Lakers

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.

Bob Flora/Bettmann/CORBIS

Bob Flora/Bettmann/CORBIS

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.

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.

NBAE Photos/NBAE/Getty Images

NBAE Photos/NBAE/Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 23-29, over their 66-year history.

March 23, 1999

Dick Enroth, the original radio voice of the Minneapolis Lakers, died from cancer at the age of 80. Enroth was the Lakers’ radio play-by-play voice from 1947-1959, during which the team won four NBA championships. He was known as the “fastest-talking sportscaster in the Twin Cities” during his tenure with the Lakers.

March 24, 1970

Jerry West won the NBA scoring title after leading the Lakers with 2,309 points in 74 regular season games. This was the first and only time in West’s illustrious career that he won the scoring title. West averaged 31.2 points per game during the 1969-70 season.

March 26, 1972

The Lakers ended the 1971-72 regular season with the best record in NBA history after defeating Seattle 124-98. Los Angeles finished with a 69-13 record and a .841 winning percentage. Their record would hold as the best in NBA history until the 1995-96 season, when the Chicago Bulls finished the regular season with a 72-10 record and a .878 winning percentage.

Getty Images

Getty Images

March 27, 1994

Magic Johnson made his head coaching debut with the Lakers when they defeated Milwaukee 110-101 at The Forum. Los Angeles went 5-11 during Johnson’s 16 games as head coach.

March 28, 1973

Wilt Chamberlain finished his career with a then-NBA record of 1,045 consecutive games without disqualification. Chamberlain did not foul out of any games over the course of his 14 NBA seasons. His consecutive games without disqualification streak ended when Moses Malone broke the record with 1,212 straight games without fouling out.

March 28, 1982

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in his 1,000th regular season game, when the Lakers beat the Kings 109-96 in Kansas City. Abdul-Jabbar became just the 15th player in NBA history at the time to do so.

March 29, 1952

George Mikan set a then-NBA playoff record for points when he scored 47 against the Rochester Royals in Game One of the Western Division Finals. Despite Mikan’s efforts, the Lakers lost the game 88-78.

March 29, 1962

Elgin Baylor and Jerry West became the first set of NBA teammates to each score 40 or more points in a playoff game. Baylor scored 45 and West contributed 41, but the Lakers lost a heartbreaker to Detroit in the Western Division Finals, 118-117.

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.

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.

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.

 

In a recent interview with USA Today Sports, legendary coach Phil Jackson spoke on different topics, ranging from potential future opportunities in the NBA to the state of the Lakers and what they could do moving forward.

Below are the key points regarding Jackson and the Lakers, plus his comments on the direction of the NBA:

On the direction of the Lakers:

“Well really, there’s a limited free agent market this year. Luol Deng, and Pau Gasol is going to be a free agent — they can resign their own guy, which I don’t know if Pau would want to re-sign with them or not. Maybe he feels that’s not the best place, but he likes LA, he likes the fans. Who else is in the free agent market besides Luol that jumps (at you)?”

On potentially having more involvement with the team:

“I don’t think so. I have a good relationship with the vice president in business affairs (Jeanie Buss) — at least it has been pretty good (laughs).”

“Their father’s memorial service is not a year old, but he has been gone for a year now and they’re still just kind of figuring out, ‘How are we going to do this?’ So I think they want to have an opportunity to do it.”

“Some of the major moves, Dr. Buss was still there. But the other stuff Jimmy and Mitch have been working on. They’ve got a relationship, so I don’t see that happening.”

On if that will disappoint Lakers fans:

“I know, I’m trying not to gin up any hope in that direction. I don’t go to games. I keep encouraging them as fans to follow their team, and they’re having a hard time doing that. They’re not used to being in the position they’re in, so it’s tough.”

On if he ever received a clear answer as to who signed off on hiring D’Antoni over him:

“Jimmy was pretty happy about it and Mitch was still saying, “We’re going to keep interviewing people,” and I think the ultimate (decision) kind of rested with Dr. Buss and he made the decision in the hospital the day after. I haven’t chosen to bite on that. I’ve just let that go. I’m real comfortable with it. I don’t have any trouble. I think Jesus could probably coach this team pretty well, but outside of him maybe Mohammed, maybe Gandhi, someone like that.”

On the direction of offensive systems in the NBA:

“Well, the game has moved on to another level. Three-point shooting has become like the (pauses). Really the analytics people have taken it to the point of saying, ‘The worst shot in the game is a 20-foot jumper, a two-point jumper that’s 20 (feet).’ And the best shot might be the corner three. Efficiency, OERs (offensive efficiency ratings), all these efficiency ratings are pointing to how many points per possession you generate from certain types of shots. … But there’s so much more to the game.”

On if he is a fan of analytics in the game:

“I like the analytics. We were always on the forefront of that. I’m not going to go after that. I think that it’s a really important movement. I think a lot of owners have turned the game, the general managers’ jobs, over to people who are more analytic-minded than basketball hierarchy or guys who have been around the league.”

“I do think that it’s still about that being able to look a guy in the eyes and kind of understand that this one is going to go in the fox hole with you and this guy is going to be one of the guys who’s on board with what we’re doing. Yeah, he’s going to be on the line when it comes to that time that’s the challenge. And then the rest of the stuff kind of falls in together.”

—————————————————————————————-

Could Jackson return to the bench? No one except he and Jeanie know the answer to that, but I will say that his response about the direction of the league is telling.  Could motivation to show the league that old school system basketball wins in the NBA be enough to lure the Zen Master back to the bench?

One thing to remember when reading anything from Jackson is that he is the master of words.  Sometimes you need to read between the lines instead of reading directly what he is saying.

Read rest of the interview here

Every few weeks, our staff writers chime in on the trending topics, rumors and storylines surrounding the Lakers. In this post-All-Star Break edition of State of the Nation, they answer five questions that will ultimately decide the fate of the Lakers.

Will the Lakers be active at the trade deadline?

Johnny Navarrette // @JohnnyNav: It is hard to see the Lakers not being active this deadline. With the Lakers fighting for lottery positioning at this point, they have some goals financially they need to accomplish like getting under the tax threshold. I think the most realistic trade options are Pau Gasol, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, and Chris Kaman.

Photo Credit | Tony Gutierrez AP

Image: Tony Gutierrez | AP

Oren Levy // @LakersOren: They should be active at the deadline. The Lakers’ season is effectively over, and the Lakers have some parts that could be valuable to contenders. Ideally, the Lakers should accomplish two things before the deadline: Get below the luxury tax, and acquire future assets. If they can get below the tax line (to avoid repeater tax in future years), and turn Gasol/Kaman/Hill/Blake/Whoever into a 1st round pick and a couple of 2nd rounders, they’ve improved their position.

Jory Dreher // @Jay_Laker: With the impending tax bill looming for a team that’s not going to make the playoffs, they almost have to deal for cap relief purposes. The Lakers have held discussions with the Brooklyn Nets in regards to a possible Jordan Hill deal, and we still hear the chatter about Pau to Phoenix–so I would be surprised if they stand pat.

Ash Kargaran // @aakargaran: Yes. The Lakers will be trying to find a trade partner for Pau Gasol. At this point, the Lakers may even take less value for Gasol just so they can guarantee he doesn’t walk away for nothing, a la Dwight Howard last year.

Kanta Ito // @Kanta_B_Ito: They have to be, but in order to build for the future. Players like Kaman, Hill, and Blake might get involved in minor deals in order for the Lakers to get under the luxury tax this season. However, reports of Pau Gasol getting shopped around creates a possibility that a blockbuster deal could occur before the trade deadline.

Garrett Garcia // @GarrettGarcia: The Lakers will be active at the trade deadline I believe, however it won’t necessarily be a big move like many may think.  Could be a series of small moves to help the team get under the luxury tax threshold or help the business side of the team.

Robert Benitez // @beeb0: Yes, whether it will be Pau or some small pieces, a change is definitely coming.

Melvin Taylor // @MelvinTaylorII: No I do not believe they will be. With all of the rumors surrounding the team I think they will keep what they have currently and finish out the season as best they can.

Next Question: How will the Lakers fare over the final 29 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 February 2-8, over their 66-year history.

February 2, 2002

Phil Jackson became just the 13th coach in NBA history to notch 700 career wins in a 100-85 Lakers’ victory over Memphis. In his 12th season as a head coach, Jackson improved his record to 700-246. Jackson retired from coaching in 2011 with a record of 1155-485 and a winning percentage of .704, which is currently the highest winning percentage of any coach in NBA history.

February 2, 1996

The Lakers and Bulls set a then-record for the highest-rated NBA game ever on cable television, when Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson faced off on the hardwood for the first time since the 1991 NBA Finals. Jordan notched 17 points for Chicago, while Johnson scored 15 points off the bench for Los Angeles, in a 99-84 Bulls’ win in Los Angeles. The game, which aired on TNT, was viewed by 4.75 million homes and earned a 7.1 rating and 13.1 share. This record lasted for just three months before it was broken during a playoff game between the Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic.

Bernstein/Getty Images

Bernstein/Getty Images

February 2, 2009

Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 61 points in a 126-117 victory over the Knicks in New York. Bryant went 19 for 31 from the field and 20 for 20 from the free throw line. He broke Michael Jordan’s opponent record at the Garden of 55 points, as well as Bernard King’s overall record of 60 for most ever points scored at the Mecca. Carmelo Anthony broke Bryant’s Garden record when he scored 62 points against the Bobcats just last month.

February 4, 1987

The Lakers held the reeling Sacramento Kings to just four points in the first quarter, marking the fewest points scored in the first quarter of an NBA game since the establishment of the shot clock in 1954. In a balanced effort, Los Angeles went on to rout Sacramento 128-92, as seven Lakers scored in double figures.

February 7, 2001

Kobe Bryant hit a game-winning 15-foot jump shot over Shawn Marion with 2.7 seconds left in regulation to lift the Lakers over the Phoenix Suns 85-83 at STAPLES Center. With 23 points in the second half, Bryant scored a game-high 32 points, while collecting eight rebounds and notching nine assists in the final game before the All-Star break.

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