Archive for the ‘ Los Angeles Lakers Blog ’ Category

The Lakers began the season 0-3, then won 7 of their next 10 games, and at 7-6 are currently the 8th seed in the Western conference through Sunday’s games. Rotation adjustments will likely continue for weeks or longer as head coach Luke Walton continues to learn how to mesh LeBron James with young players that the team hopes will be around for a long time with the team’s veterans, many of whom are signed to one-year deals.

As for how they closed things out in a one-point win Sunday against a rebounding Hawks squad, here’s the LA Times reporting:

With the outcome of the game in the balance, Lakers coach Luke Walton chose to use an unconventional lineup — with no point guard — to close against Atlanta on Sunday, a decision he made because he wanted his best defenders on the court.

In the final minutes of a tense game at Staples Center, Walton’s resolve to leave point guards Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo on the bench served the Lakers well.

Ball had replaced Rondo with seven minutes, 41 seconds left in the game. Ball had not played in the fourth quarter of the previous two games, but now he was getting his opportunity.

Then with 4:32 left and every defensive stand being crucial in a game the Lakers were trailing by three points, Ball was replaced by Josh Hart, who the Lakers consider to be one of their better defenders because of his ability to guard multiple positions.

Hart closed out the game with LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Tyson Chandler.

Full Article

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned rookie center Moritz Wagner to the South Bay Lakers on rehab assignment.

Wagner, who sustained a left knee contusion on July 10, has been medically cleared to return to play and will continue his rehab progression with the South Bay Lakers. The Michigan product was selected by the Lakers with the 25th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The Nuggets are off to a great start this season, but their first loss came courtesy of a LeBron James triple-double fueled Lakers squad. Here’s the Denver Post reporting:

The Nuggets were up 106-98 with 6:11 left in the game before the Lakers closed on a 23-8 run. LeBron James’ triple-double helped, as did Lonzo Ball’s clutch step-back 3-pointer, but give Lance Stephenson credit. He had a personal run of eight straight, including back-to-back 3-pointers that energized the Staples Center crowd with Kobe Bryant sitting courtside.

“Six minutes is a lifetime on the road with a guy like LeBron James,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said.

Veteran Paul Millsap, who struggled from the floor with just six points, put the onus on the Nuggets.

“Something we haven’t been all year, got a little rattled, little rattled down the stretch. Forced a few shots. We didn’t stay poised like we normally do,” he said…

Monte Morris finished with a career-high 20 points, seven assists and three steals as the third Nugget to notch at least 20 points (Nikola Jokic 24, Jamal Murray 22).

Full article

Lakers assign Isaac Bonga to G League

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned guard Isaac Bonga to the South Bay Lakers, the team’s G League affiliate.

Bonga appeared in five preseason games for the Lakers, averaging 3.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 10.7 minutes. The rookie guard was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 39th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and acquired by the Lakers on July 6, 2018.

The South Bay Lakers opened their 2018-19 training camp today and will host the Northern Arizona Suns for their lone preseason game on Saturday, October 27 at 12:00pm PT from the UCLA Health Training Center.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram has been suspended four games without pay, Lakers guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended three games without pay, and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul has been suspended two games without pay, for their roles in an on-court altercation with 4:13 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Rockets’ 124-115 win over the Lakers on Oct. 20 at Staples Center. The suspensions were announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Ingram has been suspended for aggressively returning to and escalating the altercation and throwing a punch in the direction of Paul, confronting a game official in a hostile manner, and instigating the overall incident by shoving Rockets guard James Harden. Rondo has been suspended for instigating a physical altercation with, and spitting and throwing multiple punches at, Paul. Paul has been suspended for poking at and making contact with the face of Rondo, and throwing multiple punches at him.

Paul will begin serving his suspension tonight when the Rockets face the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. Ingram and Rondo will begin serving their suspensions on Mon., Oct 22, when the Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs.

To view the incident, click on this link.

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Johnathan Williams to a two-way contract. And in a related move, the team has waived forward Travis Wear.

Williams (6-9, 230) played in all six preseason games for the Lakers, averaging 6.8 points (.516 FG%) and 4.3 rebounds in 14.5 minutes per game.

Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to have up to two players under two-way contracts on their roster at any given time, in addition to their 15-man regular season roster. The Lakers roster remains at 16, including two two-way players.

Lakers exercise contract options on Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram

In what was likely an extremely easy decision for the team, the Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their team options for the 2019-20 season on guards Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart, and forwards Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram.

Ball earned Second Team All-Rookie honors in 2017-18, appearing in 52 games (50 starts) and averaging 10.2 points, 7.2 assists, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 34.2 minutes.

In 63 games (23 starts) last season, Hart notched eight double-doubles and averaged 7.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 23.2 minutes, closing out the season with four-straight 20-point games.

Ingram played in 59 games (all starts), scoring a team-high-tying 16.1 points (.470 FG%) per game, adding 5.3 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 33.5 minutes.

A First Team All-Rookie selection last season, Kuzma appeared in 77 games (37 starts) and finished fifth all-time among Lakers rookies in scoring (1,242 points), tallying a team-high-tying 16.1 points per game, along with 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 31.2 minutes.

The Los Angeles Lakers have requested waivers on Scott Machado and Johnathan Williams.

The Lakers roster stands at 16, including two two-way players.

Legendary coach Tex Winter has died

Legendary coach Tex Winter has died. Several NBA teams who enjoyed long relationships with Winter have issued statements on the sad news:

LAKERS STATEMENT

On behalf of the entire Lakers organization, I’d like to express our sadness at the passing of Tex Winter,” said Lakers CEO and Controlling Owner Jeanie Buss. “Tex helped lead the team to four NBA Championships and was a mentor to many of our coaches and players. In addition to his numerous contributions to the game of basketball, Tex was a wonderful man and he will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Winter family.”

An innovator of the “triangle offense,” Winter joined the Lakers staff prior to the 1999-2000 campaign after spending 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, including eight under head coach Phil Jackson. Winter was a member of six championship teams in Chicago (1991-93, 1996-98) and four in Los Angeles (2000-02 and 2009).

BULLS STATEMENT

The following statement is from John Paxson, the Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, on behalf of the Bulls:

“Tex Winter was a basketball legend and perhaps the finest fundamental teacher in the history of our game. He was an innovator who had high standards for how basketball should be played and approached everyday. Those of us who were lucky enough to play for him will always respect his devotion to the game of basketball. His contributions to the Bulls organization will always be remembered.”

Lakers waive Jeffrey Carroll and Joel Berry II

The Los Angeles Lakers on Monday waived guards Joel Berry II and Jeffrey Carroll.

The move comes as no surprise, as players around the league signed to non-guaranteed contracts primarily for training camp and preseason purposes will steadily be cut as preseason wraps up later this week.

Berry II totaled 5 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound in three preseason games, while Carroll appeared in one preseason game for the Lakers.

Preseason is mostly a warmup period for many teams, but for the Lakers and other squads who made major offseason changes and have major chemistry development ahead of them, it’s more than that. The Lakers have a ton of lineup and rotation decisions to make. None will be fully settled in preseason, but coach Luke Walton has a lot of work ahead of him figuring this thing out.

And as for last night, here’s the Daily Breeze:

It was a tag-team act. LeBron James got the Lakers started. Brandon Ingram made sure they finished.

Breaking out of a sluggish start without their top two point guards, the Lakers finally managed their first preseason victory, 128-123 over the Sacramento Kings, behind 18 points from James in another one-half cameo followed by 31 points from Ingram, who guided the team down the stretch.

As Ingram made a key steal and two free throws in the final minute, James could be seen clapping and smiling from the bench.

It wasn’t a game the Lakers felt wholly good about – their third straight preseason effort with iffy defense and too many fouls. But between James’ second-quarter surge and Ingram’s strong offensive effort, they were finally able to get over a hump and see some potential from a budding young player.

The Lakers are must-see right now, and will stay that way for the near future.

LeBron James really is a Laker. It wasn’t all a dream.

In his first-ever preseason game in a Lakers jersey, James started alongside a backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and frontcourt of Brandon Ingram and JaVale McGee. The Lakers lost, 124-107 to the Nuggets, but the far bigger story is simply that the Lakers’ LeBron era has begun.

As with all teams who underwent big offseason changes, the Lakers’ preseason will likely be filled with lineup and rotational experiments, and very limited playing time for James, who in this game played just 15 minutes, shooting 2-of-6 for nine points, three rebounds and three assists.

Standing out among Lakers starters was McGee, who shot 8-of-10 for 17 points and seven rebounds in just 20 minutes. The regular season starting center job could go to him, or to James or another forward. Right now, anything seems possible at that spot.

In the win for Denver, forward Juan Hernangomez came off the bench and put up 19 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Starting guard Jamal Murray scored 18. And Mason Plumlee contributed an impressive 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists in just 19 minutes.

Legendary former Lakers role player Kurt Rambis is back with the squad. Not as a role player again, which would be fun considering his playing days are long over, but as Senior Basketball Advisor.

Rambis will report to President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson, and support the basketball operations and coaching staffs in their day-to-day functions.

“As a member of the Showtime Lakers, Kurt is a champion and knows how to win,” said Johnson. “He has been an integral part of the Lakers organization winning four NBA Championships as a player and an additional four as a part of the staff. His insights and wide range of experiences will be a huge benefit to our operations.”

Rambis has spent the past 16 years (1994-2009, 2013-14) in various coaching and front office roles within the Lakers organization. During that time, the team made six NBA Finals appearances (2000-02, 2004, 2008-09) and won four NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2009).

Rambis also served as the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2009-11 and for four years from 2014-18 was associate head coach of the New York Knicks, including a brief stint as interim head coach.

“I’m happy to welcome Kurt back to the organization,” said Lakers head coach Luke Walton. “Kurt’s vast NBA experience and knowledge of the game will be a great asset to the team and I look forward to working with him again.”

LeBron James meets media as a Laker

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on Lakers forward LeBron James. That’s right. LeBron’s on the Lakers. The signing really happened this summer. It wasn’t all a dream. LeBron is a Laker. Accept this. Anyway:

Speaking with an all-business tone in his first press conference with his new team, LeBron James said the Los Angeles Lakers have “a long way to go” before getting on the same level as the Golden State Warriors.

James says he is excited to play alongside multiple ballhandlers but understands the Lakers may have to take their “bumps and bruises” early with so many new pieces.

“We got a long way to go to get to Golden State,” James said when asked if the Lakers can challenge the two-time defending champs. “They can pick up right where they left off, starting with training camp. … We are picking up from scratch so we got a long way to go. We can’t worry about what Golden State is doing. … They’ve been together for a few years now.”

Full article

When you add LeBron James to a team, it doesn’t automatically mean the squad will instantly start winning and have no growing pains. Chances are, the Lakers will win more than they lose early on, but as new key players learn to play with each other, there will be winning streaks but also some losing. One step back, two steps forward, on and on. Here’s ESPN.com reporting that Magic Johnson understand this, and won’t hold it against head coach Luke Walton if there are some early-season bumps:

Saying he understands that the revamped Los Angeles Lakers will need time to mesh, Magic Johnson said he told head coach Luke Walton not to worry if the team gets off to a bumpy start this season.

“As I was talking to Luke [with GM Rob Pelinka], we said don’t worry about if we get out to a bad start,” Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, said Thursday as the team’s brass met with the media. “We have seen that with LeBron [James] going to Miami, and we have seen that when he came back to Cleveland. He is going to struggle because there are so many new moving parts. But eventually we are going to get it, and we are going to be really a good team.”

The Lakers added veterans such as James, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley in free agency to go with a young developing core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. In addition to adding multiple players who have been at their best with the ball in their hands, the Lakers injected their locker room with some strong and unique personalities.

Full article

Andrew Bynum seeks NBA comeback

Here’s NBC Sports Philadelphia discussing center Andrew Bynum, who reportedly seeks a return to NBA action. Which sounds to us like a longshot, but it’s fun to ponder, because Bynum was quite a character.

I have no idea what Andrew Bynum has been up to over the past few years. I’d guess he has made a trip or two to the King of Prussia Mall and maybe even hit up his local bowling alley. But now we know the former face of the Sixers’ franchise — for like 30 seconds! — has actually been spending time in a gym lately doing something he never did in a regular-season game for the 76ers.

Bynum has been playing basketball. The former NBA lottery pick and total bust in Philadelphia is attempting to make a comeback at the age of 30, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. He last played in the NBA in 2014 for the Indiana Pacers after quickly flaming out with the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier that season.

Full article

Lakers, Luol Deng agree to buyout

Lakers, Luol Deng agree to buyout

The Los Angeles Lakers yesterday (Saturday) requested waivers on forward Luol Deng. This after the team and Deng agreed to a contract buyout.

“We want to thank Luol for his time with the Lakers,” said Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka. “We made this move to further our future salary cap and roster flexibility, as we continue to build this Lakers team according to our current overall vision.”

Acquired as a free agent in 2016, Deng appeared in 57 career games (50 starts) for the Lakers, averaging 7.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 26.3 minutes.

According to ESPN.com, “Luol Deng agreed to a significant give-back of $7.5 million in his contract buyout with the Los Angeles Lakers, clearing $38 million in salary cap space for 2019 free agency, league sources told ESPN. The Lakers can now offer a free-agent star a maximum contract in July to partner with LeBron James. The Lakers are targeting the top players in a potentially starry 2019 marketplace, including Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler.”

And according to the Daily Breeze, “Deng was one of the Lakers’ dubious legacies from a spending whirlwind in the 2016 offseason, and the former Bulls, Cavaliers and Heat forward never produced as hoped in Los Angeles after signing a four-year, $72 million deal. He averaged just 7.5 points per game in 57 total contests, playing only once last season as the Lakers sought minutes for a young core under a new front-office regime.”

LeBron James is bringing his basketball legacy to Los Angeles. Young Laker talent like Kyle Kuzma is sure to benefit. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

The four-time MVP has played in the Finals for eight straight years, winning the championship with Cleveland in 2016 after capturing back-to-back crowns with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.

Now, he’ll be wearing the same jersey as Kuzma, who will literally get to rub shoulders with one of the greatest players of all-time on a daily basis.

“I think it’s going to impact a lot,” Kuzma said Wednesday. “He’s the ultimate professional. He’s a guy that’s one of the first guys in the gym and one of the last ones to leave. Usually I say I’m the first one in the gym but he’s beaten me to the gym a couple times already.

“We’re both excited for the season. It’s going to be a great year for us. I kind of had a good hunch in my stomach he was going to come (to the Lakers). It’s good. Anytime you can play with one of the greatest players of all-time it’s going to bode well for you.”

Full article

On LeBron James signing with the Lakers

It really happened. LeBron James took his talents to Hollywood. Well, near Hollywood. Staples Center is in downtown Los Angeles, not Hollywood. But whatever. Close enough. Here’s ESPN.com rounding up some commentary and reactions to the signing, made official earlier this month, becoming a reality:

“He wanted to come to L.A.,” one Western Conference player said. “They just had to not f— it up. Jerry West just said it, and I was like, ‘Finally.’ He’s not coming to the Lakers. He came to L.A.”

West, now an adviser for the LA Clippers, told Sports Illustrated that, “LeBron was not a tough free-agent signing.” While the player’s swipe — like West’s — was aimed more at the Lakers than at James, the four-time MVP also had his motives for the move questioned.

“My thought was, ‘Good luck. You must really want to live in L.A.’” one prominent agent said. “Playing Western Conference teams night in and night out is not going to be the same. You don’t get a ‘night off.’ I would not want to end my career just making the playoffs.”

James’ streak of eight straight NBA Finals appearances would seem to be on life support with his switch from the East to the West. The Lakers’ success, or lack thereof, will largely depend on how quickly L.A.’s young core — some combination of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart — develops around James.

Full article

Lakers sign Travis Wear to two-way contract

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Travis Wear to a two-way contract, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Wear played in 17 games for the Lakers in 2017-18, averaging 4.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game. Signed mid-season from the South Bay Lakers, Wear notched 16.7 points (.445 FG%, .419 3P%), 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 33 G League games (29 starts) last season.

Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to have up to two players under two-way contracts on their roster at any given time, in addition to their 15-man regular season roster.

Basketball blog