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Lakers sign guard Kendall Marshall

Lakers sign guard Kendall Marshall

The 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers have had a relatively successful season so far, when taking their roster and injuries into account. And today they added to their backcourt, which has been in desperate need of some healthy talent.

The Lakers signed guard Kendall Marshall to a multi-year contract, it was announced by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Marshall, a 6’4” point guard out of North Carolina, was originally selected 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2012 NBA Draft. In 48 career NBA games with the Suns, Marshall, who was traded to Washington in 2013, has averaged 3.0 points, 3.0 assists, and 0.9 rebounds in 14.6 minutes. A McDonald’s All-American in 2010, Marshall earned several honors while playing for the Tar Heels, including the Bob Cousy Award (2012) as the top college point guard, Second Team All-ACC (2012), Third Team All-ACC (2011) and All-ACC Freshman Team (2011). Additionally, the Dumfries, Virginia native set an ACC single-season record as a sophomore with 351 assists (4th most in NCAA history) and finished his career with 581 assists in 73 games (7.96 APG; highest average in UNC history).

Most recently, Marshall played for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League, averaging 19.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 9.6 assists in seven games. In 16 career NBA D-League games with the 87ers and Bakersfield Jam, Marshall averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 8.4 assists.

The basketball world had Kobe Bryant back, but now he’s out again. Here’s the Associated Press with more:

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is expected to miss about six weeks with an injured left knee, dealing the second major injury setback of the year to the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar guard.

An MRI exam on Thursday revealed Bryant has a fracture in his lateral tibial plateau - the top of his shinbone near his knee.

Bryant made his season debut with the Lakers Dec. 8 after nearly eight months away while recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. He apparently was hurt again Tuesday night in Memphis while playing his fourth game in five nights.

After playing six games in 10 days, the fourth-leading scorer in NBA history is out again until February or longer - and the Lakers’ already miserable run of injuries got even uglier.

“You hate it for Kobe,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters after practice Thursday. “He’s worked so hard to get back, but he’ll be back. He’ll be back in six weeks. We’ve just got to weather the storm until he gets back.”

With an 11-13 win-loss record, the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t a championship contender. Simply making the playoffs would be a solid accomplishment for them this season. But don’t tell that to Kobe Bryant, who continues to work his way back into form in his return from injury. Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog with more:

Kobe Bryant still working his way back into form for Lakers

Bryant had showed some slow albeit steady progression in each game that he had played in the past week. He graded himself an F in his debut in the Lakers’ loss last Sunday to Toronto where he posted nine points on 2 of 9 shooting, eight rebounds, four assists and seven turnovers. But Bryant expressed feeling a sense of accomplishment that he had returned to the court. Bryant graded himself a B in the Lakers’ loss last Tuesday to Phoenix after posting 20 points on 6 of 11 shooting. He showed there he could score and set screens for others.

Bryant’s performance dipped in the Lakers’ loss Friday to Oklahoma City where he posted four points on two of six shooting, 13 assists and seven turnovers. But with injuries to Steve Nash (nerve issues in back), Steve Blake (torn ligament in right elbow) and Jordan Farmar (strained left hamstring), Bryant offered some encouragement he could man the point guard position once he sheds enough rustiness to reduce his turnovers. Bryant then showed off his scoring touch and clutch play by posting 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting in 32 minutes and hitting two free throws to seal the Lakers’ win Saturday over Charlotte. Though he still posted seven turnovers, Bryant’s improved lift in his shot and his eight assists suggested the two-man tandem between Bryant and Pau Gasol could become a winning formula in the same way that secured them two NBA championships.

“So far it’s been successful,” Gasol said. “He hasn’t gotten hurt or rehurt. That’s a positive.”

Remember Chris Kaman? He’s on the Los Angeles Lakers, in case you forgot. And the big guy isn’t too happy about barely getting off the bench this season. Here’s ESPN Los Angeles with more:

Chris Kaman getting little run with Lakers

Chris Kaman has stopped trying to figure out how he fell so far out of the Los Angeles Lakers’ rotation.

The veteran center says he joined the team as a free agent this summer because he saw opportunity to play significant minutes and re-establish his value after a couple of up-and-down seasons with New Orleans and Dallas.

Instead he’s found himself at the end of the Lakers’ bench.

“It’s absolutely not what I was looking for,” Kaman told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Monday morning after the Lakers’ shootaround. “It’s not really in my control. I just try to keep working hard and be ready if the time comes. And if it doesn’t, then it just wasn’t meant to be.”

There’s drama in Los Angeles. Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog on an interesting Lakers situation:

pau gasol

Pau Gasol still doesn’t like how he’s featured in D’Antoni’s offense. He didn’t speak to reporters following morning shootaround Friday here at Chesapeake Energy Arena, but the Lakers’ forward in recent days has attributed his 14.4 points per game average on a career-low 41.7 percent shooting toward D’Antoni’s system not featuring him enough in the post.

D’Antoni’s response?

“It’s also a nice excuse not to play hard,” D’Antoni said. “That’s a classic, ‘I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.’ Well, you don’t have trouble getting up to the paystub line. You know what you need to do to get your check. You know what to do. They will. They’ll figure it out.”

“That’s one thing. They don’t want to do it that way. I understand that. That’s when you have to accept it or not. But there’s no reason not to play hard.”

Lakers guard Steve Blake injured, out at least six weeks

Lakers guard Steve Blake had an MRI and was examined today by team doctor Steve Lombardo and Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Blake was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He is expected to be out a minimum of six weeks.

Blake suffered the injury in the second half of the Lakers @ Washington game on November 26. In 21 games this season (21 starts), Blake is averaging 9.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists in 31.8 minutes.

Kobe Bryant is back in action for the Los Angeles Lakers. And even if he isn’t quite  himself yet, the basketball world (well, most of it) is happy to see him back on the court. Here’s ESPN Los Angeles on Kobe’s return:

Kobe Bryant critical of his play upon return

Kobe Bryant said he was “pleased” with the way his body responded Sunday, playing in his first NBA game in nearly eight months since tearing the Achilles tendon in his left leg, but the warm and fuzzy feelings ended there.

Bryant was his biggest critic after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 106-94 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

“I’m just insanely critical,” Bryant said after finishing with nine points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and eight turnovers in 28 minutes. “There was a bunch of things that I completely messed up on.”

When asked to grade his performance, Bryant gave himself an “F.” And when asked whether he had been “reborn in a new form,” he quipped, “Right now my form is a horse’s a– form.” Bryant was particularly down on himself for being responsible for a hefty portion of the Lakers’ 19 turnovers, which led to 22 points for Toronto.

“I failed miserably at that,” Bryant said after revealing that his personal expectation for his debut was to avoid turnovers. “That was really the biggest thing for me, just trying to take care of the basketball, because I know I’m going to be in charge of making some decisions out there. … Basketballwise, I’m not happy.”

Kobe Bryant will make his return for the Lakers this Sunday in Los Angeles, where they will face the Toronto Raptors.

The Lakers are off to a better-than-expected start this season, putting up a 9-9 record. They’ve shown good team chemistry and have been fun to watch.

It’ll be interesting to see how good Kobe Bryant still is. Coming back from serious injury, it’s safe to assume he’ll have lost some athletic ability. He should look rusty, right? Maybe play limited minutes? That’s the smart assumption. But, this is Kobe we’re talking about. In which case, until there’s evidence to the contrary, the sky is still the limit.

Jordan Farmar

Lakers guard Jordan Farmar, who was injured in the first quarter of last night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, had an ultrasound test and was examined this morning by Dr. Luga Podesta. Farmar was diagnosed with a tear of his left hamstring. It is expected that he will be out approximately four weeks.

Farmar is currently averaging 9.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 19 minutes in 18 games this season.

Also, Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol had an MRI exam this morning, which confirmed he has a mild sprain of his right ankle.

Los Angeles D-Fenders forward Ryan Kelly has been recalled by the Los Angeles Lakers, it was announced today.

The Duke University alum has posted averages of 25.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 steals in three games this season for the D-Fenders. Last night, Kelly tallied a career-high 30 points in a 131-96 victory over the Bakersfield Jam. Kelly is currently ranked fifth in the D-league in scoring average, and tied for seventh in minutes per game.

Kelly has appeared twice this season for the Lakers.

Steve Nash set to return for Lakers

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles on old,  banged-up Steve Nash and his expected return to action for the Lakers:

steve nash

Sunday marked the 10th straight game that Steve Nash missed because of nerve root irritation in his back and hamstrings, but Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said he expected to have him back when the team returns to practice Tuesday after an off day.

Nash spent last week in Vancouver, British Columbia, working out with his longtime personal trainer, Rick Celebrini, while the Lakers were on a three-game trip through Washington, Brooklyn and Detroit.

“I think he made some improvements, but we’ll see,” D’Antoni said of Nash.

Nash, 39, is averaging 6.7 points and 4.8 assists this season while shooting 26.1 percent from the field.

Lakers waive forward Elias Harris

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived forward Elias Harris, it was announced today.

Harris appeared in two games for the Lakers this season, tallying a rebound, an assist and a steal in 11 minutes. The two-time All-West Coast Conference Team selection out of Gonzaga University started all five games for the Lakers’ 2013 Summer League team in Las Vegas, averaging 10.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 27.0 minutes.

The Lakers roster now stands at 14 players.

Lakers sign Kobe Bryant to two-year contract extension

The Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant really like each other. And want to stick together. And have put it in writing.

General Manager Mitch Kupchak announced today that the Lakers have signed Bryant to a two-year contract extension. According to ESPN reporter Chris Broussard, the deal will pay Bryant $23.5 million in the 2014-15 season, and $25 million in the 2015-16.

“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” said Kupchak. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”

Bryant, a five-time NBA Champion, has earned numerous accolades over the span of his 17-year career, including being selected as the NBA MVP in 2007-08 and winning the NBA Finals MVP award in 2008-09 and 2009-10. The 15-time NBA All-Star has also led the United States to gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. Bryant has earned All-NBA honors in each of the last 15 seasons and has been named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team 12 times.

The Lakers have appeared in postseason play in all but one season (2004-05) of Bryant’s 17 campaigns with the team, and have reached the NBA Finals seven times, winning championships in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010. The 6’6” guard scored a career-high 81 points (55 in the 2nd half) on January 22, 2006, the second highest game and half point totals in NBA history.

Originally acquired by the Lakers from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Vlade Divac on July 11, 1996 after being selected by the Hornets with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Bryant is the Lakers all-time leading scorer and currently ranks 4th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

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Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog on some positivity involving the Lakers:

shawne williams

In a sign that the Lakers’ team unity goes beyond sharing the ball and accepting roles, forward Shawne Williams believed he made a bold statement when he aggressively confronted Kings center DeMarcus Cousins after he bumped Lakers guard Jordan Farmar to the floor.

“Everybody in this locker room is part of a team,” Williams said following the Lakers’ 100-86 win Sunday over the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center. “We’re family. Anybody who tries to mess with our family or do a dirty play, I’m going to stand up for them on the court.”

Williams believed Cousins tried to do that.

After bumping Farmar to the ground, the Lakers guard appeared agitated by the contact. But Cousins offered to pick him up. Before that happened, Williams intervened and signaled to back away.

Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris have been recalled from the Los Angeles D-Fenders to the Los Angeles Lakers, it was announced today.

Kelly and Harris have both appeared twice for the Lakers this season. Kelly has recorded six points and two rebounds in his seven minutes of action and Harris has posted a rebound, an assist and a steal in his 11 minutes. They will both rejoin the Lakers for tomorrow night’s game versus the Golden State Warriors.

Here’s the Los Angeles Times blog reporting on some alleged details of that horrible thing called the NBA Lockout:

Former NBA players’ union executive director Billy Hunter has claimed that Lakers star Kobe Bryant and agent Rob Pelinka, acting on behalf of union president Derek Fisher, meddled with his efforts to end the 2011 lockout.

In a Los Angeles Superior Court filing Thursday that is part of his wrongful-termination lawsuit, Hunter stated that he received a call from Bryant and Pelinka the night before he was scheduled to meet with league officials in October 2011. According to Hunter, the player and his agent told him to agree to a 50-50 split of basketball-related income.

“On the phone call, Bryant told me to agree to the new CBA [collective bargaining agreement] at a 50-50 share of BRI, saying, ‘I know that tomorrow is a big day. You can put this thing to bed. Do the deal,’ and also telling me, ‘I got your back,’ ” Hunter said in the court filing. “What Bryant and Pelinka were telling me is that a 50-50 deal had already been completed behind my back.”

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned Ryan Kelly and Elias Harris to the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the team’s NBA Development League affiliate.

The assignments are the ninth and tenth of the 2013-14 NBA D-League campaign and are the first for both Kelly and Harris, who become the sixth and seventh NBA players to be assigned to their NBA D-League affiliate this season.

The Los Angeles Lakers face a difficult season, and Pau Gasol not being fully healthy makes it even more of a challenge. Here’s ESPN Los Angeles:

pau gasol

Pau Gasol underwent an MRI last week that showed a muscle strain in his left foot, the Los Angeles Lakers forward revealed to reporters after his team’s 116-95 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday.

“I had a strained muscle there,” Gasol said. “It’s feeling better now. It’s feeling a little better.”

Gasol missed 20 games last season after suffering a plantar fascia tear in his right foot, and he said the two injuries could be linked.

“Now it’s the left foot, maybe compensating,” Gasol said. “Things like that happen. … Hopefully we can keep it under control.”

Said Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni before the game Tuesday: “He’s a big guy that takes a pounding, but he knows how to deal with it.”

The struggle is real. At least, that’s what the cool kids like to say these days. Anyway, here’s the Los Angeles Times Blog:

The Lakers suddenly have some catching up to do with the Clippers, and not just in the Pacific Division standings.

The Lakers’ home sellout streak ended at 270 games Tuesday night when the team drew 18,426, just short of the capacity of 18,997, during a 116-95 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans at Staples Center. The Lakers had sold out 320 straight games including the playoffs.

The last non-sellout for the Lakers at Staples Center came Dec. 6, 2006, against New Orleans/Oklahoma City, when they drew 18,535.

Point guard Steve Nash has had an amazing NBA career. But he’s now consistently hurting, and a shade of his former self. Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog:

steve nash

The stoic demeanor masked Steve Nash’s frustration. His graceful movement walking down a Staples Center hallway also camouflaged his pain.

But as he’s realized through a full offseason, a complete training camp and only two weeks into the regular season, no amount of work Nash has done thus far can cover up the persisting injuries that’s emerged all over his 39-year-old body.

He sat out the entire second half of the Lakers’ 113-80 loss Sunday to the Minnesota Timberwolve because of persisting back issues. Nash will then see back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins on Monday before deciding what to do next.

As he stood in a Staples Center hallway shortly after the Lakers’ loss, however, the early returns don’t sound pretty.

“You can call it the back. You can call it the nerves,” Nash said, referring to the feeling he still has in his surgically repaired left leg. “The pain in the hamstring. They’re all the same things. It gets a lot of convoluted. It’s basically the same thing.”

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