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Gregg Popovich praises Kobe Bryant

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is a legend. Retired former Lakers star Kobe Bryant is a legend. When a legend discusses another legend, everybody should listen. Because the quotes have a good shot at being… legendary.

Here’s the LA Times reporting what Popovich said as the Lakers were set to retire Kobe’s jerseys Monday:

“His mind was on a par with Michael [Jordan] and Larry [Bird] and Magic [Johnson], guys like that. They thought the game. They knew what was going on. And then on top of that, he had a really phenomenal competitiveness. So it’s not just the talent. It’s the mind and the grit, the guts, the who he is and the way he wanted to compete night after night, which is what made him Kobe Bryant.”

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Monday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Lakers retired two Kobe Bryant jerseys, No. 8 and nN. 24, in front of a packed, adoring crowd. Below are some LA media Bryant quotes from the amazing evening:

“It’s not about the jerseys hanging up there for me, it’s about jerseys hanging up there before, without them I couldn’t be here today,” said a gracious Bryant into the microphone, adding, “It’s about embodying the spirit that exist in those jerseys up there … so that the next 20 years are better than the past 20 years.” — Los Angeles Times

“It was during Monday’s pregame session that I asked Bryant, if he had a choice, would he retire No. 8 or No. 24. I was hoping he would say 24. Wearing No. 8, he was a child. Wearing No. 24, he was a man. Wearing No. 8, he won three championships as a freewheeling sidekick to O’Neal. Wearing No. 24, he led the Lakers to two titles without O’Neal, the child star becoming a mature leader. So what is it, 8 or 24? “I kind of go back and forth,” Bryant said, smiling. “Eight has something that 24 will never, ever, ever, ever, ever have, that’s the ability to grow hair. Honestly, it’s tough.” - Los Angeles Times

“It’s not about my jerseys that are hanging up there for me,” Bryant said. “It’s about the jerseys that were hanging up there before. Without them, I couldn’t be here today. … It’s about embodying the spirit that exists in those jerseys up there and carrying this organization forward, so the next 20 years are better than the past 20 years.” - OC Register

“Among the Lakers legends on hand for the ceremony were West and O’Neal, as well as Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes and James Worthy. “To now be a part of that wall,” Bryant said before the game, “it means everything to me. I think legacy is really important in the sense of what we’ve done is awesome. But I think what’s more important for a legacy is how that affects the next generation.” - OC Register

“It is hard to put into words,” Bryant said of the moment. “Growing up and watching all these great players play and learning so much from them, to now be a part of that wall means everything to me. Legacy is really important in the sense of what we have done is awesome, but what is more important for a legacy is how that affects the next generation. For the jerseys up there now, the impact it had on me, which led us to this moment now is the true [indication of a legacy].” — ESPN Los Angeles

“Who can remember when he scored 81 points in a game?” Magic Johnson continued. “And last but not least, there will never be an athlete in his last performance to top this man’s performance, 60 points! Man! … Kobe, Jerry West called me the day you worked out and he said, ‘Earvin, I just witnessed the greatest workout I have ever seen in my entire life,’ and Jerry, you were absolutely right.” — ESPN Los Angeles

Lonzo Ball is a very promising NBA rookie whose shot is in need of serious improvement. He’s been their starting point guard, and that will apparently continue, at least for now. Not a surprise, but still interesting now that it’s been confirmed by Lakers coach Luke Walton himself. Here’s reporting:

Lonzo Ball will remain Lakers starting PG

Coach Luke Walton says rookie Lonzo Ball remains the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting point guard and that there is no talk of moving the No. 2 overall draft pick to the bench.

Struggling with his shot, Ball has not played in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ past two games — a win against the Phoenix Suns and a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Walton instead rode with the strong play of sixth man Jordan Clarkson.

“He’s our starting point guard,” Walton said of Ball after practice Thursday. “So there’s no discussion, no talks as of now of moving Lonzo to the bench. Nah. He’s our starting point guard.”

The Lakers have been in a rebuilding state, and both their present and future is built around youth. That leaves little use for veteran forward Luol Deng. For more, here’s

When Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. broke a bone in his left hand last week, there was a brief possibility the team might replace him in the starting lineup with veteran power forward Luol Deng.

Instead the Lakers started rookie Kyle Kuzma, who proceeded to put up double-doubles in both his starts. Kuzma has played so well, he may never come out of the starting lineup — even when Nance is ready to return in 4-6 weeks.

Deng remained right where he has been for most of the season — on the inactive list, while the Lakers prioritize developing their younger players over getting value out of the man they signed to a four-year, $72 million contract in the summer of 2016.

“It definitely hurts,” Deng told ESPN on Monday after the Lakers’ practiced. “But the only answer for me now is to prove myself away from L.A. I’m not asked to play, I’m not in the rotation, so I can’t prove myself here.”

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Larry Nance Jr out with hand injury

Larry Nance Jr., who fractured the second metacarpal on his left hand in last night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, had successful surgery today to repair the fracture. The surgery was performed by Dr. Steven S. Shin.

Nance Jr. is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

The third-year pro started all eight games this season, with averages of 10.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.

Lakers exercise options on Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr

The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their team options for the 2018-19 season on Brandon Ingram and Larry Nance Jr., it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Ingram, the second overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft, appeared in 79 games (40 starts) as a rookie last season, averaging 9.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists, en route to All-Rookie Second Team honors. Ingram has started all three games this season, tallying 14.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 28.8 minutes.

Selected 27th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, Nance Jr. played in 126 games (29 starts) over the last two seasons, notching 6.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game. In three games (three starts) this season, Nance Jr. is averaging 11.3 points (.556 FG%), 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals in 22.0 minutes.

Lakers hire Antawn Jamison

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Antawn Jamison as a pro scout, it was announced today.

Jamison will be based in Charlotte, NC and will primarily scout East Coast, Southeast and Midwest games. A two-time NBA All-Star and 16-year veteran, Jamison averaged 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in 1,083 career games (864 starts) for the Warriors, Wizards, Mavericks, Cavaliers, Lakers and Clippers. Jamison will continue his role on Spectrum SportsNet as an analyst for the network’s Lakers coverage.

In addition, the Lakers have added Can Pelister to the scouting staff as an International Scouting Consultant.

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Vander Blue to a two-way contract, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Blue played five games for the Lakers in the preseason and was a fixture on the team’s championship entry in the Las Vegas Summer League.

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. As a two-way player, Blue can spend up to 45 days with the Los Angeles Lakers, not including any time prior to the start of the South Bay Lakers’ training camp or after the conclusion of their G League season.

The Lakers roster stands at 17, with Blue and Alex Caruso as two-way players.

The Los Angeles Lakers have requested waivers on Vander Blue, Travis Wear and Briante Weber.

Blue played in five preseason games and averaged 3.4 points, while Weber notched 3.0 points, 1.7 assists and 1.7 rebounds in three games played.

The Lakers roster stands at 16.

Lakers sign Travis Wear

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Travis Wear, General Manager Rob Pelinka announced today.

Wear most recently was a member of the Lakers’ entry in the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League, where he contributed 7.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists as Los Angeles won their first summer league championship. The 6-foot-10 forward played in 42 games (13 starts) for the South Bay Lakers last season, tallying 12.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.

The Lakers training camp roster stands at 19.

The Lakers on Tuesday lost to the Jazz 105-99 in a preseason game. Rudy Gobert absolutely dominated Brook Lopez and finished with 29 points on 10-12 FG, with 13 rebounds, two blocks and a steal. But as for the Lakers, their preseason has mostly been without rookie guard Lonzo Ball. All eyes are on him, so it’s disappointing that we’ve seen little of him this exhibition season. Here’s with more:

The Lakers played without starting point guard Lonzo Ball, who missed his third game of the preseason with a sprained left ankle. Ball suffered the injury on Oct. 2 against the Denver Nuggets. He did not practice on Monday or participate in shootaround on Tuesday morning.

At Staples Center on Tuesday night, Ball went through some on-court ball handling and shooting drills with Lakers assistant Miles Simon. Ball had already been ruled out for the game, but the Lakers planned to see how his ankle felt after going through the workout to determine how to proceed.

“Let’s get him to practice, see how it feels tomorrow after doing whatever he did [Tuesday] and we will keep taking it day to day,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said.

The Los Angeles Lakers have requested waivers on forward V.J. Beachem and center Stephen Zimmerman.

Beachem scored two points with one assist in four minutes of play vs. Denver on October 4. Zimmerman tallied two points, one rebound and one assist in three minutes of action.

The Lakers training camp roster stands at 18.

The Los Angeles Lakers have hired Jason Rosenfeld as Director of Basketball Analytics.

Rosenfeld and his basketball analytics department will work closely with the basketball operations staff, as well as the coaching and training staffs, to incorporate statistical analysis and quantitative strategy into the day-to-day operations of each front office department.

Most recently with the NBA league office, Rosenfeld was hired as the Director of Basketball Analytics in 2014 and was tasked with developing new statistics to better evaluate players (ex. hustle stats), as well as assisting teams with their analytics efforts in both business and basketball operations. Rosenfeld’s analytics department also supported rule and policy changes by the Competition Committee and Board of Governors to improve game flow, successfully advocating for a rule change to diminish deliberate fouling in 2016.

Prior to joining the league office, Rosenfeld served as Director of Basketball Analytics for the Charlotte Hornets for two seasons, and worked in the front office of the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks of the CBA from 2009-10.

Rosenfeld graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Statistics, while minoring in East Asian Studies, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Look. This whole Big Baller Brand thing is just fun. It’s blown up. It’s famous. Everybody knows about it. Talking about it doesn’t hurt. It’s out there, and we’le keep watching. We still haven’t worn the shoes, though, so we can’t confirm they’re any good just yet. Anyway, here’s reporting the latest on which shoes Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball may be wearing in the season opener and beyond:

Lonzo Ball shoes

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball said he is still deliberating on whether he will wear other shoe brands in addition to his Big Baller Brand this season like he did when he created a stir at the Las Vegas Summer League.

“Who knows,” Ball said when asked if he will wear other brands such as Nike and Adidas during his rookie season. “Probably my shoes, though, thinking about it right now.

“I’ll definitely be in my shoes the first game and then just go from there.”

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Lakers sign Andrew Bogut

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed center Andrew Bogut, it was announced today by General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Bogut played 26 games (21 starts) with Dallas and one game with Cleveland last season, tallying 2.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 21.6 minutes. The seven-footer has played in 671 career games (651 starts) for Milwaukee, Golden State, Dallas and Cleveland, with averages of 10.0 points (.534 FG%), 8.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 blocks in 29.1 minutes.

A member of the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, Bogut earned NBA All-Defensive Second Team honors for the 2014-15 season. Drafted first overall by the Bucks in 2005, Bogut was named to the All-Rookie First Team in 2005-06 and earned Third Team All-NBA honors in 2009-10. The University of Utah product and native Australian led the NBA in blocks in 2010-11, with 2.6 blocks per game.

The Los Angeles Lakers have promoted Jordan Wilkes to Director of Player Development and Josh Wright to Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, and have hired Kristen Andrews as Manager of Nutrition and Wellness, and Adi Vase as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach, it was announced today.

With the team since the 2013-14 season, Wilkes is responsible for assisting General Manager Rob Pelinka in the day-to-day operations of the team, focusing on the personal growth of the players on the roster, while providing resources and assisting in the development of life skills off the court and outside of basketball. The L.A. native and University of California, Berkeley graduate spent the last three seasons as a basketball operations assistant with the Lakers, managing player databases, scouting local college and NBA games, scheduling draft workouts and offseason activities, as well as directing Camp Lakers in the summers of 2015 and 2016.

Andrews joins the Lakers staff after spending the 2016-17 MLS season as the Sports Performance Dietitian for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Responsible for the team’s nutrition and wellness program, Andrews creates and implements nutrition support strategies to maximize player fitness, performance and recovery. A graduate of the University of Arkansas with a Master’s of Science from Cal State-Long Beach, Andrews also arranges all team meals throughout the season, both at home and on the road.

Vase and Wright round out Gunnar Peterson’s strength and conditioning staff. Most recently an Athletic Development Quality Assurance Assistant with the San Antonio Spurs, Vase also has prior experience with the Universities of Kentucky and Oregon. Wright has been promoted to his new position after joining the staff last year as a coaching assistant and was responsible for coaching-staff wellness throughout the year.

Lakers reportedly signing Andrew Bogut

The Lakers will reportedly sign defensive-minded center Andrew Bogut. Here’s reporting:

Lakers reportedly signing Andrew Bogut

Free-agent center Andrew Bogut has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to agent David Bauman.

The deal is for a veterans minimum of $2.3 million, Bauman confirmed on Twitter. Sources told ESPN the deal is not fully guaranteed.

Bogut suffered a broken leg during his Cleveland Cavaliers debut in February and missed the rest of the season.

Lakers sign Briante Weber

Lakers sign Briante Weber

The Los Angeles Lakers signed guard Briante Weber today.

Weber (6-2, 165) appeared in 20 games with Golden State and Charlotte in 2016-17, averaging 3.1 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 10.3 minutes per game. In his NBA career, the Virginia Commonwealth University product has played in 27 games (four starts) for the Warriors, Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat, recording averages of 3.4 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

Undrafted in 2015, Weber was a three-time Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year at VCU, where he finished his career ranked third in NCAA history for all-time steals.

Lakers sign V.J. Beachem

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward V.J. Beachem.

Beachem appeared in 36 games (all starts) for Notre Dame last season, averaging 14.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 34.2 minutes as a senior. Overall, the 6-foot-8 forward notched 9.2 points and 2.7 rebounds through 132 career games with the Fighting Irish.

Beachem most recently competed in four games for the Minnesota Timberwolves at the 2017 Las Vegas NBA Summer League.

Lakers sign Stephen Zimmerman

Lakers sign Stephen Zimmerman

The Los Angeles Lakers signed center Stephen Zimmerman today.

Zimmerman spent the 2016-17 season with the Orlando Magic and played in 19 games, averaging 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 5.7 minutes per game. Selected by Orlando in the second round (41st overall) of the 2016 NBA Draft, the 7-foot center spent much of the season with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League, where he tallied 13.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals in 21 games (all starts).

A native of Las Vegas, Zimmerman played one season at UNLV, notching 10.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 26 games (24 starts).

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