Tag:Los angeles Lakers
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: February 1, 2012 10:17 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:45 pm

Report: Lakers interested in Kenyon Martin, Sheed

The Lakers are reportedly looking to add Kenyon Martin or Rasheed Wallace. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Yahoo Sports reportsthat former Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin is expected to sign by the weekend with one of the contenders as he looks for consistent minutes where he can win. The list includes the usual favorites for the title, but Yahoo also notes that the Lakers have a backup plan if Martin heads elsewhere. 
If the Lakers don’t sign Martin, they could have interest in adding Rasheed Wallace, who contacted the team several weeks ago, a league source said. Wallace retired after the 2009-10 season, but has told friends he’s interested in returning to the NBA.
via Kenyon Martin deciding which contender to join - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

The Lakers have been in near-constant pursuit of a backup big to help bolster their frontcourt. Troy Murphy has not set the world on fire, Josh McRoberts is inconsistent, and the Lakers are 14th in opponent offensive rebound rate. Martin's a great fit because not only can he defend and produce rebound help, even at age 34, but he's still got a decent short-range jumper he can hit when his man helps off. The Lakers can't afford to bring in a big that can't score with their offense struggling as it has.

There is a hiccup, however. Draft Express notes that Martin's Chinese team he signed with during the lockout is a half game out of the playoffs. If they were to make it, it would be another month before he's eligible to sign with NBA teams, due to a rule enacted during the lockout by the CBA. 

Sheed's a similar situation, though his conditioning is going to be a huge, gigantic question. Wallace has been out of the game for a year and a half. How's his perimeter shooting going to be after all that time and how many minutes can he actually log?

The Lakers are in need of a bigger boost than this, but short of a trade for Dwight Howard, it's unlikely they'll find one. So they'll have to work within the confines of what's available, and that means getting a little desperate. A 34-year-old who may be stuck because of his Chinese team's success (Martin was released months ago but is ineligible due to FIBA restrictions based on the CBA rule) and a 37-year-old who hasn't played in nearly two years fit that description perfectly. But with the talent on L.A., who knows how well they can perform. 

The Lakers improved to 13-9 Tuesday night with a win over the Bobcats.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 4:18 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:20 pm

Report: Lakers, Cavs talk Ramon Sessions trade

Ramon Sessions is reportedly drawing interest from the Lakers. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

He's not Chris Paul, but he could be a lot worse.

Yahoo Sports reports that the Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly phoned the Cleveland Cavaliers to express interest in trading for reserve guard Ramon Sesssions. 
The Los Angeles Lakers have talked with the Cleveland Cavaliers about possibly acquiring guard Ramon Sessions, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. No deal is imminent, but the Lakers view Sessions as a candidate who could help their depleted backcourt.

Cleveland is interested in stockpiling draft picks in potential deals, sources said. Several teams have inquired about Sessions lately, front-office sources said. The Lakers have a handful of players on short-term deals who can’t be traded until March 1.

The Lakers' messy point guard situation got messier when key back-up Steve Blake went down for an extended period of time with a rib injury. Starter Derek Fisher is on his last legs and 2011 Draft picks Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris are still learning how to walk. The position is clearly the weakest link on L.A.'s roster and will almost certainly be the scapegoat if the Lakers aren't able to win the 2012 title.

So is Sessions the guy? Not definitely, but he would earn major minutes immediately given the other options. His career has been derailed by circumstance, as he signed a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who couldn't really use him, and then was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who don't really ned him now that Rookie of the Year candidate Kyrie Irving is carrying such a major load. His best play might have come last year, for a truly horrendous Cavaliers team, so it got lost in the muck. He's not an excellent shooter, but he has good size, is a capable set-up man and specializes in the pick-and-roll, a nice asset with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol on the roster.

Financially, the Lakers can absorb the entirety of his $4.3 million salary into the trade exception created when they dumped Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks. That means L.A. doesn't need to match salaries in return and can instead send draft picks and/or a lower-priced player (or no player at all) to Cleveland in return. Sessions has a $4.5 million player option for next season, which he will very likely pick up, but a capable third or fourth guard would seemingly be worth that price to the Lakers, who are pretty desperate at the one after NBA commissioner David Stern nixed a potential blockbuster trade that would have landed Paul during the preseason.

Sessions is an obvious trade target and has been ever since the Cavaliers landed the No. 1 pick in last year's Draft lottery. Indeed, even his agent thought he would be the odd man out if Irving was selected, but that wound up being Baron Davis, who was released using the amnesty clause. Cleveland would be smart to milk his value all the way up to the trade deadline. While the Cavaliers are off to a better-than-expected 8-11 start, the goal is to secure as many complementary pieces to Irving and fellow 2011 lottery pick Tristan Thompson. Picks would seem better than salaried players at this point of the rebuild.
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.
Posted on: January 28, 2012 12:57 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2012 7:04 pm

Report: Lakers interested in Gilbert Arenas

Could Arenas be headed for Los Angeles to join Kobe? (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Here's how you know you might need point guard help: You're calling Gilbert Arenas up.

According to HoopsWorld, the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in the veteran point guard, who was cut via the amnesty clause by the Magic before the season started.
The Los Angeles Lakers have expressed interest in Gilbert Arenas, according to sources close to the situation. The 30-year-old is an unrestricted free agent after being amnestied by the Orlando Magic last month. No signing is imminent, but the Lakers have reached out to the veteran point guard.

League sources say that Arenas would love to join the Lakers. He grew up in Los Angeles and is interested in playing for his hometown team. He believes that he can contribute in Los Angeles’ backcourt, which currently features an aging Derek Fisher, injured Steve Blake and inexperienced Darius Morris. Arenas and Blake played together for two years with the Washington Wizards.

By all accounts, Arenas is in shape and ready to sign on with a team. And the Lakers make a decent amount of sense. Arenas wants to play on a good team and the Lakers desperately need some help at that position. As well as scoring options. Arenas could potentially help with both.

Arenas played relatively well in Orlando averaging better than 17 points a game in games he started, but he never did settle into a backup role well. And that could be the challenge for him in Los Angeles. Derek Fisher will likely remain the starter and Arenas would have to push to beat out Steve Blake (when he's healthy) and rookie Darius Morris.

It's just a matter of need and if the Lakers need offensive help, specifically at point guard, that badly, then Arenas is one of the best answers on the market. He'd likely sign for the veteran minimum, so he'd be a low risk deal. And if he could find a little of his old self, it could be a great signing. You want to avoid distraction or an upset in chemistry and with Arenas being an older veteran, I think he'd handle his business well. Especially since he doesn't have a lot of options right now.

Posted on: January 27, 2012 12:46 pm

World Peace: 'I got bored with defense'

Posted by Royce Young
Metta World Peace says he's been bored playing defense. (Getty Images)

Ron Artest used to be maybe the best defender in basketball. He used to be a pretty great scorer too. But as skills tend to do, he's slipped as he's gotten older. At 32, that's a pretty good excuse as to why maybe the man now known as Metta World Peace isn't quite the ball stopper he once was.

But that's not what World Peace says. He just says he was getting bored with shutting everyone down. Via ESPN LA:
"The defense, I got to bring it back," World Peace said after practice Thursday, a day after putting up three points, seven assists, five rebounds, two steals and a block while playing a season-high 38 minutes. "I got bored with defense because it was so easy for me to stop people over the years. I got real bored with it. When you're playing against guys and you're stopping guys every single time, what else are you going to do [but get bored]? It caught up to me, but this year I'm doing better. This year I'm almost back to where I want to be."
World Peace was indeed a great defender. He's made two All-Defensive first teams, two second teams and won Defensive Player of the Year in 2004. He's one of the most physical on-the-ball defenders and has always had an ability for stopping the opposing teams best scorer.

But bored? Seems like a copout excuse. Especially when you consider skills diminish with age, not to mention that World Peace has been up to a lot of other stuff lately like changing his name, dancing with the stars and doing stand-up comedy. Kobe though, said he can see it.
“I can relate to that,” Bryant said. “That’s happened to me before as well. That’s human nature sometimes. You have to have [and] you have to find challenges that kind of get you going and keep your energy.

“It’s about finding your edge. You have to find your edge. It’s not something that’s farfetched. He was a great defensive player. Things sometimes become too easy. Offensively, things for me get really, really easy sometimes and the game just feels boring. But you have to find that edge, you have to find something that’s going to push you.”
Against the Clippers, World Peace seemed to kind of rediscover that. He was a madman late in the game, pounding his chest like King Kong after knocking down a big 3. He hasn't looked that focused and into a game in a long time. He definitely didn't look bored then. Said Kobe after the game, "Metta found Ron Artest, I mean like the Auburn Palace Ron Artest."

Uh oh. Maybe he should just stayed bored.
Posted on: January 27, 2012 11:30 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 5:24 pm

Friday 5 with KB: A Magical Time

By Matt Moore

In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we look back on extensions week, ask if the Celtics are back, and of course, check in on Dwight Howard. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. After two games between Orlando and Boston this week, is Boston "back?" 

Ken Berger: I still think they're going to be OK. What a difference when Pierce has it going. He's clearly getting his confidence back. What happened Thursday night was as much about the Magic's fragility as it was about the Celtics' resilience. But to come back like that on the road, without Rondo or Allen, is a great sign for Boston. The Celtics' bench is still way too thin, and they don't have enough size. But one thing they need more than anything is some young legs and youthful exuberance, not to mention those attributes coming with meaningful contributions. They got that Thursday night from E'Twaun Moore. A much needed jolt for Boston's elders.

2. What extension decision, signed or unsigned, surprised you the most?

Ken Berger: I don't know that any surprised me, but the most interesting case was Eric Gordon. Given his knee situation, it's difficult to make a largely unnecessary long-term commitment now. But clearly the Hornets can't afford to lose the most significant asset they received in the Chris Paul trade. But much like Kevin Love's shorter extension with Minnesota, this arrangement could work out in Gordon's favor. If he comes back healthy and continues to put up big numbers, he'll command a bigger deal as a restricted free agent. And New Orleans knows they control the situation because they can match.

3. The Pacers have an interest in Eric Gordon. With his future in the air, is there any chance teams make a run at him in trade at the deadline?

Ken Berger: It would be logical for Gordon, the IU product, to wind up only a short drive from Bloomington. But I don't expect the Hornets to entertain in-season trade offers for him. There's no reason to panic since they have the right to match next summer.

4. We hear a lot about the Magic waiting to make a decision on Dwight Howard. But how about the Lakers? Are they going to give this team a chance to gel or will they pounce at the first opportunity for improvement?

Ken Berger: It always depends on the deal. If Howard can be had for a price that's less than Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, then the dialogue could catch fire pretty quickly. But unless Orlando completely goes in the tank -- and they haven't been playing well lately -- I see no signs that Otis Smith and Alex Martins are going to consider anything less than an all-out blockbuster offer for Howard. There's one caveat: If the realization of losing Howard for nothing hits the Magic organization like a freight train on March 14, it's impossible to predict now how they'll react.

5. Explain why the Minnesota Timberwolves not signing Kevin Love for as many years as possible is in any way a good decision on their part, please.

Ken Berger: I got into this in Postups yesterday. Basically, it's a good deal for both sides. Love has three years to determine if the Wolves are, in fact, going in the right direction. The Wolves, in turn, get to preserve their five-year designated player extension for Ricky Rubio. But Minnesota also will be able to get Love on a five-year extension after he opts out of the fourth year of this deal. And Love will get more money, too. With seven-plus years of service at that point, he'd be eligible for 30 percent of the cap.
Posted on: January 26, 2012 3:29 am
Edited on: January 26, 2012 3:37 am

Report Card: Lakers get revenge in Battle of L.A.

Posted by Ben GolliverMatt Moore and Royce Young

Lakers' Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol proved too much for the Clippers. (Getty Images)

Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments.

Los Angeles Lakers

In the rematch of the Battle for L.A., the old guard finally emerged victorious over the up-and-comers. Pau Gasol set the tone for the Lakers early, Andrew Bynum made several key plays late, and the duo combined for 42 points, 16 rebounds, 5 blocks, 4 assists on 15-24 shooting while playing heavy minutes and dishing out plenty of trash talk. In a feisty, intense game filled with technicals and skirmishes, the Lakers kept their heads and executed down the stretch. Lakers coach Mike Brown will surely like the shot distribution -- 13 for Gasol, 11 for Bynum and 17 for Kobe Bryant -- and the end result, a 96-91 gutsy victory. Solid way to end a 3-game losing streak. -- BG

Blake Griffin's whirling dervish

Even in defeat, Clippers All-Star forward manages to do something jaw-dropping. Griffin was a high-energy freight train throughout, finishing with 26 points and 9 rebounds, but his most impressive play was more graceful than forceful. Sizing up Gasol in the low block, Griffin dove into the paint and rose for a spinning reverse flip shot that almost defies description.

"The guy's shooting a 360 jump hook," said Bryant, according to ESPNLA.com. "You have to enjoy and admire his stuff. It's pretty sensational stuff." Take a look at the video below. -- BG

The Fired-Coach Effect

It never fails. Worked for Sacramento earlier this season. Worked for Washington on Wednesday night in a romp of the Bobcats who all of a sudden are the worst team in the league. The Wizards made a point Wednesday. For a night, anyway. -- MM

New Jersey Nets

Every bad team (except Charlotte) gets a good grade! A great win of the Sixers that was all about beating up on what is usually a very good perimeter defense for Philadelphia. Their burst in overtime was particularly impressive with Jordan Farmar and Deron Williams leading the way. -- MM

Dirk Nowitzki's color commentary

Dallas Mavericks All-Star forward has been sidelined this week as he attempts to work himself back into shape, but one thing that doesn't need any boot-camp training would be his vocal chords. Nowitzki filled in as a color commentator during Dallas' home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves and reacted hilariously to a Jason Terry to Brandan Wright alley-oop. "Oh my God!" Nowitzki screetched. "Shut it down! Let's go home! That is a wrap." Watch, listen and love.

Indiana Pacers

This was one of those "I watch the game, then look at the score, then my brain shuts down because the two element are incongruous. It seemed the Bulls were all over the Pacers, but the Pacers were incredibly patient and never got rattled by the Bulls' pressure in Chicago. Roy Hibbert essentially had his way with Joakim Noah. Danny Granger was bothered by Ronnie Brewer, all the way to 22 points and on 16 shots and nine rebounds. Really, this could have been a more convincing win had Darren Collison and Joakim Noah not played wretched in all things related to point guard game management. Paul George was efficient and the Pacers' defense on Derrick Rose deserves an award all its own. Even without Luol Deng and Taj Gibson, a huge win for the Pacers on the road as they start to build their resume with wins over L.A. and Chicago in the past week. -- MM
Detroit Pistons

They pass! They lost, yes, but the improvement shown in their close loss to the Heat on so many levels is enough to warrant a passing grade for this downtrodden team. With Tayshaun Prince out due to personal reasons, Austin Daye flourished, filling up the scoreboard while Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe both contributed. There's a young core in Detroit worth watching, if they can just scrap and claw their way to the front of the rotation. -- MM

Dallas Mavericks

Really? You lost on banner night to the Heat and rings night to the Timberwolves? Really? Maybe no more celebrations on game nights, Mavs. -- MM

Russell Westbrook

The Thunder's second star has picked up his game lately but took a step back Wednesday against the Hornets. Westbrook started the game 1-10 from the floor and finished just 4-14 for 14 points. And he also turned it over seven times. It was one of those Westbrook games where he made some crucial plays, but for the most part, was a touch out of control and didn't make great decisions. Twice he went for highlight reel jams only to be denied at the rim by a Hornet big man. OKC won, but Westbrook wasn't great. -- RY

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