Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: October 22, 2010 9:43 am

Vujacic, Sharapova, and the Apocalypse

Sasha Vujacic gets engaged to Maria Sharapova, pulls world one-step closer to end of existence. Posted by Matt Moore

Internet, can we talk? Man-to-Information-Super-Highway? Here, sit down. I get that from time to time, you become pre-occupied with inane content of this world. Celebrity divorces. Balloon boys. Ke$ha. And that's cool! I like sports! And sports doesn't mean anything in this world, despite its quite considerable impact on our economy and way of life in this country. It's still just a meaningless distraction and in fact doesn't actually impact anything, not to mention the fact that most important events are replaced by new ones within a few months. I'm not here to judge.


Sasha Vujacic is the No.1 trending topic on Google this morning. Maria Sharapova is No.3. All because they got engaged last night . That's how much power this story has. They're not even married. Just engaged.

Internet, what do you have to say for yourself? Honestly. It's not just that Vujacic isn't important, it's that he's massively irrelevant. The list of wing backup players that could do his job and do it better is long enough for me to write in Times New Roman single-spaced and still have a line break. His biggest talent is picking up meaningless, harmful fouls due to his penchant for attempting a full-court press in the NBA against top-flight point guards, then being shocked when they make him look like a chump. That's his calling card. Well, that and being"The Machine ."

Sharapova is actually the more relevant of the two of them, and she's ranked 18th in the world . So someone in sports who is not even top ten at the moment is the third most popular Google topic because she got engaged to someone who is somehow even more irrelevant in his profession. You made this happen, Internet. You. That's right, push away from the keyboard. Maybe go for a walk. Take some photos. Sing a song. I recommend "All-Star" by Smashmouth .

Whatever you do, do not use search engines. Because you have shown you cannot handle the responsibility. This isn't "Baby Birdman ." But it's close, world. I'm two seconds away from moving to a cabin in Colorado, stocking up on guns and canned food and forgetting you completely.

What? What do you mean this post was only written to cash in on that SEO power? What do you think I am, unscrupulous?

Okay, don't answer that.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 3:17 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:58 pm

Breaking down the Miami Heat gambling odds

Bodog.com has released gambling odds for the 2010-2011 NBA season. Here's a look at the best and worst bets involving the Miami Heat. Posted by Ben Gollivermiami-heat  Gambling website Bodog.com has unleashed its full list of odds for the 2010-2011 NBA season, and they didn't tread lightly when it comes to Miami Heat bets. (Mandatory disclaimer: the following is for entertainment purposes only.) You can bet on the Heat to: win the NBA title (17/10 odds), win the Eastern Conference (2/3), and win the Southeast Division (1/3). With those numbers, the Heat are the odds-on favorite in each of those categories.  The Heat's over/under is set at a league-best 64.5 wins, a full eight games better than the next closest team, the Los Angeles Lakers (56.5). Miami Heat star forward LeBron James (9/2) trails both Kevin Durant (9/4) and Kobe Bryant (3/1) as a favorite to win the NBA MVP award. James's teammate, Heat guard Dwyane Wade, checks in at fifth place (9/1) while Heat forward Chris Bosh is listed, probably as a courtesy, further down the list (40/1). Interestingly, Wade (8/1) is actually expected to be a better bet to win the league's scoring title than James (9/1). This is likely a function of expectations for James to take on a greater play-making role than he had in Cleveland. The more specific and esoteric Heat-related bets are where the real fun starts, though. Bodog sees Miami's ability to win 73 games as something of a longshot (10/1). It sets the over/under on a single-game margin of victory absurdly high (38.5 points). They also set reasonably good odds (8/1) for James, Wade and Bosh to be starters together on this year's Eastern Conference All Star team.  While I'm no gambling expert, I do play one on the internet. Here are a few Miami Heat bets that caught my eye. Great Bet

Bodog.com set the line for the Heat's lowest point total in a regular season game at 82.5 points. Given that total points are a direct function of pace and field goal percentage, I would bet the under on this one and not think twice.  Many teams will likely look to slow the game down against the Heat this season as a way to make up for the immense talent advantage the Heat bring to the table. And all it takes is a cold shooting night in a slow-paced game to see a score in the low 80s, even in a winning effort.  Two other considerations. First, the Heat could be runaway division and conference champions, able to rest key players down the stretch. Second, the Heat has already battled some nagging injuries to star plays during the preseason, and it's shown in their ability to put up points. During two out of the team's six preseason games to date, the Heat has failed to score 80 points. A hamstring injury to Wade has hindered their offensive output during the preseason, but there's no guarantee he (or James or Bosh) will be healthy for all 82 games.  Bet the under and cash that check.   

Good Bet

Another one I like, in a similar vein, is the Heat's highest point total in a regular season game, with the over/under set at 128.5. I like the over here for many reasons. First, the Heat sport potentially the most explosive offense the league has seen in years. With LeBron James running the show, surrounded by efficient scorers and good shooters, the Heat have the potential to stack up points both from the charity stripe and from deep. If they decide to push the pace as promised, turning James loose in transition, watch out. Points in bunches. Second, the Heat have quality division rivals, especially Orlando, to push them. Orlando has been clocking teams throughout the preseason, running up insane scoring lines, including hanging 135 points on New Orleans and defeating the Bulls 105-67. Magic/Heat has shootout potential written all over it. Finally, the Heat are playing with a chip on their shoulder, monster expectations and insane media coverage. They will want to prove the hype is legitimate and they will have plenty of weak defending teams to prove it against. The Golden States, Torontos and Minnesotas of the world better watch out.  Stay Away

Ironically, the one I would caution most strongly against is one that will see a ton of action: the 17/10 odds that the Heat will win the title. The Los Angeles Lakers re-tooled, the Magic look very solid and the Boston Celtics are lurking as long as Kevin Garnett can hang on. In other words, there will be serious tests, and along with serious tests comes a fair bit of risk for gamblers. 17/10 just doesn't feel like enough pay-off to ride this horse, which is susceptible to injuries, streaky play, a young coach and a mix-and-matched reserve unit.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 12:24 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:56 pm

Magic Johnson wants to own NBA or NFL team?

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson tells the Los Angeles Times that he will investigate the options for owning a professional sports team. Posted by Ben Gollivermagic-johnson It's been a busy week for Los Angeles Lakers legend and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.  First, he sold his 4.5% ownership stake in the Lakers on Monday. Then, on Tuesday, Johnson announced he was liquidating his Starbucks ownership assets, worth more than $100 million.  Tonight comes word from Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times that Johnson will continue to serve in his role as Vice President of the Lakers but that he is interested in becoming a majority owner of a professional sports team but that several rumored deals have not developed or progressed.
Johnson said Wednesday he will "look at every opportunity" in the future to become a majority owner of a sports team, but that he hasn't joined forces with anybody yet. However, Johnson said he wants to play a role in bringing the NFL back to Los Angeles. "I talked with Golden State. I will talk with [Ilitch about] Detroit," Johnson said. "Just because you talk, that doesn't mean you are going to do a deal. But I'll be looking at every opportunity because I'm a businessman and that's what I do. I look at deals every day."
Turner notes that Johnson says he hasn't yet had any discussions regarding bringing a National Football League team back to Los Angeles, but that he "really, really wants" the NFL to return to the city. Johnson also is quoted as saying that he would welcome discussions regarding the NFL "in two seconds." It has been 15 years since the NFL had a franchise in Los Angeles. The NFL's Rams franchise left Los Angeles for St. Louis in 1995. The NFL's Raiders franchise left Los Angeles for Oakland in 1995.
Posted on: October 19, 2010 8:38 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 8:39 pm

Magic sells his 105 Starbucks; what's he up to?

Posted by Royce Young

A day after Laker legend Magic Johnson sold his 4.5 percent share in the Los Angeles Lakers, he has also sold his 105 Starbucks franchises he owns back to the company he purchased them from for over $100 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Adding today's sale with yesterday's, Magic has quickly put upwards of $160 million in his pocket quickly. So the question is, what is he up to?

A source tells the L.A. Times that he's not necessarily interested in purchasing an NBA franchise as is widely rumored. But the source told the paper he's interesting in something "in sports."

At different points, Johnson was linked to potentially buying the Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors, though those rumors have been refuted a bit. And if he's not interested in buying, could he be having financial issues? The source says that's not the case but in these two cases, they were just good "business decisions." As mentioned earlier, Magic reportedly got a Godfather offer from Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong that he couldn't refuse.

While obviously most feel that Magic is looking into potentially purchasing an NBA franchise much like his buddy Michael Jordan, some feel Johnson could actually be interested in the Los Angeles Dodgers. And that throws a curveball into the whole thing (that was lame, I apologize).

But if Johnson decided to make a play in the NBA, here's the top five franchises I hope he buys.

1. Los Angeles Clippers - I don't know if he would, but this seems like it makes a lot of sense. At the same time, it doesn't make any. Johnson is forever a Laker and for him to purchase the in-town rival seems a little weird. But Donald Sterling's time is up and Johnson could be the perfect guy to step into that franchise. Plus, Johnson stays in L.A., stays in the Staples Center and stays in the bright lights. I'm rooting for this.

2. New Orleans Hornets - The sale of the Hornets is stalled and maybe this is an opportunity for Johnson to swoop in and reinvigorate the franchise. And something seems right about Magic Johnson being Chris Paul's boss.

3. Indiana Pacers - Granted, the Pacers aren't really for sale, but they are in a bit of danger of leaving Indianapolis. The city approved a new bill to tie the Pacers to the downtown arena, but still things are great in Indy for the Pacers. Forget all that stuff though, I'm just thinking about uniting Magic and Larry Bird together in the front office. I think that would be cool.

4. Phoenix Suns - Robert Sarver is known as a pretty tight, greedy owner in which his team has won in spite of. He's long been rumored to potentially be parting with the team at some point and having Johnson take over would work. The Suns are a fun West Coast franchise that should always be a staple in the Western Conference. Maybe Magic could give them a bump.

5. Memphis Grizzlies - I think most agree it's kind of Michael Heisley's time to go. Especially after his disastrous interview in which he revealed he really didn't know what he was doing.

Again, Johnson isn't necessarily buying, but I'm here to speculate so that's what I did. He's selling stuff off for some reason and it makes sense for him to get in the NBA ownership game. And as well-spoken and business-minded he is, I can't help but think he'd be as excellent at it as he was at basketball.
Posted on: October 19, 2010 7:57 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:54 pm

Shootaround 10.19.10: Magic's Godfather offer

Posted by Ben Golliver
Posted on: October 18, 2010 3:58 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:54 pm

Magic Johnson sells Lakers stake

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson has sold his ownership stake in the franchise to a billionaire doctor.
Posted by Ben Golliver

The Los Angeles Lakers have announced today that franchise legend Magic Johnson, who helped guide the Showtime dynasty, has sold his ownership stake in the team. Take it away, press release.
Los Angeles Lakers legend and part-owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson has sold his share of the team to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, it was announced today. The transaction price of Johnson’s share of the team is undisclosed.
Lakers majority owner Dr. Jerry Buss had this comment on the transaction: “The sale of Earvin’s share of the team is a business decision which will not change our relationship. Our friendship goes well beyond business. Patrick is a long-time and passionate Lakers fan and we are delighted to have him as a partner.”
The move ends ten years of ownership for Johnson, who has served the Lakers as a player, coach and minority owner during his more than three decades of affiliation with the organization. While Dr. Soon-Shiong, the billionaire founder of the cancer-fighting company Abraxis BioScience , isn't a household name like Johnson, he's not without his own degree of fame and notoriety. This Forbes profile from 2003 paints an interesting picture.
Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong has been called ruthless and a headline-grabber. As a scientist he has been criticized for hyping his research results; as a drugmaker he has been accused of ripping off investors. Short-sellers have boldly bet against him, risking huge losses. Even his own brother, an early backer, sued him for fraud and fired him--twice--from the company they started. Their skirmishing lasted two years and destroyed their relationship. 
Yet Soon-Shiong, chairman and controlling shareholder of publicly held American Pharmaceutical Partners, endured the blows and has been largely exonerated--in the meantime, rising to billionaire status. Credit his immovable faith in the promise of an experimental cancer treatment dubbed Abraxane.   
He was ranked No. 87 of Forbes's 2009 list of the world's billionaires and his Wikipedia page is pretty mind-blowing.
Posted on: October 18, 2010 12:27 pm

Heat Stroke: Beat LA already question mark?

Posted by Royce Young

The new Miami Heat tend to get ahead of themselves a bit. When they introduced the new members of the team, they threw a championship sized party. And immediately, the team didn't start talking about winning a championship. They started talking about winning championships, plural.

And it appears that kind of braggadocious mentality has sort of rubbed off on their fanbase. Example the first, via Ira Winderman: They are chanting "Beat L-A!" at open scrimmages. Um, too soon?

No doubt there's already been a little sniping back and forth between the two evident top dogs in the league. Kobe Bryant briefly talked about the Heat, mentioning is first thought besides "How the expletive did that happen?" was, "I've got to get my knee healthy." Ron Artest left LeBron off his top two players list. Artest also talked about how losing weight will help him defend Kevin Durant, but he worries about defending LeBron in a seven-game series.

So both teams are kind of getting ahead of themselves a bit. But "Beat LA?" at an open scrimmage in October? Yeah, that's sort of skipping the forward, the introduction, the plot and the climax of a book and reading the last chapter.

Granted, this is one open practice. And fans like to have fun and chant things. I don't blame them. But what if this persists into the regular season? What if when the Heat are blowing out the Raptors in December, Heat fans start up with it? Couldn't that give some extra fodder to teams like the Magic, Celtics and Bulls, all teams that feel they're a hurdle for the Heat to jump?

Thinking NBA Finals in October isn't a big deal. It's every team's goal. Right down to the Clippers, the Nets and the Wizards. Everyone wants to hoist the trophy. But talking about it, chanting about it and being downright brash about it in October, before your team has even played a game? If the Heat and their fans want to be the NBA's villains, they're off to a nice start.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 11:03 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 11:05 pm

Lamar Odom sees hypocrisy in technical crackdown

Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom sees hypocrisy in the NBA's marketing of emotion and its recent technical fouls crackdown. Posted by Ben Golliver.

CBS Sports's Ken Berger has carefully charted the back-and-forth between the players, the players union and the league office over the NBA's decision to crackdown on complaining and the rash of technical fouls that has resulted. Berger writes that the league is, so far, unyielding on its new policy to punish emotional reactions to foul calls.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom has opened up a new line of attack against the crackdown. In a piece by Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Odom goes after the league's long-standing marketing of emotion, arguing that David Stern and company are engaging in a bit of hypocrisy when they crack down on something they've previously promoted.

"It's kind of crazy because that's what people love to see. You watch the commercials and the NBA has dunking, [players making] faces and 'Where Amazing Happens,'" Odom said. "Now it's like 'Where Normal Happens.' ... There's nothing amazing about not showing emotion."

Odom has a point. Both Jerry Sloan and Marcus Camby could probably be whistled for technicals in this "Where Amazing Happens" spot.

Odom's argument is interesting because it leads to another, related conclusion: emotional complaining isn't just embedded in the league's commercials, it's fully embedded in the game. To conceive of an NBA without regular back-and-forth between players and officials is to imagine a totally different reality. 

In the end, this is starting to reek of an idea that sounds far better in the boardroom that it looks on the court. While no one should expect the NBA to roll over in the face of this new wave of player criticism, it's hard to believe that, a month from now, the two sides won't have reached a compromise.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com