Monday, December 22, 2014
Blog Page 102

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This past offseason wasn’t exactly a vacation for Kobe Bryant.

There was the uncertainty of the NBA lockout to go with the on-again, off-again rumors that Bryant would head overseas.

There was the experimental knee surgery, a risky move that – if successful – could return Bryant to full strength, without the limitations he dealt with last season.

There were the allegations of assault after Bryant allegedly ripped a churchgoer’s cell phone away while the man was taking pictures of him during a Church service.

To complicate it all, the Lakers appear to have a significantly reduced roster heading into the season, thanks in part to Commissioner Stern’s unprecedented decision to veto a trade that would have given the Lakers Chris Paul in exchange for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.

Bryant addressed all of this (and more) in a recent sit-down with Yahoo! Sports. Here are some of the highlights:

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Vernon Biever | Getty Images

Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 18, 1973
MILWAUKEE BUCKS 107 – LA LAKERS 109
FILL-IN AT GUARD PRICE PICKS UP WHERE WEST LEFT OFF HITTING CLUTCH GAME-WINNER AT BUZZER

Laker great Jerry West, known throughout his career as Mr. Clutch, was sitting out Tuesday’s game against the NBA-best Milwaukee Bucks with a pulled abdominal muscle – but that didn’t mean that the Lakers were missing their clutch presence at the guard spot.

Fill-in Jim Price, who had been drafted by the Lakers the previous year, had begun filling in at point guard for the Lakers, who were not the same team two years before that won an NBA Finals and set the record for consecutive wins at 33 straight. That said, the Lakers had just enough talent on the roster to keep even with a loaded Bucks team that featured future Hall-of-Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.

The Lakers, led by fellow guard Gail Goodrich’s 40 points, would go back and forth with the Bucks, leading early in the fourth quarter by 10 points before a 12-point surge put the Bucks back in the lead. Missed baskets from both sides left the Lakers with the ball with only two seconds remaining and the game tied at 107-107 as Laker coach Bill Sharman called a timeout. The strategy was to inbound the ball to Goodrich for the game’s final shot.

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After trading Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for a trade exception, the Lakers were left with a giant void in terms of depth in the frontcourt. The Lakers hope that the signing of veteran free agent F Troy Murphy can aid in filling that void. The Lakers have reportedly signed Murphy to a one year contract for the veterans minimum (worth just over $1 million).

 

The 6-11, 245lb Murphy was the 14th overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. Murphy was regarded as an excellent perimeter shooter and above average rebounder, however, multiple injuries have stunted a career that saw Murphy average 15 points and 11 rebounds in his best statistical season in 2004-05.

 

Murphy spent parts of last season with the Nets and Celtics where he averaged 3.6 points and 3.2 rebounds in just over 13 minutes of action per night.

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Stephen Wade | Getty Images

Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 17, 1991
LA LAKERS 102 – CHICAGO BULLS 89
LAKERS REPAY BULLS FOR FINALS WOES AS A RETIRED MAGIC JOHNSON WATCHES FROM STANDS

Magic Johnson was the main piece missing from an NBA Finals rematch with the Chicago Bulls in December of 1991, but the way that Michael Jordan was playing would have led you to believe His Airness had disappeared as well. With Magic Johnson watching from the stands, following his retirement one month earlier, the Lakers would find a way to flip the script on a Bulls team that had rocked them in the Finals just months before.

Former Lakers coach Mike Dunleavy, whose aging squad had been torn up in the previous summer’s NBA Finals by the more athletic Bulls, employed a lineup of four forwards, negating the Bulls screen game, negating the personnel mismatches, and negating the Bulls offense. The Bulls would shoot 41% for the game, but most noticeable would be the 6-for-20 shooting day of Michael Jordan. Possibly affected by a tough month in the media spotlight, Jordan would miss his final 10 shots in the game, none more embarrassing than a signature double-clutch dunk that would clang off the back iron during a fast break after stripping James Worthy of the ball.

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Photo by Elsa | Getty Images

According to multiple reports Vanessa Bryant has filed for divorce from Kobe after 10 1/2 years:

Vanessa Bryant, 29, filed Friday in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, Calif., citing “irreconciliable differences,” and is represented by noted divorce attorney Laura Wasser. The couple has two daughters, Natalia Diamante, 8, and Gianna Maria-Onore, 5.

A representative for the couple released a statement saying, “The Bryants have resolved all issues incident to their divorce privately with the assistance of counsel and a Judgment dissolving their marital status will be entered in 2012.”

In the statement, the Bryants “ask that in the interest of our young children and in light of the upcoming holiday season the public respect our privacy during this difficult time.”

It also has been reported that Kobe and Vanessa do not have a prenup. According to Forbes, that would mean hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake:

Bryant was the second highest-paid athlete in the world this year with earnings of $53 million. He has banked $200 million in salary from the Lakers during his career and another $250 million from endorsements which currently include Nike, Smart Car, Turkish Airlines and others. Bryant is likely worth in the neighborhood of $300 million after the tax man, his agent and others have taken their cut.

An earlier report today had Stephen A. Smith of ESPN predicting that the Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will demand a trade because of the franchise’s direction.

 

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Photo by Harry How | Getty Images

Boston, Orlando, Miami, Dallas, Chicago.

Where do all these game rank? What is the one game you can’t miss this season?

After checking out the Top 10 must-see games, leave a comment, and let us know if you agree with the list or not.

Here are the Top 10 games for the 2011-2012 season.

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Photo by Michael Buckner | Getty Images

Many Laker fans question the decision to trade Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks. A team who just swept the Lakers out of the playoffs.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban joined the Dan Patrick show this morning to talk about many things, including the Clippers acquiring Chris Paul, the possibility of Cuban buying the Dodgers and, of course, the trade for Lamar Odom

Cuban said that it’s no mystery to him why the Lakers would trade Odom to the Mavs. He simply said “Thank you very much”, and moved on.

You can read the conversation, between Dan Patrick and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban below, or you can listen to the entire interview via Fox Sports LA.

Dan Patrick: Why did the Lakers trade Lamar Odom to of all places…You?

Mark Cuban: You’ll have to ask them

DP: But you have to wonder, saying wait a minute? They are willing to trade Lamar Odom to…us?

MC: Nope, I don’t wonder those things, I say thank you very much and move on.

DP: Who Initiated Lamar Odom coming to the Mavs?

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Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 16, 2009
LA LAKERS 107 – MILWAUKEE BUCKS 106
KOBE HITS TURNAROUND JUMPER AT THE BUZZER AS LAKERS RALLY IN OVERTIME

Let’s set the scene: Falling behind 106-100 with 1:25 remaining in overtime, the Lakers were two possessions away from falling to a 4-3 road record to a Bucks team that was just beginning to enjoy a .500 record at 11-11. After two quick baskets from Bryant, Bucks center Andrew Bogut would be whistled for a blocking foul, allowing Bryant to shoot an additional free throw. When Laker forward Ron Artest would secure the rebound from an errant shot from Michael Redd, the Lakers would call timeout, trailing 106-105 with 5.4 seconds remaining.

Kobe Bryant’s 39 points and turnaround jumper at the end of overtime would give the Lakers the 107-106 victory as the Bradley Center erupted with cheers from visiting Laker fans. For extra entertainment, listen for the Bucks regional broadcaster yelling “MISS IT!” as Bryant’s shot travels towards the basket followed by a defeated “unbelievable…”

Quote of the Night: “I told him, ‘Why did you keep us waiting? You had the same situation in regulation.’ Really, he wasted a half-hour of our lives. I just don’t understand that boy at times.” – Lakers coach Phil Jackson, in jest, on Kobe Bryant’s game-winning shot at the end of overtime. - From the LA Times, Dec. 17, 2009

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Here’s what we can be certain of:

When the Lakers hastily dealt Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, they did not have another trade waiting in the wings. Obvious speculation would suggest that they had ‘hoped’ to use the draft pick and the $8.9m trade exception they received from Dallas to potentially acquire Dwight Howard (or maybe a few other valuable pieces).

Not that this will come as a shock to really anyone, according to a report from Stephen A. Smith on SportsCenter this morning, Kobe Bryant is simmering:

I predicted that Kobe Bryant will demand a trade, and I am not budging from that. He’s livid. I’ve known Kobe too long. He is ticked off.

As I have stated all along, the current misfires by the Lakers seem to reek of the Jim Buss era, a sentiment Smith addressed as well:

“It’s not just because [the Clippers] got Chris Paul, which is a guy that he expected to have. It’s because Jim Buss seems to be doing the inexplicable. It makes no sense. It’s one thing for the team not to have improved [after losing to the Mavericks], it’s another thing entirely for them to regress. If you know anything about Kobe, that is the last thing that he wants to do. It will not be pleasant at all.”

Bryant publicly declared his faith in Mitch and the Lakers front office when he talked with the media on Sunday, then again when he spoke with Jim Rome earlier this week. However, he did say that he was unaware of what management had brewing and didn’t understand why the Lakers moved Lamar to Dallas.

With the season just nine days away, a cloud of uncertainty continues to hang over the Lakers. As we have all done so often before, we can only sit back and wait to see how this soap opera plays out.

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Robert Laberge | Getty Images

Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 15, 2006
HOUSTON ROCKETS 101 – LA LAKERS 112
BRYANT SCORES 53 AS LAKERS RALLY FROM 21 DOWN TO OVERCOME ROCKETS IN DOUBLE OVERTIME

In a battle between two middle-of-the-pack Western Conference teams, each lacking injured stars on either side, few would have expected the scoring and defensive exhibition that took place when the Rockets and Lakers took court five years ago, let alone one that would stretch into double overtime.

Without Laker forward Lamar Odom or Rockets guard Tracy McGrady playing dues to injuries, it would seem to be Kobe Bryant’s stage to perform. However, it would take a quiet first quarter where Bryant would shoot only two free throws before he would take the stage.

By that point, the Lakers trailed 29-10, on account of nine Laker turnovers to along with four blocked shots by Rockets center Yao Ming. Another basket from the Rockets would push the lead to 21, when at which Bryant would channel his “1-on-5″ mentality that both made him revered and reviled by Laker fans alike, scoring 17 points in the second quarter and sending the Lakers into halftime with an 18-point deficit.

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Photo by Chris Graythen | Getty Image

Commissioner David Stern had a conference call with the media at 9:45 PST, and confirmed that the Hornets have traded Chris Paul to the Clippers.

The Clippers traded (SG) Eric Gordon, (C) Chris Kaman, (SF) Al-Farouq Aminu and their unprotected 2012 first-round draft pick to the New Orleans Hornets for (PG) Chris Paul and a pair of 2015 second-round picks.

The 2012 pick, is tied to the performance of the Minnesota Timberwolves, which could become the No. 1 overall selection.

ESPN’s Marc Stein originally tweeted at 4PM PST that the Clippers and Hornets have reached a deal to send Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers:

ESPN sources say NBA approval to be issued by night’s end to seal CP3 and 2 future 2nd-rounders to Clips for Gordon/Kaman/Aminu/Sota first.

The NBA wanted Eric Gordon to seal the deal, and by the looks of it the Clippers granted their wish.

As Laker fans are aware, the original deal agreed by the Lakers on Thursday was killed by the NBA and Commissioner David Stern. Due to multiple inquires (and the general outrage expressed amongst NBA fans and media members), the league office released this statement Friday morning from David Stern:

Since the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets, final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with the Commissioner’s Office in consultation with team chairman Jac Sperling.

All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets. In the case of the trade proposal that was made to the Hornets for Chris Paul, we decided, free from the influence of other NBA owners, that the team was better served with Chris in a Hornets uniform than by the outcome of the terms of that trade.”

All of this made for an extremely awkward Friday at the first day of Lakers training camp. Pau Gasol showed up to the Lakers facility, but did not participate due to a quad injury.

Lamar Odom, who earlier stated that he was in “disbelief” from what transpired late Thursday night, showed up 90-minutes late, met with Mitch Kupchak for about 15 minutes, then left without speaking to the media. Shortly after, he told the L.A. Times that “it’s better to stay away” from the Lakers facility.

After a request to be traded the Lakers traded a 2012 2nd round draft pick, and Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks. In exchange, they received a 2012 first round draft pick, and an $8.9 million trade exception.

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Photo by Jonathan Daniel | Getty Images

It now seems clear that Dwight Howard will be wearing a Orlando Magic jersey on Christmas Day.

According to Yahoo! Sports, General Manager Otis Smith has informed teams that Howard is off the market for now.

The Orlando Magic have informed teams that they’re ending trade talks for Dwight Howard and plan to start the season with the All-Star center on their roster, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

With the on again, off again trade discussions nobody can be for sure that Orlando won’t pull the trigger in the next 11 days.

Lakers starting center for opening day Pau Gasol sure isn’t buying it:

“You don’t know if they’re just saying that to get a better offer.” (Via @KevinDing on Twitter)

According to sources the Magic want both Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum in a trade for Dwight Howard. The Lakers have said that they would not trade both players to acquire his services.

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Mike Nelson | AFP | Getty Images

Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

DECEMBER 14, 1999
LA CLIPPERS 68 – LA LAKERS 95
DEFENSE SETS NBA RECORD FOR OPPONENT SCORING IN FIRST HALF AS LAKERS CRUISE

The 1999-00 Lakers were giving the NBA fits. At 17-5, with the NBA’s best record, the Lakers were offered a sacrificial lamb in the form of their crosstown rivals, the NBA-worst 5-16 Los Angeles Clippers. While the Lakers were most likely expecting a win, they probably weren’t expecting the Clippers to put on a display of futility that would rival anything to hit the hardwood.

Playing cellophane defense, the Lakers would force the Clippers into 18 turnovers and force the Clippers into foul trouble from early on. While the Clippers would stay steady with the Lakers for most of the first quarter, trailing only 17-16 with less than four minutes to play in the half, the Clippers would fail to keep up with the purple and gold juggernaut, as their one point deficit would turn to 30 before the end of the first half.

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Voice of the Nation hosts, David Brickley, Jason Riley, and Kevin Figgers discussed what the Lakers were thinking when they traded Lamar Odom to the team that just swept them in playoffs.

Rundown

  • Lakers Trade Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks

Question of the Show: Was the trade of Lamar Odom simply a salary dump? Or was this done to land a big deal (ie Chris Paul, Dwight Howard)

Check it out below, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel.

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With the Lakers off to a poor start, trade rumors have begun to swirl around Kobe Bryant, leading many to speculate if he'll leave for greener pastures. Kobe puts those rumors to rest in his interview with Yahoo Sports.