Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: December 16, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 11:09 am
Posted by Royce Young
On our podcast, Matt Moore and I started wondering about a playoff series between the Clippers and Lakers and just how amazing that would be. Because think about this: We're sitting here talking about the Clippers potentially taking on the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals or something. It's possible.
The Staples Center, and before that The Forum, has belonged to the Lakers for forever, with the Clippers having extremely mild success. We've never seen this type of competition between the two teams. No one has ever considered it anything close to a rivalry because in order for it to be that, it has to be competitive. Which it is not. Sixteen championships to zero, a rivalry does not make.
It's been Laker domination but things could change. The city is buzzing not about Kobe and the Lakers for once, but about the guys owned by Donald Sterling. And so when Kobe was asked about what he thinks about the rise of the Clips and if there will finally be a rivalry, he gave a simple answer.
"It's about damn time," he said.
About damn time, indeed.
Posted on: December 15, 2011 10:05 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2011 8:11 am
Posted by Ben Golliver.
In a rare role reversal, the Lakers are playing bridesmaid to the Clippers this week in Los Angeles.
After decades of dominating in the headlines and the standings, the Lakers lost out on coveted All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who was finally traded by the New Orleans Hornets to the Clippers after multiple proposed deals with the Lakers were blocked by NBA commissioner David Stern.
Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, who is used to being the center of the Southern California sports universe, isn't happy about it.
ESPNLA.com reports that Bryant blames other owners from around the NBA for keeping Paul out of his clutches.
"I think other owners did not want the Lakers to make significant improvements again," Bryant said after practice Thursday, hours before Paul's introductory news conference with the Los Angeles Clippers, less than five miles across town.Bryant's bitterness is totally understandable. The entire Paul trade process went down under the sketchiest of circumstances. Stern winds up being a major loser because of the means and Bryant's Lakers lose because of the ends.
Life will move on, though, especially with the 2011-2012 season set to begin in just 10 days. The talk will quickly turn to which team is better: Lakers or Clippers? Assuming full health, the Lakers are still deeper and more talented but the Clippers are quickly going to be quick risers. Los Angeles is the Lakers' throne to lose, for now, but this role reversal could unfold even more dramatically over the next 6-9 months.
Posted on: December 15, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 11:39 am
Posted on: December 15, 2011 12:49 am
Edited on: December 15, 2011 7:08 am
Posted by Royce Young
The Lakers are mad. Their roommates just walked in and ate their leftovers out of the fridge.
Chris Paul eventually found his way to Los Angeles, but not to play in forum blue and gold. Instead, he'll have on the red, white and blue representing the Clippers.
And the Lakers are mad as hell and they're not going to take this anymore. Or at least they want people to know they're a little perturbed at the way this whole thing was handled. Via the L.A. Times:
The Lakers were privately fuming Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of their front office, when Paul, the New Orleans point guard, ended up in Los Angeles six days after the NBA vetoed the Lakers' trade for him.The Lakers do have a reason to be angry. They completed what they thought was a good deal with the Hornets, sending Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom to New Orleans in exchange for Paul. Hornets general manager Dell Demps signed off on it, at least according to initial reports. It appeared that it was all a done deal.
But the league swooped in, vetoed the deal for "basketball reasons" and everyone was left to figure out what just happened. Including the Lakers who then traded Odom to the Mavericks for a lonely trade exception.
So let's recap: The Clippers get Chris Paul to team with Blake Griffin and the Lakers deal one of their best players for a piece of paper. I don't really know who the Lakers should be more angry with -- the league or themselves. Because the reality is, the Clips had much better pieces to complete this deal. The Lakers didn't have much.
It seems like common sense that the Lakers have more up their sleeve and will make a likely run at Dwight Howard and if that happens, they should be thankful the league saved them. Because Howard with Kobe is much better than CP3 and Kobe. But the Lakers don't want to hear about that right now because CP3 is with the Clips, the Magic pulled Howard off the market, Lamar Odom is gone and the Lakers are left with their hand in their hand pointing a finger at the league.
What a strange, strange turn of events.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 8:22 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:40 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Let's break down the winners and losers of this blockbuster, which comes after nearly a week of rumors and failed deals between the Hornets, Lakers and Rockets and the Hornets and Clippers in which NBA commissioner David Stern stepped into veto multiple frameworks in his role as decision-maker for the league-owned Hornets.
Winners: New Orleans Hornets
What a difference a few days makes. The NBA’s trade negotiations mirrored its labor negotiations, as the league toed a seemingly impossibly hard line before emerging with pretty much everything it had been asking for. Losing a franchise player has become an unavoidable reality for small-market teams in recent years, and the only way to win the scenario is to recognize and process that fact early, hone in a desired wish list of assets and pursue those assets aggressively.
Failed trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers got very ugly last weekend, and there’s no question some relationships have been ruined for the foreseeable future because of the NBA’s vetoing role. The end doesn’t justify the means here but it certainly makes for a less bitter pill to swallow for the Hornets’ management, coaching staff and future owners.
The Paul haul is excellent. It includes all the requisite ingredients: a budding star (guard Eric Gordon), an absolutely incredible draft pick that is sure to result in a top-flight player (Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first rounder), a talent with some upside (forward Al-Farouq Aminu) and a more than serviceable player on a massive expiring contract (center Chris Kaman). The biggest risk here: getting Gordon to commit long-term to being the franchise guy on what is sure to be a long rebuilding process. Other than that, this was a textbook result even if the game plan was as unorthodox as it gets in the NBA.
Winners: Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers acquire the rights to arguably the best all-around point guard in the game, at least for the next two years. Paul gives them a delightful All-Star backcourt/frontcourt combination with Paul and forward Blake Griffin. If you thought Blake manufactured highlights easily last year, just wait until he gets things clicking with Paul. With center DeAndre Jordan in place, the Clippers have a core that’s more than ready to make a run to the playoffs for just the second time in the last 14 years.
Their roster work is far from done. With four point guards now on the roster -- Paul, Mo Williams, Chauncey Billups and Eric Bledsoe – and major holes at the two and three, something will have to give. Ideally, further trades will be coming down the pipeline and role guys will need to step up in a big way.
The Clippers, on balance, win here because of the instant legitimacy and credibility landing a star like Paul connotes, plus the extra bonus points for beating out the crosstown Lakers. They will likely be the most exciting show in town and have reasonable flexibility to be players on the free agent market next summer, too. This team just got way, way more interesting.
Losers: Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets
This week will go down in NBA history no matter how the teams involved proceed over the next few years. The stalled 3-team deals involving the Rockets, Lakers and Hornets led to Houston missing out on Pau Gasol and striking out on their free agency targets (Nene Hilario, Marc Gasol, etc.) and caused the Lakers to make a panic trade of talented forward Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, one that angered multiple Lakers players and is surely already being regretted in private. There’s a bright side for the Lakers: they can always compete for Dwight Howard and other big-name free agents. As for Houston? Who knows? This could have been the best shot and the next few years could easily wind up being time-buying and wheel-spinning.
Winner: Blake Griffin
If you can’t get enough of Blake Griffin, good news: you’re about to get 10 times more of him. If you’re sick of Blake Griffin, bad news: he will be inescapable. Griffin is funny, personable and endlessly talented. Adding Paul at this stage of his career could vault him into the stratosphere.
Loser: Chris Paul
Paul is a pro’s pro and will say all the right things, but playing in Staples Center while donning that Clippers jersey won’t be the same as it would have been running point alongside Kobe Bryant. He now gets the burden of undoing decades of poor management rather than the burden of carrying a major torch that’s been passed from superstar to superstar since George Mikan. At least he’s out of New Orleans, which is no small feat, but this clearly could have played out better for him in so many ways. He wants to "win now" and the Clippers are more "win soon" than "win now." A 2-year commitment provides some certainty, but not that much. Another rumor zoo could await in the not-too-distant future.
Winner: Hornets Coach Monty Williams
One of the league’s youngest head coaches and a man who built his reputation on player development gets two talented youngsters in Gordon and Aminu plus a third top talent with the draft pick. Perhaps more importantly, he gets a fresh start and a slate wiped clean. As straight of a shooter as you’ll find in the NBA, Williams deserved better than an ownership mess and meddling from the NBA. He wants to coach and that’s what he’ll get to do for at least the next few years.
Loser: Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro
Forgotten man, say hello to great expectations! No longer will mediocrity be accepted. Winning now is the expectation and Paul has the clout to make Del Negro disappear if the chemistry fit isn’t quite right.
Winner: Clippers owner Donald Sterling and GM Neil Olshey
You made it this far and you’re asking yourself, “Holy ****, the Clippers really just got Chris freaking Paul?” Yes. Yes, they did.
Loser: Hornets GM Dell Demps
Initial reports indicate that the NBA stepped in to directly broker this trade, potentially usurping Demps’ authority and doing certain damage to his reputation, which was spotless up until the past week. It’s unclear how or if that damage will ever be undone. Top basketball executives spend years – decades, often – getting to a pinnacle job and to watch that work go out the window because of Stern is not fun at all. Hopefully Stern doesn’t phone in the Hornets’ 2012 NBA Draft picks to himself. The first step in making things right for Demps is to find a new owner, one that is independent of the NBA, immediately.
Winner: DeAndre Jordan
One of the league's most prolific dunkers and most efficient shooters could subsist entirely on lobs and putbacks next season and still not be declared overpaid after signing a 4-year, $43 million contract extension this week.
No one can replace Paul in New Orleans, not after four All-Star games in six amazing seasons. Gordon becomes the man unlucky enough to have to try, though, and the potential for a protracted dispute over his future with the Hornets looms in the distance. If he indicates, directly or indirectly, that his heart is elsewhere he will be in for a bumpy ride in his new hometown. Ultimately, playing in Los Angeles is one of the most desirable things a basketball star can ask for, doubly coveted because of Griffin. Now, Gordon must embrace chaos.
Stern’s NBA career is winding down and this will wind up being far more than a footnote on his legacy, given the many, many implications of his handling of the trade as overseer of the league-owned Hornets. The conflict of interest is too great and the harm done to the losers, as laid above, is irreversible. Everyone’s glad this sage is over but the ill effects will be felt for years.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:41 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 2:44 pm
Posted by Royce Young
There was a lot of anger and frustration after the NBA vetoed the original Chris Paul trade that would've sent CP3 to the Lakers. Emotional reactions, threats and big talk.
One of those things was that CP3 might pursue a lawsuit against the NBA for collusion. It seemed to have a good amount of steam early on, but felt like one of those things that would melt away as everyone sort of moved on.
But it hasn't. At least not for CP3. According to the NY Daily News, Paul and the union could be taking action soon.
"A source told the Daily News Tuesday that Paul could file a lawsuit 'in the next couple of days' charging the NBA, which owns and runs the Hornets, with collusion and violating the league's collective bargaining agreement. The NBA's labor deal has an anti-collusion clause that prohibits teams from conspiring with the league to influence contracts, signings or transactions."I always thought the lawsuit thing was more of a threat than an actual thing, but at some point, you've got to follow through I guess. Especially when things don't change.
The million dollar question is though, does CP3 actually have a case? Could he win? Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com makes the case saying that Paul really doesn't have much of a shot:
"Not a lawyer but just don't understand how CP3 has grounds for suit. He is not a free agent. He's under contract to play for New Orleans and being paid. Part of contract is ownership, whoever it is, can choose to trade him or not trade him anywhere/for anything they want. This is the deal. Been in contact with several labor attorneys. They all agree Paul/NBPA has case under federal labor law. Most don't think he'll win."But don't think just because someone can't win is reason enough to not try. Not many actually thought the players union would win a lawsuit against the league during the lockout, but they went ahead with it anyway to try and gain a sense of leverage and control. Right now, the NBA and David Stern are completely in control of the CP3 trade talks, but the Paul camp is trying to at least grab a small piece of that.
A lawsuit makes a statement that this isn't OK, that CP3 isn't just going to be a napkin blowing in the wind, taken wherever the league may feel like. It's a worthy and probably necessary effort, even if it's a futile endeavor.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:54 am
By Matt Moore
We're less than two weeks away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We begin with the Pacific Division.
Los Angeles Lakers, 57-25, lost 4-0 to Dallas Mavericks in 2nd round of Western Conference Playoffs
Phoenix Suns, 42-42, NBA Draft lottery
Golden State Warriors,36-46, NBA Draft lottery
Los Angeles Clippers, 32-50, NBA Draft lottery
Sacramento Kings, 24-58, NBA Draft lottery
Best team: Well, see, the thing is... Chris Paul (UPDATE: TIE- LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS)
Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night. Even with the Lakers unable to obtain Paul, the combination of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum is probably enough to take the honors here. But with Paul joining Blake Griffin, even without Eric Gordon, the additions of Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups and re-signing DeAndre Jordan make as tough of a team to face as any. Griffin's impact next to Chris Paul is nearly incalculable.
The Lakers may still have the edge, but after the loss of Odom, everything is up in the air as far as who runs Staples now. The reality is that Paul landing in the city of L.A. will shift the division in one direction or another for the next half-decade at least.
Worst team: Sacramento Kings
The Kings are tricky. They have a convoluted backcourt. Tyreke Evans took a step back last season and it remains to be seen if it was all injury-related or not. There's no telling how Jimmer Fredette will adjust to the pro level. Marcus Thornton will struggle for minutes despite his all-around ability. John Salmons is floating around. There were huge chemistry questions last season and the players struggled against coach Paul Westphal at times.
If things don't improve, if DeMarcus Cousins doesn't mature, if Chuck Hayes can't protect the rim enough with his diminutive stature, things could get bad. And yet...
Biggest surprise: Sacramento Kings
There's so much firepower in that backcourt. Untangling it is complicated but they have everything. Shooting, athleticism, size, range, explosiveness, savvy, handle, everything. They have too much ability to not be effective in some ways. Cousins was a beast last season and even a small amount of maturity and development means he could be a near-All-Star (in the East, the West is too stacked). They have young talented bigs and Hayes who provides savvy and veteran knowledge.
The pieces are there. They're going to be exciting, even if they're struggling with an identity.
Three Best Players: Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Chris Paul
Update: With Paul joining the division, he instantly becomes one of the three best players. The best pure point guard in the league, with excellent shooting touch, terrific defense, and a supreme will to win? He leap-frogs both Pau and Nash.
Kobe Bryant needs no explanation, even at his age. The end.
Blake Griffin is the most explosive player in the league and the first player in a few years for people to say he could legitimately be the best player in the league at one point. His explosiveness and rebounding is unmatched, his mid-range jumper isn't lightyears away and his defense will get there. Already, Griffin is a force to be reckoned with. What happens when he gets better?
Gasol vs. Nash? Gasol was an early season MVP candidate. He is arguably the most skilled big man in the league (as opposed to Dwight Howard, the most dominant and most talented). And yet his collapse in the 2011 playoffs is the stuff of legend. It was such a complete failure at both ends, when the Lakers needed him most, it's damning. Gasol could very well be the second best player in this division this year. He could also slide back with age.
Nash? Ho-hum, another 50-40-90 season (got to round up for once, but still). His weighted assists, factoring three-pointers assisted on, left him at 13, which means combined with his 15 points per game, he contributed 41 points per game to the Suns. That's absurd. It's also not the highest in the league for a point guard, but it's still an example of how good Nash is. He's flat-out old in relative terms of the league, and yet is in the best shape he possibly could be thanks to conditioning. Nash is still elite, an therefore neither he nor Gasol can be exempted.
Biggest Question: Can Golden State change its stripes?
Mark Jackson has to completely turn what the Warriors know as their identity inside out. They have to commit to defensive principles. David Lee, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, these players are not known for this, at all. It's going to take a miracle. If Jackson can get them to buy in and if his system is good enough, the Warriors could make a jump. Kwame Brown helps down low (don't laugh, he's become a quality defender). But there's so much to be done in terms of changing this team's indentity, the Warriors could be in for rocky seas.
2012 Projected Standings:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Golden State Warriors
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings
Tags: 2011-2012 Division Previews, Andrew Bynum, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, David Lee, DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon, Golden State Warriors, Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Marcus Thornton, Mark Jackson, Matt Moore, Monta Ellis, Pau Gasol, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings, Tyreke Evans
Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:18 am
Edited on: December 14, 2011 2:29 am
By Matt Moore
"This is a business."
That phrase is used more in professional sports each year than "I just want to thank God," "take it one game at a time," and "both teams played hard" all combined. It's like professional athletes, coaches, and management can never get tired of informing the world that they get paid to do this. And amazingly, that's supposed to explain away any and all decisions.
And for Lamar Odom, it's just not us.
Odom was so hurt when it leaked that he had been traded to the New Orleans Hornets from the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal for Chris Paul that was blocked by the league, he met with general manager Mitch Kupchak last weekend and requested a trade. Kupchak obliged by trading him to the world champion Dallas Mavericks for a traded player exception in what is being described as a "cash dump." Few believe that's the end to the Lakers' angle considering their remarkable ability to make moves to reload at a moment's notice. But the result is the same. Odom is no longer a Laker after six years, and he's not feeling good about it. On Tuesday he revealed exactly how he feels about it.
"This is the place I wanted to be,'' he said. "After I realized that I most likely wasn't going to be there, dallas was the one place where I thought I would be a great fit.''via Lamar Odom: Hard part just starting for Mavericks | Dallas Mavericks Blog | Sports News | News for Dallas, Texas | The Dallas Morning
So yeah, pretty sure Jim Buss won't be getting a Christmas card from the Kardashians this year. Odom is not, did not, will not take this well. He was comfortable in L.A., it fit with his lifestyle, with his wife's lifestyle, with his general celebrity pursuits. He's in Dallas, playing for a contender, but beating L.A. may be just as high on his list of priorities.
Kobe Bryant and other Lakers responded to the trade and Odom's feelings on it later Tuesday:
“Yeah. I know about that whole process. Not knowing about coach Brown and so forth and so on. But the Lakers do things a certain way. This is the way that they do it, and you can’t take it personally. This is how they do business."via Lakers react to Lamar Odom feeling disrespected - Los Angeles Lakers Blog - ESPN Los Angeles.
A nice parting gift from Kobe, a crack about Odom's sensitivity. It remains to be seen whether Odom can fit into the Mavericks' locker room, a tight knit group that had beef with Odom and the Lakers last year during and after its sweep of the L.A. in the second round.
But one thing is for certain. Lamar Odom knows just how much of a business it is, and got a taste of why so many former players aren't close with the Lakers' organization. No one is bigger than the logo in L.A.. You can count your rings, but when the time comes, you'll have to count them somewhere else.
Now it's Odom's turn to see if he can exact a little revenge.