Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Blog Page 121

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Photo by Christian Petersen | Getty Images

After a disappointing second-round exit from this year’s playoffs, many pundits were looking to tweak the Lakers’ roster. The age of veteran point guard Derek Fisher was a concern, and images of J.J. Barea tearing apart the Laker defense still haunt the Lakers’ dreams of a three-peat.

Back-up guards Steve Blake and Shannon Brown did little to help the declining Fisher, and with Brown opting out of his contract, picking up a new point guard is vital to the short-term success of the franchise with Kobe Bryant having three to five years left in his career.

Former Laker players, scouts, and even former Sparks player Lisa Leslie chimed in on what ailed the Lakers this season, with former Laker Robert Horry being flagged down during this week’s ESPY Awards to give his insight on the point guard situation in LA, via Mark Medina at the LA Times:

“I think they need another good point guard. No disrespect to Derek Fisher. Derek is alone. I’ve been there, done that. They need a point guard who can distribute the ball, get everyone in order and not be afraid to tell Kobe no,” Horry said. “You can’t outrun age. I think age has caught up to him. There’s some things he can do, but there are some things he can’t do.”

With the lockout in place, it will be difficult for second-round pick Darius Morris to fill that void, without the ability to work out at team facilities or trainers, participate in the summer leagues or communicate with coaches. Once the lockout is lifted, the Lakers will certainly look to free agency to fill the void left by Brown, possibly with none other than recent NBA champion and unrestricted free agent…J.J Barea.

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Photo by Jay Directo | Getty Images

According to The Philippine Star, Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar Kobe Bryant and New Orleans Hornets’ star playmaker Chris Paul will lead a group of NBA players who will parade their wares in Manila for a series of exhibition games on July 23 and 24 at the Araneta Coliseum:

The Los Angeles Lakers star, who played eight minutes with the UAAP All-Stars against Smart Gilas in a Nike event at the Big Dome Wednesday, will be back serving as player-coach of an eight-man NBA selection including Paul, Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings, James Harden of the Oklahoma Thunder, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers and Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“It could be one more MVP and one more Rookie of the Year,” said Reyes, hinting they might also get the nod of reigning MVP Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and two-time scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma Thunder.

Reports say that the news about the potential coming of the NBA stars came out as early as last week, an idea that popped up thanks to the current NBA lockout.

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Photo by Jay Directo | Getty Images

If you looked at Kobe’s last year in the NBA, you’d assume that age was catching up with the longtime veteran, where his dunk over Emeka Okafor in the first round of this year’s playoffs was a rare sight of the Kobe of old. However, if you took a look at the recent photos of Kobe in Manila, the slideshow is nearly all Kobe dunks, most of them thunderous throwdowns with fans and players applauding in the background.

Is Kobe only a “Thrilla in Manila” now? Or are these images something we can expect next season?

Bryant’s visit to Manila is the first of a five-city Asian tour organized by Nike that will take him to Seoul and other cities throughout China. Yesterday, Bryant was an everyman, doing interviews with six media groups, workouts with local players and a fan session that was described by the Philippine Star as “all smiles from start to finish – he clearly enjoyed every minute of the brief visit”

His fourth time visiting the country, Kobe was open in the the one-on-one interviews, covering the globalization of basketball to keeping his body from breaking down despite 15 NBA seasons of fatigue.

Kobe acknowledged being hampered by injuries this past season, something that doesn’t stop him from competing:

“If I’m hurt but I’m still standing, I’ll go out there and give it my best shot,” he said. “It’s just the love of the game. I love playing. I don’t like taking days off. I don’t like quitting. It’s not who I am. To me, it’s about winning. Somebody has to win and I’d rather (that somebody) be me.”

He also contended that, while he may not be the high-flyer he was at 18 when he entered the league, he still practices just as hard as he did fifteen years ago:

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Photo by David Livingston | Getty Images

The man of a thousand nicknames, Shaquille “Big Diesel” “Superman” “Big Aristotle” O’Neal may need another one: The Big Analysis.

TNT made the announcement earlier today that the former Laker and future hall-of-famer will be joining TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show that takes place before and after games, alongside Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Ernie Johnson, and the always interesting Charles Barkley.

According to the USA Today, O’Neal said the two giants will peacefully co-exist:

“It is not a concern for me. I’ve always been a team player,” he said on a conference call Thursday.

Turner Sports President David Levy said Barkley was one of the biggest proponents of hiring O’Neal. Smith has nicknamed his new colleague “The Big Analytical.”

Said Levy: “We have always had four people sitting up there. … I think there will be enough to go around for everybody.”

It was reported that ESPN was also in the bid for his services. However Shaq said he has always been a big fan of TNT and “Inside the NBA” so it was a easy choice.

Just how will Ernie Johnson will be able to contain the pairing of Shaq and Sir Charles? We’re sure Ernie is welcome to suggestions. For some classic chemistry between the two, here’s one of the more memorable Shaq-Barkley moments during their careers:

 

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David Brickley and Jason Riley are LIVE from their Fox Sports Radio studios in Burbank for another LIVE edition of Voice of the Nation. Newly drafted Laker guard Andrew Goudelock joins the show.

Rundown

  • POLL: What is the most Unbreakable Lakers Record?
  • NBA Players seriously considering going overseas
  • Kobe’s Top 10 Dunks
  • INTERVIEW: Andrew Goudelock – Lakers Guard (#46 pick in NBA Draft)
  • Around the NBA
  • Best and Worst of the Week
  • Lamar Odom nominated for yet another award
  • 3 for 3

 

Additional Audio

ESPN TV

 

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Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #146

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Podcast Home: LakersPodcast.com

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We know you’ve been on the edge of your seats for the details, Nation. No, we’re not talking about Kobe’s revolutionary German knee procedure that creates knee cartilage and may add extra years to his career, we’re talking about Shannon Brown and Monica’s wedding.

The Laker guard (probably not for long) and R&B artist tied the knot on Saturday in Downtown Los Angeles. And if I’ve ever felt like a Hollywood reporter, it was with that previous sentence. Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher were among those who attended.

We are in the midst of a lockout during the off-season, ladies and gentleman.

We’ve got a video after the jump, courtesy of The Insider

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Photo by Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

Kobe Bryant, who turns 33 this August, will go down as one of the best dunkers of all-time. At his age and the wear and tear on his body, we don’t see his high flying acrobats as much as we did when he was a skinny rookie out of Lower Merion. However, his recent 360 dunk he threw down at his camp got us thinking…

What are the Top 10 dunks of Kobe Bryant’s career?

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In likely the most bizarre post we’ve had on this site in maybe 4 years, Kobe Bryant put a beating on rapper/actor Bow Wow. After a bet that was placed during Shannon Brown’s wedding, Kobe took on friend of producer/rapper Jermaine Dupri with rights to Dupri’s latest single on the line against a pair of Lakers season tickets. Bow Wow decided to throw himself into the fire… probably not a wise decision. Bow Wow bet rights to his next single, needless to say he didn’t score a bucket. Bow Wow then requested a re-match with a thousand dollars on the line, jump shots only — same outcome. Kobe then distributed his winnings to his Kobe Basketball Academy staff members. Video below, language warning…

By the way, Kobe spotted his opponent 10 points in every game. First to 11 wins.

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Photo by Ethan Miller | Getty Images

As the NBA lockout continues, Laker fans have only one date on their calenders for certain: August 26th, the date of Ron Artest’s court hearing to determine whether the enigmatic, oft-troubled Laker will be allowed to change his name to Metta World Peace.

Along with his name change this summer comes a career change, with Artest hosting his Ron Artest Comedy Tour across four cities. Artest spent this past Friday at the Hollywood Improv, where he gave fans a sampling of his comedy and sat down for an interview with the LA Times.

Ron-Ron talked about what inspired him to do the comedy tour:

Well, you know, I think people got wind that I’m pretty funny, outgoing, ambitious. They wanted me to host a comedy tour so it was something that i was like, “okay lets do it.” I didn’t think twice about it.

By the looks of things, Ron Artest is making the best of the lockout, and exploring things that he may have not been able to do if the owners and players had a new CBA in place.

“WorldPeace” took to twitter recently to voice his pleasure with the freedom to participate in his extra-curricular activities during the labor dispute.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/ronartest/status/89960592240156672″]

James Cypert contributed to this report.

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Photo by ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images

New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams, plans to play in Turkey during the lockout. Although there has been a lot of chatter from NBA players possibly playing overseas, Williams seems like the only sure thing.

According to ESPN.com, Williams said any collective bargaining agreement that would leave stars such as Kobe Bryant making only $11 million a year — the owners have proposed cutting players’ salaries by roughly a third — could open the door for an unprecedented exodus to Europe.

With regards to Kobe Bryant, Williams had this to say:

“(Kobe) could go make more money overseas, I guarantee you.” said Williams, who has a one-year, $5 million deal with Besiktas. “If (European teams) knew he could be there for a full season, or they knew I could be there for a full season, or they knew LeBron James could be there for a full season, they’ll pay more money, of course.”

So where does Williams see Bryant playing if he decides to play overseas during the lockout?

“I see him going to China or somewhere,” said Williams, who teamed with Bryant to help the U.S. win the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “He’s big in China. I was over there with him in Beijing. He’s ‘The Man’ over there.”

Unfortunately as the lockout lingers, it is not as easy as the players simply choosing to go make some extra cash overseas.

With the lockout in full effect there is no NBA player health insurance. Although teams cannot prohibit international competition, if a player like Williams got hurt, the Nets could void his contract.

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Photo by Bryan Bedder | Getty

According to the USA Today, the big fella is headed to Turner Sports.

Retired NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal has agreed to join Turner Sports’ TNT, where Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson star on the network’s Inside the NBA, CNBC’s Darren Rovell tweeted Saturday, citing unnamed sources.

It is unclear if O’Neal will join Ernie, Kenny, and Charles on the Emmy award winning Inside the NBA, or if he will be used in another way.

O’Neal hinted at at his future in broadcasting during his retirement speech last month, and has often joked that he was going to take Kenny “The Jet” Smith’s job when he retired.

No official announcement has been made, and Turner has yet to make a comment.

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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.