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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lakers Resign DJ Mbenga

The Lakers have resigned center DJ Mbenga today. Press release below:

"The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed free agent center Didier “DJ” Ilunga-Mbenga, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Mbenga, a 7-foot, 255 pound native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Lakers last season on January 21 and February 1 before signing for the remainder of the year on February 11.

In 26 games with the Lakers, Mbenga averaged 2.0 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.62 blocked shots in 7.8 minutes while totaling four points and five rebounds in 10 minutes over seven postseason games.

Earlier in the season, Mbenga signed with the Golden State Warriors on November 17 after spending three seasons with the Dallas Mavericks prior to their request for waivers on him October 30. In 16 games with the Warriors prior to his release January 6, Mbenga averaged 1.2 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.63 blocked shots in 8.1 minutes.

After signing with Dallas as a rookie free agent in 2004, Mbenga, 27, played 79 games over three seasons with the Mavericks, totaling 106 points, 75 rebounds and 35 blocked shots in 374 minutes. In his rookie year of 2004-05, he averaged 4.10 blocks per 48 minutes played while improving to 5.00 blocks per 48 minutes in 2005-06. In 2006-07 he was limited to just 21 games after missing the first 16 games of the year with a left foot tendon strain and suffering a torn right ACL 2/7/07 vs. Memphis.

In 121 career games including two starts, Mbenga is averaging 1.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.50 blocked shots in 5.8 minutes.

The Lakers preseason roster now stands at 19."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sun Yue Almost Sent To Memphis

In an interview with Los Angeles Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, he revealed that recently signed Chinese guard Sun Yue was almost part of the Memphis trade that brought Pau Gasol to the Lakers. Kupchak said, "Memphis also wanted Sun in the trade, but we wanted to keep at least one of those 2 guys so Memphis wanted Marc [Gasol] and we are happy that we were able to keep Sun Yue, because we liked him when we drafted him."

Other topics of the interview include how well Sun speaks English, his humor, another nickname, and the process that the Lakers had to go through to sign a player from China. It's an interesting read if you've ever wondered what NBA teams have had to go through to sign players like Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian, and now Sun from China.

Read more about the interview here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Assist By Ref

Here's a fun Laker video to watch until there's some new Laker news:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lakers Sign C.J. Giles

The Lakers have signed forward C.J. Giles today. Press release below:

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

Giles, a 6-11 forward who finished his collegiate career at Oregon State after playing two seasons at Kansas, averaged 6.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in ten games last season for the Beavers."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lakers Sign Brandon Heath

The Lakers have signed guard Brandon Heath today. Press release below:

"The Los Angeles Lakers signed free agent guard Brandon Heath on Wednesday.

Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

A 6-3 guard who played collegiately at San Diego State, Heath spent last season playing in France for Entente Orleans 45, where he averaged 12.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 25 games.

Heath had an impressive career with the Aztecs, graduating as the school and Mountain West Conference’s all-time leader in scoring with 2,189 points."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No Surgery For Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant announced today that he is not getting surgery on his right pinkie. Bryant originally injured his finger on February 5 while trying to steal the ball from Jason Kidd.

Bryant said he visited many hand specialists, and decided not to have surgery after hearing that he could be out for 12 weeks to recover. He had originally planned to have surgery after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but has decided against it.

Read more about it here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Andrew Bynum Is Ready To Play

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum is ready to play after his breakout season was shortened by a knee injury which caused the need for arthroscopic surgery after averaging a double double with 13.1 points and 10.1 rebounds. The Lakers training camp begins September 30, and Bynum says he'll be better than ever.

"The knee's good. Everything's ready to go, 100 percent. I've been training, getting stronger. I can't wait, man," Bynum said. "I think I'm the only guy who wants the season to start, like, tomorrow, you know what I mean? But I just can't wait to play with the fellows."

Bynum, as well as all Lakers fans, are anxiously waiting his teaming with Pau Gasol. Gasol will shift to power forward, making a scary combo up front for other teams to deal with.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kobe Bryant Vs. LeBron James

You know it's the dead of summer when there's absolutely no new Laker news. Haha. Anyway, there's a debate on Hoopsworld about who's better between Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, and I'd like to put my input on it out there.

The writer arguing LeBron's side, of course mentions the thing that you always hear when saying he's better: he's stronger and bigger. Oooh wow, size and strength automatically makes you better? If anything, that's another point for Kobe being better since he's working with less size and strength than LeBron.

Another mention is that LeBron has a higher scoring average, and more specifically, more points scored in the beginning of his career than Kobe does. Well, let's see, Kobe had high scoring teammates already like Shaq, Nick Van Exel, and Eddie Jones, so he obviously didn't get the playing time or have as much of a scoring responsibility as LeBron did at the beginning of his career. Let's take the top 4 scorers from each team (other than Kobe or LeBron) from their rookie seasons. For the Lakers in Kobe's rookie season (1996-97), we have Shaq with 26.2 points, Jones with 17.2, Van Exel with 15.3, and Elden Campbell with 14.9 for a total of 73.6 points. For the Cavaliers in LeBron's rookie season (2003-04), we have Carlos Boozer with 15.5 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas with 15.3, Jeff McInnis with 11.7, and Eric Williams with 9.4 for a total of 51.9 points. Their sophomore seasons tell the same story, with the Lakers' top 4 (other than Kobe) scoring 71, and the Cavs' top 4 (other than LeBron) scoring 50.

Basically, what I'm trying to get across in the above paragraph is that of course LeBron is going to score more in his early seasons, LeBron didn't have as much talent on his team than Kobe did, so he had to score more and got more opportunities to score more than Kobe. Put Kobe on a team with less talent when he was in his early seasons, and he would have done the same. Which brings me to a related point. The LeBron supporters in the debate point to the fact that he started more games early in his career than Kobe did. LeBron started 79 games his rookie season and 80 his sophomore season. Kobe started 6 games his rookie season and 1 his sophomore season. Again, the reason Kobe's numbers are so low is because of all the talent that he had on his team, not the talent of Kobe himself.

There's no doubt in my mind that LeBron is talented (can you believe LeBron is only 23 years old?!), but it seems like the majority of the reasons given why he's better than Kobe have an asterisk by that given reason. LeBron will be better than Kobe someday in the future, but until LeBron wins the NBA Championship, improves his defense, and becomes more of a clutch shooter with a killer instinct, Kobe Bryant is a better player than LeBron James.