Hoopsworld informs us Ariza is looking in the 8 million dollar range… how does this affect us and possibly resigning both Ariza and Odom?
Hoopsworld: Trevor’s’ camp is said to be looking for a deal in the $8 to $9 million per season range, which in and of itself may price Lamar Odom out of the Lakers’ budget, as Ariza is considered the most important player to retain this summer.
Good luck, buddy, you’re going to need it…
My San Antonio: An elated Chinemelu Elonu watched the sun rise Friday morning, hours after his selection by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the NBA draft.
Had Elonu been up all night, celebrating his move from Texas A&M to Tinseltown? Hardly, prompting Aggies assistant coach Byron Smith to marvel at the resolve of the 6-foot-10 A&M forward who’s on a mission to make the NBA.
“Some guys, when they learn they’ll be taking it to another level, take it to another level all right — that night in the clubs,” Smith said. “But he was up early in the morning, running sprints and running hills.
“He understands what’s ahead of him.”
What’s ahead of Elonu, who spent Friday in College Station saying goodbye to his teammates and coaches, is a fight to make the roster of the NBA champions, after the Lakers selected him 59th, next to last, in the draft.
“Whenever you go from college to the NBA, you have to start all over again,” said Elonu, who had a year of eligibility remaining at A&M but has already graduated. “To show how hard I work, the hustle, rebounding, shot-blocking that I’m capable of — it’s a process that starts all over again.”
The Wall Street Journal: One of the great curiosities in modern sports is the Chinese people’s lavish affection for Kobe Bryant. During last year’s Beijing Olympics, he was greeted with a rapturous reception and mobbed everywhere he went. He appears in commercials and on billboards, has a popular Web site and had a reality show on Chinese television. He sells more NBA jerseys there than Yao Ming.
On Tuesday in Los Angeles, the love affair will reach a new level. Not only is Mr. Bryant accepting an award from the Asia Society for his work as a “cultural ambassador,” the ceremony will be attended by Liu Peng, China’s Secretary of Sport and a member of China’s Communist Party Central Committee.
China’s embrace is largely an appreciation of Mr. Bryant’s basketball talent—he won his fourth NBA title earlier this month with the Los Angeles Lakers. “He reminds everyone of Michael Jordan,” says Shen Zhiyu, a senior basketball writer for Titan Sports, China’s largest sports daily.
But it is also a reflection of a deliberate campaign by Mr. Bryant to make inroads in the world’s most-populous country. In addition to his frequent visits to China (a planned trip in late July will be his fourth in as many years) and his considerable work on behalf of sponsor Nike, he’s assuming another identity: philanthropist.
This is a pretty sick package from 2k Sports…
The limited collector’s edition includes: a numbered 2K Sports game storage locker with combination lock that can store up to 20 games, an exclusive figurine from McFarlane Toys featuring NBA 2K10 cover athlete and spokesman Kobe Bryant, a 16″x36″ 2K Sports Kobe Bryant poster designed by Shepard Fairey’s Studio N° 1, a NBA 2K10 10th anniversary video that explores the history of the NBA 2K franchise, and access to the Gold Room, NBA 2K10’s VIP online lobby.
Lakers will need to step up and pay Ariza to keep him here. Will Lamar, who has already been paid, take the paycut to keep this team together? Tough decisions lie ahead.
Press Enterprise: Trevor Ariza’s agent David Lee said Monday that the Lakers won’t receive a hometown discount from his client.
Lee declined to reveal how much of a raise Ariza will seek when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, but he said his client should make him the most coveted wing player on the market.
Among the teams Lee expects to pursue Ariza are Detroit, Portland and Toronto.
“It’s a question of how committed the Lakers are to competing again,” Lee said. “If everyone else stood still, you could see what happens when a piece is missing, but the reality is teams out there are positioning themselves to be competitive. When other teams are getting better, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels.”
Lakers Examiner: The free agent sweepstakes officially starts tomorrow (Tuesday) and, as a Los Angeles Lakers fan, you have to be excited.
Whatever enthusiasm you had drained out of you by watching the Lakers trade their first two picks in the draft and conclude by taking somebody called Chinemelu Elonu, will quickly be restored by watching the Lakers battle other franchises for the right to keep their championship team intact by re-signing Trevor Ariza and Lamar Odom.
Re-signing the two forwards has been the Lakers off-season focus since Ariza’s emergence midseason, and they even parted ways with the fan-favorite and consummate Space Cadet Vladimir Radmonavic in order to free up some cap room for them. On the plus side, they got Adam Morrison a ring.
But it begs the question (posed by Brian Kamenetzky of the LA Times Lakers Blog):
Is there anyone else on the market the Lakers should be looking at instead of Ariza and Odom?
They give a link to the complete list of free agents, but I still believe the Lakers should (and will) stick with Ariza and Odom. That being said, here are a couple that I think could pique the Lakers’ interest…
Information about the tournament Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio will be competing in.
Guardian: Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio were included in the Spain squad on Monday for the 2009 European Championship (Eurobasket) in Poland.
Forward Gasol has just helped the Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA championship, while 18-year-old Rubio hopes to join him in the United States next season if he can negotiate a release from his contract with Spanish side DKV Joventut.
Kobe brings up a very interesting perspective on what Michael Jackson meant to him…
Press Enterprise: “He was extremely inspirational for me on a personal level because he helped me to understand it was OK to be different,” Bryant said. “When I say different, I mean different in the sense of being obsessed with your craft, paying attention to the details, and working your tail off day in and day out and being consumed with what you do. He made me feel it was OK to be that way and helped mentor me in that department.”
Jerry Buss competing at the WSOP 2009! Go get ‘em Buss!
Check out NBAStore.com’s new Got Rings collection…
There is a rumor over at Hoopsworld that the Lakers have interest in Robinson. Thoughts?
Hoopsworld: (Nate) Robinson won’t command nearly as much in salary, but his popularity as an electrifying 5-9 guard and two-time Slam Dunk champion could be valuable as an attraction in some small markets. According to one league source, the Lakers inquired about Robinson’s availability after his 33-point performance at the Staples Center on Dec. 16. Kobe Bryant has expressed adoration for Robinson and owner Jerry Buss was said to be smitten after that game.
And this is exactly why I love our beautiful Lakers fans — Keepin it real!
Title: Lakers: ’09 WORLD CHAMPS
Created By: LD2k (Video) | Flo’z (Music)
Type: MPEG-4 (HQ)
Play With: You can use Quicktime or VLC Player.