Sunday, November 23, 2014
Blog Page 38

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Kobe joined Mason & Ireland on ESPN Radio this afternoon. Here are some highlights of the conversation:

– Has been rehabbing for the last few weeks, able to walk around pretty freely but cannot run yet. Still doing work on the zero gravity treadmill.

– Last spoke to Dwight a couple weeks ago to check in and will be contacting him again soon. He stressed the importance of Lakers re-signing Dwight as “players like him don’t grow on trees”

– Expects to be back by November/December at the latest. He is rehabbing until they clear him and “take the governor off” so he can work out as hard as he wants to get ready to return.

– Kobe says his best and most memorable Finals game was Game 7 v. Boston in 2010.

– Kobe’s all time starting five would be Magic, Jordan, Bird, Russell, Kareem.

– Promoted his basketball camp, the Kobe Academy, talked about watching Modern Family after surgery, and spending time watching the Disney channel with his daughters.

– Plans to be in China with Lakers for preseason, doubtful that he can play.

– Said if Spurs can keep Wade in check they have a chance to win Game 7.

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PhotoCredit:BBGSports
Photocredit: NBA.com
Photocredit: NBA.com

Last week I released a series of poll questions about this off-season for the Los Angeles Lakers.  I asked you, the Laker Nation, to answer them and I’d analyze those answers in the coming week.  Well you guys all answered and this article will detail all the possible scenarios from the most popular answers to each poll question. So here we go!  If you’d like to take a quick look back at all the questions, here’s the link to the article – http://lakernation.com/offseason-poll-questions/

 

Question 1:  Would you like to see the Lakers re-sign Dwight Howard? 843 Total Votes

PhotoCredit: HarryHow/GettyImages
PhotoCredit: HarryHow/GettyImages

The majority of you said yes, you would like to see him re-signed with 609 “Yes” votes to 234  “No” votes.

What does this mean? Well unfortunately, it isn’t up to Laker management at this point as the ball is in Dwight’s court (No pun intended).  The majority of you would like to see him stay with the purple and gold with a 5 year max contract.  The Lakers can offer Dwight that extra year and 30 million dollars more than any other of the teams vying for his signature.  However, no one except Dwight knows for sure if that is enough to make him want to stay.  Rumors say he can’t stand D’Antoni and that’s a huge factor in making his ultimate decision. Houston is looking like a viable option for him at this point, and recent news is saying he and Chris Paul are attempting to team up together on one team..  Only time will tell whether Dwight will re-sign with LA or another ball club, and July 1st is the date in which the fire storm hits its climax.

 

Question 2:  Should Chris Paul decide to leave the Clippers, would you want him to sign with the Lakers? 848 Total Votes

The majority of you also said yes you would like to see him sign with the opposite locker room this season and leave the Clippers with 787 “Yes” votes against 61 “No” votes.  Many of you are probably thinking “Of course, who wouldn’t want to see Chris Paul in a Lakers’ jersey?”  Well, there are some issues with him signing

PhotoCredit:Robert Beck:SI
PhotoCredit:Robert Beck:SI

here. First off, Chris would have to “want” to sign with the Lakers, and at this point, I’m not sure why he would.  His Clippers finished with the best record in their franchise history and took the Pacific division crown this season while the Lakers barely made the playoffs.  He, like any other NBA player, wants to win a championship sooner rather than later, and by first glance the Clippers seem to be in the better position.

Another thing is that by signing Chris Paul the Lakers would not be signing Dwight Howard, basically they are both too expensive and the Lakers are already well over the salary cap.  So it’s a choice between a dominant center in Dwight Howard, or one of the most crafty, skilled point guards in Paul.  There is also the problem of having Steve Nash still under contract for 2 more seasons; 9 million dollars coming off the bench isn’t the smartest use of money. The Lakers would more than likely have to trade Nash just a year after trading their draft picks for him, and he won’t be necessarily easy to trade given his age and decreased level of effectiveness shown from this previous season.  It’d be a great upgrade at the point guard position for the Lakera with a player like Paul, leading the offense and keeping up with the young point guards that dominate the league, but the chances are low and he’ll likely re-sign with the Clippers.

 

Question 3:  Should the Lakers trade up in the draft for a better pick?  796 Total Votes

This was a lot closer in votes than the previous two poll questions coming in with 438 “Yes” votes and 358 “No” votes.  Seeing as this goes hand in hand with the following question, I’ll combine the two here.

Question 4:  Who would you like to see traded for the pick? 742 Total Votes

The number one person on the roster that you would like to see traded for a pick was Metta World Peace coming in with 220 votes.  Jodie Meeks came in second place with 155 votes, and third place was Pau Gasol with 138 .  While getting rid of Metta may be a good option as his contract is rather pricey for the player the

PhotoCredit:GettyImages
PhotoCredit:GettyImages

Lakers are getting, he’s just not worth that much to trade away for a decent pick.

Meeks is in the same boat as Metta, although he’s younger and a better shooter so he might warrant a slightly better pick.  Pau Gasol coming in at third however may be the most viable and prime option for a good pick.  Pau has a very expensive price tag though as he totes a 19 million dollar salary.  Trading him would likely get the Lakers a decent pick in the first round somewhere, but most teams would have to offer the Lakers at least one other player to accomodate his large salary.  Trading one of your players with a first round pick for Pau Gasol isn’t a trade teams are going to want to make, Pau just isn’t worth that much any more as his numbers have been in steady decline the past couple seasons.

PhotoCredit:IDSports
PhotoCredit:IDSports

However, recent news has surfaced that the Lakers are interested in Peyton Siva, the explosive guard out of the NCAA Champion Louisville Cardinals.  Siva is projected to go late in the second round, which is completely feasible for the Lakers to trade up for.  Trading for a late second round pick isn’t too difficult for Lakers management to pull off, and they wouldn’t necessarily have to give up one of their starting five either.  Do you guys like the idea of drafting Peyton Siva? Let me know your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

Question 5:  Of these free agents, who would you like to see the Lakers sign? 810 Total Votes

This one was a flat out victory by J.R. Smith receiving 526 total votes, second place sits Nikola Pekovic, the Minnesota big man, with 132 votes, and in third we have Anthony Morrow with 88 votes.  Here’s the thing, as great as it would be for the Lakers to sign a player like J.R. Smith, he’s probably going to be too expensive for them. He’s coming off a $2.8 million dollar salary with New York, and he has a player option in his contract for this upcoming season of which he is likely to opt out of.  Smith has earned himself the sixth man of the year award this past season and because of that he can leave New York and ask for

PhotoCredit:APPhotoFrankFranklinII
PhotoCredit:APPhotoFrankFranklinII

more money elsewhere.  Another possibility is that New York signs him to a new bigger contract, but regardless Smith is looking for a bigger contract and with Los Angeles already well over the cap a signing isn’t likely.

Nikola Pekovic would be somone to look at if Dwight Howard chooses to sign elsewhere.  He could hold down the paint, and eventually become a strong, dominant center in the NBA as a member of the Lakers organization.  We’ll see if Lakers management looks his way should Dwight choose to leave LA.

Then there’s Anthony Morrow, a close friend of Dwight Howard’s and a pretty good shooter.  Morrow’s early years were his best shooting wise and if were to return to that form he’d be a great asset for the shooter deprived Lakers. Not that this would necessarily keep Dwight in LA but having a close friend work along side yourself makes you want to stay put more than if Morrow weren’t there.

 

Question 6:  What would you like to see done with Coach Mike D’Antoni? 836 Total Votes

This was the most one sided poll question yet, and expectantly so. Nearly all of you voted that D’Antoni be fired with 736 votes, and here’s why you’re 100% correct.  Not that this is anything

PhotoCredit:GettyImages

new, but D’Antoni  has a different agenda for the Lakers then they are currently built for.  He wants a quick, run-n-gun style offense, and the Lakers, being the oldest team in the NBA this past season, couldn’t quite keep up as well as he’d hoped.  He was adamant about sticking to his guns, and it wasn’t until the end of the season that things began to click and he decided to use Pau Gasol closer to the basket where he thrives.

Should Dwight Howard choose to re-sign, D’Antoni needs to go.  He doesn’t know how to fully utilize two big men out on the floor and maximize their potential.  He’s not a bad coach by any means, he just doesn’t fit as the missing puzzle piece the Lakers have been searching for since Jackson left. He did well in Phoenix when Steve Nash was there, and that’s why Laker management felt he would thrive with Nash again.  It’s unfortunate if he is to be retained because it will only be to the Lakers’ detriment.  Dwight may also be basing his decision on whether D’Antoni is retained or not, and right now it doesn’t look like Laker management has any plans of getting rid of him.

 

Question 7:  What coach would you rather see if the Lakers are to fire D’Antoni? 837 Total Votes

Since I put the zen master himself as an answer to this question I expected him to get the most votes, and he did with 531 votes.  However in second place came the former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw with 219 votes, currently with the Indiana Pacers.  Now since it is unlikely that Lakers management removes D’Antonifrom his head coaching seat these are merely dreams of hope that the Lakers would hire one of these guys.  Phil Jackson would obviously be the best choice as he has proven his success with the Lakers before.

Unfortunately he has said he has no plans on ever returning to coaching and the Lakers last chance to ink the 11 time champion was when they flirted with him

PhotoCredit:JohnWMcDonough:SI
PhotoCredit:JohnWMcDonough:SI

after Mike Brown’s firing.  Shaw is also in talks with multiple teams regarding their head coaching vacancies, most notably the Clippers.  The Lakers are likely to see out Mike D’Antoni’s  current contract because they already owe Mike Brown some money from his early termination and they don’t want to look like they don’t know what they’re doing (Even though it appears Jim Buss doesn’t).  Perhaps D’Antoni has a different game plan for this season, perhaps he wants to use Pau and hopefully Dwight together effectively, and perhaps the Lakers have a great season, perhaps.

 

Question 8:  Who should the Lakers amnesty this season? 823 Total Votes

This was my favorite question based on the answers to it that I really didn’t expect.  In first place came Metta World Peace with 342 votes, which isn’t a huge surprise due to his dwindling performance this past season.  Amnestying him wouldn’t be a terrible option as Peace is likely going to opt into the final year of his contract and he’s due 7.7 million dollars, more than he could get anywhere else at this point in his career.  However I expected you guys to want to amnesty Pau Gasol

because he’s due 19 million, which is a HUGE hindrance to the salary cap room the Lakers have.  Pau actually came in last place with just 65 votes.

Second place went to not amnestying anyone this season with 319 votes.  This was in first place for quite some time until Metta World Peace came in and swooped it, probably because of the way Metta has been tweeting recently.  If you don’t know Metta’s tweets I suggest you follow him, he’s quite the character. I think not using it this season is actually a smart idea because each ball club can only exercise it once between now and the 2015-16 season.  So waiting to see if there is a better chance to use it is a safe and careful plan, which is something the Lakers need at this point in time.

Kobe Bryant was next on the list with 97 votes, now before some of you guys start freaking out over such a ridiculous thought, just think about it.  Bryant is coming off of

PhotoCredit: Noah Graham/Getty Images
PhotoCredit: Noah Graham/Getty Images

a very serious Achilles tendon tear, one which could alter his playing style for the rest of his career.  Here’s what Lakers management can do, they could amnesty Bryant, who could potentially miss a large portion of this current season, and then offer him a contract when he is healthy again, hoping he wouldn’t sign any where else in the meantime.  This would alleviate 30 million dollars on the Lakers books and give them a lot of great options going into this upcoming season. The hard part is amnestying the player who has brought the city 5 more championships and has only ever donned a purple and gold uniform, oh and hoping he doesn’t get bitter about it and sign else where.  Essentially what the Lakers would be doing is dropping the final year of Bryant’s contract, wait until he is fully healthy, then re-sign him to a much cheaper deal, likely in the 17-19 million range.  This option really has a lot of potential to it, but it also is a huge risk that I’m not sure Lakers management would be willing to take.  My guess would be that the Lakers choose not to exercise their amnesty clause this season and they’ll wait for a better opportunity.

 

PhotoCredit:Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Question 9:  Will Kobe Bryant be the same player when he returns from his Achilles tendon tear? 828 Total Votes

No one can really know the answer to this question unless you’re Kobe Bryant himself.  We all have watched Bryant play his heart out every night and know first hand that his work ethic is second to none.  That being said, we can all assu

me Bryant will come back sooner rather than later and playing at the same level he’s shown us all these past 17 seasons.  351 of you felt he’ll be the same player when he returns, 239 said he wouldn’t be, and 238 said he’d be even better than before.  Again, it really is a toss up, and none of us can truly know how Kobe will bounce back after such a detrimentalinjury, but we can make educated guesses based on his history.

 

That’s it for the poll questions everyone, thanks so much for participating and here’s to a successful off-season for the Los Angeles Lakers!  Any questions, comments, or concerns, contact me on Twitter, @GarrettGarcia

 

 

 

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As the recovery from the achilles injury is still months away, Kobe went to fans on twitter searching for a slogan to end his career. The winning submission was “The Last Chapter.” Initial reaction to the slogan would be that next year would be his final, but ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne broke news that a source close to Bryant says he wants to “back next season with a vengeance, … (with) two more cracks at it to win seven NBA titles at least.”

Kobe is set to make approximately $30 million next season, and with the Lakers far over the salary cap, the future is uncertain with Dwight Howard’s pending free agency and the carefully planned 2014 cap space. How Kobe will fit into the Lakers long term plans remains to be seen, but Laker Nation hopes he finishes his career as a Laker for life.

Kobe averaged over 27 points per game last season, and made his 11th 1st team All-NBA team.

 

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Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Photo Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, free agents  Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have discussed becoming teammates, and want to find a way to play together.

“Paul and Howard will be the biggest free agents on the market this summer, and…’They would love to play together if somebody can make it happen,’ one of the sources said.

Howard is not particularly fond of the idea of returning to Atlanta, but he would do so to team up with Paul, the sources said.

But Paul, despite recently being upset with the Clippers over the perception that he got coach Vinny Del Negro fired, is unlikely to leave Los Angeles, one source said.”

While Dwight and Paul want to play together, they also want to stay in Los Angeles, according to ESPN.

While the Lakers almost paired these two superstars a couple of years ago, now it seems the Clippers have a better chance of uniting CP3 and Dwight – but they still need the Lakers’ cooperation.

“The preference for both players would be to play together for the Clippers, according to the sources. Because the Clippers don’t have enough cap room to sign Howard as a free agent, it would take a sign-and-trade deal with the Lakers to make it happen.

The Clippers would be open to working out a deal, but they fear the Lakers would never trade Howard to them, according to the sources.

But while trading Howard to a team in their own building seems unthinkable, the Lakers are not likely to get a better trade package elsewhere than say, Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe.”

If Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are determined to play together, the famed “veto” of the Chris Paul deal will have further long term damaging ramifications for the Lakers.

Had David Stern not overturned that trade, the Lakers would be sitting on two marquee free agents this summer, who both want to play together in Los Angeles. The future would be far more certain.

As it stands now, the Lakers’ future is up in the air.

Laker Nation, if you thought Dwight was going to leave, would you trade him to the Clippers for Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe? Or call his bluff and force him and CP3 to leave L.A. if they are to play together?

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Photo Credit: Oren Levy
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Phil Jackson spoke with former Laker champion John Salley and took questions from an audience of around 1000 at Glendale’s Alex theatre last night, as part of the “Live Talks” Series.

Discussing his book “Eleven Rings” with Salley, Phil reminisced on many things, such as Shaq’s penchant for having fun (showing up naked at practice – wearing only his size 26 sneakers). However, the conversation soon turned towards the Lakers current situation, and Phil said a couple of surprising things.

When a fan asked Phil why Brian Shaw was not hired as the Laker coach in 2011, Phil had an interesting response. The Zen Master said that he sat down with Mitch Kupchak a week ago – and the subject of Shaw’s previous candidacy came up.

During the meeting, Phil said, Mitch was unable to explain why Shaw was not hired. Phil stated that it must have been a personal reason of Jimmy Buss that steered the Lakers towards Mike Brown, and away from Shaw.

Phil also said he sits in on Lakers meetings from time to time, and that he advises Jeanie – now co-owner and not just owner’s daughter – on Lakers matters.

From the sounds of it, Phil is involved with the Lakers, just not in an official capacity.

Well Laker Nation, how do you feel knowing that Phil sat down with Mitch Kupchak last week, and that they discussed the Lakers coaching hires?

Is this a sign that Phil is becoming more involved in the organization, or just Phil supporting Jeanie personally?

Photo by Jay Westcott | Getty Images
Photo Credit: USA Today
Photo Credit: USA Today

Normally, being viewed as a nice person is a good thing. Opening doors for people, being very courteous, or even picking someone up when they are down are all examples of being a nice person.

Except for when your name is Dwight Howard. In that case being too nice can make you one of, if not the, most disliked player on your team. Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal took to the airwaves this morning on  The Max and Marcellus Show on ESPNLA 710, via Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com, to talk about how Dwight being “too nice” could land him somewhere he does not want to be.

“I’m a connoisseur of giggling and playing and all that and making you laugh and playing with the fans, but when I cross that line, I’m ready to tear your face off. I don’t care who it is. You could put one of my aunts or uncles out there, and I’m going to give him these elbows in their chest and I’m going to throw it down in their face. That’s what you have to do… He’s just too nice. If I was him, I would get into the same mood I was in.”

It is no secret that Shaq has always been very critical of Howard. From his days in Orlando to now he has always provided his input on what Dwight should be doing. However I cannot bring myself to disagree with Shaquille. Howard has reached a point in his career where he must decide on who he wants to be and what he wants to accomplish. He cannot allow the expectations of fans, media, and the rest of the outside world control him.

“I just know when it comes to pressure, you either run away from it or you handle it,” O’Neal said. “The first day I got to the Forum, the great Jerry Westsaid, ‘Son, look up.’ And I saw Kareem’s jersey, Wilt’s jersey and all the great jerseys. He said, ‘Shaq, I know you do movies, I know you do albums, but you need to get at least two or three championships while you’re here or this move will be considered a bust.’ So for me, it was a lot of pressure but I like the pressure. Especially when you see other greats say that he’s like a Wilt or he’s like a Kareem. I knew I had to step up.”

“He should have known all of this when he signed with L.A. He should have known what he was getting into. My advice to him is to look pressure in the face and give it the one-two combination and knock it out.”

O’Neal did not stop there. As he also spoke about how he wants Howard to put fear into his opponents. He said:

“The fact that he’s the so-called best big man in the league and doesn’t get doubled every time, that’s telling me something. That’s telling me teams respect him but they don’t fear him. I would rather be feared than respected.”

When asked why he has been so hard on Howard he replied by saying that it’s his job. He has to be the way that the great centers before him were. It’s not to be mean to Howard but instead to push him to the greatness in which everyone can see within him.

“I think it’s my duty to help this young man become one of the best big men in the league,” O’Neal said. “I’m from the old school. I’m not doing it nicely. I’m pushing buttons, I’m talking about you and I’m doing it like this. … I think it’s my job as a former big man to get him to play up to par.

“When I was in L.A., Kareem and Wilt never spoke to me. They never said two things to me. I took that as a, OK, you all don’t think I’m as good as you yet. Well, watch this. That’s what it was — motivation. Everything I say should be taken as motivation. He’s the best big man in the league, and it’s my job to make sure he plays that way. Period.”

Even with the back surgery, the torn labrum and all else that bothered Howard was still seen as one of, if not the, best center in the NBA this season. With the type of mindset that Shaq is pushing for him to obtain he would not only become the best center in the league  but become on of the greatest ever to play the position. All that is left for Dwight to do is make up his mind and have a mean streak.

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

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Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross, Getty Images
Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross, Getty Images
Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross, Getty Images

“What moves me is watching young men bond together and tap into the magic that arises when they focus – with their whole heart and soul – on something greater than themselves. Once you’ve experienced that, it’s something you never forget.” ~ Phil Jackson

It has been three weeks since the release of his latest book, two months since the promotional tour, two and a half months since he joined Twitter, eight months since his almost-but-not-really return to coaching, two years since he last coached an NBA game, three years since he won his eleventh title, 22 years since he won his first. If there’s anything to be gained from the writings of the winningest coach in NBA history, it is this: Phil Jackson’s imprint on the game of basketball is not merely this incredible, unmatched tally of championship hardware. It was/is his unique philosophy and spirituality that influenced his immense respect for the game, and allowed him to achieve success and longevity in a challenging profession, where coaching turnover is often the rule and not the exception.

Eleven Rings, at its chassis, is an account of Jackson’s journey in attaining each of his championship rings. He recounts incidents and conversations like they happened yesterday – from discussions with his mentor and former coach, Red Holzman; to private office dialogue with Bulls then general manager, Jerry Krause; to on-court exchanges with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Much has been made about Jackson’s comparisons of Jordan and Bryant. He has spent the majority of his coaching career mentoring both players so it’s no surprise that such a large part of the book provides insight into two of the best that he has ever coached. These comparisons, however, don’t serve to reveal Jackson’s preference for either player (otherwise, it might’ve been called Jordan vs. Bryant: Whose Side Are You On?).

At its core, the book is more than the Bulls and the Lakers, Jordan or Bryant; and it’s more than a timeline of events. It is an insider’s look into the mind of one of the greatest coaches in sports. Jackson’s methodology goes way beyond x’s and o’s on a dry eraser board. For him, the experience was so much more than that. “The essence of coaching is to get the players to wholeheartedly agree to being coached,” he wrote. “…then offer them a sense of their destiny as a team.” Jackson didn’t push the Chicago Bulls or the Los Angeles Lakers to the top of the league; he guided by providing the players the opportunity to reach the zenith in their own, best way.

His desire to communicate effectively with his coaching staff and players was the foundation on which Jackson built his community of trust. And under that groundwork was something even more grand, and that is his belief in living a mindful life. For those concerned about the Zen Master getting all sorts of existential in this book, I’d say, don’t be afraid to hear him out. His philosophy combined with his spirituality is what makes Phil Jackson, Phil Jackson. (Sidenote: For an even deeper look into how he welcomed mindfulness into his life, see one of his previous works, Sacred Hoops).

Eleven Rings is too specific topic-wise to be an autobiography and it covers too large a span of life to be a memoir. It is, in simplest terms, Phil Jackson sitting on his porch in Montana, telling anyone who’ll listen, the story of how he got all his bling. If you’re a Bulls fan, a Laker fan, a basketball aficionado, or if you’re just curious about the inner workings of a basketball coach nicknamed the Zen Master, give these pages a read…and then, perhaps, give mindfulness a shot.

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PhotoCredit: http://basketballplayerzz.blogspot.com/
PhotoCredit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
PhotoCredit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Well Nation, we’ve reached yet another off-season, one full of a particularly large amount of questions regarding the Lakers’ future.  So I’ve decided to create a series of questions that you, the fans, will answer about the Laker offseason.  Then in a week or so I’ll gather all the answers and write about what would need to happen for each scenario to occur.  Obviously the big ones are about retaining (or losing) Dwight Howard, and what will come of Kobe Bryant after his devastating Achilles tear.  So Nation, here are the questions, the more who answer the more interesting the possible scenarios will be!

Would you like to see the Lakers re-sign Dwight Howard?

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Should Chris Paul decide to leave the Clippers, would you want him to sign with the Lakers?

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Should the Lakers trade up in the draft for a better pick?

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If you said yes to the previous question, who would you like to see traded for a pick?

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Of these free agents, who would you like to see the Lakers sign?

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What would you like to see done with coach Mike D'Antoni?

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What coach would you rather see if the Lakers are to fire D'Antoni?

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Who should the Lakers amnesty this season?

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Will Kobe Bryant be the same player when he returns from his Achilles' tendon tear?

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Poll analysis is complete! Check it out HERE to see your answers discussed! Thanks!

 

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PhotoCredit: JON SOOHOO/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

Recently, some footage has surfaced of Kobe playing in a Gym Rat Midnight Madness High School Showcase in 1995.  The video says 1994, but that year is incorrect.

Keep in mind in 1995 Kobe Bryant was just 17 years old, and the and one reverse layup he completes in the first 10 seconds of the video is quite the difficult feat to accomplish at such an age.  The video later shows Kobe throwing down a between the legs dunk that makes the crowd go wild, just like they do nowadays.

This is a cool find and not something you’ll see every day.  So check it out and show it off to your friends, bragging about how you were the first one to find it.  Also, note Kobe’s jersey number, look familiar?

 

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Photo Credit: NBA.com

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports Lakers assistant coach Steve Clifford will leave the organization today as he was hired in principle by the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Charlotte Bobcats have reached an agreement in principle to hire Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford as head coach, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Clifford will sign a two-year deal with a team option for a third that could be worth approximately $6 million, league sources said.

Clifford was brought to Los Angeles with Dwight Howard and was going to remain an assistant coach for the 2013-2014 season. However the Lakers organization granted him permission to engage in discussions with other teams. Before his one year Laker stint Clifford spent 5 years as an assistant within the Orlando Magic organization. Even before that Steve spent four seasons with the Houston Rockets, three years with the New York Knicks, and spent time at East Carolina Univeristy.

Clifford had quickly become a sought after coach this off-season as he was also in the running and was interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching position. Steve will replace Mike Dunlap as the Bobcats head coach who finished with a 21-61 record in his first season as head coach.

Clifford will become the sixth head coach for the Bobcats organization since 2007. Steve may have a difficult time ahead of him in becoming a head coach within the NBA for the first time. However, his Bobcats roster does hold a lot of promise as well as the number 4 draft pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

As for the Lakers organization, Clifford becomes the fifth coach to leave the franchise since their early playoff exit. Head Coach Mike D’Antoni told assistants Bernie Bickerstaff and Chuck Person that they would not return a week into their off-season. Next came Eddie Jordan, as he was hired by the University of Rutgers followed by Phil Handy, player development, who was hired by Mike Brown and the Cleveland Cavaliers. That leaves Dan D’Antoni and Darvin Ham as the only assistant coaches remaining on staff. Not only will the Lakers make player personnel changes this off-season but expect to hear more staff personnel news as well.

 

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

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Photo Credit: ESPN

Kobe Bryant and Dwight Hoard are still two of the better players in the NBA regardless of how upsetting their first season together on the court may have been. Today, by way of Lakers.com, Bryant was named to the All-NBA First-Team for a record tying 11th time, tying former teammate Karl Malone, and for the 8th consecutive season.

Bryant was a constant force for the injury-riddled Lakers squad this season as he averaged 27.3 points per game while playing 38.6 minutes every contest. He scored over 2,000 points for the eighth time in his career and became the fourth player in NBA history to do so while being above the age of 34. The other three players who accomplished this milestone are Alex English, Karl Malone, and Michael Jordan.

Bryant made the first team by collecting 91 first team votes placing him fourth in first team voting behind Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and unanimous selection, LeBron James. The last player of first-team selection is Tim Duncan who obtained 45 votes.

https://twitter.com/NBA/status/337614669101531136

Dwight Howard, arguably the most sought after free-agent this off-season, made the All-NBA Third-Team. He gained 17 out of the possible 119 first place votes, the highest amount of the third team selection.

https://twitter.com/NBA/status/337614719529664512

Howard only averaged 17 points per game this season but still lead the league with 12.4 rebounds per game. While his numbers were lower than his yearly standards he did announce that he returned 6 months earlier than expected to play for the Lakers this season.

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

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Photo by: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America
Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs - Game One
Photo Credit: Getty Images

As the NBA playoffs rage on, and the final four teams fight to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy to their respective fans and cities, Lakers fans are still trying to deal with the bitter disappointment of a failed season. We can, and probably will,spend the next few months trying to forget the mediocre season which ended with the thud of the proverbial broom, and being swept by the Spurs.

There were multiple things that led to the ultimate demise of this Lakers team. So many, that if piled on top of each other, it would begin to resemble a cheap imitation of a sky scraper.I am sure there are varying degrees of opinions as to which thing was worse than the other, and all hold a certain value as to why the Lakers performed as poorly as they did.

Some may say it was poor coaching, lack of cohesiveness, or a severe case of the injury bug. Others may be of the opinion the Lakers starters rarely played on the floor together, or that their team defense was horrific. And then there is that group of fans that may think the Lakers were just too old, too slow, and too selfish to ever achieve a championship this season.

When a team has this many things wrong with it, you can’t just sit still and do nothing if you expect to be better. Because the Lakers have never really had a history of taking too kindly to sub par seasons, I fully expect moves to be made. I don’t for one minute believe we will recognize this roster when next season rolls around. However, the one key question mark remains:

What in the world should the Lakers do with Dwight Howard? Do you hand him that enormous bag of money and bring him back? Does he walk away and sign with another team? Or do the Lakers put a package together with another team, admit they made a  mistake with him, and ship him off? I am here to offer the pros and cons of why or why not the Lakers keep him or say goodbye.

THE PROS

Dwight Howard was coming off back surgery. He was not supposed to start playing until January, but came back earlier than expected. Therefore, he was never at full strength, and still put up decent offensive numbers. He should be back healthier and more agile next season.

Dwight Howard is a defensive force. He blocks shots, clogs the paint, rebounds, and can alter the course of a game.

In prior seasons, when health, he has put up big offensive numbers, and single handedly carried his team to victories.

He is physically gifted, and has the potential to be the best player at his position.

THE CONS

Dwight Howard is a one trick pony when it comes to offensive moves. He has not become a polished post up player, and poses no threat on the perimeter, and is only good for dunking the ball.

Dwight Howard doesn’t play the game with the pride and passion that you see in other players with half his God given abilities. He spends way too much time smiling and clowning around,which makes one wonder if he is capable of leading this Lakers team.

He is too moody, loves drama, and can’t seem to get beyond petty issues. He did not demonstrate the desire to sacrifice some of his game for the greater good of the Lakers. Instead, he spent time moaning and groaning about not getting enough touches.

He has no sense of Lakers tradition, and doesn’t really seem to care. He talks about wanting to win championships, but does he want to do the things it takes to get them?

Finally, and most importantly, he quit on his teammates in game four of the playoffs. With full knowledge that the Lakers were already severely short handed, he got himself ejected. Once again, putting himself in front of the issue at hand, which was winning the game.

So there you have it. Decide for yourself what you think. At the end of the day, the Lakers and Dwight are going to do what they want to do. The question is will either of them do the right thing for the right reasons?

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fluxx-san-diego-24_6

Don’t have plans for Memorial Day Weekend? Well why don’t you spend it in Downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp district!

WIN TWO FREE TICKETS TO SAN DIEGO’S: SING, DANCE, CRAWL

When: Saturday, May 25, 2013 – 2pm (Memorial Day Weekend)

What: (2) Free Tickets to San Diego’s “Sing, Dance, Crawl” and a Free Crawl T-Shirt (Over a $70 value!)

Where: House of Blues, Fluxx, Bootlegger and Sidebar

Restrictions: Must be 21 with valid ID to attend.

ENTER TO WIN BY SIMPLY LIKING THEIR PAGE ON FACEBOOK!

What do you have to lose?

Sing, Dance, Crawl Breakdown:

  • SDC kicks off at House of Blues with Rock Bank Karaoke. 15 semi-talented people get the opportunity to sing on the main stage with a full band! (Keep it classy with $4 12oz cans and $6 calls!)
  • Next up is Fluxx, San Diego’s award-winning experiential nightlife venue! Three bars, Fluxx’s amazing dancers, incredible lights, booming sound and 5,000 sq. ft. of pulsating dance floor … you won’t believe its only 4 in the afternoon. And it gets better, with $4 drafts and $6 calls.
  • Last stops (yes, there are 2 to choose from) are Bootlegger and Sidebar. Haven’t worn out the soles of your shoes yet? Head to Sidebar and continue the dance party. Go-go dancers, awesome DJ, $4 drafts and $6 calls. Worked up an appetite with all that dancing at Fluxx? Head over to Bootlegger for some grub, music, awesome crowd and (of course) drink specials … $4 Fireball and $4 Dos XX mugs. Can’t go wrong either way.

For more information on Sing, Dance, Crawl visit TheLocalSanDiego.com

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It’s still shocking.

A coach who was one 11 championships, five with the Lakers organization, asks Mitch Kupchak and Jimmy Buss to give him the weekend to decide if he wants to come back. They then call him Sunday at midnight to wake him up out of a sleep and say “We have hired Mike D’Antoni”.

Why?

“Because we think he is the best coach for this group of players.” Kupchak said.

You got to be kidding me right?

Well, we all know how that turned out. The Lakers had arguably their most embarrassing season in franchise history.

Phil Jackson finally opened up on Thursday night on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. While we have all heard the story, it is still shocking to hear Jackson tell it.

He also confirmed that Jeanie Buss was mad for two months after her brother (Jim Buss) decided to go with D’Antoni over Jackson.

You can make an argument that the majority of Laker Nation is still mad. (ie. The “We Want Phil” chants all season long)

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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.