Monday, December 22, 2014
Blog Page 16

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Getty Images

On “Inside the NBA”, Shaquille O’Neal made some interesting comments about his days as a Laker, most notably what caused the Shaq/Kobe duo to split and go their separate ways after three NBA titles together.

According to Shaq, it had nothing to do with his relationship with Kobe, but instead had to do with money and the fact that he refused to take $20 million a year that was offered to him compared to the $30 million he was asking from the Lakers.

In addition, Shaq says that he and Kobe would have won “five or six” rings together in total if they were able to stay together and continue their reign as one of the most feared duos in the league.

These comments are pretty significant in the sense that there has been a misconception around the league and amongst fans for years that Kobe ran Shaq out of Los Angeles and that the relationship between the two had deteriorated to the point of non-repair.  That is not to say that there wasn’t tension between the two, but the situation may have been overblown if Shaq’s comments have truth to them.

If true, it is disappointing to hear that a $10 million pay cut was the driving force behind the demise of arguably one of the greatest duos in NBA history.

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RareInk: Chick Hearn

Our friends over at RareInk just released a fantastic new tribute piece of the late, great Laker announcer Chick Hearn. The artwork is available for purchase in many different sizes and prices.

About the Art

Renowned rock poster artist Scrojo commemorates the legendary Laker announcer, Chick Hearn, who began his Laker career in 1965 and went on to broadcast a record 3,338 consecutive games. Hearn is remembered for his rapid fire, staccato broadcasting style, and famous sayings that have become common basketball vernacular. Many of those inventive phrases are captured on this vibrant art piece such as: no harm no foul no ambulance, frozen rope, garbage time, popcorn machine, among others. Most importantly, however, is Chick’s signature “This game is in the refrigerator: the door is closed, the lights are out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the Jell-O’s jigglin’!”. This must-have art print for Laker fans is available in limited edition fine art prints, stretched canvases and on metal.

About the Artist

Scrojo, is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer from San Diego. With over 1,500 unique concert posters under his belt, Scrojo’s name has become synonymous with the Belly Up and the San Diego live music scene. His major corporate clients include Nike, Walt Disney and MTV.

Go check out this piece and more over at RareInk.com!

RareInk: Chick Hearn

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Shawne Williams
Photo: Paul Buck / EPA

With Thursday’s news that Nick Young will miss a minimum of two weeks with a non-displaced fracture of the patella and a bone bruise, the Lakers have re-signed former F Shawne Williams to a 10-day contract.

Williams averaged 5.4 pts and 4.5 rebs in 32 games for the Lakers this season.

Williams will rejoin the team late Thursday night in Philadelphia, and be available for the Lakers’ game against the 76ers on Friday.

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Photo: Christian Petersen | Getty Images

The Lakers have announced that guard Nick Young will be out a minimum of two weeks after being diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the left patella and a bone bruise.

Young injured his knee in Wednesday’s game against the Cavaliers. An MRI Thursday showed the significance of the knee injury.

At this point, there are very little words to describe how much bad luck this Lakers team has had this season. Losing Swaggy P is a big blow to this team that continues to battle every night despite a depleted roster.  This season, Young is averaging 16.9 points in 28.8 minutes a game.

Fortunately, the Lakers have gotten back Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar, but it is terrible to lose yet another player. Earlier in the week, Jodie Meeks sprained his ankle and will be out until at least Sunday.  Kobe Bryant is still out for another two weeks before he is re-evaluated.

While the Lakers have announced Young is out at least two weeks, it should be noted that non-displaced fractures of the patella could take as long as six-to-eight weeks to heal. Let’s hope it doesn’t take that long for Swaggy P to return to the court.

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Photo courtesy of David Liam Kyle, Getty Images

Where do we even begin to talk about tonight’s strange game? The broken losing streak? The depleted roster? The unprecedented ruling late in the fourth that allowed a player with six fouls to continue playing?

In the wise words of Fraulein Maria from The Sound of Music, let’s start at the very beginning – a very good place to start. Let’s start with the Lakers’ active roster; emphasis on active. With Jodie Meeks and Jordan Hill out after injuries from yesterday’s game, the team dressed just eight players, with Steve Nash activated, but not planning to play. It appeared, when the game started, this arrangement would work.

As we’ve seen all season, the Lakers don’t have problems starting well. They have issues finishing. Tonight’s start, was darn near perfect. At the end of one quarter, the Lakers were shooting 71% from the field to Cleveland’s 29%, and held a commanding 36-17 lead. In the second quarter, the advantage ballooned to 29 points with the Lakers shooting almost lights out from behind the arc. Despite the Cavaliers keeping pace before the break and challenging the Lakers’ 34 points with 32 of their own in the same quarter, the halftime score was still a lopsided 70-49. Before the break, however, Nick Young twisted a knee after getting fouled on his way to the basket and would not return to the game. The Lakers, then, were down to seven active players.

As per usual, they lost the third quarter to the Cavs, by a mere three points, but when the fourth quarter began, Cleveland suddenly got their second wind and that once 29-point Laker lead was down to just 10 after Jordan Farmar missed a layup on one end, and C.J. Miles hit a three on the other. After that missed layup, Farmar grabbed his left calf, the same leg with the injured hamstring that kept him out for over a month, and despite trying to give it a go later in the quarter, sat out the final five minutes of the game. About a minute and 15 seconds after that, Chris Kaman got his sixth foul. For anyone counting, the Lakers at that point had only five players left to finish the game.

With under four minutes left in the fourth, Robert Sacre got his sixth foul, which would leave the Lakers with four players. Nash was seen on the bench, suddenly, dressed in his uniform for the possibility of checking in if needed. After much discussion between the officials and coaches, the ruling was as follows: Sacre would be able to stay in the game with his sixth foul, but every foul he committed from that point would also include a technical.

In those last three and a half minutes of the strangest game the Lakers have played all season, Steve Blake and Ryan Kelly outscored the Cavs 8-4 and the Lakers took the win, 119-108.

High Points
Ryan Kelly – In the best game of his entire professional career, the Duke-bred Kelly led his team like a vet from beginning to end. With the only two big men on the team in foul trouble all evening, Kelly had to bear the brunt of the frontline and did so without missing a step. With a slight frame measuring 6’11”, 230 lbs., he doesn’t have the size and presence to make up for Pau Gasol, Kaman and/or Sacre, but darned if he didn’t try. He finished with a team and career high 26 points on 8-16 from the field, hit 3-7 from downtown, 7-9 from the free throw line, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots. Not bad for the 48th pick in the draft when, across the way, the number one pick from the same draft class, Anthony Bennett, chipped in “just” 14 points and eight rebounds.
Point Guard Play – The Lakers had three point guards available tonight, and they needed every bit of their efforts. Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar and Kendall Marshall combined for 44 points (37% of the team’s total) and 30 of the Lakers’ 35 assists. How important is a floor general to Mike D’Antoni’s offense? It’s essential, and it was more than evident tonight. Blake led the way with his triple double of 11 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. With his right arm still in a sleeve and his shooting touch still warming up, he still managed to hit the Lakers’ two biggest shots of the night – back-to-back triples late in the fourth quarter to maintain a relatively sizeable lead. Jordan Farmar, in his first game back since late December, came out firing, literally. He led the game after the first half with 19 points on 7-9 from the field, and he hit 8-15 from behind the arc to end the night.
Triple Threat – 10-17 from behind the arc after the first half, and 18-37 for the night, setting a new franchise record for made threes in regulation. The Cavs may have had 40 points in the paint, but the Lakers’ 54 points from downtown trumped that.
All Hands On Deck – With such a depleted team, there was no way the Lakers could have won this game without teamwork. As cheesy as it sounds, that’s the only way a team this lacking in healthy players could have taken this game the way they did, no matter who the opponent. With the exception of Nick Young, who played just 17:32 minutes and scored six points, every Laker scored in double figures. Wesley Johnson, in perhaps his best game of the season, finished with 20 points on 8-15 from the field, and 4-7 from three, adding in nine rebounds.
Victory – The seven-game losing streak, the team’s longest of the season, finally ended.

Low Points
Lead Retrieval/Maintenance – No lead is ever safe with this team, not even a 29-point lead. Tonight, the Cavs took advantage of the Lakers’ weakness and almost defeated them with it. Cleveland took down 27 offensive rebounds(!) that helped with the 32 second chance points. 27! The Lakers are fortunate that their threes were falling and Cleveland’s weren’t (just 5-33 from downtown for the Cavs). Otherwise, this could have been a completely different game.
Another injury – In the post-game locker room interviews, Farmar said that his calf just cramped up, more than anything, and that he left the game for good as a precaution. Young, on the other hand, will have an MRI in the morning to check the extent of the damage on the twisted knee.

What a game. Despite the disappointment that is this current season, and no matter how unwatchable most games are, it’s nights like tonight that show this team is not just mailing it in. Unless the teams above the Lakers in the standings experience some sort of unforeseen self-destruction, the purple and gold will most likely miss the playoffs. Until then, however, they’re just going to keep fighting.

Box Score

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Photo: USA Today Sports

January 14, 2014 — 4:00 PM (PST)
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN

The Lakers (16-32) travel to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers (16-32) tonight.

Despite getting PG Steve Nash and PG Steve Blake back, they could not solve defensive deficiencies, allowing 109 points to the Timberwolves.

Nash, who played for the first time since November, played exceptionally well in his limited minutes, scoring 7 points and dishing out 9 assists. However, he will sit out tonight’s game since it’s a back-to-back.

To make matters worse, SG Jodie Meeks and F Jordan Hill left last night’s game due to injuries. Meeks, who will compete in the 3-pt contest during All-Star Weekend, suffered an ankle injury 2 minutes into the game and will miss the rest of this road trip.

Hill, who brings instant energy off the bench, suffered a cervical strain after colliding with his own teammate and his status for tonight’s game remains uncertain.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers’s fortune has not been much better under Mike Brown’s leadership despite having the Kyrie Irving and Luol Deng duo.

Deng, who was acquired from the Chicago Bulls last month, has averaged 16.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 3.2 APG while playing with the Cavaliers.

A future NBA superstar in the making, PG Kyrie Irving, seeks to lead the struggling Cavaliers into the playoff race. Irving, who averaged 21.7 PPG and 6.2 APG, has showed that he can hold his own against NBA’s elite guards and has even outplayed some of them at times. If Irving can learn how to lead the Cavaliers, no reason exists for them to not be successful.

Projected Starters

PG – Kyrie Irving / Jordan Farmar [Advantage: Cavaliers]
SG – CJ Miles / Steve Blake [Advantage: Even]
SF – Luol Deng / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Cavaliers]
PF – Tristan Thompson / Ryan Kelly [Advantage: Cavaliers]
C – Anderson Vaerjao / Robert Sacre [Advantage: Cavaliers]

Notable Bench Players

Cavaliers: F Earl Clark, G Dion Waters, F Tyler Zeller, PG Jarrett Jack

Lakers: G/F Nick Young, G Kendall Marshall, G Manny Harris, C Chris Kaman

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Cavaliers: None

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-G Jodie Meeks, GTD-F Jordan Hill

Keys for Lakers Victory

Rebound: If we evaluate the Lakers based on their last month of play, we can see that they cannot play defense and grab defensive rebounds. Therefore, the Lakers have to focus on not allowing the Cavaliers to grab a lot of offensive rebounds in order to try to limit their possessions.

Bottom Line

Both the Lakers and Cavaliers are currently suffering from a multitude of issues. The Cavaliers suffer from locker room issues and players who do not want to play there. Unfortunately, the Lakers have been dealing with trying to maintain the health of their players. Hopefully, the Lakers play with a sense of urgency and relentlessness. They should play with a lot of energy tonight and hopefully come away with a victory tonight.

Prediction

Lakers: 107-104

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Photo courtesy of David Sherman, Getty Images

Get two players back from injury in one game…lose three players in same game. That’s the quintessential Lakers’ season for ya’.

With Pau Gasol staying behind to have some PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) treatment done to his injured groin, the Lakers got Steve Nash and Steve Blake back, in the starting line-up, no less. To the bench went Kendall Marshall, and in his place, a very spry Nash.

The first half looked to be a close game at first (as most Laker games tend to begin), but at the break, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a 16-point lead that was, at one point in the second quarter, a 25-point advantage.

In the third quarter, usually worth 12-minutes of torture for the purple and gold, the Lakers actually played well, outscoring Minnesota 26-21 on 47% shooting, while the home team shot just 37% from the field. The Lakers went into the fourth with just an 11-point deficit to erase, and they got as close as seven points, before the Wolves packed it in and took it home, led by their two Kevins – Love with 31 points and 17 rebounds and Martin with 32 points. Lakers took yet another hit – 109-99 loss.

High Points
Steve Nash – Nash played just under eight minutes in the first quarter, per Coach Mike D’Antoni’s plan, but his intention was to play Nash 10-15 minutes for the entire game(!). Reports during the broadcast noted that Nash told his old coach that he felt good and wanted to continue so he played almost another nine minutes before halftime. He played a total 24:37 minutes, and produced seven points on 3-6 from the field, including 1-2 from downtown, handed out nine assists, grabbed a steal, and only turned the ball over a pair of times. It’s clearly not a stat line for what we’ve known Nash to be, but for someone getting back from sitting out half the season, he said he felt great. “I don’t mind some pain and some discomfort,” Nash said postgame in the locker room. “…as long as I can move well and recover, and I don’t get to that point where it’s a slippery slope.” There’s no telling how Nash will feel tomorrow morning, but it was nice to see him out there nonetheless.
Robert Sacre – The young Gonzaga man didn’t produce what Pau Gasol has the last few games, but he did some good things out there as the Lakers’ 1 of 2 available big men (Jordan Hill was hit in the face by teammate, Chris Kaman in the first quarter and never returned). Sacre chipped in 14 points on 5-8 from the field, four rebounds, a steal and a block.
Bench – The Laker reserves outscored the Minnesota bench 72-29, led by Nick Young’s 24 points. Young shot just 4-12 from the field, 3-7 from behind the arc, but he made 13-14 free throws. The man finds a way to score. Behind him was Manny Harris with 19 points on 8-11 from the field and 2-3 from downtown.

Low Points
Injuries – 74 seconds into the game, Jodie Meeks, rose for a three-pointer, landed on Corey Brewer’s foot and sprained his right ankle. Jordan Hill, in the same quarter, was hit by teammate Kaman and, like Meeks, sat out the remainder of the game. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports that Hill experienced “a headache and cervical strain in his neck.” To further this seemingly infinite list of ailments, Steve Blake suffered a ruptured eardrum after contact with Minnesota’s Dante Cunningham. In unrelated, though somewhat related news, two weeks ago, Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant (via Instagram), showed that she sprained her right ankle and overstretched two ligaments. These Laker injuries are stretching beyond the locker room and into a player’s home life – that’s how unbelievably ridiculous this season is getting. (For anyone who doesn’t follow Vanessa Bryant, the swelling has reduced and she seems to be doing better) This Laker team, on the other hand, has suffered incomprehensible bad luck and there’s no telling when, or if, it will improve anytime soon.
Kendall Marshall – With the two Steves back in the line-up, the player affected most was Marshall. The young guard, who, let’s face it, has been the Lakers’ offensive backbone the last few weeks, played just eight seconds short of 21 minutes, while Nash played almost 25 and Blake surpassed the 32 minute mark. With Meeks going out in the first quarter, and the two players just getting in their first game after sitting out for son long, playing Marshall closer to his regular minutes would have been a logical step. He might’ve been able to do more being the healthiest of the three point guards available.
Another loss – That makes their record16-32.

So apparently, not even a Steve Nash and Steve Blake return could help the Lakers add to the dust-collecting, win column. They now have exactly twice as many losses as they do wins, and with the added injuries from tonight’s game, it may very well triple before season’s end.

Box Score

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Photo: Frederic J. Brown | Getty Images

February 4, 2014 — 5:00 PM (PST)
Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

The Lakers (16-31) travel to Minneapolis to play vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (23-24) to start their 3-game road trip.

The good news?

All 3 point guards for the Lakers return tonight. Steve NashSteve Blake and Jordan Farmar will all return to the floor tonight. As this season has plummeted downhill for this team, having multiple players return from their various injuries might give their team a jolt of energy.

With the return of the three point guards, there is uncertainty about how PG Kendall Marshall will be used tonight. Despite a dismal January as a team, Marshall has played very well, scoring 10.5 PPG and dishing out 9.6 APG but has been replaced in the lineup by all 3 point guards. While outrage might occur if he does not play tonight, anything head coach Mike D’Antoni does with his rotation should not surprise Laker Nation.

The bad news?

C Pau Gasol will miss the road trip due to a bruised groin. Gasol, who has once again found himself in trade talks again, played spectacularly well throughout January, averaging 20.8 PPG and 11.9 RPG. He clearly labored up and down the court the last 2 games, so hopefully rest and recovery will get him back on the court soon.

Local UCLA product and all-star starter PF Kevin Love has dominated this season for the Timberwolves. Love has scored 25.5 PPG and grabbed 13.1 RPG. He can shoot from the perimeter while dominating in the low post at the same time, causing match up nightmares for anyone who guards him.

Projected Starters

PG – Steve Nash / Ricky Rubio [Advantage: Timberwolves]
SG – Steve Blake / Kevin Martin [Advantage: Timberwolves]
SF – Jodie Meeks / Corey Brewer [Advantage: Timberwolves]
PF – Ryan Kelly / Kevin Love [Advantage: Timberwolves]
C – Robert Sacre / Ronny Turiaf [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Timberwolves: F Dante Cunningham, G Alexey SchvedG JJ Barea, Chase Budinger

Lakers: Nick YoungG Jordan Farmar, F Jordan Hill,  PG Kendall Marshall

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Timberwolves: Out-C Nikola Pekovic

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-G Xavier Henry

Keys for Lakers Victory

Play Defense: Allowing 100 or more points in 19 out of the last 21 games will not win any team any games regardless of how proficient their offense is. Maybe having all their point guards return will help the Lakers exert more effort on defense. However, that seems very unlikely.

Bottom Line

The Lakers currently have a 7 game losing streak. Having their point guards all return tonight will help. However, the likelihood they will help solve their defensive rebounding and defensive issues seem very slim to none.

Prediction

Timberwolves: 114-103

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Los Angeles Times

Back from injury, Steve Nash and Steve Blake will both return to the starting lineup tonight vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Nash will be on a minutes restriction according to coach Mike D’Antoni. The plan is for Nash to play 5-8 minutes in the first quarter then not play again until the third quarter where he will play another 5-8 minutes.

Nash will not play on the second of a back-to-back versus the Cleveland Cavaliers tomorrow night.

It is unclear whether Blake will be on a minutes restriction as well, but he will start alongside Nash. Jodie Meeks will be the third guard in the starting lineup tonight which gives the Lakers a small lineup as all three players are 6’4 and under. Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly get the start in the front court.

If you are wondering about Chris Kaman, D’Antoni says he “will play a lot of minutes” off the bench.

As for Jordan Farmar, D’Antoni says he will suit up and could play limited minutes.  The plan for Farmar is to get Nash’s minutes tomorrow night so they are hoping to save him for one more day.

The question now is what happens to Kendall Marshall? Averaging 10.5 points and 9.6 assists, the young point guard has definitely earned his minutes on the team but with Nash, Blake, and Farmar returning, will his minutes decrease dramatically?  We will have a good idea of that over the next few games.

Are you happy with the changes being made to the Lakers lineup?

 

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Michael Klein

While there is sure to be plenty of discussion as to who the Lakers will select in June’s NBA draft, there is one prospect who is already envisioning himself in the purple and gold next season.

Australian point guard phenom Dante Exum in a recent interview to Bleacher Report, expressed his interest in joining the Lakers next season:

“Definitely L.A. is one option,” Exum told Bleacher Report. “I’ve been to L.A. many times and I love the city, and it is a great city. If I get the opportunity to go to L.A. and play for the Lakers, I know I’ll have love for the city. And their fans are loyal and they have the rivalry with the Clippers. But just to be in an environment where you have a great player like Kobe, where you have a mentor in a way as a rookie, I think that would be the best option.”

It should be noted that the 18-year-old Exum recently choose Rob Pelinka as his agent. Pelinka represents Kobe Bryant and that was one of the driving reasons behind choosing him as an agent.

“I just want to know his work ethic, what he’s done to be where he is at the moment, because he’s definitely in the talk of one of the greatest of all-time,” Exum said of Bryant. “So I want to just pick his brain, what he’s done, how he’s adapted over the years and still been able to average over 20 points in the league.”

An interesting aspect to keep an eye on is how Exum and Pelinka handle the draft process. As Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders notes, it could be a similar situation that Kobe Bryant went through during his draft process when his representatives told teams they would regret drafting him. Exum could be in position to gain leverage in who he goes to by threatening to sign with teams overseas and not play for the team he is drafted for a few years.

At 6’6″, Exum’s size and athleticism has scouts raving about his potential. At his young age, it could be 2-3 years until Exum makes an impact in the NBA but with a potential mentor in Kobe for the next two years, it could be the perfect situation for him.

Below is the preseason scouting video for Exum from Draft Express:

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Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Some good news came out of the Lakers’ practice facility today where Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar, and Steve Nash all participated in Monday’s practice and may suit up for tomorrow’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

If Nash suits up tomorrow, it will be only his seventh game of the season. Nash sat out in early November with nerve root irritation that lingered from last year’s fractured leg injury and has spent the last 3 months trying to get back into basketball shape, Blake suffered a torn ligament in his right elbow in early December, and Farmar suffered a torn hamstring in December, which he re-tore in early January.

Prior to their injuries, Nash was averaging 6.7 points and 4.8 assists a game, Blake averaged 9.8 points and 7.7 assists a game, and Farmer was averaging 8.7 points, 4.7 assists.

In other injury-related news, Pau Gasol (strained groin) will not travel with the team on the upcoming 3-game road trip; Kobe Bryant (fractured knee) is also not expected to make the trip where the Lakers will visit Minnesota, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.

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Photo: Christian Petersen | Getty Images

Feb 4th, 6:00pm PST – The Lakers do not believe trade talks with the Suns are over, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.  She also says to expect talks to continue with the Suns and other teams up until the Feb. 20 trade deadline.

Feb 4th, 5:30pm PST – The Phoenix Suns have stopped talks to acquire Pau Gasol because they feel the Lakers want too much for the veteran post player, according to the LA Times’ Mike Bresnahan.

The Lakers coveted one of following draft picks from Phoenix: the pick the Suns could potentially get from Minnesota or the one they might receive from Washington.

According to Bresnahan, the talks could resume before the February 20th trade deadline, but the Lakers were reluctant to deal Gasol without receiving what they felt was adequate compensation.

Feb 4th, 2:00pm PST — According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, Gasol is expected to sit out at least two weeks with his groin injury.

There is no date as to when he will be reevaluated but Gasol is out for at least the next six games.

Feb 4th, 1:00am PST — While many were sleeping, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne was giving an update on the Gasol-to-Suns talk. 

According to Shelburne, the Lakers and Suns engaged in “fresh discussions” earlier in the day on Monday.  She says there is ‘substantial’ interest on both sides to complete a deal but the Suns reportedly want to see how Gasol returns from his groin injury before going further in talks.

Also on Monday, Gasol posted a picture of him receiving a PRP injection for his injury on Instagram:

“Today I got a PRP shot to help the healing of my groin injury,” Gasol wrote on Instagram. “I will work hard to be back with the team as soon as possible.”

Feb 3rd, 1:50pm PST — Mike Bresnahan says the main reason a trade has not been agreed upon is because the Lakers want a better draft pick than the Suns current position:

Should be noted that if the current pick being offered is currently 17th overall, that would be the Washington Wizards pick the Suns own.  The only other pick which is better than that particular one is the Minnesota T’Woves pick, which is top-12 protected.  With the T’Wolves out of the playoff picture at the moment, that belongs to them, not the Suns.

Feb 2nd, 8:00pm PST — Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times reported late Sunday night that the Lakers are now engaged in trade discussions with the Phoenix Suns on a Pau Gasol trade.

According to Bresnahan, “Gasol would be comfortable with a trade to the Suns, eager to prove himself in a new system on a better team, according to a person familiar with his thinking.”

Feb 2nd, 3:00pm PST – According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Phoenix Suns have explored a potential deal for Lakers center Pau Gasol.

The Suns (29-18) have had a surprisingly good season after expectations of being lottery bound and are looking to add a piece to help solidify their position in the playoffs.  With a young roster, Gasol would provide Phoenix with a veteran presence and championship experience.

But is a trade realistic between the two division rivals?

The Suns have the expiring contract of center Emeka Okafor to offer as well as some other assets including four first round draft picks in this June’s NBA draft.  Okafor has not played a game this season due to a herniated disk in his neck and is out indefinitely.

Just two weeks ago, the Lakers were engaged in trade discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers for former center Andrew Bynum, but ultimately the Cavaliers did not want to part with any young players or first round draft picks the Lakers coveted in exchange for Gasol.  That move would have brought the Lakers below the tax threshold, something they are still aiming at doing to avoid a hefty tax bill this season.

According to Stein, an Okafor/Gasol swap would bring the Lakers within $3 million of the tax threshold and another small deal at the deadline could be made to bring them completely under.

Currently, the Suns own four 2014 first draft picks from the following teams: Minnesota (top 13 protected), Washington (top 12 protected), Indiana (top 12 protected), and their own first rounder.   At 16-31, the Lakers will almost certainly be in the lottery come the draft and another first round pick in a highly regarded draft could pay dividends for the Lakers in June.

Should the Lakers trade Pau Gasol to the Phoenix Suns for an expiring contract and draft pick or should they allow Gasol to play out the season in Los Angeles?

S. Butler/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 February 2-8, over their 66-year history.

February 2, 2002

Phil Jackson became just the 13th coach in NBA history to notch 700 career wins in a 100-85 Lakers’ victory over Memphis. In his 12th season as a head coach, Jackson improved his record to 700-246. Jackson retired from coaching in 2011 with a record of 1155-485 and a winning percentage of .704, which is currently the highest winning percentage of any coach in NBA history.

February 2, 1996

The Lakers and Bulls set a then-record for the highest-rated NBA game ever on cable television, when Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson faced off on the hardwood for the first time since the 1991 NBA Finals. Jordan notched 17 points for Chicago, while Johnson scored 15 points off the bench for Los Angeles, in a 99-84 Bulls’ win in Los Angeles. The game, which aired on TNT, was viewed by 4.75 million homes and earned a 7.1 rating and 13.1 share. This record lasted for just three months before it was broken during a playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic.

Bernstein/Getty Images
Bernstein/Getty Images

February 2, 2009

Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 61 points in a 126-117 victory over the Knicks in New York. Bryant went 19 for 31 from the field and 20 for 20 from the free throw line. He broke Michael Jordan’s opponent record at the Garden of 55 points, as well as Bernard King’s overall record of 60 for most ever points scored at the Mecca. Carmelo Anthony broke Bryant’s Garden record when he scored 62 points against the Bobcats just last month.

February 4, 1987

The Lakers held the reeling Sacramento Kings to just four points in the first quarter, marking the fewest points scored in the first quarter of an NBA game since the establishment of the shot clock in 1954. In a balanced effort, Los Angeles went on to rout Sacramento 128-92, as seven Lakers scored in double figures.

February 7, 2001

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning 15-foot jump shot over Shawn Marion with 2.7 seconds left in regulation to lift the Lakers over the Phoenix Suns 85-83 at STAPLES Center. With 23 points in the second half, Bryant scored a game-high 32 points, while collecting eight rebounds and notching nine assists in the final game before the All-Star break.

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Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

Saying there hasn’t been many positives this season may be an understatement.  While the injuries to the team have played a factor in the Lakers 16-31 record, it has also given the front office and fans a chance to get a good look at some of the younger players that could be kept past this season.

It is important to remember that a majority of the players on the current roster are on one-year deals.  Because of that, the question will come up at the end of the season, “Who stays and who goes?”

Jodie Meeks has shown quite the improvement this season, averaging 14.7 points per game while shooting 40 pct. from three (a career high) and is a player the Lakers have been able to count on to give his all, game in and game out.

Whether or not the team plans on bringing him back remains to be seen, but Meeks hopes he will be in the purple and gold for a ‘long time’.

“The coaching staff is great and it’s a storied organization. I always pictured playing in a organization that’s prideful about winning. I love it here and hope I can stay a long time.”

Meeks is currently earning around $1.5 million and is in the final year of his contract.  Despite his good play, it is a good bet that Meeks would ask for a similar salary but for more years.   He has definitely earned a spot here in Los Angeles based on his performance, but all we can do is wait to see what the front office has planned this off season.

Would you like to see the Lakers sign Jodie Meeks long-term this summer?

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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.