in 77 games (27 starts) over the past two seasons.

Clarkson, acquired from the Washington Wizards on the night of the 2014 NBA Draft, was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2015 and was selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star 2016. In two seasons with the Lakers, Clarkson has averaged 14.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steals over 138 games (117 starts).

Huertas was signed as a free agent last July, coming to the NBA after a distinguished international playing career, and led the Lakers in assists per game (3.4), in addition to 4.5 points and 1.7 rebounds in his 53 appearances.

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.

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