Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: February 23, 2012 10:49 am
 

Derrick Rose says he doesn't want Boozer traded

Derrick Rose says he doesn't want the Bulls to trade Carlos Boozer. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Earlier this week, a report surfacedthat Derrick Rose supported a theoretical trade of Carlos Boozer for Pau Gasol. If true, it would be the first time Rose has been involved in any sort of aggression insertion into management's plans, as he usually takes a backseat to such discussions, and has crafted his image very carefully to indicate that he just plays basketball, no matter who he's with. It's saved him a lot of trouble. And after the most recent report, the Bulls have already responded to the report with a predictable denial from Rose. From Bulls.com:  
“I heard about it after the game [on Monday],” said Rose. “That’s something I wouldn’t say to anyone, that I need someone to come to this team, or I’m trying to get rid of someone on this team. It was all false and that’s something I would never do.”

Asked if he talked to Carlos Boozer, who was reported to be involved in a potential deal for Gasol, Rose said had spoken with his teammate about the rumors.v “He should know, but I talked to him a little bit,” Rose said. “I think he already knew they were false. It’s something I wouldn’t do to anyone; especially trade him to any team. It was all false.”

In the past, Rose has expressed nothing but content for his teammates, and on Wednesday, he reiterated that sentiment.

“I’m good with the teammates I have,” Rose said. “I’ve always been saying that. The team that we have, we’ve been winning games, and we’re not in the position to look to trade anyone right now.”
via Pain-free Rose says no trades needed for this Bulls team | Blogs.Bulls.com.

It's rare that players or team websites even address such rumors, but this was a pretty solid move on behalf of Rose and the Bulls. It protects the image that Rose isn't involved in the superstar-chasing or star-meddling that has become rampant in this league. Whether Rose is or is not involved in such discussions is immaterial, only the perception matters, as it furthers the protective shield of humility that has for the most part kept Rose free of both speculation and criticism. 

And assuming Rose is being honest, it's good to hear, because frankly, the trade doesn't make much sense at all. The Bulls would almost certainly have to surrender an additional asset to get Gasol, which means you're trading your second best player and sacrificing the depth that has helped make you one of the best teams in the league, in order to take on a player who has become inconsistent from an emotional and mental standpoint, and in many ways is simply a taller, slightly better version of Boozer. The same defensive questions would exist and be covered up by the Bulls' defense, the same soft short-range-jumper game would be employed, the same questions about their role on the team would be asked.

It's not a lose-lose for the Bulls, it's just not a win or a loss. It's a sideways step. The Bulls got out in front of this to try and cut off talk. The last thing they need is to be dragged into drama and speculation over trades.

Look how that's going for the Lakers, despite the winning streak they're on.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 10:38 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 5:58 am
 

Kobe, Magic say it's time for Buss to meet Bryant

Kobe Bryant says he and Jim Buss should meet; Magic Johnson agrees (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Just days after Kobe Bryant challenged the Lakers' front office to make a desision regarding Pau Gasol and Ken Berger of CBSports.com filed a scathing and revealing report on the inner dysfunction of the team's front office, Bryant told reporters that he and Jim Buss should meet for a conversation. And he wasn't the only Laker great to suggest the idea.

On a conference call Wednesday, Magic Johnson told reporters that Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is "not running the team" anymore and that Jim Buss is making all the decisions. Johnson, who is as close to the Lakers organization as anyone, considering he has a statue outside their building, said that the answer was for Bryant and Buss to sit down and have a conversation. From the L.A. Daily News:
"(Bryant) just wants to be informed as a team leader and a future Hall of Famer and a guy who has brought five chapmionships to the Lakers," Johnson said. "He wants more communication, probably like he did when Phil Jackson was here and he worked well with Mitch. I don't think Kobe feels he has that type of relationship with Jim.

"What probably has to happen is they need to sit Kobe down and sit Jim down. Dr. Buss was the master at taking you to lunch or taking you to dinner and going over what he was thinking and what he wanted to do with the team.

"Jerry West was good at that as well. Kobe, Mitch and Jim just have to get on the same page and things will be OK."
via Magic: Bryant, Jim Buss need to have face-to-face chat - LA Daily News.

After the Lakers shootaround, Bryant told reporters when asked if it was time for he and the younger Buss to sit down and have a conversation, "Um, perhaps." That was all, but that one word speaks volumes. If it was no, he could have said "I don't know" or "I'm just a player" or even "I'd be open to it." But that's not it. It's Bryant trying to push for change in the organization, to right the ship. This team isn't over, it's not done, it's not through trying to win championships and still features three great players and one or two good players. Bryant's not willing to sit by and let this situation get out of control.

Meanwhile, Magic Johnson is sticking up for the franchise player, going with the star trying to make the most of the end of his career instead of the son of his long-time friend and employer Jerry Buss. (Read the excellent "When the Game Was Ours" by Jakcie McMullen for more on Magic and Buss' friendship.) It's incredible that not only is Bryant openly questioning management, but that the greatest player in franchise history has openly said the GM is not in charge and that the managing owner needs to communicate better with his team. This kind of thing simply doesn't happen. And yet here we are.

The Lakers held a players-oly meeting this week to try and focus past all the distractions and it worked in a blowout win over Portland. As of this writing, they lead the Mavericks by 12 in the second quarter Wednesday night. So the players are doing their part to work past the issues. Will the front office?

Strange days for the most successful franchise in the NBA.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 12:52 pm
 

Lakers interested in Michael Beasley?

Are the Lakers looking at Beasley? (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

The idea is that at some point, Michael Beasley will find himself in the perfect situation. He'll have the right support system, the right teammates, the right system and as a result, he finally realize some of the talent he has. Because the guy has got talent. Loads of it. It's why he was drafted second overall and why the Timberwolves were more than happy to welcome him despite not really having a good spot for him.

It hasn't exactly worked out with Minnesota and with the Wolves drafting Derrick Williams, Beasley just doesn't really have a place.

Then there are the Lakers, a team trying to make a deal to salvage a makeshift roster. Perfect marriage for a deal, right? Well, the Lakers like Beasley, according to ESPN.com:
The Lakers' front office knows Kobe Bryant is looking for it to improve the roster, and GM Mitch Kupchak has been working the phones. He's spoken to Minnesota about Michael Beasley, and sources say the Lakers are intrigued by the Timberwolves' small forward. The Lakers were actually in discussions with Minnesota about a potential trade for Beasley before the season started. If they would have been able to pull off the deal for Chris Paul, there is a good chance that a trade for Beasley would have followed.

It's not clear what the Lakers would give Minnesota for Beasley (if indeed the talks get that far), but the Lakers could absorb Beasley into their $8.9 million trade exception while giving up a draft pick or cash. I'm told the teams have not spoken about Pau Gasol since the preseason. Minnesota is looking to move Beasley, who they feel has matured very little (if at all) since he's been there, according to sources. The Lakers believe they can handle a player like Beasley because of their winning culture and the leadership of Bryant.
The Lakers need more help than just Beasley, but like I said, the guy is just dying for that right place. Rasheed Wallace finally found it with the Pistons and look what happened. Beasley has serious ability. It's just got to click for him.

According to the report, the Lakers are also looking at acquiring a point guard, a position that needs a lot of help. They worked out Gilbert Arenas last week, but evidently haven't made a decision there yet. There are other point guards on the market like Ramon Sessions and the report says the Lakers might be able to grab Sessions for a first round pick.

I think the deals are coming for the Lakers. Maybe not a blockbuster involving Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum, but something. That trade exception is just sitting there and it's hard to believe they truly gave up Lamar Odom to a Western contender for basically nothing.

I like Beasley with the Lakers too. I think it's a fit. He can forget about trying to carry a bad team for once and concentrate on his strengths. He can fit in alongside Kobe and Gasol and let those guys lead the way while he follows. It might take a bit of an attitude adjustment from him realizing maybe he's not going to score 20 points a game, but if he's willing, he still has a lot of bright years ahead of him.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 12:24 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 12:35 pm
 

Report: Lakers hold players only meeting

Posted by Royce Young

Things are in a strange place for the Lakers right now. So strange, that general manager had to put out a statement essentially reminding everyone that he's a general manager.

But with rumors starting to circle centering around Pau Gasol, the team is concerned with sticking together amid the possibility that pretty much any player not named Kobe could be dealt.

So according to ESPN.com, the Lakers held a players only meeting after last night's game against the Blazers to talk about it.

It was an odd time for a players-only meeting -- minutes after a blowout victory over Portland -- but the Los Angeles Lakers felt they needed to clear the air. So, according to sources, team leaders Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher gathered everyone together in the Lakers' locker room Monday night and tried to set the tone for the second half of the season.

Their message was clear: Trade rumors do not matter; your feelings about management or the coaching staff don't matter; all that matters is that the 14 men in that locker room support and believe in one another. If they stay together and stay on the same page, they can get to where they want to go as a team.

According to the report, some players were upset about the rotation and distribution of minutes as well.

Typically, players only meetings happen because the team is playing bad, or dropped a tough game. The Heat famously had one after falling to 9-8 with a loss to Dallas early last season. But the Lakers are playing well enough and had just beaten the Blazers.

But they wanted to get things set straight. They wanted to get on the same page. They wanted to make sure everyone's heads were clear and that they were focused on the task at hand.

It's hard to block out trade rumors, I'm sure. But every player has to do it. Every player knows that any minute, his number could get called. It's part of the business.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 9:58 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 11:10 pm
 

Lakers' Kupchak responds to Kobe, Gasol

By Matt Moore 

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak release a statement Monday night in response to comments from Kobe Bryant that the team should decide whether to trade Pau Gasol or not. The statement, via Lakers PR:

“As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player.  Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come.  To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage.  Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans."

So, in short, to respond to Bryant's request that the Lakers make a decision one way or another, Lakers' management's response is essentially: "No." 

As our own Ben Golliver said Sunday night: 
It goes without saying that public pressure from a superstar on management is less than ideal for the Lakers, who dropped to 18-13 with the loss on Sunday. Bryant seems to be giving his endorsement to Gasol and seeking the same from Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, an action which would essentially handcuff the Lakers at next months trade deadline. Other than Gasol and franchise center of the future Andrew Bynum, there's not a true trade asset on the roster, although the Lakers do possess a trade exception generated by the Lamar Odom dump to the Dallas Mavericks.

In other words, a definitive public statement on Gasol's future would really paint the Lakers into a corner. Its a nice thing for Bryant to say and it might make Gasol feel better, but there are two dualling goals here -- getting Gasol comfortable and doing whatever it takes to upgrade the Lakers roster -- and its impossible for Lakers management to do both right now.
via Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end - CBSSports.com.

And it is. Kupchak is essentially making it clear that there's no much he can do. He has to keep taking calls. If the Lakers want the speculation to stop, they have to win a lot more than they have been, have to play much better than they have been.

The speculation will not stop, the Lakers will not put any player above the organization (it has only done that once, with Magic Johnson, the greatest player in team history, and has conversely ended relationships with Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Shaquille O'Neal acrimoniously), and Gasol will remain on the block.

But responding publicly to this mess indicates an entirely new level of strife in Lakerland. The General Manager felt the need to issue a public statement regarding the franchise player's comments about another player's trade situation. That's not good. The Lakers could rally, could make a run, could put all this behind them. But times are stressful in Hollywood right now, and that seems obvious. 

 
Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:58 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 2:06 am
 

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

Kobe Bryant pushes Lakers management to make a decision on Pau Gasol's future. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

It's time for the agonizing waiting game and endless trade rumors to end, according to Kobe Bryant.

Following a double-digit Sunday night loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard ramped up his recent public comments aimed at his team's management, stating clearly that it was time for the Lakers to make a decision regarding the future of big man Pau Gasol.

ESPNLA.com reports that Bryant summed up the situation bluntly: trade Gasol or publicly acknowledge that his future will be in Los Angeles.

"Basketball is such an emotional game, you got to be able to have all of yourself in the game and invested in the game. We didn't have that," Bryant said after Gasol had 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Suns. "Pau, it's hard for Pau because of all this trade talk and all this other stuff, it's hard for him to kind of invest himself completely or immerse himself completely into games when he's hearing trade talk every other day. I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him."

"I talked to (Gasol) a little bit about it," Bryant said. "It's just tough for a player to give his all when you don't know if you're going to be here tomorrow. I'd rather them not trade him at all. If they're going to do something, I wish they would just (expletive) do it. If they're not going to do it, come out and say you're not going to do it. This way he can be comfortable, he can go out, he can play and he can invest all of himself into the game."

On Saturday, Bryant said that ongoing trade rumors were affecting Gasol's play and that the Spanish center had his support.

"Personally I don't understand that crap," Bryant said about the rumors, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But it is what it is. It's important for him to know we support him. I support him especially. I just want him to go out there and play hard and do what he does best for us."

Those comments came a little more than a week after Bryant said he was "sure" the Lakers would make roster moves prior to the trade deadline.

Gasol, 31, was not named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the first time since 2008. His numbers this season -- 16.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 blocks per game on 49.5 percent shooting -- aren't terrible, but his scoring average is currently a career-low and his shooting percentage has dipped a few points since last year.

Of course, Gasol was nearly traded to the Houston Rockets back in December as part of a 3-team blockbuster that would have sent New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. That deal was nixed, and Paul wound up with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Gasol remained in Los Angeles, his future uncertain. The rumors including Gasol have been fairly steady since December, with a potential trade scenario involving the Minnesota Timberwolves surfacing last week

While still one of the league's most productive and versatile big men, Gasol has a monster contract. He's on the books this year for $18.7 million and has a 2012-2013 salary of $19 million and a 2013-2014 salary of $19.2 million, according to StoryTellersContracts.com. That figure, combined with Gasol's age, limits the Lakers' potential trade partners to teams that are serious about making a playoff run immediately. Otherwise, what's the point?

It goes without saying that public pressure from a superstar on management is less than ideal for the Lakers, who dropped to 18-13 with the loss on Sunday. Bryant seems to be giving his endorsement to Gasol and seeking the same from Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, an action which would essentially handcuff the Lakers at next month's trade deadline. Other than Gasol and franchise center of the future Andrew Bynum, there's not a true trade asset on the roster, although the Lakers do possess a trade exception generated by the Lamar Odom dump to the Dallas Mavericks.

In other words, a definitive public statement on Gasol's future would really paint the Lakers into a corner. It's a nice thing for Bryant to say and it might make Gasol feel better, but there are two dualling goals here -- getting Gasol comfortable and doing whatever it takes to upgrade the Lakers roster -- and it's impossible for Lakers management to do both right now.
Posted on: February 18, 2012 12:52 am
Edited on: February 18, 2012 1:03 am
 

Shannon Brown putback dunk vs. Lakers video

Posted by Ben Golliver

A former member of the Los Angeles Lakers got in a late highlight against his old team in the closing minutes of a Friday night game at Staples Center.

Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown threw down a big putback dunk against the Lakers with a little more than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Brown crashed the boards untouched by Lakers big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, sneaking in to snare the ball with his left hand before clutching it with both hands to throw it down with two hands.

Brown, 26, is averaging a career-high 9.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game after signing with the Suns in December. Long known as a high flier, Brown competed in the 2010 Slam Dunk Contest. 

The Lakers went on to win, 111-99. Brown finished with 15 points and 1 rebound on 6-for-11 shooting in 20 minutes for Phoenix.

Heres' the video of Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown throwing down against his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Posted on: February 17, 2012 2:03 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: All-Star level Linsanity

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, Ken Berger discusses Linsanity, Bulls minutes, and who's on the trade block headed into All-Star Weekend. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. So, hey, that Jeremy Lin kid's pretty good. We've beaten the subject into the ground here at CBSSports.com this week, but it bears opening the Friday 5 nonetheless. Let's forget about how Melo fits in, or D'Antoni, or even Lin's play directly. Is the best thing for the Knicks about this run that it's brought the locker room together and they're having fun again?

Ken Berger: Well, I think that's a by-product of what Lin has brought to the table. Among the many elements of this perfect storm was the fact that the Knicks were running the most point guard-dependent offense in the sport and had some of the worst point-guard play anyone had ever seen. Plug in a competent point guard, and the Knicks would've played better. Plug in someone performing as well as Lin has performed, and you have the makings of something special. So it started with Lin's production, which has instilled confidence in the locker room and made everyone relax in an environment that can be extremely high on stress. The Knicks now believe they can win, and confidence is a big part of the battle.

2. You wrote in Post-Ups this week about the Heat flying under the radar. How good is that for them to avoid the spotlight for a few weeks?

KB: Who? Oh, the Heat. I'm not sure it's either good or bad for them. I think it's great for the league as a whole that people are captivated by something other that how LeBron and Wade are getting along or playing together on any given day. And the fact that people are captivated by basketball being played the right way, an enjoyable way, is a pleasing diversion from the usual poisoned brew of trade demands, coaches getting fired, agent agendas, egos colliding and the like.

3. I've been critical of Tom Thibodeau and his approach to minutes with Luol Deng and Derrick Rose with various injuries considering the long-term goals of the Bulls in this insane schedule. But I'm not a doctor and I'm not a trainer. In your mind, if the doc's say it's fine and the trainers say it's fine, should Thibodeau just disregard the notion of exhaustion, and if so, is it because they really do need that top seed?
 
KB: I'm not a doctor or a trainer, either. And Thibodeau presumably learned how to manage minutes from one of the masters in that department, Doc Rivers. I think the time off due to back spasms will do Rose some good. But to a degree, when he's healthy, he's going to be on the floor for 38-plus minutes. Same goes for Deng, especially if you're in a close game and the opponent (like the Celtics, for example, with Paul Pierce) has an elite wing scorer who needs to be dealt with. It's a fine line with this schedule for coaches between resting their stars and winning as many games as possible. To get where they want to go, the Bulls need homecourt advantage. Once they secure that, Rose and Deng and anybody else who needs to put themselves back together for the playoffs can have as many minutes off as they need.

4. Ken, I know you've enjoyed writing about actual basketball for the past few weeks. But trade season's back, bro. Who are you expecting to be chattering next weekend in Orlando?

KB: Well, of course there will be the Dwight-fest. After that, I think the biggest name being discussed will be Steve Nash. A point guard could make all the difference in the world to the Lakers and Magic. For the same reason, Ramon Sessions will be on the radar.

5. With J.R. Smith joining the Knicks, what was the driving force behind his decision and what should the Knicks be concerned about with him, if anything?

KB: J.R. seemed to enjoying the process of being recruited, and will wind up with more money at the end of the day by joining the Knicks. The way Lin has the Knicks' offense humming, J.R. could see a lot of future dollar signs swishing through the Nets at Madison Square Garden. Even off the bench, he could be an electrifying scorer in Mike D'Antoni's offense. Plus, he's played with Anthony before, so there's a comfort level there, and Knicks official Mark Warkentien was a big supporter of Smith when both were in Denver. Concerns? What concerns? Oh, yeah, J.R. is a knucklehead. But he's a knucklehead who can make a jump shot. So the risk-reward is pretty heavily in the Knicks' favor.
 
 
 
 
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