Friday, October 24, 2014
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Julius Randle
Photo: Chris Reynolds

With the No. 7 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected power forward Julius Randle out of the University of Kentucky.

Considered one of the more NBA ready prospects in this draft, Randle is considered a throw back type player who bullies his way in the post.  Not the tallest at 6’9, there are questions regarding his height being a problem in the NBA but so far in his career has not allowed that to limit his production at any level of basketball.

Last season for Kentucky, Randle averaged 15 points and 10.4 rebounds in 30.8 minutes a game as a freshman.  The 250-pound Randle was one of the better players in the NCAA Tournament and helped his team to the NCAA Championship Game where they ultimately fell to the University of Connecticut.  He led the NCAA with 24 double-doubles, good for second most in the stories history of Kentucky.  As a senior in high school, Randle averaged a ridiculous 32.5 points and 22.5 rebounds and led his school to a state title.

Considered a top-five pick early on in the draft process, questions arose after reports surfaced he would need surgery to remove a pin that was incorrectly inserted in his foot after breaking it in high school.  Randle ultimately shot that news down saying his doctors told him his foot would not be an issue.

Moments after being drafted, Randle was asked about him slipping down to No. 7:

“I think I should’ve went higher for sure, but you know, the teams that passed on me will regret it”

Welcome Randle to the Laker family and follow him on Twitter @J30_RANDLE.

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Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony
Image: Catherine Steenkeste | Getty Images

Superstar forward Carmelo Anthony opted out of his contract with the New York Knicks as expected on June 22nd.

As Anthony explores his options to identify which destination, most notably the Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and Houston Rockets, will help him win his first NBA championship, a current member of the Lakers’ organization has apparently started the recruiting process to help lure Anthony to the City of Angels.

According to ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard, Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant, who missed most of last season with injuries, has already started his own recruiting process this week:

Though the Los Angeles Lakers are not on Anthony’s current list, Kobe Bryant plans to recruit him to the team. Bryant, who is close with Anthony, spoke to him by telephone when they were in separate parts of Europe earlier this week.

Bryant told ESPN.com in a text message that he plans to meet with Anthony, as well.

With stars like Anthony and LeBron James set to become free agents on July 1st, we will soon find out  whether or not Bryant’s recruiting pitches work to help rebuild a roster that currently only has Bryant, PG Steve Nash and C Robert Sacre.

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Joel Embiid -- Credit: Getty Images

Exclusively for LakerNation.com, draft analyst Ed Isaacson (@NBADraftBlog) of NBADraftBlog.com ranks the best options for the Lakers as Thursday’s NBA Draft nears.

The purple and gold will select #7 and while there was disappointment of a non-top three pick, there are players available that could give the Lakers great value at the slot.  Here is the breakdown of nine prospects:

1. Joel Embiid (C) – We knew about the back issues and know there is the stress fracture in his foot. Even with those issues, Embiid is by far the best big man prospect in this draft. He is still very raw, but could provide a presence on the defensive end as a rebounder and rim protector early in his career. If Embiid somehow falls to the Lakers, they need to take this risk with a post-Kobe rebuild looming anyway.

2. Marcus Smart (PG) – Many chastised Smart for going back to school for his sophomore year, and though there were a few hiccups during the season, he did come out as a better player. Smart is a strong point guard with the ability to bully his way to the basket, but also the vision to find open teammates. He rebounds well for his size and he is one of the top 2 or 3 on-ball defenders in this draft. Perimeter shooting needs to be more consistent, but Smart is the type of young point guard a team can build around.

3. Dante Exum (SG/PG) – The young Australian made his name in International competitions, and his size and athleticism will be attractive to many teams, including the Lakers. He is a skilled player on both ends of the floor, and though his perimeter shooting can be inconsistent, he should be fine long-term. His size and speed allow him to gaurd multiple positions and he has shown good defensive instincts. The big question is whether he can actually play the point in the NBA. Nothing I’ve seen shows me he can be a strong decision-maker, but he may still have it in him down the road.

4. Julius Randle (PF) – A big-bodied, but athletic, power forward, Randle has the ability to overpower players in the low post, and score with surprising touch around the basket. Randle is dominant with his left-hand, but he isn’t very good with his right, and by the end of last season, teams understood this and played him to take away his left. He is quick after rebounds on both ends of the floor, and though he isn’t a great defender, he has the body to defend in the post and the athleticism to defend the perimeter. He just needs someone to get him to focus more on the defensive end.

5. Noah Vonleh (PF) – Vonleh has good length and above-average athleticism, but is still developing most parts of his game. On offense, Vonleh has the size to be a good low post option, but he doesn’t have the aggressiveness or strength to consistently fight for position. He prefers to play more on the perimeter, where he showed good ability to knock down long jumpers. Vonleh can be a good rim protector, and he is already a pretty good defender for his age. He is just 18 years old and still has a lot of potential, though there is still much of his game yet to be seen.

6. Doug McDermott (SF) – The country’s top scorer, McDermott will give any team an instant long-range threat, as well as a player who understand spacing well and how to move the ball to open teammates. McDermott is also a crafty scorer around the basket and even against longer players, he finds ways to get his shot. While not particularly strong, McDermott can be a good rebounder and post defender. His perimeter defense can be a problem because of a lack of speed, but he knows how to play angles well and he will find adjustments after some time in the league. Either way, he is the player on this list most ready to contribute right away to the Lakers.

7. Elfrid Payton (PG) – Many might not know Payton, but he was one of the best guards in college basketball this past season at Louisiana-Lafayette. He has great speed, good ball-handling skills, and a very strong basketball IQ. Payton is very good at beating his man off the dribble or using high screens, and once he gets into the lane, he is good at finding open teammates after drawing defenders. He is a creative finisher around the basket, though a bit wild at times, and he is very good at drawing contact. Payton is a strong perimeter defender and rebounds very well for his size. Like Smart, Payton has trouble with his jumper, though Payton’s form needs a lot of work from long-range.

8. Aaron Gordon (PF) – Gordon is an athletic freak and tough competitor on the court. He is a very good defender, capable of guarding multiple positions and in the post or on the perimeter, and he uses his athleticism well to get after rebounds. Gordon’s offense is really limited to scoring off of offensive rebounds or getting out in transition for what usually end up as highlight reel dunks. His shooting isn’t very good, and he is a mess at the free throw line, but in the right system, a team can find a way to get him good looks around the basket. I’m just not sure if that is the direction the Lakers want to go in for the future.

9. Zach LaVine (SG/PG) – LaVine, like Gordon, is an athletic freak, but he may even more raw than Gordon. LaVine’s offense was limited to some three-pointers, where he was an average shooter, and getting baskets in transition, though most times he leaked out instead of trying to rebound and beat both teams down the floor. Word is that LaVine believes he is a point guard, and while being a decent ball-handler, he has never shown that he can make the decisions necessary to play the position in college, let alone the NBA. LaVine is as long term a project as there is in this draft, and the Lakers are even considering picking him at #7, someone should be fired.

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A big thank you to Ed Isaacson for taking the time to breakdown the prospects that could be available to the Lakers with the #7 pick.  For additional breakdown, follow Isaacson on Twitter @NBADraftBlog and visit NBADraftBlog.com

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Credit: Getty Images

NBA.com’s David Aldridge is reporting that while the Toronto Raptors will have the chance to re-sign Kyle Lowry, the Lakers are looming as a possible candidate for the point guard’s services:

Raps have a decent shot at keeping Kyle Lowry, but there will be suitors — and the Lakers are at the top of the list.

The Lakers need a lot of help to rebuild its roster and point guard has long been a position of need of the team. Last season, Jordan Farmar, Kendall Marshall, Steve Blake, and Steve Nash made up the point guard rotation, but injuries affected the production of the players most notably Nash and Farmar.

Blake was eventually traded to Golden State and Marshall took over the majority of the minutes as he played well upon arrival for the Lakers, but his offensive production declined the rest of the season, except for his assist rate. There are questions if Marshall will be a rotation player next season as a back up but the overwhelming consensus amongst fans is that there is no chance where he starts for the purple and gold.

While the 28-year old Lowry would be a solid fit in Los Angeles, the question remains of how much he will cost. This past season, Lowry made $6.2 million but he is due for a raise after averaging 17.9 points, 7.4 assists, and 4.7 rebounds a game last season.

A big key to the pursuit of Lowry will be the Lakers ability to rid themselves of Nash’s contract. Without doing so, the Lakers will be hoping that Lowry accepts $6-$7 million a year which does not seem realistic at this point.

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Photo by Steve Boyle

With the NBA draft less than a week away, the rumor mill is picking up momentum and as is the case more times than not, the Lakers are involved.

The latest rumor from Ryen Russillo of ESPN has the Lakers trading away the #7 pick and Steve Nash to the Philadelphia 76ers for Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young:

The deal would be fantastic for the Lakers. Carter-Williams was last season’s Rookie of the Year, averaging 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds. The 6’6 point guard was the Sixers 11th pick in last year’s draft out of Syracuse.

Young is a power forward but is considered undersized at 6’8. Last season, Young averaged 17.9 points and 6.0 rebounds. Depending how free agency goes starting on July 1st, the Lakers could go forward with Young or he can be used in another trade for additional pieces.

Trading Nash would be a plus for the Lakers for the sole reason that there remains doubt that the point guard will ever play again. If he doesn’t, the Lakers will have $9.7 million sitting on the bench until his contract expires at the end of next season.

Once again though, this is only a rumor at the moment. It could be a case of the Sixers leaking the information to let teams know that Carter-Williams is available. Whatever the case may be, expect trade talks with the Lakers and the #7 pick to intensify over the coming days.

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Zach LaVine
Image courtesy of the Pac-12 Conference

NBA draft prospect Zach LaVine spoke with Laker Nation’s Johnny Navarrette in an exclusive interview to discuss the draft process experience, comparisons to Russell Westbrook, and also shared his thoughts about growing up a Lakers fan, Kobe Bryant, and the current state of basketball in Los Angeles. Be sure to watch LaVine’s pre-draft workout below, presented by PureSweat and Laker Nation’s own Sam Limon.

JN: Since leaving UCLA, how has the entire draft process experience been for you? Competing against the best young talent in the world, meeting with teams and media? 

ZL: “It’s been a lot of fun, just enjoying the process.  You only get to go through it once or twice so it is definitely something that is enjoyable. I’m going in it full-hearted, very confident, and just ride through this process.”

JN: There are some who feel you will be a shooting guard at the next level and some who feel you will be a point guard, what position do you see yourself playing in the NBA?

ZL: “A lot of people haven’t seen me play point guard yet so they can’t really play judgment on to it until they see me in person.  I feel like I have been proving in these workouts that I can play and compete at the point guard position.  I definitely feel comfortable with the ball in my hands but I am also not scared to shoot or score the ball as well because I feel that comes easy to me. I’m a player first so wherever the coach needs me to play at I’ll do it but I definitely feel comfortable with the ball in my hand.”

JN: Do you feel that you are underrated in this draft?

ZL: “I wouldn’t say underrated.  I’m going up and competing against dudes everyday, holding my own, and I feel like my stock keeps rising because I’ve been doing very well against everybody else, stacking up against the competition.  I’ve been doubted a couple times so I guess you can say I’m underrated but I really don’t let outside voices get to me or anything like that.  I know what I can do, I’m a very confident person, and I put in the hard work so I don’t let any of those distractions really mess with me.”

JN: What areas of your game do you feel you need to improve in?

ZL: “I’m still 19-years old so my body is still maturing. I feel like I’ve added strength, I feel that will come naturally.  I want to get my body stronger, add some weight like I said before and just learn a little bit more about off-ball defense, I feel like I am a pretty good on-ball defender.   The grind and the process of the NBA lifestyle as well, you know you mess with 35-year old men so becoming more mature on and off the court as well.”

JN: How big has working with Drew Hanlen (@DrewHanlen) been to you?

ZL: “It’s been really good.  I’ve been working a lot on pick-and-roll reads, sharpening up my ball handling skills, and just becoming more consistent with my jump shot, getting all these different finishes and getting in condition so it has been a lot of fun.”

JN: What is one thing that he has taught you that changed who you are as a player?

ZL: “He’s a really cool dude and one of my close friends now. He’s been teaching me little tricks of the trade, dealing with NBA players before.  I feel like I’m going to be working out with him in the future as well.”

JN: The constant comparison when it comes to you is that of Russell Westbrook, another guard out of UCLA with elite athleticism.  Do you think those comparisons are fair and who is the NBA player you model your game after the most?

ZL: “I see the Russell Westbrook comparisons a lot. I feel like we do don’t play in the same way, he’s a little bit more reckless than I am.  He has a stronger body but athletically I feel we are on the same page.  He pulls up on the break a lot, I like to pull up and I feel like I can get to the lane very easy and create.  I feel like I play like Steph Curry as well with his dribbling and shooting ability off the dribble and one of my good friends Jamal Crawford, same body type, loose handles but still not that conventional point guard but has a lot of different moves to get a shot off on anybody. So I feel I have a little bit of all three of those players.”

JN:  With Jamal Crawford being a close friend, what has he done for you throughout this process?

ZL: “Jamal is a really cool dude and you can talk to him about anything.  He’s from the town like me so all the players from Seattle are definitely close to each other.  He gives me little tricks of the trade, been around the block a couple of times so it’s definitely something you look forward to talking to him about whenever you’re struggling with something and need to know something.”

JN: How was your experience at UCLA? Some questioned your decision to leave after one season, but what did you learn in college that made you feel that you were prepared to make the jump to the NBA?

ZL: “I felt it was my decision and felt it was the right time in my career to take that step.  I’m a confident person; I’m not scared of challenges and feel that my game translates to the NBA pretty well.  I learned life lessons, I had to deal with adversity, play at a level where you could see yourself at and just getting another year of experience.  It was my freshman year, I enjoyed it, living and dying with the guys every game so it was definitely a great experience for me.”

JN: Growing up a Lakers fan, was it surreal to workout for the Lakers in the pre-draft workout? How was the experience?

ZL: “It was a lot of fun. Growing up being a Laker fan, watching everything they do has been really fun for me. Then actually getting to workout for them, getting to put on that jersey is really cool and I took it all in, but at the same time I knew I had a job to do, try the best I could, and just impress.”

JN: You set a Laker pre-draft workout record with a 46-inch vertical, are you surprised by the reaction it’s getting?

ZL: “I mean I could see why, you don’t see that everyday (laughs).  I had I think a 45-inch vertical before at UCLA, 42 at the draft combine, so it depends some days on how you’re feeling, I was little more pumped up that day.  I feel like I did good overall. On the three quarter sprint I ran a 2.95 or something like that and the fastest at the combine was a 3.1, so I don’t know if that is a record for the Lakers or not, but I feel like I did pretty well in all of them.”

JN: Aaron Gordon said in an interview that he would be “tied at the hip” with Kobe Bryant if drafted by the Lakers, what would it mean to you to get drafted by the franchise and what would you hope to learn playing under Kobe?

ZL: “He’s been my favorite player growing up. Not just because of his flashy game, but I love his demeanor. He’s a killer, he puts in the work. I pat myself on always being one of the hardest workers on the team so you can learn everything from him.  He’s one of the greatest of all-time so it’s definitely something I can look forward to picking his brain from.”

JN: His work ethic and competitiveness is considered to be second to none, how do you think your work ethic and attitude would mesh with Kobe, someone who demands greatness from his teammates?

ZL: “He can see someone who he can see as his younger self. I feel like I have a very high competitive nature as well, someone that works extremely hard and is very focused.  Hopefully he would have a good reaction to it, I know at the end of the day he’s still going out there trying to kill you, it’s Kobe Bryant.”

JN: Being a fan, you know the expectations of the team and players are high in Los Angeles when it comes to the Lakers.  How would you handle those expectations?

ZL: “There are expectations but you can only handle what you can handle.  You go out there and try to do the best you can, work hard, try to win, and do the best to your abilities. Knowing me, if I got dressed up to be a Laker, I would be extremely happy.  I feel like my game fits LA. I’m excited to play out there, I feel like I can get the crowd off their feet.  It’s the Lakers, it’s show time, and I feel like my game is little bit of show time. I definitely feel like I can reach those expectations.”

JN: The Lakers and Clippers have somewhat flip flopped roles in Los Angeles in terms of success. What are your feelings on the current state of LA basketball?

ZL: “Lakers are one of the best franchises of all-time, so they are going to get back where they should be in the standings and in the rankings.  Every team goes through its ups and downs, it just happens.  The Clippers are a great team as well, they had their downs and now they are at the top of the pedestal so the Lakers are trying to get back up there.”

JN: Finally, what is your message to Laker Nation about why you are the right choice for the Lakers?

ZL: “I’m a player you can bank on, who is always going to be in the gym working hard, working on their game.  Someone who fits the play-style, fits the face of LA that I feel that I am an exciting player and I’ll do anything to win.  I’m competitive, I’m a team player, and I just feel like my game fits LA.”

Find out where Zach LaVine is drafted on Thursday June 26, 2014, live on ESPN.  Be sure to follow Zach on Twitter at @ZachLaVine as well as Laker Nation at @LakerNation for the latest news and updates surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jeff Haynes/AFP/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 June 15-21, over their 66-year history.

June 16, 1975

The Bucks traded Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers after the three-time MVP requested to be traded away from Milwaukee. Abdul-Jabbar went on to win five NBA championships, three MVP awards, and became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer while wearing the purple and gold. His number 33 was eventually retired by both the Bucks and Lakers after his playing days came to an end in 1989.

June 16, 1999

The Lakers hired Phil Jackson to become their head coach after his wildly successful run as the head coach of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. In his first three years as the Lakers’ head coach, Jackson led the team to three-straight NBA championships. During his second coaching stint with Los Angeles, Jackson led the Lakers to consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010. In 12 seasons at the Lakers’ helm, Jackson won five NBA championships and became the NBA’s career leader in playoff victories and playoff winning percentage.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

June 17, 2010

The Lakers defeated their rivals, the Boston Celtics, 83-79 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Despite an ugly game on both sides, an unlikely hero emerged for Los Angeles, as Metta World Peace, formerly known as Ron Artest, stepped up and dropped 20 points for the Lakers. Although Kobe Bryant struggled uncharacteristically, going 6-24 from the field, he finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds in the win. The Lakers’ Game 7 victory avenged their loss to Boston in the 2008 Finals and secured their second consecutive title.

June 21, 1988

“Big Game” James Worthy picked the perfect time to live up to his nickname, as he recorded the first triple-double of his career with 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists, to lift the Lakers over the Pistons 108-105, in Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Worthy’s clutch performance allowed the Lakers to become the first NBA team to defend its championship since the 1969 Boston Celtics. With their victory in the title-clinching game, Los Angeles also became the first team in NBA history to win three straight playoff series in seven games, having done so consecutively against Utah, Dallas, and Detroit.

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 June 8-14, over their 66-year history.

June 8, 2001

After losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers bounced back with a 98-89 victory in Game 2, behind 31 points from Kobe Bryant and 28 points and 20 rebounds from Shaquille O’Neal. The Lakers wouldn’t lose another game on their way to a second straight NBA championship.

June 9, 1987

Magic Johnson hit a heroic sky hook shot over Boston’s McHale and Parish to give the Lakers a 107-106 victory in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. Johnson led the Lakers with 29 points, while James Worthy added 21 to give Los Angeles a commanding three games to one series lead. In what would be the last Finals match-up between Johnson and Larry Bird, the Lakers won the series and the championship over the Celtics in six games.

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

June 9, 2000

After Kobe Bryant injured his ankle in the second quarter of Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Pacers played the percentages and resorted to fouling Shaquille O’Neal a record 39 times, in hopes that he would miss a substantial number of free throws. The “hack-a-Shaq” attempt failed, as O’Neal converted on 18 of his attempts, including 9 of 16 in the fourth quarter. He finished with 40 points and 24 rebounds, as he put the Lakers on his back and lifted the team to 111-104 victory over Indiana.

June 14, 2000

Kobe Bryant tipped in the deciding bucket with six seconds remaining in Game 4 of the NBA Finals to give the Lakers a 120-118 overtime victory against the Indiana Pacers. Despite fouling out, Shaquille O’Neal led all scorers with 36 points and 21 rebounds. The Lakers eventually won the title over Indiana in six games.

June 14, 2009

Kobe Bryant answered the critics and won his first NBA championship without Shaq, after leading the Lakers to the title in five games against the Orlando Magic. En route to his first Finals MVP award and fourth ring, Bryant scored 30 points in the decisive game.

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Byron Scott
Image: Chris Chambers | Getty Images

The search for the next coach of the Los Angeles Lakers became a little more clearer on Friday as it was reported by LA Times Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan that the team will narrow its search to coaches with previous NBA experience:

The Lakers’ decision to go with an experienced NBA coach also officially ends their brief thought of interviewing a college coach. The team was open to many scenarios after Mike D’Antoni resigned in April, including talking to Roy Williams and John Calipari, but a college coach is no longer an option.

As Bresnahan writes, that decision eliminates the idea of the Lakers hiring a college coach, but also takes Derek Fisher out of consideration for the vacancy.

The candidates with experience who have interviewed so far are: Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins, Mike Dunleavy, Alvin Gentry, George Karl, and Kurt Rambis.

With the team looking to play a more half-court system opposed to the up-tempo style that was played under Mike D’Antoni, one has to think that Scott and Hollins are likely choices moving forward in the process.

Bresnahan goes on to say:

The Lakers currently have no interviews scheduled for the early part of next week and there is only a 50-50 chance they hire a coach by the June 26 draft, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The Lakers said from the beginning of the process that there was no rush in selecting a new coach but with free agency beginning on July 1st, having a coach in place would help give the team a sense of direction in the off-season.

It is also safe to assume that any coach would like input on who the Lakers select at #7 in the NBA Draft, if they do in fact plan on keeping the pick.

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Getty Images

Everyone’s favorite point guard Smush Parker is at it again, this time in an interview on ESPN’s show Highly Questionable where he ‘reveals’ that Kobe Bryant did not allow Parker to talk to him during practice.

“He told me one day at practice – I tried to talk to him outside of basketball, about football. And he looked at me in practice and was dead serious and said, ‘You can’t talk to me. You need more accolades under your belt before you come talk to me.”

In the video below (starts at 2:58), Parker goes on to discuss the lack of relationship the two had as well as his thoughts on being considered a ‘bad’ player with the Lakers.

Someone should let Parker know that it has been seven years since he last played with the Lakers.

Let it go.

 

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Getty Images

Despite the success of the Clippers over the past few seasons, there will always be players who value playing for the Lakers.   In this instance, the player is…

Andrew Bynum.

TMZ recently caught up with the former center and when asked if he could play in Los Angeles where he still resides, Bynum responded, “That’d be great, come back home.”

The reporter then asked, “Clippers or Lakes?” (yes the reporter said Lakes), which Bynum without hesitation said the Lakers.

Lastly, when asked if he could return to old form, Bynum responds, “I don’t think so.”

VIDEO: Andrew Bynum Speaks To TMZ

Since last playing for the Lakers in 2012, Bynum has played in 52 games over two years.  He missed the entire 2013 season due to injury after being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Dwight Howard deal.

In 2014, he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers but was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team and was then released before making his way to the Indiana Pacers where he played in two games before being shut down with yet another injury.

Bynum enjoyed success with the Lakers, averaging 11.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in seven seasons. His best season came in 2011-2012 when he put up 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, earning him an all-star appearance.

The biggest issue pertaining to Bynum was his ability to stay healthy.  Constant injuries derailed his career and while he played 82 games in 2006-2007, he was never able to play more than 65 games in a full-season.

It does bring up the interesting scenario in which he could return to Los Angeles for cheap.  With the Lakers roster situation being as is, they will look to fill out the roster and while an injury risk, Bynum could be a player the team adds on a very reasonable deal. While his attitude has also been an issue, it should be noted that Kobe Bryant started to trust Bynum more in games and also praised the center’s personality:

“Yea, yea. He’s got kind of this f— it attitude, you know what I mean,” Kobe said. “Which is great, it’s one of the things that makes him a great player. It won’t bother him at all…. Andrew is a big boy, he can handle it better than most.”

Would you like to see Bynum return to the Lakers in 2014-2015?

 

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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.

 

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As we get closer to the June 26th NBA Draft, the head coaching search will continue to gain momentum, which has been apparent over the last two weeks with the first round of interviews completed.  

Here are the candidates as of June 3: Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins, Mike Dunleavy, Alvin Gentry, George Karl, and Kurt Rambis.

While the list may be underwhelming to some, it is important to remember that the Lakers will continue to interview new candidates in the coming weeks before giving second interviews to finalists for the job.

On Monday, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne mentioned Larry Brown and Scott Skiles as possible coaches the Lakers were interested in talking to although Brown told Sam Amick of USA Today that he is not interested in the head coaching vacancy and is content at Southern Methodist University where he hopes to win a national championship.

As for former Laker Derek Fisher, Amick also reported that general manager Mitch Kupchak would like to have a conversation with the fan favorite to “gauge his interest and state of mind before deciding whether to interview him in person.”  Fisher is considered the favorite for the New York Knicks head coaching job as Phil Jackson looks to bring him to the Big Apple.

Fisher commented about potentially coaching former teammate Kobe Bryant, “I hadn’t thought about that much. But when you’re brothers, you’re brothers, regardless of what capacity it’s in.”

Moving away from the coaching search, the Lakers do have the 7th pick in the upcoming draft and have plenty of prospects to choose from.  On Wednesday, the team will hold two workouts for the following prospects:

Tyler Ennis (PG), Brendan Lane (PF), Marcus Smart (PG), Nik Stauskas (SG), Noah Vonleh (PF), James Young (SG), Aaron Gordon (PF), Gary Harris (SG), Rodney Hood (SF), Zach LaVine (PG/SG), Doug McDermott (SF), and Elfrid Payton (PG).

There are plenty of questions regarding who the team will draft as it could change the direction of the offseason for the Lakers.  There are sure to be additional workouts leading up to the draft at the end of the month.  Whether any coaching candidates have been asked about which player they would like to draft remains to be seen, but it is sure to have relevance as a coaching decision nears.

 

 

Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee

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.

Getty Images
Getty Images

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.

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After another setback during the pre-season, the Lakers announced today that Steve Nash will miss the 2014-2015 season due to ongoing back issues. Via Lakers: EL SEGUNDO...