Archive for the ‘ Los Angeles Lakers Blog ’ Category

Here’s ESPN.com with the latest on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who may be playing his final season in the league:

Perhaps Kobe Bryant may sit some back-to-back games

Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant recently sat down to discuss how they will approach back-to-back games this season — if Bryant will play in some, rest in others, etc. But Bryant, in his 20th season, made it known he doesn’t want to miss any games.

“Coach, this might be my last year, so, if possible, I would like to try to play every game,” the 37-year-old Bryant said, according to Scott.

Initially, Scott said he was on board with the plan. But now, entering the Lakers’ first of 17 back-to-back sets this season — the Lakers play in Miami on Tuesday and then in Orlando on Wednesday — Scott appears to be having some second thoughts.

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have assigned forward Jordan Mickey and guard/forward James Young to the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League.

Mickey, a 6’8” forward, played in seven preseason contests with the Celtics this year and averaged 5.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 9.8 minutes per game. He was selected with the 33rd overall pick by the Celtics in the 2015 NBA Draft and in two regular season appearances with the team has recorded a total of five points, three rebounds, one assist and one block in five minutes of action.

Young, who is in his second NBA season, appeared in seven preseason matchups for the Celtics this year and averaged 4.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 13.7 minutes per game over that span. He played in 17 contests for the Red Claws last season and averaged 21.5 points, including shooting 44.2 percent from beyond the arc, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 32.9 minutes per game.

The Brooklyn Nets, playing at home, had their best chance of the new season to break their losing streak and enjoy victory. They were up against the Los Angeles lakers who entered the game 0-4. But as three-pointers continued to clank, the Nets lost 104-98 and fell to 0-6 for the season.

In the win for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant (5-of-16) had 18 points, D’Angelo Russell (6-of-9) and Jordan Clarkson (6-of-12) each had 16 points, and Julius Randle (5-of-9) had 14 points with seven rebounds. Roy Hibbert blocked three shots.

In the loss for the Nets, Brook Lopez (8-of-19) had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, Joe Johnson (8-of-16) had 22 points, Jarrett Jack (8-of-22) had 18 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists, and Thaddeus Young (7-of-15) scored 14. But the Nets as a team shot just 3-of-19 from three-point range.

GAME NOTES

The Nets held the Lakers to 18 points in the first quarter, marking the fewest points the Nets have allowed in a first quarter this season.

Brook Lopez has moved past Richard Jefferson into third place in Nets NBA history in field goals made (2,943), trailing only Vince Carter (3,216) and Buck Williams (3,981).

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson started the first game of his NBA career tonight, and he grabbed an impressive 11 rebounds in 25 minutes.

Lakers waive Jabari Brown

Lakers waive Jabari Brown

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived guard Jabari Brown, General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today.

Which means, unless the team makes another change, Metta World Peace has made the roster.

Brown appeared in six games for the Lakers this preseason, averaging 6.0 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 14.3 minutes per game. In 19 games (five starts) for the Lakers last season, Brown, who was signed to a multi-year contract on April 1, averaged 11.9 points, 2.1 assists, and 1.9 rebounds in 29.9 minutes per contest.

The Lakers roster now stands at 15.

Lakers waive Jonathan Holmes

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived forward Jonathan Holmes, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Holmes, an undrafted rookie out of the University of Texas, was originally signed by the Lakers on August 13. He appeared in two preseason games for Los Angeles, averaging 2.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.50 steals and 0.50 blocks in 7.5 minutes.

The Lakers roster now stands at 16.

Jordan Clarkson injures shoulder

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on a key young Lakers guard:

Jordan Clarkson injures shoulder

Los Angeles Lakers starting guard Jordan Clarkson suffered a shoulder injury during his team’s 136-97 preseason loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, placing his status for next week’s regular-season opener in question.

“Obviously [the injury] puts a damper on the way we want to start the season,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “It might be without [Clarkson], next Wednesday, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

The Lakers open their season Oct. 28 against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center.

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived guard Michael Frazier II and center Robert Upshaw, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Frazier II, an undrafted rookie from Florida, was originally signed by the Lakers on August 25. He appeared in four preseason games for Los Angeles, averaging 2.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 13.5 minutes per game.

Upshaw saw action in four of the Lakers’ seven preseason contests, averaging 2.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 0.75 blocks in 14.1 minutes per game. The undrafted rookie out of Washington was originally signed on September 14.

The Lakers roster now stands at 17.

Lamar Odom prognosis is not good

Here’s TMZ Sports with the latest on former NBA star Lamar Odom, who is fighting for his life in a hospital right now, and is reportedly in very bad condition:

Lamar Odom prognosis is not good

Lamar Odom has not gotten any better, and sources familiar with his treatment say even if he survives he has virtually no chance of ever leading a normal life.

Our sources say doctors continue to put Lamar’s chances of survival at 50/50. We’re told he showed “absolutely no improvement” Thursday from the condition he was in when he was admitted to the hospital Tuesday. As one person put it, “He’s in dire straits.”

Lakers hire Tracy Murray as shooting coach

Former Lakers player Tracy Murray has been hired by the team as a shooting coach, it was announced yesterday by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

In his position, Murray will work with head coach Byron Scott and his staff, focusing on improving the players shooting form and technique.

“I’ve known Tracy a long time, and he was one of the purest shooters I’ve ever seen,” said Scott. “I think he’ll be a benefit to our players, especially our young guys, and I look forward to working with him as a member of our staff.”

Most recently, the Los Angeles native spent eight seasons as a radio color analyst for the UCLA Bruins men’s and women’s basketball teams. During this time, Murray also spent three seasons (2007-09) as a player mentor and assistant coach for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental League and one season (2011) as an assistant coach for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock.

Originally selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 18th overall pick of the 1992 NBA Draft, Murray played for six teams (Portland, Houston, Toronto, Washington, Denver and Los Angeles) over his 12-year NBA career posting averages of 9.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 659 games. In 1995, Murray earned an NBA championship as a member of the Houston Rockets and on February 10, 1998 he recorded a career- high 50 points while playing for the Washington Wizards. Following the NBA, Murray played overseas with stints in Greece (Panathinaikos, 2004-05 and P.A.O.K., 2005-06) and France (Elan Chalon, 2006-07).

An alumnus of UCLA, Murray played for the Bruins from 1989-92 and was named to the Pac-10 All-Conference First Team during his sophomore and junior seasons. The former McDonald’s All-American averaged 18.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 98 career games and finished his career ranked fifth on UCLA’s All-Time Scoring list (1792).

Lakers exercise contract option on Julius Randle

The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their team option for the 2016-17 season on forward Julius Randle, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

This was a widely-expected move, as the team hopes Randle will emerge as a serious building block for the future.

Randle, the seventh overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, only appeared in one game as a rookie, scoring two points in his professional debut on October 28th against Houston before suffering a fractured tibia in his right leg. The second-year player out of Kentucky has started in all five Lakers preseason contests in 2015, averaging 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.20 steals in 24.5 minutes.

Lakers player cuts coming soon

Like all NBA teams, the Lakers must soon say goodbye to players they won’t be keeping for their regular season roster. Here’s the OC Register reporting:

[Lakers head coach Byron] Scott said this week he’ll soon begin trimming the Lakers roster to eventually get down to the league’s 15-player maximum.

That means Tuesday’s game against the Kings could be the last night for some members of the 19-man roster.

The team’s decisions could offer some insight into whether the organization truly views this season as a development year, or if it believes it still has a slim chance at the postseason.

Players such as World Peace, Ryan Kelly, Tarik Black and Robert Sacre offer more immediate help on the court. But would the Lakers be better off investing in Robert Upshaw and Jabari Brown to see what they become?

“I’m looking for the 15 guys that best fit the team,” Scott said.

Lakers beat Maccabi Haifa 126-83

Here’s the OC Register reporting on a Lakers preseason win:

Kobe Bryant scored 21 points in 19 minutes and six of his teammates scored in double figures as the Lakers rolled to a 126-83 win over Israel’s Maccabi Haifa on Sunday at Staples Center.

Bryant shot an efficient 6-of-10 from the field, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.

Roy Hibbert tallied 16 rebounds to go with 8 points and 5 assists.

It was a breakout night for many, and especially appreciated after the Lakers lost their first three preseason games.

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on a key member of the Lakers youth movement:

Julius Randle showing off handles in preseason

This summer, Los Angeles Lakers coach Byron Scott came to Julius Randle with an order.

“I told him every time he gets a defensive rebound, I want him to push it,” Scott said Sunday following his team’s 126-83 preseason win over Maccabi Haifa at Staples Center here.

It’s not typical for a 6-foot-9, 250-pound power forward to have the green light to initiate fast breaks all by himself.

“True,” Scott said with a smile.

But that’s precisely what Randle has done on numerous possessions throughout this preseason, and his agility, athleticism and ball-handling skills have been one of the biggest highlights — and biggest surprises — for the Lakers, continually impressing his teammates, coaches and fans alike.

Here’s the Deseret News reporting on Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker, who was ejected after smacking Los Angeles Lakers center Roy Hibbert in the face. The Jazz won the game 117-114 in overtime.

Trevor Booker ejected

Booker, who started for [Derrick] Favors, was ejected early in the third quarter after picking up two technical fouls.

The first technical came after Booker bumped Lakers forward Julius Randle after a hard foul.

The second technical happened after Roy Hibbert approached Booker following that previous incident. Hibbert, who got under the Jazz forward’s skin in Sunday’s game, bumped into Booker’s chest and Utah’s feisty big man smacked the Laker center in the head with an open left hand.

Booker was then tossed and Hibbert was assessed a technical foul.

Many Lakers banged up in training camp

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News reporting from the virtual hospital waiting room that is Lakers training camp:

The ice bag stayed firmly wrapped on Anthony Brown’s right shoulder. Lakers trainer Gary Vitti stood nearby finalizing plans for Brown to receive an MRI at a nearby hospital after the Lakers’ rookie small forward bumped his shoulder through a hard screen.

“It’s not horrible,” Anthony said in an interview with Los Angeles News Group. “I want to take precaution. So I sat out. But it’s not horrible.” …

Lakers guard Jabari Brown will receive x-rays on Monday after feeling pain in his right hand. Lakers guard Marcelo Huertas missed the team’s preseason loss to Utah on Sunday because of a strained right hamstring, as did Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. with back spasms. The Lakers also nursed ailments considered to be minor, including point guard D’Angelo Russell (bone bruise in right foot), forward Metta World Peace (strained left calf) and forward Nick Young (back spasms).

Jordan Clarkson and D`Angelo Russell developing chemistry

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles with an early look at chemistry development between key members of the Lakers’ future:

Part of the reason the two players seem to mesh well is that they believe their skill sets complement each other more than they overlap.

“His mentality is more [to] score,” Russell said. “I’m looking to pass, and he’s in a position to score most of the time.”

Said Clarkson: “We’re two totally different players. He’s an excellent passer and I’m real aggressive and it just kind of comes together.”

The players also come together outside of basketball.

“We hang [out] a lot off the court,” Clarkson said, “so it kind of makes it easy on the court.”

“We just relate to each other,” Russell said. “He’s not one of those real serious vets that you can’t crack a smile around. He’s a young dude, second year, still learning, still growing. Me, the same way. I’m a goofy guy, he’s a goofy guy. So we kind of complement each other.”

D’Angelo Russell nursing minor bruise in foot

There are always lots of very minor semi-injuries in NBA training camp and preseason. Most won’t mean anything. And here’s one setback that hopefully is gone and forgotten very quickly, reported by the Los Angeles Daily News blog:

D`Angelo Russell nursing minor bruise in foot

The Lakers absorbed their first injury of the 2015-16 season, with rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell missing the end of Thursday’s two hour morning session at Stan Sheriff Center because of a bone bruise in his right foot. Russell does not know how the injury happened, but he downplayed the severity of the injury. Russell also expressed optimism he will play in the evening scheduled later for Thursday.

“I feel fine, I’m doing the proper icing and taking care of it,” Russell said. “It’s just a little bruise.

Still, Russell conducted his post-practice interview sitting on a chair.

The Lakers transitional period continues

The game has changed in Los Angeles these days. Perhaps it’s temporary. But in recent seasons, including this upcoming one, the Clippers are the big contender while the Lakers are in transition and far closer to the bottom of the Western conference than the top. For Laker fans, it’s an adjustment. Here’s the Orange County Register with more:

The rules of being a Lakers fan used to be so easy. You would watch as wins accumulated, cheer for superstars and, if the season didn’t result in an NBA championship, find comfort in the knowledge they would be in the hunt next year.

But supporting the Lakers has become a more nuanced affair the past three years, as Kobe Bryant’s career has slowly, but certainly, neared its end. For example, it was fair to wonder last season whether it was better for the Lakers to win, or enhance their lottery hopes by losing.

The last superstar has scarcely been on the court. So maybe you’ve had to learn what else is on TV on Sunday nights, a window previously reserved only for the 16-time champions.

The biggest change now is that supporting the Lakers requires patience, a virtue that will become even tougher this week when Bryant takes the floor for his 20th, and perhaps final, Lakers training camp.

Lakers hire James Worthy

lakers

Former Lakers player James Worthy has been hired by the team to work with the coaching staff it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

In his position, Worthy will work with head coach Byron Scott and his staff, focusing his attention on working with the Lakers big men. He will accompany the team to Hawaii for training camp and will continue to work with Lakers players throughout the season. Worthy will also continue his role on Time Warner Cable SportsNet as an analyst for the network’s Lakers coverage.

“James was one of the best forwards to ever play the game,” said Kupchak. “We feel he will be a valuable addition to the coaching staff and will do an excellent job teaching our group of big men. We are pleased and fortunate to welcome him back to the organization.”

An NBA Hall of Famer, Worthy played all twelve of his NBA seasons (1982-1994) with Los Angeles. Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, he concluded his career with the Lakers ranked sixth all-time in scoring (16,320), seventh all-time in team field goal percentage (.521) and third all-time in team steals (1,041). His accolades include three NBA Championships (1985, 1987 and 1988); NBA Finals MVP (1988); 2-time All-NBA Third team (1990 and 1991), 7-time All-Star (1986-1992) and All-Rookie First Team (1983).

Kobe Bryant minutes-per-game should decrease this season

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News reporting on the Lakers, who must decide how much to use Kobe Bryant this season. The squad is mostly about the future. But Kobe’s still on the roster. And despite being close to the end of his career, he’s is still a big draw. Fans want to see him be Kobe. Which will only happen if he stays healthy.

Kobe Bryant minutes-per-game should decrease this season

[Lakers general manager Mitch] Kupchak maintained “there hasn’t been any formal discussions” with Lakers coach Byron Scott, trainer Gary Vitti, Lakers president Jeanie Buss and Bryant himself on a number of things surrounding Bryant’s workload. Kupchak said the Lakers have not decided Bryant’s minute and practice limitations as well as if he will sit in any of the team’s 17 sets of back-to-back games. Kupchak only sounded certain that Bryant would sit out in portions of any of the Lakers’ two-a-day sessions in training camp beginning next Tuesday in Hawaii.

Kupchak sounded aware that Bryant played only 41 games in the past three years amid season-ending injuries to his left Achilles tendon (April 2013), left knee (Dec. 2013) and right shoulder (Jan. 2015).

“It’s important for us to keep that in mind and see how he progresses and how he responds to training camp,” Kupchak said. “I would imagine he would not practice twice a day every day. He’s earned the right to really progress in training camp at a certain pace that works for him and works for us.”

Still, Scott has said he hopes to play Bryant in the mid 20-minute range and rest him on back-to-back games, a contrast to last season when he averaged 22.3 points on a career-low 37.3 percent shooting in 36.4 minutes.

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