When Kobe Bryant signed his two-year, $48.5 million extension back in November, the amount left fans and basketball analysts wondering if it were the smartest thing to do financially for a team looking to reload its roster in the coming seasons.
As it turns out, coaches from other sports also had an opinion on the situation as Jurgen Klinsmann, coach of the United States men’s soccer team, told The New York Times Magazine back in December his feelings about how athletes in America are catered to and brought up the five-time NBA Champion and future hall of fame shooting guard.
“This always happens in America,” Klinsmann said in the interview, which was released on Wednesday. “Kobe Bryant, for example — why does he get a two-year contract extension for $50 million? Because of what he is going to do in the next two years for the Lakers? Of course not. Of course not. He gets it because of what he has done before. It makes no sense. Why do you pay for what has already happened?”
The comments from Klinsmann was not meant to bash Kobe but instead was just a recent example used in an attempt to get his point across in the interview. Five months after the interview, Klinsmann left Landon Donovan, who was considered the face of U.S. men’s soccer, off the World Cup roster which seems to stay consistent with his comments about making decisions based off the player’s past and not the present.
In case you missed it, the Los Angeles Lakers have been working meticulously in their head coaching search after learning their draft position. As of Last week ,they interviewed two coaches who have previous good history with the team; Mike Dunleavy Sr. and Byron Scott. On Tuesday they are set to interview former Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins.
The first candidate the Lakers interviewed was Mike Dunleavy Sr. last Sunday. He has previous history with the team as he was the Lakers head coach for the seasons of 1990 through 1992 (with an overall record, including playoffs, of 124-73), succeeding then coach Pat Riley. In 1991 the Dunleavy led team reached the NBA Finals beating the Portland Trailblazers, but ultimately losing to the Chicago Bulls.
Dunleavy also knows what is at stake for the Lakers as his most recent coaching position in the league was with the LA Clippers. Due to that, Dunleavy understands the dynamic of being overshadowed by the other LA team and trying to find ways to claim the primer position. The Clippers teams he coached then had very similar seasons to last seasons Lakers team yet it has been four seasons since he coached last.
Scott, who interviewed with the team last Tuesday per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, believes that he is the “perfect guy” for this job.
“I don’t feel I’m a very arrogant guy, but I feel like I am the perfect guy for this job,” Scott told the “Max & Marcellus” show on ESPNLA 710 Radio on Thursday. “I got a great relationship with Kobe. I know the team, know the roster. I watched them all season long and I just think it would be a great fit.”
“Obviously, if I get the job, the first conversation I have is with Kobe [Bryant],” said Scott, who spent last season as an analyst for Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the Lakers’ television partner. “We have to talk about the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. We have to also talk about which type of direction we’ll be taking and also talk about the type of game that he’s going to be playing because he’s going to have to change his game a little bit, and I think he knows that.
“We got to sit down and talk about the minutes and things like that. We just got to come to an agreement. But he knows me. I’m an old-school type guy. I’m an old-school type guy and I want him to understand that and I think he does understand that…But I think the biggest thing is, No. 1, I respect the hell out of Kobe and I think he respects me. That’s the first hurdle we got to get past, and then other things, we’ll be able to solve all those little issues.”
Scott continued the conversation by speaking on what his defensive approach would be with the team. Last season’s Lakers team finished 29th in opponents points per game, they undoubtedly need to strengthen the defensive side of the ball before next season begins. Scott, a valuable player for three Lakers championship teams on the offensive end but better known for his defense, has an idea of what needs to be done to fix the team’s defensive woes.
“That’s what I was taught when I came to the Lakers, that defense wins championships,” said Scott, who was coached by Pat Riley in L.A. “I think Kobe knows that. I think Pau [Gasol] knows that, because they won championships with that formula. And I think that’s the first thing we got to get better at, the defensive part of basketball. Then we got to get better at the rebounding. So, it’s something that we would do on a day-to-day basis. You got to work on that every day, and it has to be a team’s identity and a staple.”
He concluded with discussing how the Lakers don’t need to think that rebuilding will be a three or four year process. As we all know, the Lakers have a certain allure to them that can fast track any rebuilding phase.
“Obviously there are a lot of holes to fill, but unlike a lot of people who think this is a three-, four-year process, I really don’t think so,” Scott said. “Again, this is one of the best organizations in basketball. Mitch has done a fantastic job, and I think Jim really has a good idea of where they want to go and what direction they want to head in. So I don’t think it’s going to take three or four years. I think it might take a couple of years at the most to get right back where they need to be.”
The last, and most, recent news of on the organization’s coaching search broke yesterday. Yahoo Sports! Adrian Wojnarowaski tweeted that the Lakers will meet with former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins on Tuesday.
Yahoo Sources: Lionel Hollins has emerged as a candidate in the Los Angeles Lakers coaching search. http://t.co/tuq56h58QH
Hollins, an NBA champion with the Trailblazers in 1977, All-Star in 1978, All Defensive First Team in 1978 and Second in 1979, is known league wide for his team’s stifling defense. While head coach of the Grizzlies, Hollins led his teams to franchise high winning percentage, playoff home court advantage for the first time in team history, and a franchise record 56 wins. Hollins could become the best option out of the three candidates as his previous success can translate with the Lakers right away since majority of the team will have played against a former team of his.
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 May 25-31, over their 66-year history.
May 26, 2002
Robert Horry picked up a loose ball and swished a three-pointer with 0.6 seconds remaining in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to give the Lakers a 100-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings. Behind Horry’s heroic shot and 27 points from Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles rallied back from a 24-point deficit to win the game. The Lakers eventually won the series in seven games over the upstart Kings and advanced to the NBA Finals, where they swept the New Jersey Nets to clinch their third consecutive NBA title.
May 27, 2010
Ron Artest redeemed himself after shooting a needless three-pointer instead of eating the clock when he put back Kobe Bryant’s airball at the buzzer to give the Lakers a 103-101 victory over the Suns in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Behind Artest’s game-winner, as well as 30 points and 11 rebounds from Kobe Bryant, the Lakers took a three games to two series advantage. Los Angeles went on to defeat the Suns in six games and advance to the NBA Finals, where they defeated the Celtics in seven games to capture their second consecutive NBA championship.
May 28, 1989
The Lakers completed a four-game sweep of the Phoenix Suns with a 122-117 victory in the Western Conference Finals behind 35 points from Byron Scott. This was the third consecutive series sweep for Los Angeles and their 11th straight win in the 1989 playoffs. This would be their last win of the season, however, as the Lakers went on to be swept by the Pistons in the NBA Finals.
May 30, 1985
The Lakers bounced back after a crushing 148-114 loss to Boston in Game 1 of the NBA Finals and defeated the Celtics 109-102 in Game 2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 30 points and collected 17 rebounds in the win. Los Angeles won the series in six games and became the first-ever visiting team to celebrate an NBA title in the Boston Garden.
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 May 18-24, over their 66-year history.
May 19, 1987
Magic Johnson won the 1986-87 NBA Most Valuable Player award following a campaign in which he averaged 23.9 points per game, while dishing out a league-leading 12.2 assists per game. Johnson became the NBA’s first guard to be named MVP in 23 years.
May 19, 2009
Kobe Bryant scored 40 points to lead the Lakers to a come-from-behind 105-103 win in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals over the Denver Nuggets. Despite trailing by seven points late in the fourth quarter, Bryant notched six free throws in the final 30 seconds of the game to fuel Los Angeles’ comeback. Pau Gasol added 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers, including two free throws to tie the game at 99.
May 21, 2008
Kobe Bryant hit an eventual game-winning 10-foot jump shot with 23.9 seconds remaining in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio to lift the Lakers over the Spurs 89-85. Bryant scored 25 points in the second half, en route to a 27-point performance at the STAPLES Center. He led Los Angeles’ second half comeback, as they rallied from a 20-point deficit to win. The Lakers eventually won the series in five games and advanced to the NBA Finals.
May 23, 1987
The Lakers defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 122-121 in a thrilling Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The killer tandem of James Worthy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 39 and 28 points, respectively. The Lakers went on to sweep the series and advance to the NBA Finals, where they eventually defeated the Boston Celtics in six games.
Lakers’ star player Pau Gasol may not return next season, then again maybe he will. At this point it is all contingent upon Kobe Bryant and the oncoming changes within the Lakers organization. Gasol has a blog in Spanish that he posts to quite often. Previously, LA Daily News writer Mark Medina translated one of Gasol’s latest posts.
“Re-signing for the Lakers is a possibility, but I’m not sure whether to say it’s a remote one. If there’s anything or anyone who could make me stay it’s Kobe Bryant. I’d stay for him, but there’d have to be significant changes. I’ve said it many times: I want to be in a team that has a solid chance to win another tournament and where I can be an important factor in the game….
“I’ve never concealed the fact that (Lakers coach Mike) D’Antoni’s style doesn’t suit my game. Everybody knows this. I don’t know if my decision will be swayed by whether Mike stays or leaves. Obviously, the coach is a very important factor for any team.”
Gasol spoke out about his frustrations with former coach Mike D’Antoni’s system before and certainly has no gripes with discussing his future plans. Yet this is the first time that he’s spoken publicly about Bryant’s affiliation with his future plans. Since then, Bryant has responded to Gasol by telling him how much he wants the big man to return. While this latest response hasn’t been public, ESPN’s Chris Broussard on Mike and Mike in the morning has reported that they have been in communication.
Another reason why Gasol may stay is due to general manager Mitch Kupchak wanting to retain Gasol at the NBA’s trading deadline. First reported by Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times, Kupchak and part owner and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss, were not in agreement on what to do with Gasol.
“As the team tries to retool its roster, Jim continues to work closely with Kupchak, who sounds out ideas with Buss before they arrive at a decision. Buss and Kupchak were torn on what to do with veteran Pau Gasol as the NBA trade deadline approached in February and the team lagged in the standings.”
Buss was fine with trading him, Kupchak wasn’t so sure. In the end, the Lakers were never offered more than a second-round draft pick for the aging star, a pittance in their mind. And they didn’t want to seem like they were dumping Gasol’s $19.3-million salary for nothing.
“Mitch wins a lot more of these battles than people imagine,” said an agent who asked not to be identified because he deals with the Lakers. “They respect his caution.”
If anyone knows what can still be successful within this league it is Mitch Kupchak. Yes the Lakers this past season were not great, but considering how the past two years in LA have gone nobody would have expected a swift turnaround. They have done the best they could with what they had. At the least, last season displayed which players could be retained moving forward and who the organization will move on without.
Basketball may have transitioned to a guard oriented game but the big men can be the difference between being a good team and a great one. Not many big men in today’s game have a skillset similar to Gasol’s. Bryant is smart in recognizing this as Gasol, when utilized correctly, can still be a primer big man. Building a team around a core of Bryant, Gasol, and a third star would do well in the league and could compete for a title with complementing pieces. The next couple of months will be instrumental in the Lakers restructuring themselves, bringing back Gasol would be a great benefit as he has become an integral part of their identity and a player that can make a difference.
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 April 27-May 3, over their 66-year history.
April 29, 1970
Jerry West knocked down a legendary 63-foot buzzer-beater to send Game 3 of the 1970 NBA Finals to overtime against the New York Knicks. Although the Knicks would eventually win the game and NBA title, this moment remains one of the best in Lakers’ NBA Finals history.
April 29, 1990
Pat Riley recorded his 100th career playoff victory as a head coach, with a 104-100 Laker-win over the Houston Rockets. With the win, Riley broke Red Auerbach’s previous record of 99. Riley won four NBA championships as the head coach of the Lakers between 1981 and 1990.
April 30, 2006
Kobe Bryant hit a game-tying runner with seven-tenths of a second left in regulation, and then a 17-foot jump shot as time expired in overtime, to give the Lakers a 99-98 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of the first-round of the Western Conference playoffs. This victory gave the Lakers a 3-1 advantage in the series, which they eventually lost in seven games. Bryant finished with 24 points in his heroic performance.
May 1, 1970
The Lakers defeated the Knicks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals 121-115, after the highest scoring overtime in NBA playoff history. Los Angeles outscored New York 22-16 in the extra period, and Jerry West led the way for the Lakers with 37 points in the game. The Lakers eventually lost the best-of-seven-series to the Knicks in seven games.
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 April 20-26, over their 66-year history.
April 23, 1950
The Lakers won back-to-back NBA Championships for the first time in league history. They bested the Syracuse Nationals in six games in the 1950 NBA Finals.
April 23, 1969
Jerry West scored 53 points to lift the Lakers passed the Celtics in Game 1 of the 1969 NBA Finals. West’s 53 points are the second most in NBA Finals history by a guard, second only to Michael Jordan’s 55 points against the Suns in Game 4 of the 1993 Finals. Los Angeles ultimately fell to Boston in the 1969 Finals in seven games.
April 23, 1989
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played the final game of his NBA career, as the Lakers defeated the Seattle SuperSonics, 121-117. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with the NBA record for points and games played with 38,387 and 1,560, respectively.
April 25, 1965
The Lakers defeated the Baltimore Bullets in six games in the 1965 Western Division Finals, as Jerry West averaged 46.3 points per game in the series. West recorded the highest scoring average for a playoff series in NBA history, after scoring at least 40 points in each of the six games played. The Lakers eventually lost to the Celtics in five games in the NBA Finals.
April 25, 2004
Kobe Bryant converted an eventual game-winning three-point play with a layup and a made-free throw with 40 seconds remaining in overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round against the Houston Rockets. Bryant scored six of his 18 points in overtime, while 40-year-old Karl Malone led the way for the Lakers with 30 points and 13 rebounds. The win gave the Lakers a three games to one series lead. They eventually won the series in five games, and advanced to the NBA Finals, before falling to the Pistons.
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 April 13-19, over their 66-year history.
April 13, 1949
George Mikan led the Lakers to their first-ever NBA Championship, as they defeated the Syracuse Nationals in six games to claim the title.
April 14, 1962
Elgin Baylor set an NBA Finals record with 61 points when the Lakers defeated the Celtics 126-121 in Game 5 at the Boston Garden. Baylor recorded 11 straight 30-point plus scoring performances for Los Angeles in the playoffs, setting an NBA record. Despite Baylor’s heroic efforts, the Lakers eventually fell to the Celtics in seven games.
April 14, 1976
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won his fourth NBA MVP award following a season in which he averaged 27.7 points per game. Abdul-Jabbar led the NBA in rebounds per game with 16.9 and blocks per game with 4.1. He finished his illustrious NBA career with six total MVP awards, which is the most by any player in NBA history.
April 14, 2004
Kobe Bryant hit a 3-pointer buzzer-beater in double overtime to give the Lakers a 105-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on the final day of the regular season. More importantly, the win clinched the Pacific Division title for the Lakers, and gave them the second seed in the Western Conference in the playoffs. Bryant, who finished with 37 points and eight rebounds, also hit a game-tying 3-pointer at the end of the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.
April 15, 1991
Magic Johnson became the NBA’s all-time assists leader after dishing out 19 assists in a 112-106 Lakers’ win over the Dallas Mavericks at the Great Western Forum. He surpassed Oscar Robertson with 9,898 assists to claim the top spot. Johnson finished his career with 10,141 assists, which currently ranks fifth on the NBA all-time list.
April 17, 1966
Jerry West led the Lakers to a 133-129 come-from-behind victory against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 1966 NBA Finals. West scored 41 points, as Los Angeles erased a 34-20 deficit at the end of the first quarter, which is the largest first quarter deficit ever overcome in the NBA Finals. The Celtics eventually won the series in seven games.
Los Angeles Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol has been a steady rock. Ever since the infamous trade that shipped out Kwame Brown and others for him back in the 2007-2008 season, Gasol has thrived as the second star behind Kobe Bryant. However, age and ever-changing roles for the past three years have seemingly lacerated Gasol to the point where he may never return to his original and consistent form in a Lakers uniform.
Sports Illustrated reporter Chris Mannix recently wrote about Gasol in regards to what he has withstood and what may come next,
“I want to be in a team that is going to be built to win a championship,” Gasol said. “That’s my top priority. Money won’t be the main priority. Length and money are factors, but we’ll see. Until I know all the options, I won’t be able to measure them. But we’re getting close to the end of my career. I want to be in a good situation. It’s an important decision to make.”
Gasol’s contract expires at the end of this season and it seems as if the Lakers may be looking past him to move forward. Players like Gasol are a rarity in today’s NBA in terms of skillset. His numbers have gone down in the past three seasons and there is no debating that he has lost a step. Despite that, he still can be extremely effective when playing within a system where he feels comfortable. When Mike D’Antoni has slowed the offensive pace this year Gasol has performed better both offensively and defensively. When the offensive pace has increased, his play has suffered as his body is unable to withstand that much movement. Even if his skill set is being used correctly in LA, teams across the league are anticipating the chance to capitalize.
“There are a couple thoughts out there on Pau,” says an Eastern Conference executive. “Some people say he is worn out, that he is too far past his prime to really help a contender. There are others that think that LA, that environment the past two season, that style of play has destroyed him and if he goes somewhere else, plays with a different coach, he might be rejuvenated. I could see someone who thinks the latter paying him $10 million a year.”
Another factor that has contributed to Gasol’s decline is the numerous role changes he has had to undergo in the past four seasons. After winning multiple championships he was forced to accept a lesser offensive role to then developing Andrew Bynum. With no complaints he accepted the role and played within himself and the system. Next he was almost traded to the Houston Rockets until then Commissioner David Stern nixed the Chris Paul deal. His role in Houston certainly would have been similar to his championship one had he gone, yet he remained in Los Angeles and became even more humble having to return to the team that signed off on trading him.
While the trade to Houston did not go through he still had to accept a lesser role when the Lakers traded for center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash. At this point he had gone from a championship winning, secondary role with the team to a fourth wheel who would be incorporated only on occasion. All with minimal complaints.
Gasol’s frustrations this season may not make Lakers fans content but nonetheless they make sense. After giving your all to an organization and displaying minimal signs of frustration, it is only a matter of time before it all becomes too much to bear. If Gasol ultimately decides to leave it would be a definite loss to the Lakers organization. He has brought consistency, a humble attitude and personality, as well as monumental contribution in multiple championship runs. However, in staying, Gasol would again add testament to his character by proving that he is more reliable than what you previously believed.
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 April 6-12, over their 66-year history.
April 6, 2003
Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning shot with 28.6 seconds left in overtime to lift the Lakers over the Phoenix Suns 115-113 in overtime at the STAPLES Center. Bryant also hit the game-tying shot with 14.2 seconds left in regulation. He finished with 26 points and eight rebounds for the three-time defending NBA champions. With the victory, Los Angeles clinched a spot in the 2003 NBA playoffs.
April 6, 2007
Kobe Bryant’s 31 second half points lifted the Lakers to a come-from-behind win against the Seattle SuperSonics, 112-109. Bryant finished with 46 points in this crucial victory for the Lakers in their playoff push, as he reached the 40-point mark for the 16th time that season. Los Angeles got 33 points from its bench, including 11 from Brian Cook and 10 from Ronny Turiaf. The Lakers would eventually make the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Western Conference.
April 12, 1954
The Minneapolis Lakers won the first three-peat in NBA history after defeating the Syracuse Nationals 87-80 in Game Seven of the 1954 NBA Finals. George Mikan led the Lakers to their fifth NBA title in six years after averaging 19.4 points per game and 13.2 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Mikan would retire at the end of the of the 1954 season, only to return for 37 games in 1956 before hanging up his sneakers for good.
April 10, 1962
With three seconds left in Game Three of the 1962 NBA Finals against the Celtics, Jerry West stole Sam Jones’ inbounds pass at midcourt and raced to the basket for the game-winning layup to lift the Lakers over Boston 117-115. Although Los Angeles would eventually lose the NBA Finals in seven games, West became the only player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP award on the losing team.
April 11, 1960
The Minneapolis Lakers selected Jerry West as the second overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft. West would go on to make the All-Star team in each of his 14 NBA seasons, all spent with the Lakers. His lone NBA championship as a player was won in 1972.
The Los Angeles Lakers are set to take on the Sacramento Kings tonight with a current record of 25-49. While defeating the Kings is the primary focus of tonight, Bleacher Report columnist Kevin Ding certainly made headlines with his comments on Mike D’Antoni‘s future with the Lakers. In the column, Ding reported how D’Antoni may be around longer than most anticipate:
“D’Antoni has one more guaranteed season left on his Lakers contract, and the club is leaning toward retaining him despite some privately disgruntled players and massive public disdain. It’s not clear which way the organization will go with him.”
Financially the decision to retain D’Antoni makes sense. Going back to the 2012-2013 season, the Lakers made a huge financial commitment after firing head coach Mike Brown and consequently hiring D’Antoni days later. Until the Cavaliers signed Brown, the Lakers were due to pay the remaining salary on his contract while paying D’Antoni his salary in his three-year $12 million dollar deal. Add in the new $48 million dollar deal Kobe Bryant also signed and you can see why finances are key in this situation.
With this Lakers team being one of the few in history to not make the playoffs and have players speak out publicly about not retaining D’Antoni for next season, this could turn into a huge fault for the organization. Media, fans, and players alike have spoken out repeatedly about how a change in coaching needs to be made moving forward. Bringing D’Antoni back for another season would not only derail morale for the team but make a statement to potential free agents that seven seconds or less will lead the way in the team’s future.
The Lakers will soon need to make an official stand on D’Antoni’s future in regards to next season and potentially his fourth season as head coach. Luring free agents to Los Angeles will become increasingly difficult if they believe that not only the role players on the team are disgruntled, but star players like Bryant and Pau Gasol are too. Moving on is always something difficult to do, but in some situations it is a necessary part of life. If the Lakers are serious about reclaiming their position as one of the top franchises in the league then it is something they will have to do.
Stay tuned to LakerNation.com for more Los Angeles Lakers news and updates!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.