Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Tags Posts tagged with "Kobe Bryant"

Kobe Bryant

1
Image: Garrett Ellwood/ Getty Images

With many questions regarding the Lakers needing to be answered this offseason, it looks like two point guards will continue to don the purple and gold next season while the head coach’s future in Los Angeles remains a mystery.

According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, both Steve Nash and Kendall Marshall will both be brought back by the team.

For financial reasons, the Lakers currently plan to keep (Nash) next season, The Times has learned, eating the remainder of his contract ($9.7 million) in one swoop instead of waiving him and spreading the money out over three years…  They also plan to keep Marshall, the 13th selection in the 2012 draft, whom they signed as a free agent a little more than three months ago.

A few months ago, it seemed as if it were going to be a foregone conclusion the Lakers would waive Nash using the stretch provision, but now it seems as if the team would rather wait and allow all of Nash’s salary to come off the books next summer, opposed to paying his contract over the next three years.

Marshall has a non-guaranteed option worth $915,243, so it makes sense to bring him back regardless of his role moving forward.   Marshall does average 8.9 assists, but his shooting ability has declined every month since joining the team in December.

As for Mike D’Antoni, his future will reportedly be decided immediately after the season ends in April:

The Lakers have a dilemma with D’Antoni, who coached the Suns for five successful seasons. They still owe him $4million next season and don’t want to look like a franchise with a coaching turnstile.  But Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol don’t support his small-ball offense and Lakers fans don’t support him, period.  So the team will decide fairly quickly after the April 16 regular-season finale — pay him to not coach the team, just like Mike Brown, or try to make it work next season….

Despite the injuries, it is very difficult to see the team bringing back D’Antoni after one of the worst seasons in Lakers history. His poor game-management, troubled relationships with veteran players, and lack of defensive system are just some of the reasons working against the coach.

His job security was in question even before reports of Kobe being against retaining the coach due to offensive system preference and as Bresnahan says, the fans are not very fond of him either.

Lisa Blumenfeld/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 March 30-April 5, over their 66-year history.

March 31, 2002

The Lakers defeated the San Antonio Spurs in a 96-95 thriller at the STAPLES Center. With the Lakers trailing by one point with 15 seconds left in regulation, Derek Fisher made two clutch free throws, after a loose ball foul, to give Los Angeles the lead for good. Shaquille O’Neal then blocked a Tim Duncan jumper at the other end of the court to end the game and seal the victory for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant led the purple and gold with 31 points and nine rebounds, while O’Neal added 24 points and nine boards.

April 4, 2003

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning buzzer-beater over Shane Battier, as the Lakers erased a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Grizzlies 102-101 in Memphis. Bryant finished with 21 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Shaquille O’Neal led Los Angeles with 33 points and 19 rebounds, on 13 of 20 shots from the field.

Reed Saxon/AP
Reed Saxon/AP

April 5, 1984

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, as he surpassed Wilt Chamberlain’s career total of 31,419 points in a 129-115 victory over the Jazz. Abdul-Jabbar’s record-clinching shot came in the form of his trademark sky-hook. To this day, Abdul-Jabbar remains the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He finished his illustrious career with 38,387 points.

April 5, 1998

The Lakers rallied from an 18-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the Pistons 105-103 in overtime at The Palace in Detroit. Shaquille O’Neal led the way for Los Angeles, as he scored 35 points and collected 12 rebounds, while Nick Van Exel chipped in with 19 points. This victory marked the fifth straight win for the Lakers, as they completed their first four-game Eastern Conference road sweep since the 1986-87 championship-winning season.

8
Photo: Jared Wickerham | Getty Images

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Los Angeles Lakers could make a strong play for Kevin Love at this year’s NBA Draft by offering its lottery pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for the all-star power forward.

The suggestion is already in circulation that the Lakers will attempt to use their forthcoming high lottery pick in June to assemble the sort of trade package that finally convinces the Wolves to part with Love and end the uncertainty that hangs over this franchise even before the 25-year-old enters the final year of his contract.

As the report says, Love will have one more season on his contract before he can opt-out which could leave the T’Wolves without anything in return come next summer if he chose to sign with another team via free agency.

With the T’Wolves, Love has yet to make the playoffs in six seasons and this season will be no different.  His frustrations have been known over the past few seasons and it did not make things better when the T’Wolves refused to give Love a five-year extension, but later gave center Nikola Pekovic the fifth-year that Love coveted.

Heading into June’s NBA draft, it will be interesting to see what the Lakers do in regards to their pick but it will certainly be contingent  on where they land in the lottery.   If the Lakers were to land a top three pick and have a shot at prospects Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Joel Embiid (if they are to enter the draft), would the Lakers entertain any trade offers?

With Kobe Bryant wanting to content the last two years, it would not be a surprise to see the Lakers trade the pick in order to contend right away instead of waiting for the future.  Answers should become clearer over the next few weeks.

0
Image: Jonathan Daniel | Getty Images

According to multiple sources, Lakers’ head coach Mike D’Antoni and Marshall University have a mutual interest to return D’Antoni to his alma mater.

As a result, the D’Antoni-era could be coming to an abrupt end in LakerLand. According to ESPN.com, Marshall University recently reached out to D’Antoni to gauge his interest in filling their coaching vacancy.

“I would think his days are numbered based on Kobe saying he had no interest in playing for him next year,” a source told CBSSports.com. “If he isn’t with the Lakers, I believe he will be at Marshall because there is mutual interest.”

As sources have pointed out, Kobe Bryant is no longer a fan of the run-and-gun philosophy that the Lakers have played during Mike D’Antoni’s two-year tenure in Los Angeles. Bryant instead prefers to play at a slower tempo going forward.

While it is unclear whether the Lakers had any plans to fire their coach this summer, sources close to D’Antoni say the interest between he and the Thunder Herd is mutual.

Dick Raphael/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 March 16-22, over their 66-year history.

March 16, 2000

With a 109-102 loss to the Wizards, the Lakers’ season-high 19-game winning streak ended in Washington, D.C. At the time, Los Angeles’ streak was the third best in NBA history. It currently ranks 6th on the NBA’s all-time winning streak list.

March 19, 1956

The Minneapolis Lakers won Game 2 of the Western Division Finals against the St. Louis Hawks by a score of 133-75. All ten Lakers who played in the game scored in double figures. This 58-point margin of victory is the highest ever in the history of the NBA playoffs.

March 19, 1972

The Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 162-99 in Los Angeles. This victory marked the most lopsided score differential in NBA history, at the time. Gail Goodrich paced the Lakers with 30 points, while Jim McMillian added 22 points in the win. This 63-point margin of victory stood for 19 years as highest in NBA history, until Cleveland defeated Miami by 68 points in 1991.

 J.D. Cuban/Getty Images
J.D. Cuban/Getty Images

March 20, 1990

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s number 33 jersey was retired during halftime of an eventual Lakers’ win against Charlotte in Los Angeles. Abdul-Jabbar’s jersey went into the rafters of the Great Western Forum as the jersey of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

March 21, 2004

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning jump shot over Keith Van Horn with 25.1 seconds left in overtime, as the Lakers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 104-103 at the Staples Center. Bryant, who recorded 22 points and eight rebounds in the game, was the second best Laker performer on the night, as Shaquille O’Neal finished with 31 points and an NBA season-high 26 rebounds. This win marked the fifth straight for the Lakers, and ninth in 11 games.

21
Image: Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

While Laker fans are undoubtedly upset over the Phil Jackson making his way to the New York Knicks, it is important to remember that the situation is not on the shoulders of one particular member of the Buss family.

It is easy for everyone to point the finger at Jim Buss, the Executive Vice President of the Lakers as well as the main man running the basketball operations of the team, mainly citing the publicized ‘bad relationship’ between him and Jackson over the years.

In his article “No Phil Jackson shows Kobe Bryant doesn’t run Lakers”, Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, shed some light on the Lakers-Jackson situation including a bombshell:

This will all make for another great Lakers book someday, and maybe then we’ll find out if all the chatter is true that Jerry made Jim swear in his final days that Jackson would never return after he was gone…  It would shock no one, then, if it turned out that the senior Buss’ aversion to Jackson’s return was extended out of respect to their father from there.

Could Dr. Jerry Buss have been the driving force behind Jackson not returning to the Lakers? If true, does that change the perception of Jim Buss amongst fans who have no issue blaming him for the team’s troubles?

Friday afternoon on ESPN AM 710 in Los Angeles, Ramona Shelburne talked more in-depth about the dynamic surrounding Jackson not coming back to the Lakers, saying it was not only one of Buss children who had reservations about Jackson joining the franchise, but multiple Buss children that were uncertain about creating a role for the legendary coach.

According to Shelburne, the Buss children had ongoing discussions since December regarding the Jackson situation but with multiple members of the family against the change, it never reached a vote.  Additionally she mentioned it was a case of the family wanting to continue with the franchise structure their father left for them, instead of changing it a little over a year after his death.

In the end, was this simply a situation of children carrying out what their late father wanted?  While nothing has been confirmed directly (and it may never be), it is easy to understand how the family would go down this road in order to honor their father and his wishes.

Now with Jackson out of the picture, the Buss family can continue on the path laid out for them without the pressure of the fans calling for another figure head to take control of the purple and gold.

It is time for the Buss children to show what they can do.

0
Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports

March 13, 2014 — 6:30 PM (PST)
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TV: TNT / TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Since the last Lakers game when they upset the Oklahoma City Thunder, a lot has happened in Lakerland in the past 24 hours. Phil Jackson‘s possibility of joining the Knicks, the announcement that SG Kobe Bryant will be out for the rest of this season, Bryant and Lakers legend Magic Johnson making a “hail-mary” pitch to make Phil Jackson reconsider, and also Bryant reportedly wants Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni fired. 

With all this drama ensuing in Los Angeles, many of you have probably forgotten that the Lakers have a game tonight vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (46-17). They actually upset the Thunder this Sunday, 114-110, in front of national audience.

Jodie Meeks has a career night, dominating the Thunder by shooting 11-18 from the field, shooting 6-11 from three and was a perfect 14-14 from the free throw line. Meeks has been one of the bright spots of what has otherwise been a very dismal season, scoring 15.3 PPG, shooting 45.5% from the field and 39.9% from behind the 3-point line, which are all career highs.

The Lakers won by making 13 three-pointers in order to go on that marvelous 3rd quarter run in which they outscored the Thunder 36-19.

The Thunder seek to come back from Sunday’s loss and protect their home floor vs. Lakers.

Thunder F Kevin Durant, who only shot 19 times vs. Lakers in their last meeting, seek to be more aggressive and become more assertive driving to the basket. The Lakers have nobody to match up with Durant pound-for-pound, so Durant needs to demand the ball to prevent his team from getting upset again.

Projected Starters

PG – Russell Westbrook / Kendall Marshall [Advantage: Thunder]
SG – Perry Jones III / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Lakers]
SF – Kevin Durant / Kent Bazemore [Advantage: Thunder]
PF – Serge Ibaka / Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Thunder]
C – Steven Adams / Pau Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Thunder: G Derek Fisher, G Jeremy Lamb, F Nick Collison, SF Caron Butler
Lakers: PG Jordan Farmar, C Robert Sacre, F Ryan Kelly, Marshon Brooks, Xavier Henry

Bench Advantage: Thunder

Injury List

Thunder: Out-C Kendrick Perkins, Out-G Thabo Sefelosha
Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant,  Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-F Jordan Hill Out-F Nick Young

Key to Victory

Frustrate Westbrook: The Lakers beat the Thunder twice in the last 2 seasons. Both times, the Lakers frustrated PG Russell Westbrook, forcing him to take bad, highly contested shots, and keep the ball out of Durant’s hand. Westbrook shot 7-23 from the field goal, taking very bad shots during the process. I expect Westbrook to play much better tonight especially on their home floor. However, the chances of stopping Westbrook is higher than stopping Durant.

Bottom Line

With a lot of smoke and fire surrounding the Lakers off the floor, the team have to focus on the task at hand and try to execute on both ends of the floor to defeat the Thunder again. Veteran C Pau Gasol has to lead the players by keeping them focused on what happens on the floor and not what happens. The Sunday’s victory vs. Thunder was sweet. However, major difficulties exist to defeat the Thunder twice in a row.

Prediction

Thunder: 120-111

5
Image: DANNY MOLOSHOK/REUTERS

As the Lakers wind down what has arguably been the worst season in franchise history, fans and media alike are asking what does the future hold for the purple and gold.

The summer of 2014 has been a key point of the Lakers plan to return to prominence for the last few years, it is the reason why a number of players were signed to one-year deals as the free agent class has some significant players that could turn teams drastically into contenders.

While it remains to be seen what the Lakers will do on the player personnel front this offseason, there is one move the team can make over the final two months of the season and it is a necessary one.

Fire Mike D’Antoni.

Now before you start thinking this is another hate-fueled article you read on other Lakers websites, blaming D’Antoni for all the Lakers troubles this season, please note that this is not one of them.

Do I expect the Lakers to be title contenders next season with or without D’Antoni?  I would be unrealistic if I said yes without hesitation.  The fact is we do not know how the roster will look next season and we are not sure how Kobe Bryant looks in his return (although I would put money on him looking close to the Kobe we have all come to expect).

One thing is for certain, the Lakers cannot go through another season like the one they are currently having.

Firing D’Antoni is not about turning the team around with a single coaching change, nor am I saying another coach would have done a better job with the current roster situation.

What it is about is laying a foundation for future Lakers teams and its success, something that needs to start this summer instead of accepting another season of transition.

If the Lakers were to allow D’Antoni to stay on for one more season, the decision could have a crippling affect on the franchise past next season and here are some reasons why D’Antoni should not be in any plans moving forward:

FREE AGENTS

The thought that players will want to come play for the Lakers because they are the Lakers is no longer viable.

Are the Lakers still an attractive destination?  Yes, it always will be because of the tradition and history of legendary players, but make no mistake, it is not viewed the same as it was when Dr. Jerry Buss was running the team.

Will elite players come play for Mike D’Antoni? History says no as the biggest free agent that signed with a D’Antoni led team was Amare Stoudemire and the New York Knicks in 2010, but also struck out on signing LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

He is known as a coach that could get role players to play up to their potential but from his time in New York and short-time in Los Angeles, his inability to deal with star players as well as veterans is concerning to say the least.   Dwight Howard did what no superstar had done before … leave the Lakers.  For whatever reasons that are said about that decision, one constant was his relationship with D’Antoni.

In New York, he eventually wore out his welcome with players such as Carmelo Anthony and even players like Stoudemire, who played for D’Antoni previously in Phoenix.

Looking ahead to 2015, the Lakers are expected to be major players in the Kevin Love sweepstakes but with his recent comments that Minnesota has a better foundation than the Lakers, the team undoubtedly needs to show progress next season in the form of being a playoff team or Love will look at potentially re-signing with the T’Wolves or looking at teams other than the Lakers in his free agency.

The Lakers have never accepted mediocrity.  A bad season here and there happens, but there is a reason why the Lakers will miss the playoffs for only the sixth time in franchise history.   If the team were to stand pat this summer and accept another year of transition, what message does that send to the players in the league?  That’s a very non-Laker message to convey.

KOBE BRYANT

The Lakers wouldn’t dare waste $46 million over two years right?

That is what it would do if D’Antoni were to return.  His up-tempo system hoped to bring back memories of the Showtime Era but that has not happened despite having the second-fastest pace in the NBA, instead resulting in one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

At this stage in his career, is it wise to put Kobe in a fast-pace system?  Logic says no, although I do not doubt Kobe can succeed in any system.

With his recent string of injuries, a half-court system involving Kobe in the post is the best thing for the Black Mamba and the final two years of his career.   It would also be nice to have a coach limit Kobe’s minute’s ala Greg Popovich with the Spurs, something D’Antoni has failed to do in his time here.

With the extension given to Kobe, the Lakers made it known this is Kobe’s team and since that is the case, the offensive system should be suited to his abilities at this point and time.   To maximize Kobe over the next two years and also preserve his health, a new offensive system needs to be implemented and D’Antoni simply is not going away from what he knows best, the run-and-gun style of play.

PAU GASOL

The relationship between Gasol and D’Antoni has deteriorated from the day the head coach walked into the practice facility in El Segundo.  Feelings expressed both privately and publically have left the two at odds and as we enter this summer, one thing is certain…

One of them will have to go.

There is no scenario where Gasol returns to play in a system that puts post play on the back burner and there is no scenario where D’Antoni adjusts his system to emphasize post play.

While Gasol’s return to the Lakers is not certain even if D’Antoni were to be fired, it certainly increases the chances significantly if it were to happen.  Gasol would need to take a pay cut to re-sign with the Lakers and at this point of his career he may have to.

Keeping D’Antoni while letting Gasol leave would also take another close friend of Kobe away and that is something that will not go over well after the Derek Fisher trade from two seasons ago.  While the franchise looks to reload, is letting a veteran with championship experience like Gasol a wise thing to do?

Will the Lakers let go of a player who can still produce consistent numbers on the offensive end?  Fans have been down on Gasol from the past two seasons but fact remains it is difficult in today’s NBA to find a post player like Gasol who can score, rebound, and pass.  While the defense is not there, as long as he is not expected to be a defensive anchor, the Lakers can get by.

THE FANS

Laker fans are a different breed.  A very proud fan base, the purple and gold faithful are also a impatient bunch and do not take losing seasons very well.

Attendance has dropped this season and fans have voiced their displeasure through out the season with style of offense, lack of defense, and non-existent passion the team has displayed at different times this season.

As with free agents, if the team were to commit to D’Antoni for one more season, what message is the front office sending to the fans?  With a lack of fan support, this franchise loses another defining quality that makes the Lakers the Lakers.

At the end of the day, I ask Laker fans and management alike, if D’Antoni is not part of the solution, what is the point of keeping him around?  One thing in sports that is a constant, if the discussion is when a coach will be fired, that situation is already resolved, it is just about when the firing will take place.

For the fans, I understand it is a rough season, but with every bad season, there are another 10-15 better seasons coming for the purple and gold.  Be patient although it may be difficult to do so.

For the Lakers franchise, it is time to move out of this dark cloud of uncertainty and frustration.  Well firing a coach will not mean much in the short team (this season), it will pay off in the future.

And that is what matters the most.

6
Image: Jonathan Ferrey | Getty Images

Although it was reported earlier by NBATV’s Greg Anthony that Phil Jackson is joining the New York Knicks, the deal with the Knicks is apparently not done yet.

In the meantime, according to USA TODAY Sports, some powerful members of the Lakers‘ family have been working to sway Jackson back to Los Angeles:

Although a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that Jackson has an agreement in principle to become the Knicks’ team president, some of the most powerful men in Laker Land spent much of Wednesday attempting to pull off the seemingly-impossible: come hell or high water, as Lakers star Kobe Bryant likes to say, they want Jackson back. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet done.

Earlier Wednesday, Kobe Bryant shared his admiration for his old coach.

“Well, I mean you know how I feel about Phil,” Bryant said. “I have so much admiration for him and respect, and have a great relationship with him, so personally it would be hard for me to understand that [losing out on Jackson's services] happening twice. It would be tough. I don’t really get it.”

Magic Johnson also did his part Wednesday in showing his respect for the eleven-time champion coach.

Stay tuned to LakerNation.com for the latest on what has now become an ongoing ‘saga’ in Phil Jackson returning to the NBA.

4
Image: Rob Carr | Getty Images

According to Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, Kobe Bryant has had enough of the losing and sources close to the superstar have said that Kobe will not play for head coach Mike D’Antoni next season and wants a new coach in place for the 2014-2015 season.

Bryant, sources said, has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni next season, and wants a new coach in place for the 2014-15 season.

 

It is not exactly a shocking revelation as Kobe is one of the fiercest competitors in sports today, but the fact this news is starting to leak out after his strong words in his press conference on Wednesday in which he called out the front office and called for change this summer:

Then it goes down to the coaching staff, what Mike (D’Antoni) is going to do, what they want to do with Mike and it goes from there. It’s gotta start from the top.

Unfortunately for D’Antoni, the writing on the wall is looking clearer and clearer by the day.  Just a few days ago, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said that his sources informed him that D’Antoni would be fired at the end of this season and additionally, Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher said in his article that some Lakers players have been assured D’Antoni will not return next season:

At least two other players frustrated with their current roles were told to be patient because the Lakers will have a new head coach next season, sources said.

There have been plenty of burned bridges this season between players and D’Antoni, notably big men Pau Gasol, Jordan Hill, and Chris Kaman.  In what has become a concerning trend of inconsistent playing time and comments in the media, it is not a surprise to hear that players are frustrated with the coach in what has been arguably the worst season in Los Angeles Lakers history.  Deveney shared similar sentiments on Twitter on Wednesday:

Despite all of that, the feelings of one Kobe Bean Bryant have the most impact on the direction of the franchise.  Kobe, who was notoriously called a “fan” by D’Antoni after a Twitter-spree during the Lakers first round matchup versus the San Antonio Spurs last season, seems to have put his foot down.

While he did not say it directly, it sounds like Kobe’s comments in his press conference were loud and clear as they were in 2007…

“Do something and do it now.”

5
Image: Doug Pensinger | Getty Images

Kobe Bryant was examined by Lakers’ doctors Wednesday and has ruled out for the rest of the 2013-14 NBA season.

Lakers’ head athletic trainer, Gary Vitti, gave an update on his recovery process:

“Kobe will have the entire offseason to heal, rehab and prepare; we look forward to him being 100% for the start of next season.”

Bryant also made a short statement to the media Wednesday.

“Obviously this has been a frustrating and disappointing season, but I appreciate all the support I’ve received from the Lakers and the fans, and look forward to being back and ready for the start of training camp.”

Bryant fractured his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee just 6 games after returning from an Achilles injury that left him out of commission for 8 months. He was originally projected to only miss an additional 6 weeks, but after little progress his return was delayed. In a recent interview with Kustoo.com’s Jacques Slade, Bryant expressed frustration with his rehab:

“It’s progressing slowly. It really tests my patience”

This devastating news comes at no surprise to most Laker fans who have long suggested Bryant sit out this lost season anyway. With 18 games left in the season, the Lakers are in a three-way tie for the last spot in the Western Conference at 22-42.

0
Photo Credit | Getty Images

This past week, Kobe Bryant sat down with Kustoo.com to discuss his latest release of his new kicks.  During the interview, Bryant updated everyone on the progress he’s made on his left knee injury.

“It’s progressing slowly. It really tests my patience,” said Bryant. “There’s only so much you can do, so I find myself relegated to riding the bike.”

Bryant has only played in six games this season due to his recovery from his Achilles’ tear last April and then after injuring his lateral tibial plateau on Dec. 17 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

“After the first few weeks [riding the bike], it’s cool — you’re getting a good workout,” said Bryant. “Then third, fourth — I need to do something else. I want to play. I want to run. I want to do something different, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

At this point it is unclear whether Bryant will even return this season as the Lakers currently sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

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 March 9-15, over their 66-year history.

March 9, 1988

Pat Riley got his 400th career coaching win in a 104-99 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Riley reached the 400-win mark in just 540 games, making him the fastest coach to do so in NBA history.

March 9, 2010

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning fade-away jump shot over Antoine Wright with 1.9 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Lakers over the Toronto Raptors 109-107 at the Staples Center. Bryant, who scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, finished the game with 32 points. This victory ended a three-game losing streak for Los Angeles, which hadn’t lost four straight since April 2007. Andrew Bynum chipped in with 22 points for the Lakers, while Pau Gasol added 17 points and nine rebounds in the win.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

March 10, 1987

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar set an NBA record for most-ever personal fouls committed, after fouling Denver’s Danny Schayes during the first quarter of an eventual Lakers victory over the Nuggets. With this foul, Abdul-Jabbar raised his career total to 4,194, which put him one ahead of Elvin Hayes, the previous all-time leader. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with 4,657 fouls, which still stands atop the NBA’s all-time list.

March 12, 2005

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning jump shot over Keith Bogans with 0.9 seconds left in the game to propel the Lakers passed the Bobcats 117-116 in Charlotte. Bryant scored 21 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. He added four rebounds and nine assists in the win. This victory gave Los Angeles its first consecutive road wins of the 2004-2005 season.

March 13, 1992

Chick Hearn broadcasted his 2,500th consecutive game for the Lakers, when they played the Cavaliers at the Richfield Coliseum in Cleveland. Hearn’s record-breaking streak spanned 3,338 games from 1965 to 2001.

 

0
Image: Scott Halleran | Getty Images

Kobe Byrant and Steve Nash have had quite the tumultuous injury-filled season to say the least.  Bryant has been out since December with his fractured knee and Nash attempted to return a couple weeks ago but has since found his way off the court again due to chronic nerve and back pain.

“The doctors haven’t cleared Kobe so it’s a non-issue right now,” D’Antoni said. “The thing is, does he get back and play some games to get his rhythm back for next year or just wait? So I don’t know.”

D’Antoni was asked whether he sees a benefit from Bryant playing again this season.

“Not really,” he said, adding quickly. “That’s not on me. That’s something that they’ve got to figure out.”

His prognosis on Nash was just as bleak if not worse.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” D’Antoni said. “What’s the endgame? We’ve talked about it. He’s not completely healthy. We have 23 games left. We’re not going to make the playoffs. So what’s his objective in taking minutes away from the young guys that we’re trying to develop?

“Now, if Steve starts to feel better, then we’ll see. It’s always an ongoing process in talking to him, but it’s not something that’s on the horizon right now.”

Nash has made it clear that the thought of retirement has entered his mind, but that hasn’t changed the fact that he wants to return next season for his final season under contract.

“I want to come back for sure,” Nash said. “You never know what the case is in a month or a week or two weeks, physically, from a club standpoint, from my standpoint. You’re looking at potentially the last few months of my career. I didn’t want to just let that slide by without getting back on the court, so it motivated me. But who knows now?”

The Lakers could decide by Sept. 1 to use the stretch provision on Nash which means the Lakers would waive him and pay off his salary over the next three seasons, thus diminishing his salary’s cap hit on the coming years.

Its unfortunate to see these all-time greats pressed to the pine for so long, but at this point it’s almost a liability for the Lakers to have them back out on the court.  With this team not making the playoffs, and no reason to attempt to play better this season, the two guards are better off resting up and watching from the bench as this season smolders away.

Social

Latest

0
Byron Scott's hiring as Lakers head coach is not only a homecoming for the franchise he once played for, but also for the city...