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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lakers 2007-08 Regular Season Preview

[Quick note: the fire here has been affecting things, and I wasn't able to post for a bit, including a recap for the last two preseason games. To update, the Lakers lost against Utah 102-81, and won against the Kings 101-97.]

The Los Angeles Lakers regular season is about here! On October 30, the Lakers open up the regular season against the Houston Rockets at home, followed by their first road game on November 2 against the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers schedule to start will be tougher than last year, when they started 26-13.

This season will be an interesting one, with many questions about the team. It remains to be seen what will happen with situations around Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom, and others. And experts from ESPN are split about the Lakers making the playoffs, with 5 saying they will make the playoffs, and 5 saying they will miss them. The Los Angeles Lakers always have a lot of drama surrounding them, and this season will definitely be no different.

Monday, October 22, 2007

October 21, 2007 Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers played their cotenants the Los Angeles Clippers, and lost 96-112. The Lakers didn't play very well in the second half. They shot only 40.5% on their field goals.

Andrew Bynum and Jordan Farmar were the top players for the Lakers. Bynum had 16 points on 6/8 shooting. Farmar was really impressive with 19 points on 7/10 shooting in 20 minutes.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

October 20, 2007 Lakers vs. Charlotte Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers returned to the Staples Center to play against the Charlotte Bobcats, and beat them by 20 points for a 113-93 win. The Lakers had 35 assists on 45 baskets and shot a whopping 57% field goal percentage and 56.2% on three pointers. The Lakers are now 2-2 in the preseason.

Derek Fisher had 13 points in 9 minutes of the first quarter in his first game back at the Staples Center in a Lakers uniform. Ronny Turiaf added 10 points. Luke Walton helped the team with 10 assists. Mo Evans had 13 points. Vladimir Radmanovic led the team with 14 points.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Catching Up With Mitch Kupchak

Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak, talks about who he thinks is the most improved after last season, Javaris Crittenton's development, the depth chart of the team, the possibility of eligible players getting sent to the D-League, and more in part one and part two of his interview.

Excerpts:

"Where is Javaris' development compared to a typical rookie? Too early to tell. We thought he had a good summer league and he has played well out here in pick-up games, but that is totally different than what he's going to be exposed to starting next season in Hawaii. We are pleased to have him, we didn't think we would be able to get him at 19, we thought he'd be gone in the top 15. He shows flashes of being a true point guard, which is a player that makes the other players around him better. He looks to make a pass first, although he can score, but that is not what he looks to do first."

"With regards to Larry Turner, Elton Brown, and Coby Karl, what are we looking to get out of them? Right now we have 14 guys on our team based on their contractual status that will probably make the team. You’re allowed to have 15, so there is a spot open. We may or may not carry the 15th spot. It depends on what happens in training camp. I think the players you mentioned, Karl, Turner, Brown, and perhaps another player we’re going to add in the next day or two, will be trying to impress us to make that 15th slot their slot. So one of those guys could make it, one of those guys could make it for a month or two, or one of those guys can make it and spend time between going up and down between the D-League the whole season. We just don’t know right now, but we do have space for one more player if we want to carry that player."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 18, 2007 Lakers vs. Seattle Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers played much better in their first preseason game back in California, and beat the Seattle Supersonics 126-106. Kwame Brown played his first game of the preseason after sitting out the first two while recovering from his injury. The Lakers had balance in scoring, with 8 players in double figures.

The five players that I was really impressed with this game were Jordan Farmar, Brian Cook, Ronny Turiaf, Chris Mihm, and Andrew Bynum. Farmar had 10 points and 7 assists. He made both of his three pointers, definitely showing off the work that he's done on his outside shooting. Cook got a hot streak going early in the game, scoring 19 points to get him out of his shooting slump. Turiaf also got going early, scoring 11 of the team's first 14 points and ending up with 13 points total. Mihm had a nice game after not playing in the first half, scoring 11 points on 5/5 shooting in 12 minutes. Bynum had a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, looking really good and aggressive in the game.

Catching Up With Jordan Farmar

Last season's first round draft pick, Jordan Farmar, talks about his goals for the season, what he's worked on in the summer, and his role. Check out the full interview here.

Excerpts:

"What are your goals for this season? Just to come in and contribute, to help the organization any way I can, doing whatever the coaching staff and the front office want me to do. Just play my role."

"What have you specifically worked on over the summer? A lot of catch and shoot and defensive stuff. In this offense, the triangle, you get a lot of opportunities to just catch and shoot, but you don't get a lot of time to play with the ball and do stuff off the dribble. So I've really been working on my shot, making it more consistent and more efficient. We'll see how it works out."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Catching Up With Luke Walton

5th year forward of the Los Angeles Lakers, Luke Walton, talks about his summer, his new contract that he signed, last season's ankle injury, how far he thinks the team can go this season, and more. You can check out here, and here for another interview.

Excerpts:

"Talk about your brief period as a free agent. It was nerve wracking. Even though it was short, it was the whole time period leading up to that. L.A. is where I wanted to stay, I made that clear to my agent, but we had backup plans with other teams. Meetings setup and stuff like that. My agent and Mitch called me that first day and we agreed on that offer that I felt was something I was satisfied with and something the Lakers were happy with then we might as well sign it and get it done as opposed to going and looking somewhere else.

I was actually in Las Vegas when I got the call at a good friend of mine’s bachelor party. We were all packing up, getting ready to get on a plane to fly back home when I talked to Mitch and my agent. We ended up cancelling our flights and staying for an extra night. It ended up being a pretty fun evening."

"If you guys stay healthy this year, how far can this team go? I think we can go all the way. I don't see why there's a reason we can't win a championship with the team we have now. He got [Derek Fisher] back, who is a very experienced point guard who has won before. We got young guys who have a lot more experience. We have the coaching staff that knows what to do. We have Kobe who is the best player in the league."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Catching Up With Javaris Crittenton

The 19th pick in the first round in the 2007 NBA Draft of the Los Angeles Lakers, Javaris Crittenton, talks about the similarities of his home of Atlanta, Georgia and Los Angeles, the coaches, the transition to the NBA, what he's been working on, and other things in an interview here, and another one here.

Excerpts:

"What kind of things have you been doing off the court? Man, I’ve just been in the gym you know. I went to some of my teammates' houses, Andrew Bynum & Jordan Farmar, hanging out with those guys. I’ve been hanging out with Brian Cook, we did a commercial for Amare Stoudemire’s video game together. Hanging out with Kwame (Brown).

I’m just trying to get adjusted to my teammates and the city. I also had a little 'Welcome to LA' party, but that’s about it besides being in the gym and getting ready for training camp and the season. It’s a big season for me, it’s the NBA, there’s no room to take breaks like that."

"Are you looking forward to playing against him and practice and learning from him (Kobe)? Yeah, I'm a competitor. I compete with anybody. I'm looking forward to that. He's a great player - the best in the league in my opinion. I'm looking forward to competing against him and also playing with him."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Will Phil Jackson Sign An Extension?

Will Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson sign an extension? Will he still be here after this season is over? These have been the questions of people that are wondering about Phil Jackson's future with the Lakers. The main consideration of Jackson to return is about his health. He has had each hip replaced in the last two offseasons. He is still walking with a cane after his last hip replacement surgery.

Tex Winter, the triangle offense guru and Lakers assistant, says that Jackson is feeling a lot better. "He feels a lot better," Winter said. "He's much more animated this year than he was last year. He really came into the season last year not feeling very well. He is enjoying it now. He seems back to his old self." Winter thinks that the Lakers wouldn't necessarily have to be a championship contender for Jackson to sign an extension. "To a great extent, it depends on his health," Winter said.

According to Jackson himself, he told the media that he will decide within 4 weeks if he will sign an extension or not. Reasons from the article above that Jackson will sign the extension include him needing to scratch the competitive itch of coaching, staying for Jeanie Buss, and the possibility of winning a record 10th championship. Reasons that he will not sign the extension include his health, being able to spend more time with family, not needing the money, and his age. We will hopefully as soon as possible find out Jackson's decision.

Friday, October 12, 2007

October 11, 2007 Lakers vs. Golden State Recap

The Los Angeles Lakers didn't have the 21 point deficit at the end of the first quarter like in the first preseason game against the Golden State Warriors (it was a 3 point deficit in this game), but the Lakers ended up losing by more in the end with a 119-106 loss.

Luke Walton played after sitting out the first game, and Mo Evans sat this one with a hamstring injury that he sustained in the first game. The Lakers had good balance in scoring, with Derek Fisher and Vladimir Radmanovic each scoring 12 points, and Andrew Bynum, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Mihm each putting up 11 points.

Coby Karl played a lot better than the first game, and scored 9 points, all on three pointers. Andre Patterson did well in limited minutes, with 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in 5 minutes. Javaris Crittenton didn't do as well in his second game, scoring only 3 points, but had a nice dunk after splitting 2 defenders.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sights From Preseason

Plenty of things going on with the Lakers as everyone is together for training camp and preseason. Always nice to see the Lakers playing again after the offseason.

Lakers correspondent John Ireland thinks the new plan for the Lakers to do more running to get more scoring opportunities will be fun to watch, although he's not sure how well it'll work. He's also surprised by Ronny Turiaf getting more time, thinks Chris Mihm looks the best out of the centers, and says Derek Fisher seems more confident than his last stint with the Lakers.

Javaris Crittenton is learning the ropes and adjusting to the NBA life with the Lakers, and Jordan Farmar can relate. Just last year, Farmar was a rookie in the same position. He has given Crittenton some words of advice to help him out.

Vladimir Radmanovic has put last season out of his mind, and is focusing on this season. Radmanovic had career lows across the board after starting last season with an injured shooting hand, and later separating his shoulder during the All-Star break in a snowboarding accident. He was fined $500,000 for lying about it and doing something that his contract says he cannot do. His hand and shoulder have healed, and his shots are falling, giving the Lakers another shooter that they need and the reason they signed him for. He led the team in scoring in the first preseason game, scoring 20 points and hitting 5 three pointers. Phil Jackson was not upset with the one point loss, and liked Radmanovic's contribution in the first preseason game, telling him, "You redeemed yourself."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 9, 2007 Lakers vs. Golden State Recap

Nice to see Derek Fisher back in a Lakers jersey, and good to see Kobe Bryant on the floor. The Lakers trailed just about all of the game, trailing by 27 points at one point, but the bench got them back in the game, and the Lakers took the lead with less than 10 seconds left. But Troy Hudson hit the game winner for the Golden State Warriors, winning 111-110 over the Lakers.

Who I was impressed with in the first preseason game:

- Sasha Vujacic. Sasha really seemed to improve his game over the summer. He drove to the basket on a few occasions instead of just shooting stand-still jumpshots like he had been known for. His shot looked good in this game too, helping him to 15 points.

- Vladimir Radmanovic. I was really impressed by Vlad. I expected him to do a lot better this season, but he did even better than I expected. He was hitting his three pointers like they were layups, and he led the Lakers with 20 points.

- Javaris Crittenton. He really started to get hot in the second quarter, making all of his shots including a nice three pointer. Later, he threw a nice alley-oop to Andrew Bynum. He had 18 points in his debut. If he keeps up the good play, he will see some minutes in the regular season.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Lakers Preseason Begins

Lakers preseason begins tonight! For all those that have been waiting to see an idea of what this team is capable of, we will see the Lakers competing starting tonight against the Golden State Warriors in Hawaii. The pregame report for tonight suggests the Lakers will have a starting lineup of Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vlad Radmanovic, Ronny Turiaf, and Chris Mihm. The Lakers will also play the Warriors again on Thursday. Let's hope for a nice showing by all of the Lakers!

Monday, October 8, 2007

More On Position Battles And A Possible New Starter

As I recently posted about, the starting center and first point guard off the bench are still being battled for. Andrew Bynum is reportedly looking good with his rebounding and blocking, and Chris Mihm is able to play after missing all of last season. Kwame Brown is being held out of contact drills, but will have a chance to fight for the starting center position before the season opener on October 30.

All of the backup point guards, namely Jordan Farmar, Javaris Crittenton, and even Sasha Vujacic, who was used last season mostly as a shooting guard, went through shooting/rebounding drills in which one point guard would shoot, and the next in line would rebound the ball. The point guards have been pushing each other to get the best out of everyone, and trying to earn their spot to be the first point guard off the bench after Derek Fisher sits down for a rest.

News about a possible new starter has been reported. Phil Jackson has been reported saying that Ronny Turiaf may get the start at power forward. "I plan on starting him," Jackson said. "I really am seriously considering starting him. Those positions are so wide open. He's a guy that can bring energy to the game, the kind of start we need to have with a physical front. He's a guy that can block some shots." Turiaf starting would mean that Lamar Odom would shift to small forward, and Luke Walton would come off the bench, bolstering the second unit.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

With Fisher Returning, Different Role Awaits

Derek Fisher returns to the Lakers this season after a three season hiatus. But things will be different from his last appearance with the Lakers. Fisher will no longer see the familiar faces of such players as Robert Horry, Rick Fox, and Shaquille O'Neal. Horry and O'Neal are now with the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat respectively, and Fox is retired. Instead, he'll see a team that hasn't made it out of the first round of the playoffs the last two seasons.

Fisher probably won't be as big of a scorer as he was last time with the Lakers, but he still has the ability to knock down the big shots which he has done many times. Laker fans will never forget the huge, game-winning buzzer beater that Fisher hit in the 2004 NBA Playoffs against the Spurs. This will give the Lakers another option besides Kobe Bryant to hit big shots when needed. And Fisher is a big upgrade over Smush Parker, who was very inconsistent. The Lakers will have a more stable force at point guard, which will help the team in the long run.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lakers Banking On Bynum

The Lakers are hoping for Andrew Bynum, who was picked in the 2005 draft with the tenth overall pick, that he will turn out to be the franchise center that they expected him to be. The Lakers are expected to pick up the option for one more season soon. They must pick up the option before October 31, or Bynum will became an unrestricted free agent after the end of this season. Bynum will need to step up his game to help the Lakers get as far as they can this season.

In other quick updates, Kwame Brown offered an apology to his teammates for his arrest this past weekend. Phil Jackson and the Lakers are waiting for a full report of the investigation of the incident.

After Chris Mihm's first practice, he said his ankle felt a little stiff, but that he was okay. Also, the Lakers are planning on running a faster paced, more uptempo version of the triangle to maximize scoring opportunities.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Lakers Training Camp Preview

Training camp starts today for the Lakers, the official end to the offseason. The position depth chart for the preseason looks like this:

PG: Derek Fisher/Jordan Farmar/Javaris Crittenton

SG: Kobe Bryant/Mo Evans/Sasha Vujacic/Coby Karl

SF: Luke Walton/Vladimir Radmanovic/Andre Patterson

PF: Lamar Odom/Ronny Turiaf/Brian Cook/Elton Brown

C: Kwame Brown/Andrew Bynum/Chris Mihm/Larry Turner

There are 14 players with guaranteed contracts, leaving Karl, Patterson, Brown, and Turner to fight for the last roster spot. Out of the 4, Karl is the most likely to get the last roster spot.

The main position battles will be at center and point guard. The starting center position is up for grabs, and anyone can get it. With the exception of Larry Turner, who is a camp invitee, all of the centers have held the starting position at one time or another. For the starting point guard spot, Derek Fisher is almost a lock to start, but it will be a battle between Farmar and Crittenton to be the second point guard off the bench. Farmar started at the end of last season, but Crittenton has impressed the team from his summer league play.

The Lakers will hopefully start the season as well as they did last season, and keep it up. Injuries derailed the Lakers' nice start last season, so the Lakers will hopefully have an injury-free season and get a favorable matchup in the playoffs.

Kwame Brown Arrested

Kwame Brown was arrested early Saturday morning in Valdosta, Georgia at 2 a.m. for disorderly conduct and interference of an officer. Brown was the passenger in a car that was driving the wrong way on a one way street.

Brown was arrested when he got out of control during the investigation. "He would have been interfering with the investigation the officer was trying to conduct at that time," says Lt. Bobbi McGraw with the Valdosta Police.

Both Brown and the driver are out of jail on bond. Brown showed up for time for media day, and no punishment has been given to him by the team.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lakers Sign Andre Patterson

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent forward Andre Patterson, it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Patterson, a former UCLA Bruin who transferred to Tennessee for his junior and senior years of eligibility, played last season for the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League. In 50 games including 36 starts with the D-Fenders, Patterson averaged 10.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.62 blocked shots in 32.3 minutes.

Patterson also played for the Lakers 2007 Summer-Pro League team, averaging 4.3 points and 1.5 rebounds in four games. The Lakers preseason roster now stands at 18.

Kobe Shows Up For Media Day

There was initial confusion at the 10 a.m. start of the media day events, as all the players were there except for Kobe Bryant, who was missing. Things were cleared up when Bryant's spokeswoman, Catherine Sebring, cleared it up saying that he had a doctor's appointment. All eyes went to the door as Bryant showed up at 10:34 a.m.

Kobe said: "We purposely didn't say anything because we wanted to keep things to ourselves. There was just too much going on -- things get misconstrued. We don't need that. We don't need any distractions for the season. There was never a doubt I was coming to camp. They knew that, I knew that.

I was frustrated, so I blew up. Now, it's about taking this team that we have and take it to new heights. I think the important thing for everybody to understand is I want to bring a title back to L.A.

I'm ready to play. I'm in shape, guys look good. I'm ready to go. My job is to come out here on the floor, help us win ballgames.

I'm a soldier. It's not my decision to say whether or not we should fight the war. My focus and my mind has to be on this team. We have an uphill battle. I'm going to do all I can to help us win."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Is Kupchak That Bad?

Is Mitch Kupchak, GM of the Los Angeles Lakers, that bad? Two writers support and defend him.

Bill Plaschke from the Los Angeles Times writes about how he'll be cheering for Kupchak this season after endearing the public ripping down of by Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson, and the Laker fans. He challenges him the figure out how to help this team be more of a contender.

Travis Heath of Hoopsworld likes the small tweaks of this season and the players from the past that Kupchak has drafted. He talks about the young players progressing, and even says that Coby Karl will be a very nice player and will likely beat out Sasha Vujacic for playing time.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bryant Expected For Lakers Training Camp

The Lakers media day starts on Monday before the Lakers head to Hawaii for training camp that will start on Tuesday. Team spokesman John Black says, "Without mentioning specific names, appropriate people in our organization have been in contact with Kobe, and we have no reason to believe he won't be in Hawaii for training camp."

This, along with a posting on Bryant's official site would seem to indicate that he will show up. From his site: "The countdown to tipoff is on. Summer is gone, fall is upon us and that can mean only one thing: NBA training camps are just around the corner. While some teams are holding their media days today, the Lakers will invite the media to their practice facility on Monday and will depart shortly after for training camp in Hawaii. kb24.com will be at media day to bring you the sights and sounds as the team prepares to kick off the 2007-2008 season." It has also been reported that Bryant has also set up a time for his pre-camp physical exam.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More On The Odom/Marion Deal

As a followup to the report that the Lakers and Suns have been working on a deal involving Lamar Odom and Shawn Marion, it is still being worked on, and is not done yet. The holdup seems to be that Marion wants an extension, which would be in the $65 million range over three years, and the Lakers are wary of giving the extension. Marion didn't get the extension that he was looking for in Phoenix. If the trade does go down and the Lakers didn't give Marion an extension, Marion could become a free agent after this season, and possibly leave, meaning that the Lakers will have lost both Odom and Marion.

Marion has said that he "wants the deal to go down, and he sounded genuinely excited about the possibility of changing scenery. Marion also said he spoke with Kobe Bryant over the weekend and was left with the impression that Bryant supported the trade." If Marion does not end up getting traded, he has said that he will still show up for training camp with Phoenix.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Odom To The Suns For Marion?

The Lakers and the Suns are discussing a trade that would bring Shawn Marion to the Lakers, while sending back Lamar Odom and filler (most likely Brian Cook to make the salaries work) to the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are unwilling to give Marion a contract extension, which is part of why he wouldn't mind leaving the Suns. The source says:

"One sticking point with the Suns is that Marion was told that if he does opt out, he will not be re-signed. Another goes back to before the draft, when the Suns had a deal in place to send Marion to the Celtics -- Boston had agreed to extend his contract if the trade went through. 'I didn't like that,' Marion said. 'It was like they were trying to force my hand by taking the Boston deal. I have been with this team my whole career. I was like, wow.'

I asked if the team's refusal to give him an extension played into his unhappiness with the team. 'It was part of it,' Marion said. 'It's not like that was the last straw or anything. It was just part of everything that has gone on. People have made assumptions about me, but I don't think all those people know everything that has gone on.'"

The trade helps both teams. The Suns get the better all-around player in Odom. Odom adds more height than Marion, and Odom is a better playmaker, helping to relieve Steve Nash. The Lakers get a more consistent player in Marion. Marion is more high energy, and plays better defense, which the Lakers definitely need. The deal is being called a 50/50 chance of going down. If this deal goes down, both teams get help that they are looking for.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Open Letter To Lakers Guard Coby Karl

Here's a funny article from the Los Angeles Times' Lakers Blog:

"Dear Coby:

So here's the deal. Mitch Kupchak has expressed a desire to cap the roster at 14, in case a veteran they'd like to add becomes available down the stretch. There are 14 players with guaranteed contracts. Yours is only partially guaranteed. And while such deals have worked out for Lakers past (Smush Parker) and present (Ronny Turiaf), the roster makeup isn't nearly in your favor as it was for them. Sure, you had a nice Summer Pro League in Vegas, complete with a 20-point game, a blazing 47% clip from behind the arc and some nice all-around skills. Then again, you battled the likes of former Lakers scrub Jelani McCoy, '06 Lakers SPL foul machine Eddy Fobbs and Lakers Blog icon Von Wafer, who was likely too busy mapping out his next five shots to guard anyone. It would be understandable if the powers that be weren't necessarily convinced that showing merits clearing space for you via trade or waive. Thus, you're gonna have to wow them in a big, bad way.

Since I'm all about rooting for the underdog, I've been brainstorming strategies for making that 'wow' happen. Then I noticed how you haven't been issued a number yet, according to the Lakers website, and it hit me. You want Mitch, Phil Jackson and the Buss family to know that nothing intimidates you? That you're ready to make your presence known with a ginormous splash?

Request to wear No. 8.

Do it, man."

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lakers Ranked 13th In West In Offseason Moves

The Lakers didn't meet up to the high expectations that fans had this offseason. Because of that, they were ranked 13th in the Western Conference for offseason moves. Laker fans were crossing their fingers that Kevin Garnett would force his way to the Lakers after hearing him say that he likes L.A. and has a house in the area, but Garnett would end up going to the Boston Celtics. When Jermaine O'Neal said he was open to a trade, fans hoped it would be to the Lakers. The Lakers still have a standing offer from the Indiana Pacers to get O'Neal for Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum, but the Lakers aren't willing to give up that much.

The Lakers did get Derek Fisher back, which was very unexpected. The Lakers also made a very nice draft pick in the first round with Javaris Crittenton, also picking Sun Yue and Marc Gasol to keep overseas for at least a year. Luke Walton and Chris Mihm were also resigned. These moves will improve the Lakers marginally, but with the West also improving and being the tougher conference of the two, there needed to be bigger moves done by the Lakers to improve.

Also, while it's not an official move yet, a team insider says that coach Phil Jackson is leaning toward signing an extension that will add two more seasons to his career after this season. If this does happen, this would come as a relief since Jackson recently said that this could be his last season coaching.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Lakers Are A Bubble Team

The Lakers are a bubble team to make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference this upcoming season. Hoopsworld says, "Whether or not the Lakers had a successful offseason probably depends on who you ask. They did keep free agent Luke Walton, they lost Smush Parker to the Miami Heat, signed veteran Derek Fisher, and added rookies Javaris Crittenton (who played very well in summer league) and Coby Karl. On paper that seems like some decent upgrades, especially at point guard.

Of course, if you ask Kobe Bryant you likely will get a very different answer – and he’s right. None of the changes or additions the Lakers made will have that big of an impact in the standings. Last season the team won 42 games and squeaked into the playoffs, largely by riding Kobe’s strong shoulders. If Crittenton and Fisher give the Lakers consistent point guard play and Lamar Odom plays a full season, perhaps the Lakers will be better – but on nominally.

If Bryant was promised a contender – and no general manager should ever make a promise like that just to make a free agent stay – then yes, he absolutely has something to be annoyed about. The Lakers absolutely need a healthy and happy Bryant to make this season a success – and that starts from day one when players report to training camp. If Bryant is there this team will be roughly the same as last year, unless Crittenton and Andrew Bynum provide a much bigger than expected boost.

If Bryant doesn’t show up, the Lakers may as well start planning for the 2008 NBA Draft."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Will Kirilenko Get Traded To The Lakers?

Andrei Kirilenko of the Utah Jazz has asked for a trade. This of course, has the Laker fans wondering if he will get traded to the Lakers. It seems like there have been a lot of big name players asking for trades this offseason, and this always perks up the ears of Laker fans wondering if we can get them. After all, we are still waiting for the big move that the Lakers front office promised us this offseason.

Unfortunately, the chances probably aren't good. If the Lakers did make a move for Kirilenko, they would be taking on a 4 year, $63 million contract. The most simple deal that the two teams could do would be Kirilenko for Lamar Odom straight up without any other players involved. Both make about $13 million a year, so the salaries match up to make the deal. Odom is the better all-around player, but Kirilenko is the better defender. Because Kirilenko doesn't have a contract opt out, Utah holds all of the leverage in the deal, and probably wouldn't make the deal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lakers Sign Elton Brown

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent forward Elton Brown, it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Brown, a 6-9 forward out of the University of Virginia, finished 20th on Virginia’s all-time scoring list with 1,356 points and 13th on the all-time rebounding list with 660 rebounds.

Brown spent the 2005-06 season in Greece playing for Makedonikos Kozani, where he led the league in rebounds while being the only player in the league to average a double-double, averaging 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

Brown was a member of the NBDL’s Colorado 14ers during the 2006-07 season, where he averaged 18.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 50 games.

The Lakers currently have 17 players under contract, so Brown will have to fight to make a team roster spot.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Catching Up With Sasha Vujacic

Lakers.com had an interview with Sasha Vujacic to see what he was up to this summer. On what he's been working on this summer:

"I’ve been on a weight program, I’ve done a couple basketball camps, and I’ve been working a lot on my penetrating the defense. I work out a couple hours a day realizing that it’s going to be very competitive next year. I just want to earn my spot from the beginning and like I’ve said many times before, I just want to show what I was brought here for and win a championship with the Lakers very soon."

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chris Mihm Interview

After missing all of last season and the end part of the season before, Chris Mihm is ready to come back and help the Lakers win games this season. Mihm says he's 90%-100% recovered from his injury, and he is working on getting his strength and conditioning back. He also says that his foot isn't bothering him anymore, that he can move around well, and that he can jump as well as he could before, which is a good sign. Check out the interview with part one here and part two here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Ronny Turiaf Talks About Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant has been keeping in touch with Lakers teammate Ronny Turiaf over the summer through text messages, one of which might have played a small part in inspiring Bryant's tenacious man-to-man defense at the recently completed Tournament of the Americas.

"I was giving him a hard time about stopping Leandro [Barbosa of Brazil], and he did it," said Turiaf, who is playing here for France. "He's playing with a chip on his shoulder as far as stopping the best player on the other team, playing his best basketball, and I'm hoping he can carry that on for us this year."

Turiaf's use of the word "us" prompted the question of whether he thinks Bryant will still be with the Lakers once the season begins -- not exactly a certainty given the trade request Bryant put in with the Lakers earlier this summer.

"That's really none of my business," Turiaf said. "That's between him and management. As far as I know, I'm hoping and wishing he's going to be with us because I have a special relationship with him -- he's like a big brother, and he brings so much to the table on offense and defense.

"So I don't know. Training camp starts in like three weeks, and he hasn't been traded yet, so maybe that's a sign he's going to be there."

Monday, September 10, 2007

Will Kobe Show Up?

Still plenty of speculation about whether Kobe Bryant shows up to training camp or not next month, Hoopsworld chimes in on the situation.

"While Bryant has quieted his push for a trade, he hasn't backed off it either. With the entire world watching the summer games, he's chosen to remain silent to any questions pertaining to the Lakers.

It's a concern because he's kept himself out of touch. He doesn't work out in El Segundo at the team's facility. He doesn't talk to management. Depending on whom you ask Bryant may not even show for training camp."

"Perhaps Bryant has no choice but to play out the season. Maybe Andrew Bynum progresses significantly and the team is better than anyone expected.

Maybe Bryant is rejuvenated and remains a Laker for life . . . rings soon follow, etc.

But what if he really doesn't show for training camp?

Would the Lakers have to trade him then? Would he take it as far as sitting for actual games? What would be the financial repercussions?"

Also from Hoopsworld, the writers talk about Kobe's attitude toward the media, and how it differs in certain situations.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Phil Jackson In The Hall Of Fame

After nine NBA championships as a coach, tied for the most with Red Auerbach, Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson has made it to the Hall of Fame. Jackson gives plenty of credit to Red Holzman, his former coach back when he played with the New York Knicks. Jackson said that Holzman took him "under his wing, he didn't have an assistant coach, he made me his assistant coach and taught the game to me and taught me a lot about the game and encouraged me to go into coaching."

"He always believed in what was called the middle path," said Jackson of Holzman. "I appreciated that, his ability to handle players, particularly a team that was full of college players of the year. Cazzie Russell and Bill Bradley were both competing for the same job, but the ability for both of them to play as a team directly reflected [Holzman's] ability to handle people and make them play as a group. That ability to handle people probably was the trademark that I learned more than anything else. He treated the superstars and role players very much in the same manner."

About Jackson's success: "It's been like a comet," said Jackson. "The success of the teams I've coached has been just phenomenal. I've heard people say that I've been the luckiest coach that's ever been in the NBA and I would probably have to agree with them. I've been in the right spot at the right time."

Jackson even joked about Auerbach, saying, "We lost out on the Kevin Garnett sweepstakes. Red Auerbach came out of the grave and told Kevin to give him to the Celtics so the Celtics can get back in the running. That was a blessing, that connection. We just didn't have the connection to make that happen for us."

Despite all of the positive talk from Jackson about going into the Hall of Fame, he did bring up the possibility of this being his last season coaching. "This could well be my last year of coaching. I'm not saying it is, but it could be. I think I have an outstanding offer to sign up again, but I have held that back because of my recovery. Then there's the basis of how well the team does. If this team doesn't move forward quickly, and that's, I think, the second round of the playoffs, then I think we have to reconsider."

From ESPN, an article about Jackson's road to the Hall of Fame, and a timeline of his career.

Congratulations to Phil Jackson for making the Hall of Fame, and hopefully we will still see Phil coaching the Lakers for plenty more seasons after this one!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Lakers Report Card

Just in time for the start of the new school year, the Lakers have been graded on their offseason moves. The Lakers were given thumbs up for signing Derek Fisher, resigning Chris Mihm and Luke Walton, and drafting Javaris Crittenton, and were given thumbs down for Kobe Bryant's outburst and for losing out on Kevin Garnett. SI's grade for the Lakers: D.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Quick Laker Updates

While Kobe Bryant has been playing for Team USA in the FIBA Americas Tournament, Kobe has kept his Laker business and Team USA business separate. Mitch Kupchak was in attendance in Las Vegas for the USA vs. Uruguay game, but Kobe said he "hadn't really had a chance to speak to [him]." Hopefully this is not a bad sign.

And a quick note on the official Lakers website. Lakers.com will be relaunched in October with a new look. From the sneak peak that can be seen, looks like it will have a cleaner, more streamlined look to it, which looks nice.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Fallback Plan?

With the plans that the Lakers had of getting at least another star player to play beside Kobe Bryant close to being shut or shut down already, the Lakers possibly have another plan to fall back on. A trade with the Milwaukee Bucks would send Yi Jianlian, who doesn't want to report to the Bucks, and Bobby Simmons to the Lakers in return for Kwame Brown, Jordan Farmar, and a future first round pick with Sasha Vujacic or Maurice Evans being thrown in the deal if needed.

Normally, I don't think the Bucks would take the deal, but if Yi still refuses to play for them, they might be forced to take the deal if they get no other deals that fit what they are looking for. Still, the Bucks would get a nice up and coming point guard in Farmar, a decent post defender in Brown, and a first round pick to help in the future. The Lakers get someone who has been said to have a lot of potential in Yi (the Lakers were one of the few teams to work out with Yi, and were said to be impressed), and get a good defender in Simmons, which the Lakers definitely can use any defenders that they can get. Everything depends on what Yi ends up deciding to do.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Kobe Changes Up His Shooting Technique

When watching Kobe in the Team USA games recently, I have noticed that Kobe's shot has looked a little different than I had seen before. Turns out, he did change his method of shooting.

"I went from more of a stiff release to more of a looser one. Just because I fractured my hand some years ago, and just the rotation of the ball after that has been a little different. So, I had to change it up a little bit."

Also, even though that Kobe is the best player in the NBA today, he still constantly has to prove that fact. CBS Sportsline does a nice job of illustrating that situation.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Former Lakers Coach Butch van Breda Kolff Dies

From Yahoo:

"Butch van Breda Kolff, who twice guided the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals, has died. He was 84. A longtime collegiate and pro coach, van Breda Kolff passed away in Spokane on Wednesday."

"'Although it was many years ago, and before my ownership of the team, Butch van Breda Kolff was an important part of the Lakers' success during our early years in Los Angeles,' Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss said. 'We're sorry to hear of his passing and would like to send our condolences to his family and friends.'"

"'Butch was a real basketball purist who believed in a team-oriented game, and I enjoyed playing for him very much,' Hall of Famer Jerry West said. 'Not only did I have two of the best seasons of my career while he was our coach, but our team enjoyed a high level of success as well, even though we unfortunately lost to the Celtics in the NBA Finals both years. I'm saddened to hear that he's passed away and send my deepest sympathies to his family.'"

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lakers Sign Larry Turner

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed free agent center Larry Turner, it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

Turner, a 6-11 center from Tennessee State, averaged 5.8 points and 6.1 rebounds as a senior. Turner played for the Lakers 2007 Summer-Pro League team, averaging 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds in five games.

Quiet, Maybe Too Quiet For The Lakers

It's been pretty quiet in Laker Land. Kobe Bryant hasn't said much lately. Sure, some think that Kobe will push for a trade after playing with Jason Kidd for the Olympic basketball qualifiers, but that's just talk at this point. Kobe did have a short talk with Rachel Nichols of ESPN though:

"Nichols: You said one day you wanted to be traded, you said you wanted to be a Laker for Life. There were different phone calls back and forth.

Bryant: I think a lot of people misinterpreted it. But that's water under the bridge to me, because going forward, we're handling our situation between ourselves, meaning the Lakers organization and myself. If things, if things were to be different, we both would have handled the situation a little differently.

Nichols: When you look back on that, are you thinking ... Oh God, what was I doing then?

Bryant: Yeah, sure, it was just frustration. Frustration gets the best of everybody."

Also from ESPN, J.A. Adande answered a few Laker questions in a chat session, most of them having to with Kobe:

"Lakeshow, Burbank: Is Bynum really looking "that good" this off season? Does he have the makings of the future of a franchise?

J.A. Adande: We heard Bynum was looking good last summer...from no less than Kobe Bryant. And we saw how that worked out. The thing is, 7-footers picked outside of the top 5 in the draft don't turn into franchise guys. There's a reason they were still available in the double-digit range. A notable exception in recent years was a guy who turned into an all-star...Jermaine O'Neal

CMo Detroit, MI: Do you see Kobe in training camp this year?

J.A. Adande: I think Kobe has to show up for his image's sake. The one thing he's always had going for him is his work ethic. He's always on the court, giving his all. If he's sitting at home in Newport Beach, it gets tough for even his most ardent supporters to have his back

malik (tucson): J.A., we have constantly been brainwashed into thinking Kobe had Shaq shipped out of L.A. Dr. Buss spoke publicly against this and yet the coverage has been the same as before...slighted. When will you and the media give this FACT as much run as you gave for the lies?

J.A. Adande: Here's the thing: I don't think Kobe marched into Buss' office and ordered Shaq shipped out. On the other hand, I think it was obvious that he was intrigued by the idea of doing this on his own. And the main thing is, he didn't exactly try to keep Buss from getting rid of Shaq. If he really wanted to play with Shaq, Buss would have kept him. He would have washed Kobe's cars that summer if it would have kept him in Lakerland

Matt (Reno, Nevada): Can the Lakers Acquire Jermaine O'Neal without having to give up Lamar Odom?

J.A. Adande: I think Odom would have to be a part of the deal to get it done. If for no other reason than for salary match purposes. But also, he's the only one of the tradeable assets (Kwame, Bynum) that has proven he can get it done in the league

Brad(NM): Being from L.A. I would guess you're in tune with the Lakers and the Kobe situation right? How do you think that situation plays out, especially now that they've made no moves other than Fisher? By the way, how does one get into the lounge?

J.A. Adande: I still think Kobe plays at least one more season in L.A. I wouldn't make a comparison to the KG situation because Minnesota was already out of the playoffs and attendance had slipped, so the T-Wolves had nothing to lose. The Lakers at least made the playoffs, and Kobe still pulls folks into Staples Center, so the Lakers can't part with him. And to get on the Lounge List, try e-mailing me."

And Hoopsworld sums up the Kobe summer experience.

As a side note, Team USA has its first game tonight in the Olympic qualifiers at 8 pm Pacific time against Venezuela. It will be interesting to see Kobe playing after the end of the last season.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Trade Between Co-tenants?

With the injury to Elton Brand, the Clippers lost a major player from their team for at least part of the season. They will need someone to step up at the power forward position, or trade for a power forward. It has been suggested that the Clippers trade Corey Maggette and filler (to make salaries match) to the Lakers for Kwame Brown. This trade gives the Clippers a short term fix for the power forward position, giving them a decent post defender who is on the last year of his contract, and gives the Lakers another scorer to go along with Kobe Bryant.

Question is, would both teams want this deal? For Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, absolutely! He would be out of his mind not to take this deal if it was offered. The Lakers would be getting a very good player and getting rid of someone who is not very good at all. For Clippers GM Elgin Baylor, I would highly doubt that he would take this deal, even with the Elton Brand injury. Kwame has a horrible time even catching the ball, let alone scoring, and would not help the Clippers very much. So even though Laker fans would definitely want this deal to go down, unfortunately, there's no way that this deal happens.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jermaine O'Neal Trade Commentary And Suggestion

Jermaine O'Neal recently said that his top two destinations are to the Los Angeles Lakers or to the New Jersey Nets, with the Lakers getting the nod over the Nets. Indiana has said that they want Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum for O'Neal. That is too much talent to give up, so the Lakers have not made that deal.

Larry Bird knows that the Lakers are desperate to get Kobe help, and that this is the Lakers' best opportunity available since Kevin Garnett is unavailable after going to Boston. With that said, Bird wants both the multi-faceted talent of Odom and the potential upside of Bynum if he is going to give up his star player.

What Bird needs to look at is the fact that O'Neal may start losing value as time goes on. O'Neal may be a star, but it takes one injury to significantly lower his value, causing any chance of trading away O'Neal to be pulled of the table. Then what? O'Neal walks away at the end of his contract with the Pacers not getting anything in return. It doesn't even have to be during the season that O'Neal gets hurt. We just recently heard about Elton Brand rupturing his Achilles tendon during a routine workout. If a similar injury happens to O'Neal, the Pacers are left with nothing.

The Lakers won't budge on giving up both Odom and Bynum. The Pacers will have to recognize that fact, and take what they can get. What do I suggest for a trade that is fair for both sides? The Pacers get Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown, Vladimir Radmanovic, and Jordan Farmar for Jermaine O'Neal. With this deal, the Pacers still get Bynum that they wanted, an expiring contract with Brown, a good shooter in Radmanovic who will definitely do a lot better this season than last season since he was injured, and a nice young point guard in Farmar.

Are the Lakers giving up a lot? Yes, but in the end, it's worth it to get a great player like O'Neal, plus being able to keep Odom. A trio of Kobe, Odom, and O'Neal would be a very solid team, and would definitely help the Lakers get a higher seed in the tough Western Conference than they have in the past few years, maybe even getting the Lakers to the NBA Finals, and getting the Lakers and Kobe the next championship that they have been waiting for.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The On Again, Off Again O'Neal Story

We keep hearing about Jermaine O'Neal first wanting to be traded to the Lakers, then saying that he didn't say that. Whatever it is, at least two people think that it will actually happen. From Hoopsworld:

"Right now Jermaine O'Neal is a Pacer. However any decent general manager knows you don't want guys on your team who want to be traded. Simple as that. I expect him to go to the Lakers when he's moved. One reason is Kobe Bryant has yet to see the Lakes make a move to better the team now. New Jersey is a long shot. He's in the same conference as the Nets. Can't see that happening. They don't want to lose to the Nets in the playoffs with O'Neal killing them on the inside. He'd have to go out West."

Also, Fox Sports gives its take on the whole situation.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Lakers Schedule

The NBA posted the 2007-08 schedule today for all 30 teams. The full Lakers schedule is at the end of this post, and some of the important games include:

  • Oct. 30, Lakers vs. Houston - This is the opening night of the season, which will mark the debut of Javaris Crittenton, the return of Derek Fisher in a Laker jersey, and Kobe Bryant's first game back after asking to be traded.
  • Nov. 2, Lakers @ Phoenix - The Lakers' first away game, this is also the first time that the Lakers will play the Suns since losing 4-1 in last season's playoffs to Phoenix.
  • Nov. 13, Lakers @ San Antonio - The Lakers actually won the season series against the Spurs last season 2-1, with the only loss coming from a Michael Finley three pointer that was the game winner in overtime on Jan. 28. It will interesting to see if the Lakers will still match up as well as they did last season against the Spurs.
  • Nov. 27, Lakers vs. Seattle - Kevin Durant plays in his first game against Kobe. This will definitely be interesting to watch.
  • Jan. 25, Lakers @ Dallas - This is an intriguing game, as Dallas and the Lakers playing each other almost always makes for an entertaining matchup.
  • Feb. 26, Lakers vs. Portland - We have to wait quite a while to see Greg Oden. I really am looking forward to see Andrew Bynum match up with Oden.

I have a few other thoughts about the schedule. About the Christmas game, finally not a Christmas matchup of Lakers vs. Heat! Three times in a row was not cool. Instead, we get an interesting and entertaining game between the Suns and Lakers.

Has anyone noticed that we have played the Sacramento Kings towards the end of the season for quite a while now? We play the Kings the last game this coming season, and we played the Kings on the last game this past season, and the seasons before that I can always remember playing the Kings in the last games of the season. Or at least it seems like it.

Our schedule seems balanced for the most part as far as clusters of home and away games. We do have a big 9 game road trip this year starting Jan. 31 in Detroit, and ending Feb. 13 in Minnesota. Luckily, the majority of the teams that they will play aren't too hard to win. Our longest homestand is 5 games, which we have a couple sets of. We are at home for 5 games from Christmas to Jan. 6, and also from Mar. 26 to Apr. 4. We also end the season with 3 games at home, so looks pretty good, which always helps. Let's hope that it gets us a higher seed in the playoffs this year!

October

Tue 30 vs Houston 7:30pm

November

Fri 2 @ Phoenix 7:30pm

Sun 4 vs Utah 6:30pm

Tue 6 vs New Orleans 7:30pm

Fri 9 vs Minnesota 7:30pm

Tue 13 @ San Antonio 5:30pm

Wed 14 @ Houston 6:00pm

Fri 16 vs Detroit 7:30pm

Sun 18 vs Chicago 6:30pm

Tue 20 @ Indiana 4:00pm

Wed 21 @ Milwaukee 5:00pm

Fri 23 @ Boston 4:30pm

Sun 25 vs New Jersey 6:30pm

Tue 27 vs Seattle 7:30pm

Thu 29 vs Denver 7:30pm

Fri 30 @ Utah 6:00pm

December

Sun 2 vs Orlando 6:30pm

Tue 4 @ Minnesota 5:00pm

Wed 5 @ Denver 6:00pm

Sun 9 vs Golden State 6:30pm

Thu 13 vs San Antonio 7:30pm

Fri 14 @ Golden State 7:30pm

Sun 16 vs LA Clippers 6:30pm

Tue 18 @ Chicago 5:30pm

Thu 20 @ Cleveland 5:00pm

Fri 21 @ Philadelphia 4:00pm

Sun 23 @ New York 9:00am

Tue 25 vs Phoenix 2:00pm

Fri 28 vs Utah 7:30pm

Sun 30 vs Boston 6:30pm

January

Fri 4 vs Philadelphia 7:30pm

Sun 6 vs Indiana 6:30pm

Tue 8 @ Memphis 5:00pm

Wed 9 @ New Orleans 5:00pm

Fri 11 vs Milwaukee 7:30pm

Sun 13 vs Memphis 6:30pm

Mon 14 @ Seattle 7:00pm

Thu 17 vs Phoenix 7:30pm

Mon 21 vs Denver 7:30pm

Wed 23 @ San Antonio 6:00pm

Fri 25 @ Dallas 5:30pm

Sun 27 vs Cleveland 12:30pm

Tue 29 vs New York 7:30pm

Thu 31 @ Detroit 4:30pm

February

Fri 1 @ Toronto 4:00pm

Sun 3 @ Washington 9:00am

Tue 5 @ New Jersey 4:30pm

Wed 6 @ Atlanta 4:00pm

Fri 8 @ Orlando 4:00pm

Sun 10 @ Miami 12:30pm

Mon 11 @ Charlotte 4:00pm

Wed 13 @ Minnesota 5:00pm

Tue 19 vs Atlanta 7:30pm

Wed 20 @ Phoenix 6:00pm

Sat 23 @ LA Clippers 7:30pm

Sun 24 @ Seattle 6:00pm

Tue 26 vs Portland 7:30pm

Thu 28 vs Miami 7:30pm

Fri 29 @ Portland 7:30pm

March

Sun 2 vs Dallas 12:30pm

Tue 4 @ Sacramento 7:00pm

Fri 7 vs LA Clippers 7:30pm

Sun 9 vs Sacramento 6:30pm

Tue 11 vs Toronto 7:30pm

Fri 14 @ New Orleans 5:00pm

Sun 16 @ Houston 4:00pm

Tue 18 @ Dallas 5:30pm

Thu 20 @ Utah 7:30pm

Fri 21 vs Seattle 7:30pm

Sun 23 vs Golden State 6:30pm

Mon 24 @ Golden State 7:30pm

Wed 26 vs Charlotte 7:30pm

Fri 28 vs Memphis 7:30pm

Sun 30 vs Washington 6:30pm

April

Wed 2 vs Portland 7:30pm

Fri 4 vs Dallas 7:30pm

Sun 6 @ Sacramento 6:00pm

Tue 8 @ Portland 7:00pm

Thu 10 @ LA Clippers 7:30pm

Fri 11 vs New Orleans 7:30pm

Sun 13 vs San Antonio 12:30pm

Tue 15 vs Sacramento 7:30pm

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Derek Fisher's 0.4 Second Buzzer Beater

I thought in honor of Derek Fisher signing back to the Lakers, I would post his miracle shot that beat the buzzer for the win in the 2004 NBA playoffs against the Spurs. I still remember the moment quite easily like it was yesterday.

Kobe Bryant hits a jumper to give the Lakers the lead. Then Tim Duncan hits an extremely tough shot with 0.4 seconds left to give the Spurs the one point lead. I still remember how tough it was to watch that shot go through the hoop with that little time left on the clock. But I still kept hope that the Lakers could still win the game because I have seen some crazy things happen in Laker games, and any time left on the clock meant that the Lakers still had a chance.

The last play was very nerve-wrecking to watch. The Spurs defense was all over the Lakers. Kobe, who was obviously going to be the first option with the numerous game winners and buzzer beaters he has hit, was being double teamed and couldn't get open. Fisher got open enough to catch the inbounds pass, turned and shot all in one motion with Manu Ginobili on him, and the shot dropped through the net to give the Lakers the win. Fisher went running and the Lakers went crazy, while the Spurs were deflated from the buzzer beater, and the Spurs lost the series to the Lakers 4-2. This shot is one of my top favorite memories of the Lakers, and something that I will never forget.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Free Agent And Trade Talk

Lots of Laker related free agent and trade talk going around the web. KCAL9 interviewer John Ireland says why he thinks a big trade hasn't went down yet, saying:

"They are waiting to make sure Kevin Garnett doesn't move. This isn't to suggest that Garnett will move to the Lakers, but if Minnesota decides to trade him, the Lakers want to have all of their available parts to make an offer. Remember that Garnett could leave at the end of the year, so it makes no sense for the Wolves not to move him. That could be in December, or just before the trade deadline, but I think the Lakers are smart to make sure they have a seat at that table."

Charley Rosen of Fox Sports answered a few Laker questions in his mailbag, including saying that Portland would be the best fit for Kobe if he were to get traded, and his views on trading for Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O'Neal. Said Rosen:

"Assuming they'd have to part with Odom (plus Bynum and/or Brown), obtaining Jermaine O'Neal would be a lateral move for the Lakers. He's too soft, foul- and injury-prone, empty-handed in the clutch, and reluctant to bang in the paint to be much of an improvement over Odom. Garnett is a different story. Having him play in Kobe's huge shadow would be a big plus."

Also, Hoopshype had an interview with various writers that cover the Lakers with some questions involving Garnett and O'Neal, the Kobe situation, and the Lakers front office.

Lastly, the Miami Heat have signed former Laker Smush Parker. If you're looking for a quote that is so off the wall that it's hilarious, check this out. The Palm Beach Post said, "Parker, 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, also can play shooting guard and has a reputation as a strong on-the-ball defender." Are you kidding me? I literally laughed out loud when I read that they were calling Parker a "strong on-the-ball defender". They obviously didn't watch Laker games the past two seasons.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Latest About Fisher

Not a lot of new news going on lately about the Lakers, but there are still some articles going around of course about the Derek Fisher signing. The transcript of Derek Fisher's press conference is online, and here is a little bit of what he had to say:

"It’s extremely exciting [to be back in L.A.]. Probably just today I’m getting a chance to start to think about the basketball aspects of coming back. I’ve been a little guarded because of how many things have gone into getting here, not knowing if this moment would ever come. It’s exciting to think about working with Kobe, working alongside of him and all the guys on the team. I think this team over the last couple years even though it doesn’t maybe feel that way Mitch and the guys that have been here because of spoiling themselves and ourselves in the past as we were winning championships it doesn’t seem like there’s been a great deal to be proud about, but any team that’s made the playoffs the last couple years in the Western Conference has done a lot. The Western Conference is about as tough as it gets. The youth that Kobe and the guys have played with and battled with and all the injuries with key guys being in and out of the lineup the last two years, to still make the playoffs and be competitive in the Western Conference is phenomenal. So I’m looking forward to adding what I can add to, not feeling that I’m an answer or a solution to anything, but hopefully just adding value and depth and experience and allowing us to win a few more games so that we aren’t a 7 or 8 seed, but a 2, 3, 4 seed with home court advantage in the first round. Allowing ourselves to build momentum as he go into the playoffs."

Mitch Kupchak said: “In evaluating our team at the end of last season, we said we needed help in the back court, primarily a veteran ball-handling guard” said Kupchak. “As we began looking at free agents, we never imagined that Derek would be available. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the opportunity to sign him became an option and we are pleased we were able to do so.”

Fisher also dropped by the Today Show, where he told his story about his daughter Tatum to host Matt Lauer. When asked if the decision to leave the $21 million dollars on the table was easier at this stage in his career rather than if it would have been early in his career, Fisher said:

“Probably so. I think that early in your career, when you’re trying to establish yourself, you’re trying to set up that financial security for you and your family, it’s more difficult. I think at this point in my career, and in my life, really, not just as a basketball player but as a man, more than anything — learning how to be a husband and learning how to be a father — those are the sacrifices you make for your family, and you just work it out.”

Nice story about Fisher. It's always nice to read stories about players doing good things instead of the usual things like players getting into fights, getting arrested, etc.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Three Way Deal Including Odom Fell Through

According to Yahoo Sports, a three way deal among the Lakers, Bobcats, and Nets fell through when Bobcats owner Michael Jordan pulled out of the deal. The Bobcats would have received Richard Jefferson from the Nets, the Nets would have received Lamar Odom from the Lakers, and the Lakers would have received Gerald Wallace from the Bobcats.

In my opinion, this would have been just a lateral move for every team, and it wouldn't have helped or hurt any of them. All of them have similar stats and skills, so the trade wouldn't have pushed any team over the top. From Jordan's perspective, it seems like he felt the same way and didn't want to make a trade just to make a move unless it would help his team, which is of course what any owner or GM should think about when making a trade.

It's Official: Fisher Is (Again) A Laker, Mihm Too

After being released by the Utah Jazz from his contract, Derek Fisher is returning to the Lakers. Fisher, after leaving the Jazz to find a city with better medical facilities for his daughter Tatum for treatment of a rare eye cancer, signed a 3 year contract worth $14 million according to the L.A. Times. Fisher will most likely start for the Lakers, giving them the veteran point guard that they have been looking for. He will join Kobe Bryant as the only remaining members of the 2000-2002 champions on the Lakers.

Chris Mihm will also be rejoining the Lakers, signing a $5 million dollar contract for 2 years. Mihm missed all of last season and the end of the season before that, and comes back to the Lakers after also working out with the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies, Philadelphia 76ers, and Cleveland Cavaliers. Regarding his ankle, Mihm said, "I did a workout for the Lakers [Thursday], about 45 minutes, went pretty hard, and the ankle feels great." The Mihm signing helps the Lakers in the post, where they had trouble last year with injuries and inconsistency.

Welcome

I welcome everyone to Lakers Worldwide. I have created this blog because I am a big Laker fan, and thought, "Hey, why don't I start a blog about the Lakers?" So here I am. I enjoy watching the Lakers, and watching Laker games is one of my favorite things to do. I think that I will really enjoy blogging about the Lakers, and I hope that you will enjoy reading and commenting along with me. Thanks for reading my Lakers Worldwide blog.