Thursday, November 27, 2014
Blog Page 37

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G Darius Morris, G Andrew Goudelock and F Devin Ebanks were made unrestricted free agents and are not expected to return to the Lakers in 2013-2014.

Darius Morris is still expected to play in the summer league, and could still get an invite to get back on the team.

Morris appeared in 48 games last season averaging 4 points per game in 14 minutes.

Goudelock was called up for game 2, 3 & 4 of the Playoffs due to the injuries, and averaged 12 points per game in 26 minutes.

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Once Free Agency hits July 1, the first day players can sign is July 10 – and sources say that’s exactly what Dwight Howard intends to do.

Although there have been many reports the last couple days about Dwight being unlikely to re-sign with the Lakers, GM Mitch Kupchak says he remains “optimistic.”

Kupchak said there are a lot of similarities with Kobe’s Free Agency in 2004, and he expects Dwights decision to come down to the wire.

 

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Lakers walked away from the 2013 draft with one pick in the second round by drafting Forward Ryan Kelly from Duke University.

Kelly is a 6″11″ stretch 4 that shot 42% in his last season at Duke – exactly the kind of player that fits Mike D’Antoni’s system.

Kelly’s ability to stretch the floor should provide the spacing required for Dwight Howard should he decide to listen to the billboards around town and STAY.

Kelly averaged 12.9 pts per game and 5.7 rebounds last season for Duke, but is still recovering from a foot injury and will not be participating in the summer league.

Nation, go ahead and follow the newest Laker Ryan Kelly @ryankelly34

You can watch some of his highlights HERE

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Dwight Howard is a seven-time NBA All-Star. Dwight Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Dwight Howard is five-time All-NBA First Team player. Dwight Howard is not the future of the Los Angeles Lakers.

There have been many superstars throughout the history of the NBA. None of them have been as indecisive and immature as Dwight Howard.

As is often times the case in a results-driven league, Howard’s talent has caused many to dismiss his lack of maturity on the court, his child-like behavior off of it, and his overall lack of self-awareness in his constantly changing mindset.

Howard wanted out of Orlando, then he wanted to opt-in, then he wanted out again. He also only wanted to go to Brooklyn, then he was happy to be a Laker, then he was frustrated, and now according to ESPN, he wants to run away from difficulty again and head to Texas. But not before putting the blame on the Lakers, like he did to the Magic.

Howard’s major problem with the Lakers is the system that coach Mike D’Antoni employs… Howard also does not want to be second fiddle to Bryant for several more seasons.

Dwight is blaming the coach and the system for his shortcomings, this sounds familiar doesn’t it? D’Antoni in no way has done a good job with the Lakers, and his system is very much to blame for the short-comings we saw all season long, but for that to be the reason Howard leaves Los Angeles is ridiculous.

This is especially true when you consider the fact that Howard is looking at Houston as an option. You know, the team who launches three’s at a record-pace and runs exactly none of their offense through the low-post. Yet that system doesn’t seem to be an issue to Dwight.

imagesThe Dallas Mavericks also seem to be an option. A team with an aging star in Dirk Nowitzki that will be Howard’s team to call his very own a year from now. And to a self-centered man like Dwight Howard, being handed the keys to a franchise without delivering any results sounds like the perfect deal.

It’s time for Laker fans to face some realities. Dwight Howard is not the type of player to lead you to a championship, and in a city where success is measured by titles do we really want to hitch our fortunes to him? When someone shows over and over again that they refuse to accept responsibility for their decisions, that they refuse to grow up and act like the professional they are expected to be, they are not the type of player you want leading you into the future.

Do the Lakers as a franchise want to commit over $100 million to someone who has shown no commitment, and to some extent only shown disrespect to the greatest franchise in sports today? Howard’s contract will determine the immediate and long-term future of the Lakers, and could end up being one of the most important decisions the franchise ever makes. Do you really want to risk all of that on someone who you can’t trust to stick to a single decision?

Los Angeles has been spoiled with Kobe Bryant for the last decade and a half. Bryant is a superstar who takes challenges head on, who enjoys overcoming difficulty and who only wants to win. Howard is the complete opposite of that. He runs from challenges and criticism. Howard wants nothing but adulation from his fan base, regardless of the results he brings.

Dwight Howard wants all the praise that comes with being a franchise player, while playing like a secondary All-Star and acting like a child who is never at fault.

Even if he regains his pre-injury form, Howard will never be the type of player to lead you to a championship. The Lakers should let this spoiled brat tuck his tail and run to Texas.

Good riddance.

Belal Abdelfattah is a sports addict, sneaker junkie and Laker Nation contributor. You can follow him on Twitter at @ItsBelal_A

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Lakers have given C Robert Sacre a Qualifying Offer for $988,872 – making him a restricted free agent.

Sacre was the 60th pick in the 2012 NBA draft and appeared in 32 games last season, averaging 1+ point per game in 6+ minutes.

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The Lakers have exercised the $1.55M team option on Jodie Meeks contract for the 2013-2014 season.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak stated that Meeks is a “gifted three-point shooter who helps space the floor on the offensive end… and active and underrated defensively…”

Meeks played 78 games last season and averaged 7.9 points per game in 21+ minutes.

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Photo Credit: CSNPhilly

Phil Jackson’s number 1 pupil, in the eyes of many, has finally received his first shot as a head coach. Former Lakers assistant coach and player Brian Shaw was hired late Monday evening by the Denver Nuggets as their new head coach. Shaw will have rather large shoes to fill with coach of the year George Karl being his predecessor but is he up for the challenge. In an interview with ESPNLA’s Ramona Shelburne Shaw spoke on his new occupation.

“I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to be able to lead this team and for the faith that [Nuggets team president] Josh Kroenke and [general manager] Tim Connelly have put in me,” Shaw told Shelburne. “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been prepared by the best of the best for a long time. I’m just really looking forward to it.”

“I look at the positive things that they did, the things they did well under George Karl, and try to continue to build on those,” Shaw said. “And in some of the areas where they could use improvement, try to improve in those areas. I want to put my own spin on things, push the right buttons and find the right combinations.”

Photo Credit: SWR

Some speculate that Shaw has not been hired due to his experience running the triangle offense. However Shaw has stated that he, and his staff, will first look at the team they have before they decide on the type of offense they will run.

“Of all the years I played, I only played in the Triangle the last four years, and obviously I coached in that system under Phil,” Shaw said. “But in all the other years I was exposed to a lot of different systems. So no, I won’t be coming in and bringing the Triangle to Denver.”

Since leaving Los Angeles, Shaw has been rumored for a number of jobs within the NBA yet was never hired for them. Even with him being a finalist for jobs and never getting the call he stayed the course and did not let his disappointments steer him.

“There’s no hard feelings,” Shaw said. “Situations just don’t work out. You just have to look at it and say it wasn’t my time, or it wasn’t the right situation. I don’t have any hard feelings, I learned lessons along the way. I’m a pretty patient person by nature anyway, so although it did test my patience at times, it turned out the way it [was] supposed to be and I’m happy to be in Denver. I’m just looking forward to getting started.”

When asked about Phil Jackson, Shaw stated that he and Phil “talk on a regular basis”. Shaw spent the last 4 years of his career under Phil and highly values his advice and opinions. When needed, Phil has been there to offer an opinion but not to the point where he was making decisions for Shaw. At the end of the day he wants Shaw to do what is best for him.

“We talk on a regular basis, and I always value his advice,” Shaw said. “There have been some situations over the years that he kind of warned against, and there have been other situations where he weighed in and said this would be a good situation.

“But the main thing was just, ‘Be true to who you are and trust your instincts.’ As a player for him and a coach for him, that was something he always said to me. I took that to heart. It’s nice to be able to check in with someone like him all the time and get their advice.”

What do you think of Brian Shaw’s hire in Denver? Should he have been the Lakers first choice or is he better off with the Nuggets? Express yourself below!

Stay tuned to LakerNation.com for more Laker news and updates!

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Photocredit: NBA.com

Since Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s Achilles injury, he has not laid as low as other NBA players with injuries have (a la Derrick Rose). He has become more and more active on Twitter, created an Instagram account, completed numerous interviews with the media, and even went to Brazil to enjoy the FIFA Confederation Cup match between Brazil and Italy. In the past week alone, Bryant has made many headlines with comments about the his injury, his future, and the Lakers future involving Dwight Howard.

Photo Credit: Forbes

When discussing his achilles injury, Bryant spoke about the advice he received from Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham. The two star players have built a great friendship in the time that Beckham has resided within Los Angeles.

“Becks and I have grown to be pretty close since he’s been playing in Los Angeles for [the Galaxy] the last five years,” said Bryant, reported LA Times Writer Eric Pincus. Beckham tore his Achilles in 2010, but was able to make a strong return to the pitch. “He and I talked for quite a bit about his process, and his recovery,” Kobe said. “He hasn’t had any issues with it since. He’s won several championships since the injury, so I’m pretty encouraged by that.” Bryant was injured on April 12 in a win over the Golden State Warriors. He had surgery the following day, with a projected recovery of six to nine months.

Knowing Kobe Bryant the player, he has held onto the notion that he will be ready by opening day of the 2013-2014 NBA season. However, he may not be able to return as soon as he wishes. In order to be sure of a full-strength recovery, Bryant’s opening night may have to be in the months of November or December.

“It’s going well,” he said of his recovery. “I’m pretty much two months out of surgery, and I’m walking” he said. “I can get up on my toes. I’m pleased with how it’s going so far.” Bryant admitted to having some initial doubts about regaining his physical abilities, but now he uses that as fuel for his recovery. “You have to allow yourself to think that, because it keeps you on edge. It keeps you motivated. It keeps you strong,” he said.  “I think for me, once I started hearing everybody else say, ‘Well, maybe this is it.  Maybe this is too much’ — that’s what really gave me the determination to see if I can prove them wrong.” “You want to be able to go out on your own terms. You don’t want to be forced out of the game because of an injury,” he said. “You want to feel like when you’re leaving the game, you’re leaving because you want to.”

In speaking of being able to go out on your own terms, Bryant seems to have an alternative plan to the 1-2 year retirement window that he has publicly discussed. During his trip in Brazil Bryant stated that he believes he could “easily” play double the amount.

Photo Credit: Vibe

If Bryant sticks to that plan the he could potentially retire at the age of thirty-eight. With his high level of dedication, and skill set, he could make a run at a few more championships and surpass Michael Jordan in all-time scoring. Kobe currently sits at 31,617 points for his career and publicly doubts that he will attempt to break any such record. Yet his former coach, Phil Jackson thinks otherwise. ESPNLA’s  Arash Markazi was there to report.

“His goal is another championship,” Jackson said. “He also has a chance to replace Michael Jordan in the all-time scoring list. Those are two goals, with the first one being a championship, that Kobe would like to accomplish.”

Finally, there is the one question that anyone with an association to a certain big man on the Lakers cannot escape. What will become of Dwight Howard and his Lakers future? Reported by LA Times Eric Pincus, Bryant spoke up about how important it is for the Lakers to retain their current version of Superman.

“Those guys are hard to find, they don’t grow on trees,” Bryant said on 710 ESPN Los Angeles. “When you have someone like that with his talent level, you have to be able to keep him and lock him in with this franchise.”

Bryant is spot on that it’s difficult, in today’s age, to find a big man who can dominate like Howard. Truthfully, when Howard is 100% healthy and focused, there are very few players in the league who can compete with him. Bryant knows this and knows how important Howard is to the Lakers future. He wants Howard to re-sign but he will not court him as much as the media says other players have.

“I’ve spoken to him maybe a couple of weeks ago, just to check in with him,” said Bryant. “I haven’t spoken to him since. I know he’s got a big decision to make and I’m sure he’ll take the visits and talk to the players on the teams he’s considering. We’ll touch base a lot more.” “It’s hard because a lot of times those two things don’t align,” he said. “With the history that this franchise has of having great centers, this would, in my opinion, be the perfect spot for him.”

It is great from a fan perspective to see Kobe become more and more noticeable in the public eye. He has been a relatively quiet person with his personal life, but with him now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel it is great that he is able to bring fans along for the his final chapter.

What do you think of Kobe’s comments? Should he be more open or stay reserved? Do you agree that Howard is vital to the Lakers future? Express yourself below!

Stay tuned for more news and updates here on LakerNation.com

 

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UPDATE Tuesday, June 25: MWP has exercised his player option at $7.7M and opted in for his final year with the Lakers.

Late Monday night, June 24 @MettaWorldPeace tweeted some veiled messages about his future.

“I had a great time here in LA!! Love you guys.. You are truly amazing. I have some news!!!”

“…Thanks for all your support over the years.”

“…celebration party tba tomorrow night!! Come join me!!”

Metta World Peace currently has a player option for $7.7M next season, which is the final year of his 5-year deal signed in the 2009 offseason.

It has been reported that the Lakers could use their one-time amnesty provision on Metta World Peace should he decide to opt out of his Lakers deal.

Metta opting out would give the Lakers greater financial flexibility and the ability to start the process to get under the salary cap and keep the amnesty provision for another player in the future.

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Kobe Bryant, currently tour in Brazil, gave an interview and said he can easily see himself playing 3 to 4 more years.

You can watch the video from Brazil TV here

Kobe is in the last year of his contract with the Lakers and is turning 35 this August.

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Kobe-Amnesty-Quotes-InfoGraphic-FINAL

Anyone that follows Kobe Bryant closely, knows that he is motivated by the ‘naysayers’ and the ‘doubters’. As he battles back from Achilles surgery this off season, there is no doubt that quotes from the media (see above) will fuel his recovery. Thats why we here at LakerNation.com have decided to start a hashtag campaign entitled #AddingFuel.

Now feels like a perfect time to watch this commercial spot from Sprite:

If you see any negative quotes that you think will add fuel to Kobe Bryant’s recovery feel free to tweet them to us @LakerNation.

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Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) from ESPN LA attended the Time Warner Cable event tonight and had very interesting tweets. Mitch Kupchak, Jeanie Buss, Phil Jackson and others attended the event.

At the event, Mitch, Jeanie and Phil were all smiles and posing for pictures. According to @ArashMarkazi, Phil has been talking with Mitch lately the past couple weeks and has been acting as an unofficial consultant. Jeanie mentions that Phil will always be a part of the Lakers organization due to their relationship.

At one point, Phil even made a comment about helping get the Lakers back to prominence. However, he still denied a return to coaching.

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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.