Tag:Pau Gasol
Posted on: February 16, 2012 9:40 am
 

Wolves offering Derrick Williams for Pau Gasol?

Gasol's name is popping up in trade rumors again. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

The Lakers already tried to trade Pau Gasol once this season. So they aren't completely married to their Spanish power forward. The Lakers appear to be a team shopping at the trade deadline, especially with that nice trade exception they got in the Lamar Odom deal.

But that doesn't mean the Lakers are just going to do anything. So are ready for a trade rumor that almost certainly will not happen, but is pretty fun to think about anyway? Via FoxSports.com:
In other news involving NBA big men, a source said Wednesday that Minnesota continues to pursue a possible trade for Lakers forward Pau Gasol, dangling rookie Derrick Williams, who is from the Los Angeles area, and draft choices.

The only players considered untouchable by the Timberwolves, who are seeking to add a veteran by the trade deadline, are Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. The Timberwolves believe it could be enticing for Gasol to play on the same team as fellow Spaniard Rubio.
The two biggest reasons this isn't happening:

1) No way Kobe Bryant would at all be cool with this, considering he's not exactly of the mind for the Lakers to start a rebuilding youth movement as he chases a sixth ring. If you want to upset Kobe, trade Gasol for someone not named Dwight.

2) Actually, that first reason is probably enough.

Then again, maybe there's one reason it would. Maybe the Lakers have visions of using Williams in a package with Andrew Bynum to have a go at Dwight Howard. Maybe the Gasol/Bynum thing isn't what Orlando is looking for and instead wants to get younger, get some picks and get some talent back. That, I can buy.

From the Minnesota perspective, I'm actually a little curious as to why the Wolves would want to go down that path. Gasol is more of a 4 than a 5 and they already have Kevin Love playing power forward. And Nikola Pekovic is coming on strong right now at center. It's understandable if they see Williams not fitting in anywhere, but Gasol's not exactly a major need player for them either.

Either way, there's a month until the trade deadline and I'm pretty sure this isn't the last trade rumor you're going to hear Gasol's name get dropped in. The Lakers want, and probably need, to make a deal. And Gasol's a pretty big piece to dangle out there.
Posted on: February 11, 2012 1:22 am
Edited on: February 12, 2012 2:18 pm
 

Jeremy Lin, Knicks beat Lakers: photo gallery

Posted by Ben Golliver

New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin scored a career-high 38 points against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, sending the Madison Square Garden crowd into a tizzy time and again with his big shot-making. (You can watch every basket here, if you missed it live.) 

Lin, a Taiwanese-American guard from Harvard, has emerged as a major, pleasant surprise for the Knicks. New York's win over Los Angeles was its fourth consecutive victory, and Lin's 89 points in his first three career starts are more than any player has scored in their first three starts since the NBA and ABA merged in 1976-1977, according to ESPN Stats & Information and the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Knicks reportedly considered waiving Lin prior to his recent explosion and he had been crashing on a teammate's couch. His sensational play this week led his former GMs to admit their mistakes in cutting him, it drew comparisons to the breakout success of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, and it inspired a song. "Linsanity" has gotten so big that, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported, Lin received some pre-game advice from Lakers forward Metta World Peace.

Here's a visual look back at Lin's magical night against the Lakers on Friday, from start to finish.

All photographs courtesy of Chris Chambers and Nathaniel S. Butler for Getty Images.

Lin's image is shown on the jumbrotron during player introductions. (Chris Chambers, Getty Images)

Lin swoops in for the lay-up in transition after the Knicks defense forced a first half turnover. (Chris Chambers, Getty Images)

Lin skies for a reverse lay-up over Lakers big man Pau Gasol during the second half. (Nathaniel S. Butler, Getty Images)

Lin celebrates with his teammates after knocking down a second half jumper as Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni tries to hide his excitement. (Nathaniel S. Butler, Getty Images)

Lin holds his release on a fourth quarter 3-pointer, as the Madison Square Garden crowd cheers him on. (Nathaniel S. Butler, Getty Images)

Lin went head-to-head with Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant, who made headlines on Thursday by admitting he didn't know much about Lin's recent play. (Nathaniel S. Butler, Getty Images)

Two of Lin's fans wear his jersey and hold iPads bearing his image and name. (Nathaniel S. Butler, Getty Images)

Three Lin fans catch "Linsanity" with t-shirt designs bearing the letters in his name. (Nathaniel S. Butler, Getty Images)

Two Knicks fans seated courtside wear Jeremy Lin masks to show their support. (Nathaniel S. Butler, Getty Images)
Posted on: February 10, 2012 10:26 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2012 2:20 pm
 

Kobe Bryant pass to himself off backboard, assist

Posted by Ben Golliver

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant threw a pass to himself off the backboard to set up an assist to All-Star forward Pau Gasol during the fourth quarter of a Friday night game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

It was Bryant's only assist on the night. He finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds in a 92-85 loss to the Knicks. Bryant was overshadowed by a career-high 38 points by Knicks guard Jeremy Lin, as "Linsanity" was at full tilt for much of the evening

Still, this was a remarkable play, as Bryant was clearly trapped, lost his dribble and was dealing with heavy defensive pressure. That a play as unusual and smoothly executed as this -- made by the league's most recognizable star, no less -- could be a footnote shows exactly how big the Lin phenomenon is right now. This is Lin's world, for now, and we're all just living in it.  

Here's video of Bryant's tricky self-pass off the backboard, assist to Pau Gasol combination play against the Knicks.

Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:39 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:48 am
 

Report Card: Bynum and Gasol dominate Boston

Posted by Royce Young

 Bynum is an All-Star and Gasol got snubbed, but played like one anyway against the Celtics. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Bynum and Gasol
The Lakers needed something from their terrific interior duo and they got it, as Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined for 41 points and 31 rebounds. They gave the Lakers just enough inside and on the glass to overcome a rough night and beat the Celtics. Plus, Gasol had the game-winning block of a Boston layup.
Houston bench
 The Rockets bench combined for 57 points and here were their plus/minus numbers in a win over the Suns: +18, +27, +25, +17. +22.
Sacramento Kings
The Kings deserve a whole lot of credit for beating the Thunder in their only national television appearance. They closed the game on a 19-6 run, "forced" 23 turnovers and have now won four of five and are a two-point loss to the Wolves away from winning five straight. Still, it wasn't a clean performance and you could tell the Kings weren't entirely sure where to go for points late but caught OKC in a couple bad rotations as Marcus Thornton hit two big 3s. The team still has work to do.
The Lakers-Celtics game in general A close overtime game, featuring the biggest rivalry in the NBA, but it was mostly ugly for about 47 minutes. There were some big shots and some big plays, but both teams shot under 40 percent and both teams looked old and out of sync at times.
Houston starters
The Rockets starting five combined for 39 points and here were their plus/minus numbers: -15, -13, -16, -16, -14.
Denver Nuggets The Nuggets have dropped six of seven after working themselves into the conversation of the best in the West. The Warriors did the work, behind 36 from Stephen Curry who had 36, but the Nuggets aren't looking like the elite team we all thought they were going to be. It could be just a bump in the road, as they're without some key players, but it could mean something more as well.
Thunder ball security
Oklahoma City blew a chance to lock up Scott Brooks' coaching the Western All-Stars with a 106-101 loss to the Kings. But what killed the Thunder most was 23 turnovers and 17 Sacramento rebounds. That added up to 22 more shots for the Kings and a loss for OKC.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:21 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 5:32 pm
 

Is Kobe Bryant getting restless?

Kobe Bryant says the Lakers will make a trade before the deadline. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

In high school, a girlfriend bought me a a button that says "conscientous agitator." My wife constantly refers to my combative tone as "poking large bears in the bum with pointy sticks." So I'm pretty familiar with how to say things that aren't technically saying things while actually saying exactly what the thing is not supposed to say... you might say. And I'm saying that Kobe Bryant is trying to say something in his recent comments this month. Let's take a dip in the oily pool, shall we?

From the Los Angeles Times on February 1st:
"Because of the changes in the players and so forth, you just can't come out of the gates and fight for a 1 seed or a 2 seed," he said. "That's just not realistic, but we want to build and get better and go into the playoffs with momentum."
via Lakers FYI: Kobe Bryant says other teams are still worried about the Lakers - Los Angeles Times.

In that same article he warns that the Lakers could be dangerous when the playoffs start. But this is Kobe Bryant, obsessed with winning, talking about how his team can't reasonably expect to be the first or second best team in the West, and that his team might be dangerous. That was eight days ago. Thursday on ESPN radio, via ESPN LA Bryant said he was sure the team would make a trade as we discussed here. Here are more comments from Bryant:
" They obviously tried to pull the trigger on a trade that they thought was going to improve our team with CP and it just didn't happen. But, that shows me that they're thinking in the right direction in terms of doing things to improve our ballclub. So that's why I'm not really tripping on it. We have to be patient and we have to make the right moves and I'm sure we will."

"The motivation is for us to build a contender," Bryant said. "It's not to just kind of sit around and see what falls in our lap. That's not the impression that I get from management at all, so I think that allows me to be patient. You can't just rush into things and then you make bad decisions, you make bad choices, you're locked into bad contracts. So, it's important to be patient, make right choices and we'll be fine."
via Driven Kobe Bryant thinks Los Angeles Lakers will 'tweak' team - ESPN Los Angeles.

The standard duck-and-cover answer for whether you think an organization will make a trade is "I don't know. I don't worry about those things. That's something (the team's GM) worries about." It's simple. It's easy. It's effective, it closes off all doors. 

What Bryant did is the opposite of that.

He's essentially pushed the organization to make a move. That's the star, the face of the franchise, the second-best-to-best player in the history of the most successful team in the NBA publicly stating that he expects his team will make a move. The hidden implication there is that he expects that because to do otherwise would be a mistake. He's not calling out teammates, he's not speaking directly about Dwight Howard or Deron Williams, though he said he'd like to play with "both of them." But he's putting it out there that going into the playoffs with Bryant chasing his sixth ring with this configuration is not acceptable. 

There's no "We've got Andrew and Pau and Metta" or "I believe our coaches can win with this roster." Just "We could be dangerous when the playoffs come around. Bryant in the interview actually specifically discusses why this situation is different from the beginning of the 07-08 season when he was demanding a trade. Which means he considers things to be bad enough to compare the two situations. Again, not trying to connect phantom trains here, but with Bryant there's always the implication of what he doesn't say when he says something. It's easy to provide a transluscent answer that gives a reporter or interviewer nothing. Instead Bryant openly said "expect change" which isn't far from "we'd better trade someone so I don't feel like I have to score 40 (on 30 shots, he'll conveniently omit) every game."

Meanwhile indications from multiple outlets suggest Dwight Howard has soured on the Lakers, which would mean that Deron Williams if off the table as the Nets would be firmly in the top spot for Howard. With Chris Paul playing the other nights at Staples, the Lakers are running out of All-Stars to go get Bryant.

Maybe Bryant is as patient as his quotes claim he is. But there's a pattern forming, and it suggest a Black Mamba unhappy with how tight his cage is.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 4:30 pm
 

The Lakers, Celtics, and a window propped open

The Lakers and Celtics don't seem like contenders this year, but has their window really closed? (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore
 

Lakers vs. Celtics just doesn't have the same umph to it it usually does, does it?

I mean, it's not like we're talking about lottery squads. The Lakers are 14-11, the Celtics 14-10. Neither team is below .500 even if neither team is remarkably above. Kobe Bryant? Still walking into the Garden Thursday night. Same for Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Rajon Rondo. The only real players missing from their titanic clashes over the past four years are Kendrick Perkins, feuding with LeBron over someone else's dunk on him, and Lamar Odom, struggling to be the Lamar Odom he was with the Lakers without the Lakers, (or Phil Jackson). The cast of characters is essentially still in place.

But this feels more like a sideshow game, a "don't call it an old timer's game" than a showdown between contenders. Suddenly it's the Lakers and Celtics trying to prove that they can still do it, can still facedown the younger, hungrier teams and make a run at the title.

The Lakers are lethargic. Everything on offense seems so difficult. Kobe Bryant's brilliant scoring numbers are lauded by scribes who aren't bothering to check how many shots he's putting up. We've gotten to the point where Lakers fans are more consciously aware of where Bryant is at in his career than the scribes who are paid to watch on a nightly basis. Because "Kobe Bryant, once and always scoring king" is a better story. Let's not get this confused. Bryant's not Joe Johnson here. He's got a 23.4 PER. He's shooting 44 percent from the field. But the reality is that Bryant's forcing this, as much as he's ever forced it. Maybe he has to because of he offense, which seems to meander between helpless and workman-like. The Lakers are winning more games than they're losing. But they're also losing so many games they once dispatched with ease.

The Celtics are just sloppy. They're on a tear, a five-game winning streak, and have been pounding teams back into the dirt. But there are still long stretches where you can tell the Celtics just struggle with what to do. Paul Pierce has picked up his play, Ray Allen is still knocking down shots, and Kevin Garnett is still doing Kevin Garnett things. But there's a general lack of cohesion, a lack of precision, a failure to execute cleanly that we've seen in the past. This is still a very good team. But it doesn't feel like the Celtics of old.

So is Thursday night's game meaningless? Is the window closed?

Absolutely not. Bryant, in the L.A. Times:
Though they may falter on the road and remain in the middle of the playoff pack, Bryant didnt seem overly concerned looking ahead to May.

"I don't know too many people that are comfortable playing us, know what I mean?" he said, smiling.

He hoped the Lakers could snare some momentum over the next couple of months, gradually improving as the regular season winds down."If you figure things out going into the postseason and you get a good rhythm, that's what you want, especially in a short season," he said.
via Lakers FYI: Kobe Bryant says other teams are still worried about the Lakers - Los Angeles Times.

Bryant's on target here. Because the same thing that ensures neither team will be able to acquire a top-three seed in all likelihood is the very thing that ensures that trying to dig them out of the playoffs will be like getting shrapnel out of wood with a spoon.

Experience.

There's a not-so-secret adage that says that young teams don't win titles. Experienced teams do. The Spurs, the Celtics, the Lakers, the Mavericks. The Mavericks spoke very strongly last spring of the benefits of having players who knew how to respond, to keep their cool, to execute consistently. The Celtics and Lakers have precisely those teams.

This season is about survival, it's about simply managing to get through this brutal, compact season, avoid long-term injuries and make it into the dance, so to speak. Once that happens, the game changes. The pace slows down, where the Celtics are more comfortable. The Lakers' length and size become dramatically different in terms of impact. Kobe Bryant's efficiency becomes less important because all efficiency is impacted by the style of play. Pau Gasol's versatility becomes an asset. The Celtics' savvy in drawing and avoiding fouls frustrates teams. Does that mean that either will be representing their conference in the Finals? Not necessarily. But it does mean that dealing with them will not be easy. The Heat may have dismissed the Celtics last season, but there's no reason to think the Celtics can't turn a few more opportunities into wins. The Lakers were trounced by a Mavs team that no longer exists. In fact, the Lakers could very well be a different team in a matter of weeks. 

The Boston-L.A. rivalry resumes Thursday night, and it doesn't feel the same as it once did.

But maybe it will provide both with a reminder of how good they can be, and how very much they would like to see the other again sometime in June.
Posted on: February 1, 2012 12:47 pm
 

Bynum says changes could come after road trip

Andrew Bynum says changes could come for the Lakers after the Grammy's trip. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

The Lakers are not their usual dominant selves. They're good, improving to 13-9 after a thumping of the Bobcats Tuesday night. But there is a prevailing sense that after losing Lamar Odom and some changes in roster through free agency as well as the new coaching regime, they are not the usual favorites. There was, of course, the Chris Paul trade which fell through, and rumors relating to Dwight Howard persist.

But there have been no changes. Yet.

ESPN spoke with Andrew Bynum, who says that depending on how the Grammy's trip goes, the Lakers may not be the same team when they get back from the six-gmae trip as they are when they get on the plane. From ESPN:
"If we do well on this, then we'll be the team we need to be," Andrew Bynum said. "If we don't, then they might start looking around."

Lakers coach Mike Brown confirmed reports that the team has been in touch with Gilbert Arenas, whose sole duties of late have been cashing the checks Orlando keeps sending his way after using the amnesty provision on the remainder of his contract. Arenas believes the Lakers want to see what type of shape he is in before making a commitment, according to a source.
via Daily Dime - ESPN.

The Lakers need to make a move. Kobe Bryant only has so many years left, even with his scoring output and spring in his knees. Pau Gasol's on the slide. They need to make one more run and set themselves up for the future. Bryant is owed $30 millions by the end of his contract, which means either the Lakers will be surrounding him with very little support, or a trade or amnesty will be in order to avoid death by luxury tax. Not even the Lakers can afford that kind of bill. The time is now. If they can't pull this team into a position to look like the unbeatable team it's seemed in the past four seasons (despite the epic meltdown in the second round last year vs. eventual champion Dallas), they need to face the reality and make a move. They'll always have leverage as the most popular place to play. They need to exert it. 

Arenas has been talked about for a week now. He's not going to come in and be the difference maker, though. He can produce, and have some scoring nights. Certainly having a limited role will help. But his body simply can't give what the Habachi used to cook up.

That said, the Lakers' trip only includes one legitimate contender in Denver, with the Celtics' slide and Philadelphia still largely untested. There's a good chance they rack up the wins, puff up the record, and settle in for the long wait till the trade deadline. Then, no matter how well the team is doing, the Dwight Howard scenario will be in full effect, and the drama will only get louder in Hollywood. 

(HT: SLAMOnline.com)
Posted on: January 30, 2012 2:03 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 2:41 pm
 

Rubio trash talks Kobe: Spain to win 2012 Gold

Posted by Ben Golliver 
Kobe Bryant and Ricky Rubio will go head-to-head in London. (Getty Images)

There's been a lot of media fuss over how well Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio's game has been a better fit in the NBA than in Europe. His swag is officially NBA-ready too.

HoopsHype.com transcribed a Marca.com video in which the Minnesota Timberwolves' rookie sensation dished out a little trash talk to Los Angeles Lakers All-Star point guard following a Sunday night game between the two teams. Rubio, who first became a household name internationally during the 2008 Olympics playing for the Spanish national team, told Bryant that Team USA won't be winning the Gold Medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Kobe Bryant to Ricky Rubio and Pau Gasol: "You talking about London?" 
Gasol: "Oh yeah." 
Rubio:"You're gonna be there?" 
Bryant "Yeah." 
Rubio: "You know you're getting the silver medal. You know that." 
Bryant: "[expletive]. I'm taking bets! [laughs] If I win I get the keys of Barcelona." 
Rubio: "I bet what you want." 
Bryant: "I take it!" 
Bryant was recently named one of 20 finalists for Team USA and is considered a likely starter on a team that will look to repeat its 2008 Gold Medal performance. Gasol and Rubio are both expected to be major players for Spain, widely regarded as the United States' only serious competition for 2012 Gold. 

USA beat Spain in the 2008 Gold Medal game, 118-107.  Bryant had 20 points in the final. Gasol finished with 21 while Rubio had 6 points and 3 assists off the bench.

Bigger, stronger and more experienced competitors have wilted from Bryant's trash talk over the years, so the fact that Rubio stands toe-to-toe in this tete a tete is further proof of his arrival and immediate acclimation to the NBA. Given his fearless play in 2008, it's also not all that surprising. London can't come soon enough.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com