Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: July 23, 2010 12:11 am
Edited on: July 23, 2010 9:42 am

Matt Barnes is a Laker

Posted by Matt Moore

Remember how the Lakers bench was terrible last year? Yeah, not so much this season.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that Matt Barnes has signed a two-year, $3.6 million contract Thursday, and also signed Theo Ratliff. So the one, merciful, mockable weakness that the Lakers had has been eradicated, replaced by a list of reasonable contracts for quality players. They're reserves, to be sure. Barnes has terrible catch handles and thinks he's a much better perimeter shooter than he is. Derek Fisher (now a backup with Steve Blake on board) is a defensive liability and has the offensive versatility of a tree stump at this point. Ratliff had a worse PER than Kwame Brown last year.

But it's when you consider how small of a gap they have to cover while the megastars rest. The Lakers added a defensive stopper to go with Ron Artest, a quality backup point guard (who has started for them for years), and a veteran center Phil jackson might actually trust to play. It's a terrific combination of signings. Not enough to match the other teams' signings this summer, but then, the Lakers didn't need much either. Being, you know, defending champions and all.

The Lakers have addressed their biggest need, which wasn't really a need , since they won the NBA championship with that weakness. Miami can add all the guys they want. Until someone else winds up with a ring, the Lakers still run this league. And they just got stronger.

Posted on: July 22, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 2:15 pm

Woj: Unless CLE comes up, Barnes signing with LA

Posted by Royce Young

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reports that Matt Barnes is nearing a one-year deal with the Lakers unless Cleveland comes up on its offer. Finally, the Matt Barnes hysteria can end.

Right now, Wojnarowski says Barnes would take a one-year contract for $1.7 million unless Cleveland raises a multi-year offer that starts around $3.5 million. Recent reports have indicated that Barnes was weighing deciding between taking more money or signing with a contender. And word was he was leaning contender unless it was an offer he couldn't refuse. Evidently, Cleveland's not willing to go there.

The interesing dynamic here would be Barnes teaming with Kobe Bryant. Kobe had past issues with Ron Artest and some were concerned about how they'd get along once they joined forces.
Obviously, it went well. Then of course the Lakers courted Raja Bell, a Kobe nemesis, before Bell signed with Utah. And it's hard to forget Kobe and Barnes getting into quite a scrap back in March of last season . Clearly, they'll reconcile, but nonetheless, an interesting dynamic.

Now if Kobe could somehow resolve with Shaq, then the circle would be complete. But don't bank on that happening though.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 6:37 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 7:25 pm

Who's in the market for CP3?

Posted by Matt Moore

With Ken Berger's report that Chris Paul is adamantly requesting a trade , we need to start exploring the possibilities. The odds are substantially low that Paul gets moved despite his feelings, simply based on the extreme difficulty in packaging the necessary assets to convince Hornets management to pull the trigger. But with a player of Paul's stature on the market (whether his team likes it or not), we need to examine the possibilities. So who's a realistic candidate to make a move for CP3?

Orlando Magic: This one's been out there for a while. The Magic have the right combination of talent, contracts, and assets to maneuver into position for Paul. They can send back a versatile shooting point guard to help with the transition of Darren Collison. They can send Vince Carter and his expiring contract, along with a significant player at shooting guard to pair with Marcus Thornton. They still have draft picks in the can, have expendable players with talent like Marcin Gortat and Brandon Bass. It puts an elite player next to Dwight Howard and matches the upgrade the Heat have made, and potentially gives them an advantage over the Celtics in terms of talent. The question would be if Paul could function inside the unique spacing the Magic employ, which primarily functions on a series of swing passes. There's no question he'd be dominant in the pick and roll with Howard.

New York Knicks:
I know. I'm nuts. Hear me out. The deal could in no-way be cemented until December 15th, but the Knicks have Raymond Felton, Kelenna Azubuike, and a handful of prospects. They lack the ability to send draft picks thanks to the desperate firesale move they pulled with the Rockets, but the right combination of players might work. Wilson Chandler next to Marcus Thornton would give the Hornets flexibility on the wing, especially if the Knicks are willing to take on Peja Stojakovic's poison pill. That may be the Knicks' biggest asset: financial flexibility to take on the rest of the Hornets' ill-advised veteran figures. The pull for Paul? If the New York toast rumors were true, this would get him with the best player he's ever played alongside in Amar'e Stoudemire (with apologies to David West), in a major market, and would likely convince Carmelo Anthony to hold off on that contract extension. It's a pretty perfect scenario, which of course means it won't happen.

Portland Trail Blazers: If the Blazers want to get back into talk of being a title contender immediately, this could be their path to salvation. They have picks to move, a ton of flexible players at multiple positions, and Paul in Portland would be ridiculous. Paul, Brandon Roy, and LaMarcus Aldridge, with those centers down low? All of a sudden the Blazers would be within range of the title. The numbers, however, might be too much, especially with the massive amount of money they just tossed at Wesley Matthews. The Blazers would have to surrender most of the depth they've worked to acquire, along with at least one of their two top centers in order to facilitate a deal. But it would also mean a tremendous coup for the new regime.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Here's a stretch. Trying to convince Paul to go to the Ruins of NBA Pompei would be a tricky feat. But if you look at the roster, it might not be impossible. The Cavs do feature a team with depth, with Antawn Jamison and J.J. Hickson still on roster. They have some flexibility in the coming years. They need a hero, and they've shown they're willing to commit to spending. With Byron Scott on roster, who Paul has gone on record in support of multiple times, the Cavs could conceivably replace LeBron James with a new savior. They'd have to give up most of their most attractive assets and nearly everything they got from Miami. But somehow, if New Orleans was at all interested, I don't think they'd mind.

Los Angeles Lakers: Tremble, and be afraid, ye mortals of Earth. This is plausible, possible, and according to KB, one of the teams on Paul's list. The Lakers can send Andrew Bynum, a young stud center, and a handful of short-term contracts for Paul. Paul gets to play alongside the best team in the NBA in the most attractive market in the NBA. He takes the reins from Kobe and helps lead that team into what, three more titles? More? It's a terrifying possibility that would give the Lakers the one-up over the Miami-three. He and Gasol could work the two-man game, and in the triangle, well, okay, that's a downside. Chris Paul in the triangle is like binding a horse's legs. They're not meant to be constrained that way. Shooting corner threes is a waste of Paul's potential, and most of the ball handling isn't done by a point in the triangle. But somehow, playing next to Kobe and Gasol, Paul may not mind.

New Orleans Hornets: No, they won't be trading Paul to themselves. But you have to think this is still the most likely scenario (yes, we said that about LeBron James, too). Paul has been a major force in the community. That's going to tug at him. The Hornets just hired two representatives from the Spurs organization, who clearly have been part of winning environments. He can make the most money there, and has teammates he's gone to battle with. Mostly, though, it's hard to see new GM Dell Demps or head coach Monty Williams being willing to put themselves in a deep dark hole to start their run with the franchise. And trading Paul means a complete rebuild. Not the situation you want to embark on before you've even put your pictures up in your office.

But with the way Paul sounds according to KB, we may see the unlikely become reality once again this year.

So what is it that the Hronets need to get back? Royce Young tells us more on that one .

Posted on: July 15, 2010 10:44 am

Bell Jazz sting clears way for Brown's LA return

Posted by Matt Moore

Looks like they may "Let Shannon Dunk" in LA again. With Raja Bell now out of the picture after trapising off to the Jazz, a spot has been cleared for Shannon Brown to return to Los Angeles. His agent told Yahoo! Sports that he and Lakers' General Manager are "close" on working something out to allow the 24-year-old combo-guard to retrun to LA for another contract to continue the title run.

Brown was considered expendable as the Lakers tried to upgrade their backcourt, but with all other options having departed, Brown seems like the safe lock. Brown, a fan favorite for his death=defying missed dunk attempts in garbage time, had an up and down year for the Lakers last season. When Kobe Bryant was injured, he stepped in and contributed brilliantly, scoring, driving, and attacking. But as soon as the Mamba stepped back on the floor, his confidence seemed to wane. Additionally, his defense is inconsistent, occasionallly being spot on with great help-defense and aggressive perimeter ball-pressure, and other times getting worked over and lost in various sets and switches.

Still, this will work out great for LA, who get a young, versatile, athletic player that can play either position to back up the ancient Derek Fisher, and just gives them yet another component of something that's already been proven to work. All the pieces are falling into place for another Lakers championship run.

Posted on: July 14, 2010 9:50 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2010 9:52 pm

Report: Bell cancels with Kobe, signs with Jazz

Posted by Royce Young

No summit for Raja Bell and Kobe Bryant to potentially set aside differences. Instead, Bell has signed a three-year deal worth about $10 million with Utah, Marc Stein reports .

What does this mean? First off, this is a pretty clear indication the Jazz don't plan to match on Wesley Matthews. Second, it probably means their chase for Ronnie Brewer is over. Bell isn't an elite offensive player player by any means (averaging just 10.3 points per game for his career) but he's an above average defensive player and a winning type of player.

He's 33 and is coming off a season where he only played six games, so three years is a little bit lengthy for him. I'd expect for the third year to probably be non-guaranteed. The Jazz obviously still could match on Matthews or go after a free agent like Brewer, but if they choose not to, now they have some insurance in Bell.

Posted on: July 13, 2010 10:15 pm

Raja Bell and Kobe Bryant to meet, not rumble

Posted by Matt Moore

Cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria !

Kobe Bryant and Raja Bell are meeting tomorrow in Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of Bell joining the defending champions to shore up their bench. You probably remember the two's most famouse meeting, in which Raja clotheslined Kobe like he was aiming for the WWE championship belt during the first round of the 2006 playoffs.

Kobe summarily dismissed Bell to the media, saying he didn't even know that "kid's" name. But now? It's been a few years, the two have made up somewhere along the way, and now Kobe is actually recruiting Bell. Bryant knows that with Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar gone, there's an opportunity for the Lakers to improve their bench, which was horrific last year and nearly cost them their title.

Bell would fit in perfect with the Lakers off the bench, shooting corner threes as the defense collapses on the Lakers forwards/Kobe and playing top-notch defense. He would be a veteran option versus the inexperienced reserves they've been tossing out lately when the top guys rest.

But it would certainly be weird. A guy who clotheslined another guy going to the other guy's team. Championship dreams make strange bedfellows. So does LA being awesome.
Posted on: July 12, 2010 5:40 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2010 6:00 pm

Derek Fisher will remain a Laker

Posted by Matt Moore

You didn't really think Fisher was leaving the cuddly warmth of home, now, were you?

Derek Fisher has released a statement and has decided to stay with Kobe, turning down what are almost assuredly more lucrative offers, including a likely offer from the Miami Heat, to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers. Fisher has been outraged by the Lakers' intiial offer of two-years at $2.5 million and had met with the Heat over the weekend. But whether it was a slightly better deal (terms of the deal are not known at this time), or the simple realization that Bryant had essentiallly made his career, Fisher has decided to return to Hollywood and see if he can't win one more.

Fisher will likely lose his starting position for the first time this year, after the Lakers signed Steve Blake. There's simply not enough to keep Fisher as the key point guard with as much as his skills have declined with age. He's more reliant than ever on veteran tricks like chest bumping the guard coming across the timeline to draw offensive fouls, a move that got him whipped around on several occassions late in the season when players adjusted. He's also fan of the hesitation dribble one-hand runner which works well in the playoffs because no one expects it. But his athleticism hurt the Lakers against the Thunder before Kobe Bryant checked Russell Westbrook, and Fisher had a hard time throughout the playoffs, though he did of course hit his usual number of wide open clutch corner threes, the biggest reason he's in the Lakers' system.

Fisher knows what to do and does it well.

Miami can add all the pieces they want. But the reigning point guard for the NBA champions is staying where it's safe and comfy. Behind the Mamba's gaze.

Posted on: July 3, 2010 10:21 am
Edited on: July 5, 2010 12:52 pm

Free-agency day 2 winners and losers

After the second day of the most important free-agency period in history, and one of the wildest, who were the winners and losers?


New York Knicks: From worst to first in 24 hours, folks. Yesterday the Knicks were losers , having not made a dent in LeBron James and looking at the up close side of panic. But Friday, everything turned around for them. Their meeting with Dwyane Wade went well enough to get Wade to say he was "intrigued." And as close as these free agents are playing their cards to their vests? That's a huge win right there. Then, the Knicks advanced talks with Amar'e Stoudemire after the Suns basically let him walk, and came to a "broad agreement" with him , KB reported.  Huge upswing for the Knicks Friday.

Chicago Bulls: Any time you get one of the top free agents in the field who isn't one of your guys to provide a second meeting, along with the third best player? That's a win. Huge win. The Bulls jumped hard into this pool and made an impact. If they can convince LeBron James today to buy-in with Wade, they'll have pulled off one of the biggest gambles in NBA history and be the impact team for the next decade.

Los Angeles Lakers: Signed Steve Blake to a 4-year, $16 million deal, which essentially means that combined with Derek Fisher's expected one year, $2.5 million contract, they'll have their starter and backup point guard positions improved and solidified for $6.5 million. It's good to be on top.


Miami Heat: Pat Riley made an impassioned plea   to LeBron James based on sacrificing to win championships, and the Heat have met with every available free agent except Dwyane Wade. So far, there have been no reports that anyone is "leaning" towards Miami aside from a few Chris Bosh rumblings. Meanwhile, Wade was "intrigued" by New York, and took a second meeting with the Bulls. Not a great day for the Heat, but they didn't lose much ground, it seems like.

Los Angeles Clippers: In a stunning turn of events, absolutely no one is talking about the Clippers' meetings having any effect whatsoever on any of the top free agents. It's almost like a lifetime of misery and bad luck compounded by having the worst owner in the NBA has negatively impacted their chances at getting a top free agent in the most competitive class ever. Huh.

Phoenix Suns: I like Hakim Warrick. You'd probably like Hakim Warrick. He works hard. He's tall. He's talented. He's not Standing Tall and Talented. He's not Amar'e. The Suns watched as arguably their best player (considering Steve Nash's age) walked away from the table, likely headed to New York. Even though the Suns chose to go this route and were proactive in their approach, it's still a rough day for the Suns, who had an era end for them today.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com