Thursday, December 18, 2014
Blog Page 128

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Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld | Getty Images

Shaquille O’Neal who helped bring three world championships to the Los Angeles Lakers announced on twitter on Wednesday that he is retiring:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/SHAQ/status/75996821360615425″]

From the Video he posted on Twitter here is what he had to say:

We did it!, 19 years baby, and I want to thank you very much, and that’s why I’m telling you [twitter followers] first! I’m about to retire. Love you, talk to you soon!”

In his career he averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. O’Neal shot 58% from the field, in his 19 seasons.

O’Neal finishes his career with 28,596, points, and is ranked 5th in all-time scoring. The 15 time all-star is a former league MVP, 3 time NBA Finals MVP, and won four world championships. (3 with Lakers, 1 with Heat)

O’Neal battled through injuries over the last couple of seasons. He was only able to play 36 games for the Celtics during the regular season, and played a total of 12 minutes in the playoffs for Boston limited by his Achilles injury.

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Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

It was a chaotic first season in the purple and gold for Matt Barnes, and according to the L.A. Times, it won’t be his last.

“I’ll be a Laker next year. I want to win. It’s a great opportunity.”

Barnes has an almost $2 million player option on the table to spend another season in Los Angeles. Matt spoke with the media following this afternoon’s introductory press conference for head coach Mike Brown.

Apparently, he’s not over the Lakers unexpected loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

“The bitter taste in my mouth from here on out drove me to not want to go anywhere else. I want to come back to right the ship.”

Strangely enough, Barnes was the only current Lakers player in attendance today for Brown’s media introduction. In his first year with the Lakers, he averaged 6.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19 minutes per game.

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Sam Greenwood| Getty Images

Warranted or not, there has been plenty of speculation around Dwight Howard’s alleged desire to swap beach cities.

Aside from the obvious reasons a superstar would want to play in L.A., it seems that Gasol’s puzzling absence and Orlando’s early exit this postseason have only validated what some fans have thought to be a foregone conclusion.

However, according to an ESPN report earlier this evening, Dwight Howard’s thoughts and future ambitions both lie with the Orlando Magic:

“As of right now, I’m a part of the Orlando Magic and I plan to be here.”

In response to the observable comparisons to Shaquille O’Neal, who bolted the Magic after the ’95-96 season to join the Lakers, Howard said:

“I want to start my own path and I want people to follow my path and not just follow somebody else’s path. I want to have my own path, and I want to start that here in Orlando.”

While the future is certainly unknown, for now, it appears that Dwight Howard’s first choice is the Orlando Magic.

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Getty Images

With all of the flak that new Lakers coach Mike Brown has gotten over the past few days, Chris Dufresne of the LA Times took time to call up former colleagues and players for thoughts and opinions on the polarizing coach for the purple and gold.

“I did talk to him the other day,” said Geoff Probst, Brown’s teammate and roommate at the University of San Diego. “I said, ‘You do realize this is the Lakers? This is The Show. You’re going to be standing next to Jack Nicholson.’ [Mike Brown] said, ‘I’m ready.'”

In response to critics who believe that Brown may not be able to handle the high drama that comes with coaching Kobe Bryant and the Lake Show, close colleagues of Brown contend that it is simply not the case.

Those who know Brown say he is not a pushover and will not be intimidated. He is not a finger-pointer or an excuse-maker. Neither is he a caretaker.

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Photo by Elsa | Getty Images

We’re all familiar with the rumored (but never vocally confirmed) rift between ex-Cavalier LeBron James and newly appointed Lakers head coach Mike Brown. Lost in that story was the stanch support Brown received from his ex-point guard, and current Clippers guard, Mo Williams.

Today, Mo sat down with ESPN’s Brian Kamenetzky and offered his thoughts on Coach Brown and how he’ll fit with the Lakers.

“I think it’s a great fit. I like Mike Brown as a coach. Actually, I love him as a coach, and as a person also. I think he’ll be good for their team. He’s a perfect coach for a veteran team. He knows how to handle them, he knows how to practice them, he knows how to motivate them. He knows how to get the most out of them that he can.”

In response to the often-cited criticism of Mike Brown’s lack of creativity on the offensive end of the floor:

“We were a top-five [team] on offense if you go back and look at our stats, so the criticisms he gets on the offensive side, you have to go back to statistics. Everybody loves to use statistics in a lot of situations, so how about using them in this instance, and not glorify perception [that the offense was bad].”

You can read the entire piece over on ESPN-LA.

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Photo by Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Jim Buss who has been under a lot of criticism over the past few days, following the Mike Brown hiring spoke with TJ Simers at the LA Times and answered all the questions that Laker fans seem to be asking/screaming.

“I don’t consider myself a recluse or anything like that,” he says. “But this is my dad’s team. I like what we’re doing as a group — my dad, Mitch Kupchak and myself — and especially when we win championships, but I work for my dad and that’s who I like to answer to, and who I like to impress.”

Jim Buss was asked specifically about the criticism of hiring Mike Brown and the people who are blaming the hire  on the new “Jim Buss Era”.

“I’m surprised by the reaction to Mike’s hiring,” he says. “I wish people heard him speak. Let him show you what he showed us.”

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Photo by Jeff Gross | Getty Images

Rick Adelman who had the Lakers “Very Interested” in his services for the Lakers vacant coaching position last week, recently spoke out about the process of being contacted by the Lakers.

Kerry Eggers from the Portland Tribune had Adelman’s thoughts:

The Lakers thing was very interesting,” he says. “They called me immediately; you have to listen. I was impressed with them. They had a really good feel for everything.

“They have a ready-made team, one of the best teams in the league. A lot of things go with that — following Phil, the whole scene there. We had a good discussion, but I hadn’t decided what I was going to do. If [an offer] had come my way, I’d have had a decision to make.”

Adelman, who turns 65 in March, has a 945-616 regular-season win-loss record, and  ranks ninth on the career coaching list.

The only coaches ahead of him on the list with a better win percentage (.605) are Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.

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Mark J. Terrill | AFP | Getty Images

In August of last year, owner Dr. Jerry Buss said 80% of Lakers basketball decisions are in the hands of his son, Jim Buss.

So when Mike Brown was hired earlier this week, Jim became a popular name in Laker Land.

Those fans that do not agree or particularly like the hire, blame Jim for hiring Brown, and argue that Jim is “screwing” up the future of the Lakers.

According to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, Mike Brown was the “unanimous” choice between Dr.Buss, Jim Buss, and himself. [Kupchak also made it clear that the final say goes through Jerry Buss]

So there goes that argument.

That being said Jim Buss is clearly known for two things:

1. Not getting along with 11-Time Champion, and former head coach Phil Jackson

2. His obsession with Andrew Bynum, who Jim discovered, and pushed management to draft with the 10th pick of the 2005 draft.

If number two on that list needs additional clarification here it is.

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Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld | Getty Images

The Lakers new head coach is trying to assemble one impressive coaching staff alongside him. Here is a major roundup of who Brown and the Lakers are after.

The Los Angeles Times reports Brown wants Michael Malone; a main reason for the Hornets’ DEFENSIVE turnaround:

Brown has contacted New Orleans Hornets Coach Monty Williams to express his interest in having Hornets assistant Michael Malone join him in Los Angeles, according to an NBA official briefed on the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly. Malone was given the defensive reins in Cleveland. His reputation as a defensive-minded coach continued in New Orleans because he helped the Hornets become the fifth-ranked defensive team in the NBA last season, allowing 94 points per game.

Additionally, Brown is seeking Pistons’ head coach John Kuester.

Kuester’s job with the Pistons is tenuous because of the revolt from his players during the past season when five of them skipped a practice. Kuester was on Brown’s staff in Cleveland as an assistant from 2007 to 2009. Kuester was named head coach of the Pistons in 2009.

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Most people wouldn’t define themselves as a person of faith. One of the reasons for that is because faith has always been one of those taboo topics nobody is allowed to talk about.

Of course, there are always exceptions.

If something terrible has happened in our Country (e.g. 9/11, Katrina), faith is suddenly an acceptable social ritual, and one that perplexingly becomes a general sentiment shared by the majority of Americans.

This makes about as much sense as anything Doc Rivers has said this decade.

Our world can unreasonably downplay the exercise of faith in our individual lives, but the simple truth is this: It doesn’t matter if you believe in God, no-God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha or Lady Gaga’s egg reincarnation (easily one of the five dumbest things to happen in pop-culture history) – faith is an indispensable and unavoidable part of life.

Which also means it’s an indispensable and unavoidable part of sports.

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Photo by Chris McGrath | Getty Images

Gary Vitti, who has been with the Lakers franchise for the past 27 years as the Lakers head athletic trainer, sat down with Lakers.com to discuss many topics.

Mostly the conversation was about the knee that Bryant was doing rehab on during the off-season, and well into training camp. Bryant was not able to participate in training camp, and was held back from practicing with the team during the season so he could sustain his energy and health in games.

However, in Kobe Bryant’s exit interview he said he was looking forward to an off-season in which he was healthy, and that there was “another level” that he can now reach physically (without having to worry about rehab).

Vitti talked about the possibility of Kobe Bryant, who turns 33 years-old in August, coming back healthier and better then he was in the 10-11 season.

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Photo by Ronald Martinez | Getty Images

Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak, joined the Dan Patrick show this morning and discussed the Mike Brown hiring, and the process that the Lakers used to find the successor to Phil Jackson.

Kupchak confirmed that the Lakers formally interviewed three candidates, but would not go into specifics of who those candidates were. Looking at previous reports, one could assume it was Rick Adelman, Brian Shaw, and Mike Brown.

When asked why Brian Shaw did not get the job Mitch Kupchak said the following:

It’s not so much that we chose not to hire Brian [Shaw], because he’s not qualified. I think our feeling going into it was that we thought we just needed a new voice with this team, the old staff had been with us for almost 11 years, and we didn’t end the season as strongly as we had hoped.We just felt it was time for a change.

Kupchak also spoke about Mike Brown’s coaching experience, when asked why Brown was the man for the job:

He has great experience at the NBA level, coaching with Rick Carlisle in Indiana, [Greg] Popovich in San Antonio, and then he was a head coach in Cleveland and had great success. So we feel we got somebody that has great pedigree, [and is] experienced at the head coaching level. The interview itself was very upbeat, you don’t judge a candidate on an interview, you look at the whole body of work, but I will say in the interview, [Brown] came through as a very energetic, enthusiastic person.

Kupchak also confirmed that Kobe Bryant was not consulted in any part of the process.

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The new man standing on L.A.’s sidelines joins ESPN’s NBA crew tonight during halftime of the Dallas/Oklahoma City game. Mike Brown talks about what he plans on bringing to the table.

According to multiple polls, a majority of Laker Nation doesn’t appear to be fond of this move. Thoughts and reactions to our first look at Mike Brown circa Lakers coach?

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David Brickley, Kevin Figgers, and Jason Riley come to you live in studio as they break down the hiring of the Mike Brown the Lakers new head coach.They are joined by Yahoo Sports writer Marc Spears, and also the Owner of the Sacramento Kings Joe Maloof.

Rundown

  • Do you approve of the Mike Brown hire: We take your calls
  • What does Kobe think of the hiring of Mike Brown?
  • Interview: Marc Spears from Yahoo! Sports
  • Pau Gasol says he “collapsed” in the playoffs
  • Around the NBA
  • Interview: Joe Maloof – Owner of the Sacramento Kings
  • Dwight Howard and Gilbert Arenas to the Lakers?
  • Who will be the Lakers starting point guard next season?
  • STATUEGATE 2011 with Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Additonal Audio

  • ESPN TV

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Download Link: Voice of the Nation – Episode #139

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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.