Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: September 23, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: September 23, 2010 10:34 am
 

Shootaround 9.23.10: Heat block party blocked

Heat have a block party blocked, Parker may be on the way out, Howard hates the Heat, and the lockout's going to suck, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore
  • The Heat had planned this big ol' block party to celebrate the opening of the NBA season in Miami. It was a very exciting idea, and Miami does this sort of thing pretty regularly (Zo's Summer Bash being one relatively similar example). But with the police union organizing to protest the event over budget cuts made to their salaries, and with the immense number of logistical issues involved, the plan is on hold . Allow me to add my name to those who think this is a totally whacko idea. Outside of the sheer intensity of a Friday night party outside the arena and the number of safety and security issues at play here, you've also got a pragmatic issue for the Heat. The Miami Triad will be expected to make an appearance at this event, and that's going to take them away from pre-game preparation for their home opener, against a divisional opponent who they have a pretty good chance of seeing in the playoffs. This is not a game you want to slough off right out of the gate. Definitely check the link for some tasty quotes from the mayor that involve the word "party."
  • Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News reports that if the Spurs don't look like they'll be contending for a title at the trade deadline, they'll move Tony Parker. Which is kind of a bombshell, in that every public indication from the Spurs has been a steadfast commitment to keeping Parker long-term. But the astounding volume of rumors suggesting his eventual move to New York do have to come somewhere, and can't survive solely on the whims of New York's admittedly powerful (and often nutball) media. 
  • In an interview with Sports Illustrated 's Dan Patrick, Dwight Howard said he'd rather have Kevin Durant than LeBron James. Why is this particularly relevant? Mostly because it's an indicator that a. Kevin Durant is at that level among his peers already and b.) Dwight Howard really, really, really hates all the attention the Heat are getting. We'll have more on this later today. 
  • You know what's amazing? No, not that Andrew Bynum put off surgery which has now affected the odds of him being available for training camp and opening night. No, what's amazing is that writers are surprised by this kind of behavior. Bynum has missed nearly every deadline he's had for the past three seasons in recovering from various injuries. Some of that isn't his fault, the body heals as the body heals, But he's never been known was a hardcore worker, with Tex Winter being a vocal and public critic of his .
  • David Stern told Gilbert Arenas not to discuss the gun incident that lead to his suspension last year. The bossman says to put it all behind him. Seems like a good idea, but if I'm Stern, I want every reminder presented to Arenas that he needs to walk the line. This is not a man who seems like the kind to learn from past mistakes. 
  • From the Department of Black Kettles, Phil Jackson says "teamwork wins, not talent." Bear in mind this is from the guy who has only won his titles in huge markets playing with the most dominant players of their respective eras, including the greatest of all time.  Really, Phil? Because the last time we checked, you're not exactly all about equal parts overcoming the whole. Or maybe that's just what you saw in 2004 when the Pistons took down the mega-Lakers. 
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:13 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Who's winning MVP?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who will be lifting the Maurice Podoloff Trophy next season?

No, I'm not going to spend the first three paragraphs explaining my definition of "Most Valuable Player." I'm not going to go on about if I think it's about the player that means the most to his team or if it's the guy that was the most outstanding through the season.

Because truly, it doesn't really matter. Everyone likes the MVP to be a bit ambiguous, leaving the voting criteria up for interpretation. It makes for better results in the end, I suppose. Or at least more arguments.

But it also means that this season won't be much different than the rest in terms of who the main faces in the race will be. You're not going to have a guy like Gerald Wallace that plays bulldog defense and leads his team in rebounds, blocks and scoring all from the small forward position. His value to the Bobcats last season can't really be quantified, but he's definitely not the traditional MVP type of player. He just has no chance.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. So in the end, you'll have the same cast of characters. Kobe Bryant. LeBron James. Dwyane Wade. Dwight Howard. And on. Oh, and one more guy - Kevin Durant.

Most don't realize that Durant was actually MVP runner-up last season. Now LeBron ran away with the award in a vote that wasn't close, but still, 21-year-old Kevin Durant was the runner-up. And he's my favorite to win it this season.

Why Durant? Because while LeBron is splitting not only the spotlight with Wade in South Beach, he'll also be splitting shots. He'll be splitting assists. He'll be splitting time with the ball. And most importantly, he'll be splitting big moments. To be an MVP, you need to own your team. You need to be The Man. And while most saw LeBron as the unstoppable MVP force that might win 10 straight last season, now he might not really even be in the discussion. And some think it was selfish that LeBron went to Miami.

There is the chance LeBron does something otherworldly though. I mean, he still is LeBron, an otherwordly basketball talent. What if he averages a triple-double? At that point, doesn't he have to be anointed? He's likely going to be on a team with one of the best records, plus add huge stats and something that hasn't been done in 40 years? You've got to award that. Even if he's the media devil right now.

And of course, don't forget the other usual suspects. Kobe will have numbers, his team will be good and he has everyone's attention. But as he ages, the less important big numbers have become and he's completely satisfied with 25-28 points per game. Dwight Howard does it all for the Magic, but voters have already proven hesitant to award such an imperfect player. Wade has the LeBron Problem and while there are other great candidates (Chris Paul, Dirk Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams), one guys has to just stick out.

And Durant already has a leg up on everyone in the most important category: the media. Because of his uneventful but very eventful summer, Durant skyrocketed up popularity charts and had every person with a blog, Twitter or press pass writing about what a swell guy he is. You know, for announcing his "exstension" in a tweet and then for winning gold for his country. He's been cast as the anti-LeBron and in a world where whether it's sports, movies or real life, we like good vs. bad. Durant is Obi-Wan to LeBron's Darth Vader.

And that sort of thing is what could separate him. Durant is going to have the numbers. It's likely he'll finish with a line of something like 31 points per game, eight rebounds, three assists with percentages of 50-40-90. And if his darling Thunder squad wins over 50 and is in the Western mix, voters will pretty much hand deliver the award to Durant.

But KD has to deal with something he really hasn't had to yet - expectations. People are writing how he's the savior to basketball, the good guy, the one we should root for the sake of the children - children!!! - Durant should be the role model. But still, he has to perform.

His MVP campaign started with a simple tweet and built up serious steam in Turkey. But if Durant wants to hoist the Maurice Podoloff trophy in front of the Thunder faithful, he's still going to have to play. And there's no doubt he will.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 11:52 am
 

Ron Artest plans on selling championship ring

Posted by Royce Young

Most people figured after Ron Artest thanked his psychologist after Game 7 of the NBA Finals, that it was some kind of joke. That Artest, who has a history of doing some off-the-wall things, was making light of his past issues.

But Artest takes mental health seriously. So seriously, he's putting his money where his mouth is. Or, in this case, his championship ring where his mouth is. As mentioned today in the Shootaround, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com talked to Artest about his plans for his 2010 championship ring.
Artest finally won a title in June after 11 regular seasons of trying ... and now he's planning to sell the championship ring as a fundraiser to put more psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in schools.

"I'm never going to put it on," he said.

Artest plans to soon announce details of what he hopes will become a worldwide auction, and he takes possession of the jewelry in an Oct. 26 pre-game ceremony before the Lakers open against the Rockets . It's an incredible gesture. But it's even more meaningful as a statement.

"You work so hard to get a ring, and now you have a chance to help more people than just yourself, instead of just satisfying yourself," he said. "What's better than that? For me, this is very important."

Obviously, this is quite a setup for some zingers about Artest. But it's clear how serious Artest is about it. And really, mental health is no joking matter. A lot of people suffer from it and not only is Artest going to raise some serious cash, but also a bunch of awareness.

Artest knows he has a reputation. He knows what people think about him. There are the stories about drinking Hennessey at halftime, the brawl in Detroit and on and on. But the reality is, Artest overcame some demons to get in the right state of mind to be able to perform at a high level in the NBA. And he feels strongly enough about this issue that he's willing to try and make a difference. That's definitely honorable. It's also very Ron Artest. Nothing half way, but all the way in.
Category: NBA
Posted on: September 9, 2010 11:36 am
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Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:52 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 9:53 am
 

Matt Barnes arrested for domestic violence

New Lakers forward claims innocence after arrest on domestic violence charge Posted by Matt Moore

Matt Barnes is known as a fiery competitor who's willing to mix it up on the floor if the situation calls for it. Unfortunately, it looks like his temper has pushed him across the line. The Sacramento Bee reports that Barnes was arrested last night for domestic violence against a woman who was living with him. According to the Bee, both Barnes and the woman had injuries when police arrived, but Barnes was determined to be the aggressor in the situation. Barnes was also booked with maliciously obstructing the use of a telephone line, which to be honest, I was unaware was an actual crime. 

Barnes defended himself on Twitter this morning and told a Sacramento television station that he "was the the victim" but was the one arrested. The presence of injuries on both himself and the woman complicates the issue, but the 911 call during which a struggle could be heard with the woman on the phone doesn't help him much. Barnes recently signed with the Lakers who already have combustible forward Ron Artest on roster. Barnes grew up in Sacramento and owns the home in the Fair Oaks community. 

Barnes was released on bail after posting a $50,000 bond. 
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:15 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 11:42 am
 

Shootaround 9.9.10: Dwight grants a big wish

Rodman's overheard orgy, Artest's ring on the market, and Bogut's MRI.
Posted by Matt Moore
Get your Kleenex ready. The Orlando Sentinel  reports of a visit from Dwight Howard to a woman dying of Stage 3 Multiple Myeloma. The one wish from a dying woman? A visit from the Orlando All-Star. It's a touching story, one that wound up with Howard being the one changed by the visit. Howard is in a unique position for these types of life-changing events. His relationship with his faith may come under constant scrutiny because of his fame, but it also equips him for times like these, comforting a woman on her way out with laughter and compassion.

Ron Artest is selling his championship ring , for charity, before he even has a chance to wear it. NBA.com reports that Artest will sell the ring without putting it on in a fundraiser to help put more mental health professionals in school. This comes on the heels of Artest working in schools to promote good mental health. It's indicative of a drastic reversal in public perception, with Artest going from being considered crazy in the negative, non-serious sense to really putting himself forward as a champion for the cause of mental health intervention. Standing "O" for Crazy Pills.

Dwyane Wade is in court this week for the custody case of his children. His lawyer is recommending custody for Wade, obviously, and there's a lawyer for the boys with three recommendations in play. All three recommendations feature Wade in a custody position to some degree. It would appear the talk of family being important for Wade is talk that's being walked, in this instance.

Depressing news out of Sacramento , as police are investigating vandalism of a Kings mural with a swastika that may be related to Kings' Israeli player Omri Casspi. Seriously, folks. We can move past this, right? The vandals really should watch the kid pass in transition. It's hard to hate him after that.

Andrew Bogut is seeing a hand specialist and having an MRI done . Nothing to worry about, really. After all, there's still like, two weeks before training camp...wait, that's not much time at all. Dang.

So Dennis Rodman? Yeah, he went to a party, and was MC'ing, and then left his microphone on when he went upstairs. That's embarrassing. Wait, what's that you say? He was upstairs having sex with six women? What's the word I'm looking for here? Oh, yeah. Icky. But hey, good to know that just like his playing days, Rodman is hyper-efficient. At least those guests that overheard him on the microphone downstairs can cross "eavesdrop on Dennis Rodman in an orgy" off their bucket list.

Spain fell to Serbia yesterday, in a minor upset. Here's how Spain unraveled . It was a shocking loss for Spain, and for those that believe that Ricky Rubio can actually walk on water, part the seas, and hit a jumpshot.

A look back at Dwight Howard's career nights . It's posts like this that make you think twice before criticizing his play too much.

If you have Raptor fan friends, prepare for them to be a grumpy bunch next season . They're gaining a great scorer (as he's shown in World play) in Linas Kleiza, but they're worried about his usage. They have a dynamic scorer in Andrea Bargnani, who, quite honestly, they hate because he doesn't rebound. There's just a lot of bad blood there right now.

I can answer this question . Does Luke Harangody have a role with the Celtics? Sure. Someone's gotta be mascot.

Jared Dudley is resigned to a good-faith situation with the Suns. That rarely works out well in the A. 
Posted on: September 8, 2010 12:06 pm
 

Ron Artest cited for driving a race car

Posted by Royce Young

Sometimes it's really hard to dislike Ron Artest. Yeah, there's the whole Pacers-Pistons thing, but then he does a post-game presser like he did after Game 7 of the Finals. And then there are things like this.



Artest was pulled over in Los Angeles Monday driving an oversized go-cart called an Eagle Roadster. TMZ obtained a photo of the traffic stop and reports that Artest wasn't cited for driving around in an Indy Car, but because the registration on the car was expired. The weird thing is, the car isn't registered to Artest. It's registered to some guy in Tennessee.

An Eagle Roadster is a custom, two-seater car designed to look like an open-wheel Indy Car. They can do up to 152 MPH and go 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds, all powered by a Chrysler V6. So yeah, it's probably a dangerous car to be zipping around in doing some errands. Good thing for the Lakers, Artest was wearing a helmet.
Category: NBA
Posted on: September 7, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Pop Quiz: How will the All-Star Game look?

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...



What will the All-Star Game look like?


Los Angeles. City of Angels. Home of the back-to-back NBA champions, the legendary LA Lakers. And in February, home of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. It's going to be ridiculous, it's going to be over-the-top (more so than even your normal All-Star Game). It's going to be expensive. Really, really expensive. It will also be interesting as next year there are likely to be big changes in the All-Star Game. So what exactly is that game going to look like?

It's difficult to predict, obviously, who will be participating in the game. Even more so than any other episode of predicting the future, there are so many factors that can play into who makes it. Not only things like injuries, team downturns, unexpected rises, and trades, but the popularity contest of the voting system. But there are some things we can examine the possibility of.

For starters, with Amar'e Stoudemire headed to New York, there's a spot down low for the West. You can slide in Tim Duncan, because he's like Johnny Cash. Steady like a freight train, sharp like a razor. Pau Gasol's another lock, as many think he's the best power forward in the league right no w. From there, you've got Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman as the other two bigs from last year's squad. Kaman's unlikely to return with the addition of Blake Griffin, and Randolph's success is tied to an inconsistent Grizzlies team. Meanwhile, Yao Ming returns from injury and will most likely look like a legitimate contender for the starting spot.

But what about Andrew Bynum? We've been waiting for Bynum to live up to his potential for three seasons, and he's constantly referred to as one of the best centers in the league, despite his numerous injury issues. With the Lakers getting older, and Bynum supposedly healthier than he has been in years, Bynum has to be considered a strong contender not just for the backup position, but possibly as a starting center (which would put Tim Duncan at power forward, where he belongs).

Speaking of Duncan, he and Dirk Nowitzki are headed down the stretch and it'll be important to note that one of them is going to take a step backwards. Age demands it. And though Duncan is widely considered the best power forward of all time by those that consider him a power forward, he's most likely to have the dropoff. You saw it at times last season. The writing isn't on the wall, but there's a pen by the chalkboard. Bear in mind we're talking about inches below the greatness he's always provided, but it might be enough with a rising Bynum to shove either him or Dirk out of the starting lineup. And that will just be weird.

This is all before we start trying to figure out the point guards in the West. Steve Nash showing no signs of slowing down. Chris Paul back to full health. Deron Williams healthy with Al Jefferson beside him and more of the offensive load. Tyreke Evans, out of the rookie well and into the general pool. Russell Westbrook, possibly coming on as one of the better slide and dice guards in the league on a team that looks poised to make a run. Stephoe Curry, a rookie of the year runner-up with another season under him and a license to score. This likely means Jason Kidd will not be returning to the team for the 11th time in his career.

And oh, yeah, Kobe will be back in the starting spot. No "probably." He will be.

In the East? Well, the Miami Triad was formed from guys in the East, so they're likely to stay. Even with a downturn in production from sharing the ball, all three should be locks, though it's hard to see Bosh making the starting spot as he was a reserve last season. Amar'e Stoudemire could wind up knocking Kevin Garnett out of the starting spot which would be another changing of the guard. But a more likely scenario is Joe Johnson being unable to reach the starting spot again and moving into the reserve spot as the East looks like the West from last year: four bigs and a guard (Dwyane Wade). Which will be disappointing considering Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo's existence, both of whom are probable to return as starters.

Carlos Boozer, freed from the big-heavy West, may be able to work his way into a spot, and Paul Pierce may be on the bubble. If Andrew Bogut returns healthy, he could complicate matters, along with Brandon Jennings. Basically, point guards are going to massively complicate these rosters.

Sure, some of these players are going to go down to injury, others will have downturn seasons. But there's a strong indication that this might be a year of big changes in the All-Star Game, both with starting rosters and the reserve spots.

But the parties will be awesome regardless.
 
 
 
 
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