Monday, November 24, 2014
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Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Despite an 0-4 start which included lopsided losses to the Suns and Warriors and a devastating injury to rookie Julius Randle, there are some positives that can be picked out from this young campaign. While Kobe Bryant looks like his old self, we all know that simply is not enough.

Here are three things the Lakers can build on from their first week of the regular season:

1. The emergence of Jordan Hill:  After two lackluster performances to start the year, Hill has stepped his game up against two of the Western Conference’s top teams.  He scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds in each game against the Clippers and Warriors.  In addition, he also had four assists and three blocks against Golden State.  Frontcourt mate Carlos Boozer has underwhelmed so far, and Hill has taken it upon himself to contribute in any way he can.  His jumper has been falling, and that is a testament to the hard work he put in over the summer.  He will not put up numbers like this every game, but one can only hope that he stays healthy and continues to be consistent.

2. Jeremy Lin’s confidence:  Kobe Bryant has empowered Lin to run the offense but Lin has struggled early on, outside of a quality performance versus the Clippers.  His shooting has been up and down, and has turned the ball over far too many times.  Despite these downfalls, Lin is becoming more comfortable in his role as the starting point guard with every game played.  That confidence showed versus the Clippers, when Lin waved Bryant off when he demanded the ball, which Bryant loved.  For the Lakers to make any sort of noise this season, it has to start by playing with an aggressiveness and toughness that matches Kobe’s level, because it means they are willing to step up and shoulder the blame.

3. Minimal injuries early on: After a whirlwind of injuries during training camp that crescendoed with Randle falling to a leg injury in the season opener, the Lakers have come out relatively unscathed in the past three games.  Here is to hoping this continues, and that the team can look forward to people coming back, as opposed to more people going down, which plagued the team the last two seasons.

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Photo Credit to FoxSports.com

The injury bug that caused Lakers players to miss a league-high 319 games due to injury cannot seem to go away.

The Lakers reported on Friday that guard Nick Young will be out for 6-8 weeks after sustaining a torn ligament on his right thumb.  The play occurred when Young attempted to steal the ball from Kobe Bryant during a scrimmage earlier in the day.

This is a rough start to the Lakers’ season preparations.  Also lost was Ryan Kelly, who is dealing with a hamstring injury.

With Young out, the team loses their primary scorer off the bench.  On the other hand, this is a strong chance for the other players to step into that role.  All eyes will be on Wayne Ellington, Ronnie Price, and Jordan Clarkson as primary candidates to fill the void.

Young is scheduled to have surgery on Monday.

AP/Kevork Djansezian

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 in July, over their 66-year history, in this off-season version of “A Blast from the Past.”

July 8, 2009

The Lakers signed free agent Ron Artest following their 2009 championship-winning season. The 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year was an integral part of Los Angeles’ second consecutive NBA championship the following campaign.

July 9, 1968

The great Wilt Chamberlain was traded to the Lakers from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, and Jerry Chambers. Chamberlain spent the remaining five seasons of his NBA career with the purple and gold, helping them win the 1972 NBA championship.

Getty Images
Getty Images

July 14, 2004

The Shaq-Kobe era came to a close in Los Angeles, as Shaquille O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, Brian Cook, and a first-round draft pick. In Shaq’s eight seasons with the Lakers, the team won three-straight NBA titles and O’Neal picked up the Finals MVP award in each of those championship series. With the Lakers, O’Neal averaged 27.0 points and 11.8 rebounds.

July 16, 2003

Los Angeles signed highly-touted free agents Karl Malone and Gary Payton. At the time, both veteran players were in search of an elusive NBA title. After failing to accomplish their shared goal in the 2003-04 season, the duo’s short-lived experiment with the Lakers was over. Malone retired in 2004 without ever winning a championship, while Payton signed on with the Heat for the final go-around of his career and helped them to the title in 2006.

July 18, 1996

In one of the greatest free-agency signings in NBA history, Jerry West and the Lakers signed Shaquille O’Neal away from the Orlando Magic. The summer of 1996 marked the formation of the greatest dynamic duo in Lakers’ history, as O’Neal and Kobe Bryant joined forces in Los Angeles.

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Image: Andrew D. Bernstein | Getty Images

Ed Davis was officially introduced as the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.

“It’s a great organization, franchise, a lot of history here, young team, I think there’s an opportunity where I can play and help this team win.”

Davis, will begin his fifth season in the NBA this fall as he tackles a new opportunity with the Lakers after stops in Toronto and Memphis.  The 25-year old was originally selected no. 13 in the 2010 NBA draft by the Raptors and proceeded to have a quality rookie season, averaging 7.7 points and 7.1 rebounds in 65 games.

After a slight decline the next season, Davis bounced back in the 2012-2013 season averaging a career-high 9.7 points before being included in the trade that brought Rudy Gay to Toronto.  Considered one of the key pieces of the trade, Davis was never able to become comfortable in Memphis with the loaded front court of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph but despite the lack of playing time, Davis had nothing but good things to say about his former teammates and time with the Grizzlies.

“It was great playing behind both of them, just learning everyday in practice and games, just seeing how they score easy, and Marc just picking his brain on the defensive end,” said Davis. “He was Defensive Player of the Year two years ago. Z-Bo, just all the things that coaches can’t really teach you, the stuff that he does, all the intangibles that he has. Just learning from him every night, helped me out a lot.”

In Los Angeles, Davis will need to deal with another crowded front court which includes Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer, Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and recently drafted Julius Randle, who Davis says will be a “real good player in this league.”  Despite the roster situation, Davis feels he can contribute and is ready to put in the work for the purple and gold.

“Keep working everyday, what I bring – athleticism, defend, run the floor, block shots, rebound, all the little things.”

Where he fits in that group remains to be seen as the Lakers are still without a head coach, but at 6’10” Davis could surely see time at the center position along with Hill and Sacre.

“I think I can play both positions, the four and the five. I think all the players here are different players and we all compliment each other in different ways.”

Throughout the press conference it became apparent that Davis comes in with a defensive mindset and understands the importance of that end of the floor, which is something that surely will be valuable to a team that was abused in the paint last season. 

“It starts with a defensive mindset at first, that we’re going to shut people down and not try to outscore them. I think that’s the number one thing, to have that mindset.”

The Lakers will need more of that attitude if it hopes to improve on last season, which surely cannot be too difficult to accomplish after allowing 109.2 points per game, which was only second to the Philadelphia 76ers which allowed just under 110 points.

If anything else, Davis feels defense is where he will give the most to his new team, game in and game out.

“I think that’s something that I can rely on every night is defense and protecting the rim, whether that might be hard fouls or just being there at the right time, taking the charge, getting blocks, altering shots and things like that.”

The terms of the contract were not released by the team, although it was reported that Davis signed a two-year, $2 million deal with the second year being a player option.  If Davis is able to find time on the team and continue his growth he showed in Toronto, the Lakers may have found one of the steals of the offseason.

 

 

 

 

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July 11, 2014

 

  • Jeremy Lin: The Lakers/Rockets agreed to a trade that sends Lin to the purple and gold along with a 2015 first round pick.  The Lakers send no salary back to the Rockets as Houston prepares to offer Chris Bosh a max contract.
  •  Pau Gasol: The Lakers are open to a S&T deal if Gasol decides to pursue another career opportunity elsewhere (via Mark Medina – LA Daily News)

 

July 10, 2014

 

  • Steve Blake: Reached agreement on a two-year, $4 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers (via Adrian Wojnarowski – Yahoo! Sports)
  • Pau Gasol: Met with GM Mitch Kupchak at the Lakers practice facility on Wednesday night (via Marc Spears – Yahoo! Sports)
  • Kent Bazemore: Lakers called Kent Bazemore again on Wednesday to reiterate that the team would like to re-sign him (via Michael Scotto – Sheridan Hoops)

 

July 9, 2014

 

  • Kobe Bryant: While not a free agent, Kobe at his basketball camp in Santa Barbara spoke to the media before it got started.  Couple things to note, endorsed Byron Scott as the next head coach of the Lakers and mentioned that the Buss family has a solid plan they want “to put a contender on the floor next year… “they’re going for it.” Also said there is a plan B in place if Melo does not sign with the Lakers.
  • Carmelo Anthony: Barring a ‘last minute change of heart’, Anthony will reportedly re-sign with the Knicks and will announce his decision on Thursday, according to a source close to the forward.  Other sources, including his agent Leon Rose, all denied that a decision was made (via Frank Isola – NY Daily News)
  • Isaiah Thomas: “I’m just waiting to see how it goes and waiting for Carmelo to decide. His decision just opens it up for me.” (via Eli Friedman – ThunderousIntentions/OKC Blog)

July 7, 2014

 

  • LeBron James: It is said that LeBron’s decision will come down to the Miami Heat or Cleveland Cavaliers (via Adrian Wojnarowski – Yahoo! Sports)
  • Jordan Crawford: The guard is receiving interest from the Lakers,  Bulls, Mavs, Knicks, and Nets (via Marc Spears – Yahoo! Sports)
  • Pau Gasol: The Thunder, once considered a front-runner, feel like Gasol is now a long shot. The center met with OKC coach Scott Brooks on Monday.  The Lakers, Spurs, and Bulls are all interested.  It is reported that Gasol has concerns about leaving a ‘culturally diverse’ city like Los Angeles and asked Brooks about the quality of life in Oklahoma City (via Dave McMenamin – ESPN)

July 6, 2014

 

  • Image: Andrew D. Bernstein | Getty Images
    Image: Andrew D. Bernstein | Getty Images

    Carmelo Anthony: There is a “rising sense around the league” that Melo will choose between the Lakers and the Knicks (via Marc Stein – ESPN) UPDATE: “After contemplating his options this weekend, free agent Carmelo Anthony’s decision isn’t expected to linger late into the week, a source said” (via Marc Spears – Yahoo! Sports)

  • Jordan Farmar: The point guard agreed to a 2yr/$4.2M deal with the Clippers (via Brad Turner – LA Times)
  • Isaiah Thomas: The Lakers are a “real possibility for Thomas.  While the Heat are also pursuing the point guard, the Lakers have the money to get a deal done.  As with everything else, nothing will happen until decisions from Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are made (via Jared Zwerling – Bleacher Report/NBA TV)

 

July 5, 2014

Carmelo Anthony
Image: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke
  • LeBron James: The Lakers met with LeBron James’ agent Rich Paul on Friday, and the four-time MVP is giving similar consideration to what the Lakers have to offer, according to sources. (via Ramona Shelburne / Chris Broussard)
  • Carmelo Anthony: The one stumbling block is that Anthony is holding out hope that good friend LeBron James can find the two a place where the money is good and they can run together. (via NY Daily News)
    The Lakers’ pitch — of teaming Anthony with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and prized rookie Julius Randle on a team with no long-term salary obligations — made what one source described as a “strong impression” on Anthony. (via Ramona Shelburne / Chris Broussard)
    The Lakers made a MAJOR impact on Melo this week. It is now a legit three-way battle between Los Angeles, Chicago and New York to land him. As one source in process says of Lakers bid, “They can promise max money (4 years, $97M) without any roster moves needing to be made.” (via Bill Simmons / Adrian Wojnarowski)
  • Pau Gasol: Gasol has emerged as a key selling point for the Lakers. While the Spaniard has been listening to pitches from championship contenders who lack much financial flexibility, such as Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Miami and Chicago, sources believe he would quickly re-sign with the Lakers if they are able to land Anthony or James. (via Ramona Shelburne / Chris Broussard)

July 4, 2014

  • LeBron James: Lakers met with LeBron James’s agent, Rich Paul, Friday in Cleveland. (via David Aldridge)

July 3, 2014

  • LeBron James: GM Mitch Kupchak is on a plane to Cleveland to meet with Rich Paul, agent for James.  They will reportedly meet Friday. (via Ramona Shelburne – ESPN) MORE: Lakers said they didn’t have meeting set up with LeBron James’ agent but Kupchak + Lakers biz VP Tim Harris are in CLE. Kupchak and Harris flew to CLE on a private jet immediately after meeting with Carmelo in Los Angeles this afternoon. (via Mike Bresnahan – LA Times)
  • Carmelo Anthony: The Lakers are scheduled to meet with Melo this afternoon and it is reported that Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher have flown into Los Angeles to meet with the forward later this evening.  Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports that Laker legend James Worthy will be involved in the meeting. UPDATE: Lakers have offered a 4-yr/$97M deal to Melo (the maximum salary)
  • Pau Gasol: Carmelo Anthony reportedly wants to sell Gasol on playing in New York together.  The center continues to get interest from teams and could be a priority for teams that miss out on Melo and LeBron.
  • Chris Kaman: The center signed a 2yr/$10M deal with the Portland Trailblazers
  • Jordan Farmar: Clippers are interested in the point guard and it could be a fit after Darren Collison left to sign a deal with the Sacramento Kings.
  • Isaiah Thomas: The Sacramento Kings signed Darren Collison to a 3-yr/$16M deal which could mean the end for Thomas in Sacramento. The Lakers have expressed interest in the point guard. UPDATE: Thomas’ preferred destinations in order are: Lakers, Heat, and Pistons.

 

July 2, 2014

 

  • Photo Credit: Getty Images
    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Pau Gasol: The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have emerged as serious suitors for the center.  OKC’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook spoke directly to Gasol in LA today and the Thunder are considered a “frontrunner” (via Ramona Shelburne – ESPN)

  • Greg Monroe: If the Lakers are unable to re-sign Pau Gasol, it has Monroe on its list of potential replacements. Signing the center could be tough since he is a restricted free agent (via Brian Windhorst on SportsCenter)
  • Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, and Chris Kaman: All players’ agents were contacted by general manager Mitch Kupchak about a potential return to the Lakers (via Dave McMenamin – ESPN)
  • Kyle Lowry:  The Lakers are among the bidders for the point guard who is mulling over an offer to stay with the Toronto Raptors (via Brian Windhorst – ESPN) UPDATE: Lowry has agreed to a 4yr/$48 million deal to stay with the Toronto Raptors (via Adrian Wojnarowski – Yahoo! Sports)
  •  Carmelo Anthony: UPDATE (2:30 pm) – The Lakers are ‘laser-focused’ on its Thursday meeting with Melo.  They’re making other calls, but all other business is conditional on that
    (via Ramona Shelburne – ESPN)
  • Lance Stephenson: The Lakers reached out to Stephenson’s agent to express interest in the guard. The Pacers offered Stephenson 5-yrs/$44M but the offer was not accepted (via Chris Broussard – ESPN)

 

July 1, 2014

 

  • Kyle Lowry:  The Lakers are among the bidders for the point guard who is mulling over an offer to stay with the Toronto Raptors (via Brian Windhorst – ESPN)
  • Josh McRoberts: The Lakers have shown interest in McRoberts who played for the team during the 2011-2012 season (via Jeff Goodman – ESPN)
  •  Pau Gasol: The Lakers placed a call to Gasol to express interest in bringing him back (via Ramona Shelburne – ESPN) — UPDATE (5:25 pm): Gasol met with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak on Tuesday and the meeting lasted a “few hours” (via Dave McMenamin)
  • Jodie MeeksThe Lakers reached out to Meeks to show its interest in bringing the guard back (via Mark Medina – LA Daily News) UPDATE: Meeks and the Detroit Pistons have agreed to a 3yr/$19 million deal (via Adrian Wojnarowski – Yahoo! Sports)
  • Image: Robert Mayer | US Presswire
    Image: Robert Mayer | US Presswire

    LeBron James: The Lakers placed a call to Rich Paul, the agent for LeBron (via Ramona Shelburne – ESPN)

  • Carmelo Anthony: The Lakers secured a meeting with Anthony that will take place on Thursday (via Ramona Shelburne – ESPN)
  • Chris Bosh: The Lakers have expressed interest in the power forward (via Chris Broussard – ESPN)
  • Chandler Parsons: The Lakers expressed interest in the small forward (via Jeff Goodman – ESPN)
  • Trevor Ariza: The Lakers are on the list of Ariza’s potential destinations (via Dave McMenamin – ESPN)
  • Luol Deng: The Lakers have shown interest in Deng (via Alex Kennedy – Basketball Insiders)
  • Nick Young: The Lakers contacted Young’s representatives to express its interest in bringing him back (via Mike Bresnahan – LA Times)
  • Jordan Hill: The Lakers expressed interest in bringing Hill back (via Adrian Wojnarowski -Yahoo! Sports)
  • Isaiah Thomas: The Lakers were one of the teams to contact Thomas’ agent to express interest in the point guard (via Alex Kennedy – Basketball Insiders)
  • Caron Butler: The Lakers have expressed interest in the veteran forward (via David Aldridge – NBA.com)
  • Kent Bazemore: The Lakers reached out to the guard to express interest in bringing him back (via Michael Scotto – Sheridan Hoops)

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Image

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 in this off-season version of “A Blast from the Past,” with some of the best Laker-memories from June, over their 66-year history.

June 2, 1985

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer when he exceeded Jerry West’s previous record of 4,457 playoff points in Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Celtics. Abdul-Jabbar finished his career with 5,762 playoff points, but was eventually surpassed by Michael Jordan’s 5,987.

June 9, 1985

At 38 years old, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the oldest player ever voted NBA Finals MVP, after the Lakers defeated the Celtics in six games to secure the title.

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

June 14, 2009

Phil Jackson won his 10th NBA championship as a head coach when the Lakers beat the Orlando Magic in five games in the NBA Finals. Jackson passed Red Auerbach for most-ever coaching titles in NBA history. He would go on to win one more NBA title as a head coach in 2010, before retiring from coaching in 2011.

June 15, 2001

With their Game 5 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals, the Lakers solidified themselves as the most dominating playoff team in NBA history. Los Angeles set NBA records, which still stand today, for best playoff record (15-1) and highest playoff winning percentage (.937).

June 19, 2000

Shaquille O’Neal became the third player in NBA history to sweep MVP honors during a season when he was named the unanimous MVP of the 2000 NBA Finals. O’Neal also captured the All-Star Game MVP award before being named the NBA MVP at the end of the regular season. O’Neal joined Willis Reed and Michael Jordan as the only three players in history to capture the NBA’s version of the triple crown.

June 25, 1979

The Lakers selected Magic Johnson from Michigan State University with the first overall pick in the NBA draft. The sophomore Johnson became the first underclassman selected with the top pick in NBA history. Johnson won both the NBA title and Finals MVP award in his rookie season with the Lakers, making him the first-ever rookie to do so.

June 29, 1982

The Lakers traded Don Ford and Chad Kinch to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft. With the pick, Los Angeles selected James Worthy of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at the Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden. Worthy spent his entire career with the Lakers and won three NBA championships during his 12 seasons in Los Angeles.

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Photo: Stephen Dunn | Getty Images

In what was an expected decision, guard Nick Young officially opted out of his final year with the Lakers and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.

A fan favorite, “Swaggy P” was one of the positives in a season full of negatives for the Lakers.  Young led the team with a career-high 17.9 points in 28.3 minutes a game for the purple and gold, providing a spark to an offense that was without Kobe Bryant for all but six games.

“We anticipated and expected that Nick would choose to become a free agent,” said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. “We very much appreciate his contributions to last season’s team, and we will hopefully be able to bring him back. However, he, his agent and the market will dictate his future direction.”

While Kupchak and the Lakers would love to bring Young back, his price tag will surely play a part in his future with the team. Earlier this month, Young noted that he would take a hometown discount to stay in Los Angeles:

“It depends how much the discount is,” Young said. “But as a player, everyone wants a place they feel comfortable at. I feel comfortable in L.A. But I can’t keep taking these discounts. I need a raise a little bit. But if it’s for the right cost and they’re bringing in players and I fit into the rotation, then I’ll probably take a pay cut.”

In his seven year career, the most Young has made per year is $5.6 million in 2012-2013 with the Philadelphia 76ers.  It remains unknown what the market will be for former USC Trojan, but he will surely receive interest from many teams looking for a spark off the bench.

Young has a career average of 12.2 points but has shown the ability to go off for big nights.  This past season, Young led the bench in scoring with 18.8 points and had two 40-point games.

 

 

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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.

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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 11-17, over their 66-year history.

May 14, 1996

Magic Johnson announced his official retirement from professional basketball, after returning to the NBA to play 32 regular season and four playoff games, following a four-year hiatus from the league.

May 15, 1982

The Lakers swept the Spurs and advanced to the NBA Finals with a 128-123 win in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. The victory made the Lakers the first team in NBA playoff history to sweep back-to-back best-of-7 series.

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Getty Images

May 15, 1984

Magic Johnson set a playoff record with 24 assists when the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns 118-102 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. John Stockton of the Utah Jazz eventually tied Johnson’s record in 1988.

May 15, 1995

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Abdul-Jabbar was the NBA’s all-time leader in points scored, games played, minutes played, field goals made, field goal attempts, blocked shots, defensive rebounds, and personal fouls at the time of his retirement in 1989.

May 16, 1980

During his rookie season, Magic Johnson filled in at center for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Johnson scored 42 points and collected 15 rebounds for the Lakers in the title-clinching game. Johnson made all 14 of his free throw attempts, which set an NBA Finals record. He was named the Finals MVP, and his 42 points are the most-ever scored by a rookie in an NBA Finals game.

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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 4-10, over their 66-year history.

May 6, 1970

The Lakers set an NBA Finals field goal percentage record (.606), as they converted 57 of 94 field goal attempts during a 135-113 Game 6 win over the Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain led the way with 45 points, while Jerry West added 33. This NBA Finals record lasted for 15 years.

May 6, 1996

Laker-great Gail Goodrich was one of six people inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996. Goodrich took his place in the Hall 17 years after his illustrious NBA career ended in 1979. For his career, Goodrich was a five-time NBA All-Star and a member of the 1974 All-NBA team. He still ranks as the third all-time leading scorer among lefties in NBA history. Goodrich won his one and only NBA championship with the Lakers in 1972.

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Wen Roberts/NBAE/Getty Images

May 6, 1997

Robert Horry set an NBA playoff record going 7 for 7 on three-point field goal attempts in a 103-101 loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals. Horry totaled 21 points for the game, all from three-pointers.

May 7, 1972

The Lakers captured their first NBA championship since moving from Minneapolis to Los Angeles. Led by Finals MVP Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, the Lakers defeated the New York Knicks in five games to capture the franchise’s sixth championship.

May 8, 1988

The Lakers held the Utah Jazz to an NBA playoff record-low eight points in the first quarter of Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Lakers eventually won the game 110-91, and the series, in seven games.

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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.

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

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.

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With the Lakers off to a poor start, trade rumors have begun to swirl around Kobe Bryant, leading many to speculate if he'll leave for greener pastures. Kobe puts those rumors to rest in his interview with Yahoo Sports.