Friday, November 28, 2014
Blog Page 11

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Photo courtesy of Andrew D. Bernstein, Getty Images

March 19, 2014 — 7:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: ESPN / TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

After 4 days off, the Lakers seek revenge as they play vs. San Antonio Spurs tonight for the 2nd game in a row. The Spurs easily handled the Lakers during last Friday’s matchup, defeating the Lakers 119-85 despite future Hall-of-Famers F Tim Duncan, PG Tony Parker, and SG Manu Ginibili all playing under 16 minutes.

The Lakers have a brutal schedule to conclude this season, playing 12 of their last 16 games vs. teams over .500 record. As the Lakers front office seek to determine how to move forward during this upcoming offseason, they have a few bright spot in an otherwise dismal season. One of the bright spot is SG Jodie Meeks, who has played extremely well this season replacing SG Kobe Bryant in the starting lineup. Meeks’ scoring average of 15.3 PPG while shooting at a career high pace of 45% FG and 40.2% from behind the arc. Meeks has made a case to be part of the reloading process for the Lakers offseason. If he cannot reach a deal with the Lakers, he will definitely sign a more lucaritive offer with another team.

Projected Starters

PG – Tony Parker/ Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Spurs]
SG – Danny Green / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Spurs]
SF – Kawhi Leonard /  Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Spurs]
PF – Tim Duncan / Ryan Kelly [Advantage: Spurs]
C – Boris Diaw / Pau Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Spurs: G Manu Ginobili, G Marco Bellinelli, C Tiago Splitter, PG Patrick Mills
Lakers: C Robert Sacre, G Kent Bazemore, Xavier Henry

Bench Advantage: Spurs

Injury List

Spurs: None
Lakers: Out-PG Jordan Farmar, Out-G Kobe Bryant,  Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-F Jordan Hill, Out-F Nick Young

Bottom Line

If the Lakers can find a good opportunity to defeat the Spurs in their current state, it would be tonight. The Lakers have had 4 days off, so they should have fresh legs in order to hit a lot of their 3-pt shots. Although odds are in favor that the Lakers will suffer the same fate vs. Spurs, I believe the Lakers can compete throughout this game if they can come out of the gate with a sense of urgency. I believe we can see an upset for tonight’s game that will definitely bring a positive vibe back into their locker room.

Prediction

Lakers: 103-99

Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images

After 16 NBA Championships and 31 Western Conference Titles, the Lakers have been one of the most storied and successful franchises in NBA history. From the eras of West, Chamberlain, Kareem, Magic, and Kobe, there have been countless record-breaking performances and memorable games that have added to Lakers glory. Let’s take a look back at some notable moments for the purple and gold, from the week of March 16-22, over their 66-year history.

March 16, 2000

With a 109-102 loss to the Wizards, the Lakers’ season-high 19-game winning streak ended in Washington, D.C. At the time, Los Angeles’ streak was the third best in NBA history. It currently ranks 6th on the NBA’s all-time winning streak list.

March 19, 1956

The Minneapolis Lakers won Game 2 of the Western Division Finals against the St. Louis Hawks by a score of 133-75. All ten Lakers who played in the game scored in double figures. This 58-point margin of victory is the highest ever in the history of the NBA playoffs.

March 19, 1972

The Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 162-99 in Los Angeles. This victory marked the most lopsided score differential in NBA history, at the time. Gail Goodrich paced the Lakers with 30 points, while Jim McMillian added 22 points in the win. This 63-point margin of victory stood for 19 years as highest in NBA history, until Cleveland defeated Miami by 68 points in 1991.

 J.D. Cuban/Getty Images
J.D. Cuban/Getty Images

March 20, 1990

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s number 33 jersey was retired during halftime of an eventual Lakers’ win against Charlotte in Los Angeles. Abdul-Jabbar’s jersey went into the rafters of the Great Western Forum as the jersey of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

March 21, 2004

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning jump shot over Keith Van Horn with 25.1 seconds left in overtime, as the Lakers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 104-103 at the Staples Center. Bryant, who recorded 22 points and eight rebounds in the game, was the second best Laker performer on the night, as Shaquille O’Neal finished with 31 points and an NBA season-high 26 rebounds. This win marked the fifth straight for the Lakers, and ninth in 11 games.

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Image: Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

While Laker fans are undoubtedly upset over the Phil Jackson making his way to the New York Knicks, it is important to remember that the situation is not on the shoulders of one particular member of the Buss family.

It is easy for everyone to point the finger at Jim Buss, the Executive Vice President of the Lakers as well as the main man running the basketball operations of the team, mainly citing the publicized ‘bad relationship’ between him and Jackson over the years.

In his article “No Phil Jackson shows Kobe Bryant doesn’t run Lakers”, Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, shed some light on the Lakers-Jackson situation including a bombshell:

This will all make for another great Lakers book someday, and maybe then we’ll find out if all the chatter is true that Jerry made Jim swear in his final days that Jackson would never return after he was gone…  It would shock no one, then, if it turned out that the senior Buss’ aversion to Jackson’s return was extended out of respect to their father from there.

Could Dr. Jerry Buss have been the driving force behind Jackson not returning to the Lakers? If true, does that change the perception of Jim Buss amongst fans who have no issue blaming him for the team’s troubles?

Friday afternoon on ESPN AM 710 in Los Angeles, Ramona Shelburne talked more in-depth about the dynamic surrounding Jackson not coming back to the Lakers, saying it was not only one of Buss children who had reservations about Jackson joining the franchise, but multiple Buss children that were uncertain about creating a role for the legendary coach.

According to Shelburne, the Buss children had ongoing discussions since December regarding the Jackson situation but with multiple members of the family against the change, it never reached a vote.  Additionally she mentioned it was a case of the family wanting to continue with the franchise structure their father left for them, instead of changing it a little over a year after his death.

In the end, was this simply a situation of children carrying out what their late father wanted?  While nothing has been confirmed directly (and it may never be), it is easy to understand how the family would go down this road in order to honor their father and his wishes.

Now with Jackson out of the picture, the Buss family can continue on the path laid out for them without the pressure of the fans calling for another figure head to take control of the purple and gold.

It is time for the Buss children to show what they can do.

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Photo courtesy of D. Clarke Evans, Getty Images

At least they didn’t lose by 48? Well, they lost by 34, which brings the Lakers to 11 games lost this season by a margin of 20 or more points. It’s a franchise record. This team is racking up franchise records this season, but not the good kind.

As if playing OKC for the second time in 5 days wasn’t enough, the Lakers had to play the Spurs on the second night of a back-to-back. Two straight losses to two of the best teams in the league – it was a no-brainer. Despite flashes of competence in defeating the Trailblazers in Portland and the Thunder a week ago, tonight’s performance was less so…much less.

The San Antonio Spurs showed the Lakers how the game should be played, and the Lakers showed how far they’ve been from doing the same all season long. The Spurs took in their 49th win, while the Lakers absorbed their 44th loss, 85-119.

High Points
Turnovers – If they’d shot a better percentage (a much better percentage), they might’ve had a chance…to lose by less. The Lakers committed just 10 turnovers to the Spurs’ 16. It’s quite the anomaly in the grand scheme of the game. Based on how the game ended, it would’ve been no surprise if the Lakers had 20 or more turnovers.
Free throws – The Lakers got to the charity stripe 12 more times than the Spurs, and converted 19 of 25.
Pau Gasol – He only played 26 minutes, but he did the most on the floor for the team. 18 points on 8-16 from the field, 11 rebounds, two assists, a steak and four blocks

Low Points
Rebounds – It’s like beating a dead horse with this consistent low point, but when the Spurs outrebound the Lakers 64-37, what chance do the Lakers give themselves to win the game? Absolutely none. Rebounds, like defense, is rooted in something simple – effort. The Lakers were overrun by the Spurs, and in the second quarter alone, they were outrebounded 18-9. Their spirit was waning as the game went on, and along with that, their efforts.
Offense – The Lakers shot just 34% (31-91) from the field and only 19% (4-21) from three. They actually got some good looks, but just couldn’t convert. Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan and Danny Green had two blocks apiece in the first quarter.
Defense – The Spurs didn’t shoot a ridiculous percentage (just 49% for the night), but they had 58 points in the paint to the Lakers’ 44; took 18 offensive rebounds and produced 18 second chance points to the Lakers’ eight, and hit 13-27 from three. Against a porous Laker defense, they could have done a lot more damage than that 35-point lead they accumulated before the game’s end.

With all the Phil Jackson to New York deal in the works, and Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash using this week to do their talking, the Lakers are unable to escape a day when their minds aren’t turning elsewhere other than the game and the opponent at hand. They’ve tailspinned to the bottom of the heap and their future is uncertain. On the bright side, there are only16 more games left in this season – thank goodness for that!

Box Score

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Photo by Gabriel Bouys | AFP | Getty Images

March 14, 2014 — 5:30 PM (PST)
AT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
TV: NBATV / TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Lakers face off vs. 1st seed San Antonio Spurs tonight. If a term stability comes up in an NBA dictionary, the Spurs would be the definition.

Future Hall-of-Famers F Tim Duncan, PG Tony Parker, and SG Manu Ginibili, have played together since 2002-2003 season, winning 3 championships together and going for another title this season. Parker has taken the throne from Duncan and Ginobili to become the team leader, scoring 17.7 PPG while dishing out 6.2 APG.

Spurs President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach, Gregg Popovich, has done another spectacular job saving his star players until the playoffs while maintaining the best record in the NBA. Without Phil Jackson coaching anymore, Popovich is unquestionably the best head coach in the NBA. With Spurs Owner Peter Holt leaving all basketball decisions up to Popovich, Popovich has shown that a great basketball coach can be an even better asset to run the basketball-related aspects of an organization.

Projected Starters

PG – Tony Parker/ Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Spurs]
SG – Danny Green / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Spurs]
SF – Kawhi Leonard /  Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Spurs]
PF – Tim Duncan / Ryan Kelly [Advantage: Spurs]
C – Boris Diaw / Pau Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Spurs: G Manu Ginobili, G Marco Bellinelli, C Tiago Splitter, PG Patrick Mills
Lakers: PG Jordan Farmar, C Robert Sacre, G Kent Bazemore, Xavier Henry

Bench Advantage: Spurs

Injury List

Spurs: None
Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant,  Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-F Jordan Hill, Out-F Nick Young

Bottom Line

With all the distractions surrounding the Lakers, major difficulties exist to focus solely on tonight’s matchup. The Spurs continue to play extremely well regardless of who they put out on the floor, so this game will unfortunately look like the same outcome as last night.

Prediction

Spurs 120-106

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Photo courtesy of Layne Murdoch, Getty Images

Well, how did you all think this game was going to end? Despite fantasies of the Lakers beating OKC for a second time in a row, there was no way one of the best teams in the West was going to be humiliated by a bottom-dweller again.

The game started out relatively even, with the Thunder and Lakers trading baskets. That’s how good teams bait bad teams, though. They start out slow, commit a few mistakes, then suddenly it’s 33-19 at the end of one quarter. The Lakers made a run in the second quarter, answering every OKC point with one of their own, but giving up 41 points in the third quarter did them in for the rest of the game where they got behind by as much as 31 points, and eventually lost by another huge margin, 102-131.

High Points
Jodie Meeks – It wasn’t even half what he produced in the last game, but Meeks led the team with his 19 points. He only shot 6-15 overall, but was 3-4 from behind the arc and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. Methinks OKC didn’t want a repeat performance from the last game and paid more attention to Meeks this time around.
Kent Bazemore and Ryan Kelly – Despite this dismal season, the highlight has been watching young players, such as Bazemore and Kelly, take advantage of their playing time to not only develop their game, but gain confidence with each possession. Bazemore scored 16 points on 7-17 off the bench, 2-5 from downtown, and added in seven rebounds. Kelly, who probably didn’t expect to be a regular rotation player coming in as a rookie, has really shown off his capabilities on the floor. He finished with 12 points on 4-8, hit both three pointers and both free throws he attempted, handed out six assists, grabbed four rebounds and blocked two shots. He even scored on a reverse dunk.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – The leaders of the Thunder combined for 58 points on 17-34 from the field, 6-12 from beyond the arc, 18-20 from the free throw line and +37 under the +/- column. Honorable mention for Serge Ibaka, who grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked seven shots.

Low Points
Kendall Marshall – What happened to Marshall’s offense? His own offense? He’s racked up 47 assists in the last five games, yes, but he’s only scored 23 points and is 1-6 from the free throw line. It’s a far cry from his 20-point, 17-assist game half a month ago.
Pau Gasol – Against such a great team, Gasol scored just 14 points and was only 5-12 from the field. He also only grabbed six rebounds. Is Steven Adams that great of a defender? 4.2 rpg, 0.8 bpg?
Free Throws – 15-25 from the free throw line – 10 missed free throws. It would have only brought the final deficit down to 19, but 60% shooting from the charity stripe against any team is unacceptable. It’s 10 missed points.
Rebounds – 60-37. Any explanation here would be like beating a dead horse, so let’s just leave it at that.

22-43 – oh how the mighty have fallen. A few years ago it was the Lakers eliminating the young, inexperienced Thunder in the playoffs. How seasons have changed! Next up are the top of the West, San Antonio Spurs.

Box Score

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Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

March 13, 2014 — 6:30 PM (PST)
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TV: TNT / TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Since the last Lakers game when they upset the Oklahoma City Thunder, a lot has happened in Lakerland in the past 24 hours. Phil Jackson‘s possibility of joining the Knicks, the announcement that SG Kobe Bryant will be out for the rest of this season, Bryant and Lakers legend Magic Johnson making a “hail-mary” pitch to make Phil Jackson reconsider, and also Bryant reportedly wants Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni fired. 

With all this drama ensuing in Los Angeles, many of you have probably forgotten that the Lakers have a game tonight vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (46-17). They actually upset the Thunder this Sunday, 114-110, in front of national audience.

Jodie Meeks has a career night, dominating the Thunder by shooting 11-18 from the field, shooting 6-11 from three and was a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line. Meeks has been one of the bright spots of what has otherwise been a very dismal season, scoring 15.3 PPG, shooting 45.5% from the field and 39.9% from behind the 3-point line, which are all career highs.

The Lakers won by making 13 three-pointers in order to go on that marvelous 3rd quarter run in which they outscored the Thunder 36-19.

The Thunder seek to come back from Sunday’s loss and protect their home floor vs. Lakers.

Thunder F Kevin Durant, who only shot 19 times vs. Lakers in their last meeting, seek to be more aggressive and become more assertive driving to the basket. The Lakers have nobody to match up with Durant pound-for-pound, so Durant needs to demand the ball to prevent his team from getting upset again.

Projected Starters

PG – Russell Westbrook / Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Thunder]
SG – Perry Jones III / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Lakers]
SF – Kevin Durant / Kent Bazemore [Advantage: Thunder]
PF – Serge Ibaka / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Thunder]
C – Steven Adams / Pau Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Thunder: G Derek Fisher, G Jeremy Lamb, F Nick Collison, SF Caron Butler
Lakers: PG Jordan Farmar, C Robert Sacre, F Ryan Kelly, Marshon Brooks, Xavier Henry

Bench Advantage: Thunder

Injury List

Thunder: Out-C Kendrick Perkins, Out-G Thabo Sefelosha
Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant,  Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-F Jordan Hill Out-F Nick Young

Key to Victory

Frustrate Westbrook: The Lakers beat the Thunder twice in the last 2 seasons. Both times, the Lakers frustrated PG Russell Westbrook, forcing him to take bad, highly contested shots, and keep the ball out of Durant’s hand. Westbrook shot 7-23 from the field goal, taking very bad shots during the process. I expect Westbrook to play much better tonight especially on their home floor. However, the chances of stopping Westbrook is higher than stopping Durant.

Bottom Line

With a lot of smoke and fire surrounding the Lakers off the floor, the team have to focus on the task at hand and try to execute on both ends of the floor to defeat the Thunder again. Veteran C Pau Gasol has to lead the players by keeping them focused on what happens on the floor and not what happens. The Sunday’s victory vs. Thunder was sweet. However, major difficulties exist to defeat the Thunder twice in a row.

Prediction

Thunder: 120-111

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Photo courtesy of Andrew D. Bernstein, Getty Images

One day after announcing Kobe Bryant‘s season is done, Steve Nash has also been officially ruled for the season. Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. Times reported earlier today:

Nash began this year still dealing with issues that resulted from his fractured leg that happened early last season. After only six games, Nash left the team in an attempt to rehab his injuries.

Nash has a long history of back issues and the nerve root irritation from his leg left him sidelined from November to February. He returned to the lineup for only four games in February before his injuries flared up again.

The news of Nash’s season ending comes at no surprise to anyone. With the Lakers sitting at 22-42, there is no need to risk further injury to the 40-year-old point guard.

In ten games this season Nash has averaged 7.6 points and 4.7 assists.

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Image: DANNY MOLOSHOK/REUTERS

As the Lakers wind down what has arguably been the worst season in franchise history, fans and media alike are asking what does the future hold for the purple and gold.

The summer of 2014 has been a key point of the Lakers plan to return to prominence for the last few years, it is the reason why a number of players were signed to one-year deals as the free agent class has some significant players that could turn teams drastically into contenders.

While it remains to be seen what the Lakers will do on the player personnel front this offseason, there is one move the team can make over the final two months of the season and it is a necessary one.

Fire Mike D’Antoni.

Now before you start thinking this is another hate-fueled article you read on other Lakers websites, blaming D’Antoni for all the Lakers troubles this season, please note that this is not one of them.

Do I expect the Lakers to be title contenders next season with or without D’Antoni?  I would be unrealistic if I said yes without hesitation.  The fact is we do not know how the roster will look next season and we are not sure how Kobe Bryant looks in his return (although I would put money on him looking close to the Kobe we have all come to expect).

One thing is for certain, the Lakers cannot go through another season like the one they are currently having.

Firing D’Antoni is not about turning the team around with a single coaching change, nor am I saying another coach would have done a better job with the current roster situation.

What it is about is laying a foundation for future Lakers teams and its success, something that needs to start this summer instead of accepting another season of transition.

If the Lakers were to allow D’Antoni to stay on for one more season, the decision could have a crippling affect on the franchise past next season and here are some reasons why D’Antoni should not be in any plans moving forward:

FREE AGENTS

The thought that players will want to come play for the Lakers because they are the Lakers is no longer viable.

Are the Lakers still an attractive destination?  Yes, it always will be because of the tradition and history of legendary players, but make no mistake, it is not viewed the same as it was when Dr. Jerry Buss was running the team.

Will elite players come play for Mike D’Antoni? History says no as the biggest free agent that signed with a D’Antoni led team was Amare Stoudemire and the New York Knicks in 2010, but also struck out on signing LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

He is known as a coach that could get role players to play up to their potential but from his time in New York and short-time in Los Angeles, his inability to deal with star players as well as veterans is concerning to say the least.   Dwight Howard did what no superstar had done before … leave the Lakers.  For whatever reasons that are said about that decision, one constant was his relationship with D’Antoni.

In New York, he eventually wore out his welcome with players such as Carmelo Anthony and even players like Stoudemire, who played for D’Antoni previously in Phoenix.

Looking ahead to 2015, the Lakers are expected to be major players in the Kevin Love sweepstakes but with his recent comments that Minnesota has a better foundation than the Lakers, the team undoubtedly needs to show progress next season in the form of being a playoff team or Love will look at potentially re-signing with the T’Wolves or looking at teams other than the Lakers in his free agency.

The Lakers have never accepted mediocrity.  A bad season here and there happens, but there is a reason why the Lakers will miss the playoffs for only the sixth time in franchise history.   If the team were to stand pat this summer and accept another year of transition, what message does that send to the players in the league?  That’s a very non-Laker message to convey.

KOBE BRYANT

The Lakers wouldn’t dare waste $46 million over two years right?

That is what it would do if D’Antoni were to return.  His up-tempo system hoped to bring back memories of the Showtime Era but that has not happened despite having the second-fastest pace in the NBA, instead resulting in one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

At this stage in his career, is it wise to put Kobe in a fast-pace system?  Logic says no, although I do not doubt Kobe can succeed in any system.

With his recent string of injuries, a half-court system involving Kobe in the post is the best thing for the Black Mamba and the final two years of his career.   It would also be nice to have a coach limit Kobe’s minute’s ala Greg Popovich with the Spurs, something D’Antoni has failed to do in his time here.

With the extension given to Kobe, the Lakers made it known this is Kobe’s team and since that is the case, the offensive system should be suited to his abilities at this point and time.   To maximize Kobe over the next two years and also preserve his health, a new offensive system needs to be implemented and D’Antoni simply is not going away from what he knows best, the run-and-gun style of play.

PAU GASOL

The relationship between Gasol and D’Antoni has deteriorated from the day the head coach walked into the practice facility in El Segundo.  Feelings expressed both privately and publically have left the two at odds and as we enter this summer, one thing is certain…

One of them will have to go.

There is no scenario where Gasol returns to play in a system that puts post play on the back burner and there is no scenario where D’Antoni adjusts his system to emphasize post play.

While Gasol’s return to the Lakers is not certain even if D’Antoni were to be fired, it certainly increases the chances significantly if it were to happen.  Gasol would need to take a pay cut to re-sign with the Lakers and at this point of his career he may have to.

Keeping D’Antoni while letting Gasol leave would also take another close friend of Kobe away and that is something that will not go over well after the Derek Fisher trade from two seasons ago.  While the franchise looks to reload, is letting a veteran with championship experience like Gasol a wise thing to do?

Will the Lakers let go of a player who can still produce consistent numbers on the offensive end?  Fans have been down on Gasol from the past two seasons but fact remains it is difficult in today’s NBA to find a post player like Gasol who can score, rebound, and pass.  While the defense is not there, as long as he is not expected to be a defensive anchor, the Lakers can get by.

THE FANS

Laker fans are a different breed.  A very proud fan base, the purple and gold faithful are also a impatient bunch and do not take losing seasons very well.

Attendance has dropped this season and fans have voiced their displeasure through out the season with style of offense, lack of defense, and non-existent passion the team has displayed at different times this season.

As with free agents, if the team were to commit to D’Antoni for one more season, what message is the front office sending to the fans?  With a lack of fan support, this franchise loses another defining quality that makes the Lakers the Lakers.

At the end of the day, I ask Laker fans and management alike, if D’Antoni is not part of the solution, what is the point of keeping him around?  One thing in sports that is a constant, if the discussion is when a coach will be fired, that situation is already resolved, it is just about when the firing will take place.

For the fans, I understand it is a rough season, but with every bad season, there are another 10-15 better seasons coming for the purple and gold.  Be patient although it may be difficult to do so.

For the Lakers franchise, it is time to move out of this dark cloud of uncertainty and frustration.  Well firing a coach will not mean much in the short team (this season), it will pay off in the future.

And that is what matters the most.

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In the third episode of Grantland’s ‘The Finish Line’, Steve Nash responds to his critics and the backlash he has received this season in Los Angeles.

Nash continues to explain his desire to finish out his contract and earn his money, and is not ready to capitulate to retirement just yet.

The episode can be viewed in its entirety above.

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Image: Jonathan Ferrey | Getty Images

Although it was reported earlier by NBATV’s Greg Anthony that Phil Jackson is joining the New York Knicks, the deal with the Knicks is apparently not done yet.

In the meantime, according to USA TODAY Sports, some powerful members of the Lakers‘ family have been working to sway Jackson back to Los Angeles:

Although a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that Jackson has an agreement in principle to become the Knicks’ team president, some of the most powerful men in Laker Land spent much of Wednesday attempting to pull off the seemingly-impossible: come hell or high water, as Lakers star Kobe Bryant likes to say, they want Jackson back. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet done.

Earlier Wednesday, Kobe Bryant shared his admiration for his old coach.

“Well, I mean you know how I feel about Phil,” Bryant said. “I have so much admiration for him and respect, and have a great relationship with him, so personally it would be hard for me to understand that [losing out on Jackson’s services] happening twice. It would be tough. I don’t really get it.”

Magic Johnson also did his part Wednesday in showing his respect for the eleven-time champion coach.

Stay tuned to LakerNation.com for the latest on what has now become an ongoing ‘saga’ in Phil Jackson returning to the NBA.

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Image: Rob Carr | Getty Images

According to Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, Kobe Bryant has had enough of the losing and sources close to the superstar have said that Kobe will not play for head coach Mike D’Antoni next season and wants a new coach in place for the 2014-2015 season.

Bryant, sources said, has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next season, and wants a new coach in place for the 2014-15 season.

 

It is not exactly a shocking revelation as Kobe is one of the fiercest competitors in sports today, but the fact this news is starting to leak out after his strong words in his press conference on Wednesday in which he called out the front office and called for change this summer:

Then it goes down to the coaching staff, what Mike (D’Antoni) is going to do, what they want to do with Mike and it goes from there. It’s gotta start from the top.

Unfortunately for D’Antoni, the writing on the wall is looking clearer and clearer by the day.  Just a few days ago, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said that his sources informed him that D’Antoni would be fired at the end of this season and additionally, Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher said in his article that some Lakers players have been assured D’Antoni will not return next season:

At least two other players frustrated with their current roles were told to be patient because the Lakers will have a new head coach next season, sources said.

There have been plenty of burned bridges this season between players and D’Antoni, notably big men Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill, and Chris Kaman.  In what has become a concerning trend of inconsistent playing time and comments in the media, it is not a surprise to hear that players are frustrated with the coach in what has been arguably the worst season in Los Angeles Lakers history.  Deveney shared similar sentiments on Twitter on Wednesday:

Despite all of that, the feelings of one Kobe Bean Bryant have the most impact on the direction of the franchise.  Kobe, who was notoriously called a “fan” by D’Antoni after a Twitter-spree during the Lakers first round matchup versus the San Antonio Spurs last season, seems to have put his foot down.

While he did not say it directly, it sounds like Kobe’s comments in his press conference were loud and clear as they were in 2007…

“Do something and do it now.”

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Image: Doug Pensinger | Getty Images

Kobe Bryant was examined by Lakers’ doctors Wednesday and has ruled out for the rest of the 2013-14 NBA season.

Lakers’ head athletic trainer, Gary Vitti, gave an update on his recovery process:

“Kobe will have the entire offseason to heal, rehab and prepare; we look forward to him being 100% for the start of next season.”

Bryant also made a short statement to the media Wednesday.

“Obviously this has been a frustrating and disappointing season, but I appreciate all the support I’ve received from the Lakers and the fans, and look forward to being back and ready for the start of training camp.”

Bryant fractured his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee just 6 games after returning from an Achilles injury that left him out of commission for 8 months. He was originally projected to only miss an additional 6 weeks, but after little progress his return was delayed. In a recent interview with Kustoo.com’s Jacques Slade, Bryant expressed frustration with his rehab:

“It’s progressing slowly. It really tests my patience”

This devastating news comes at no surprise to most Laker fans who have long suggested Bryant sit out this lost season anyway. With 18 games left in the season, the Lakers are in a three-way tie for the last spot in the Western Conference at 22-42.

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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.