Tag:Los Angeles Lakers
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:22 pm
 

Kobe says he'd retire before going somewhere else

Kobe wants to retire a Laker. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

Kobe Bryant is 33 years old. But in basketball terms, he's older than that. He came straight out of high school into the NBA and has played in 1,128 games. That's a lot of games.

Retirement isn't on the horizon for Kobe, but it's certainly just over. He's had an incredible NBA career winning five rings and has just cracked the top five in all-time scoring. He could catch Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan on the list and if he really stretched out his career, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who he's about 9,500 points behind.

But he's not going to do that. Via an interview with ESPN:
How much more time do you think you have?
Kobe: It's interesting to me to hear people put the proverbial nail in the coffin. Very interesting. You think I'll hang around and average 19 points, 18 points and stuff like that? Hell no!

Can you imagine yourself in another uniform outside of a Lakers uniform?
Kobe: No.

So you'd retire before you went somewhere else?
Kobe: Why would I go somewhere else? That ship sailed in '07. ... I'm not going to jump ship to chase a sixth ring. I'm just not going to do it. It's either going to happen here or it's not going to happen. 

So in other words, he's not going to go the Jordan route. He's not going to come back to a team as an old man, average 18 games just with his post game and maybe make a playoff run. At least that's what he says. We'll see how Kobe feels when the reality has set in that he's not playing anymore.
Posted on: February 7, 2012 2:04 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 2:07 pm
 

Kobe calls Howard trade report 'kiddy drama spit'

Kobe Bryant denies a report that he tried to bring Dwight Howard to L.A. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant has many things to do: carry a weaker-than-usual Lakers team, find a new house to live in after his divorce, pitch KobeSystem shoe products, the list goes on.

One thing Bryant will not do: engage the daily Dwight Howard trade rumor mill.

Last week, a RealGM.com report indicated that Bryant pitched the Orlando Magic's All-Star center on joining the Lakers by saying that Howard could be a defensive stopper and third wheel before eventually become the franchise guy once Bryant retired.

The New York Post reports on Tuesday that Bryant called the report "not true" and said that he was "too old" for the online coverage of potential Howard trades, which he called "kiddy drama spit." 
“I have no clue what’s even being said. I have a lot to deal with as it is,” he replied. 

“omg! I’m not getting mixed up in this kiddy drama spit, bro. too old for that spit,” Bryant responded via email.
Bryant, 33, has made multiple references recently to his body clock ticking. He passed future Hall of Fame center Shaquille O'Neal on the NBA's All-Time scoring list on Monday and his key quote, as reported by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: "I don't have many more of these games left."

It's difficult to argue when Bryant says that he is above the day-to-day minutiae of the rumor mill. But it's equally hard to imagine that he is actually above interest in acquiring Howard, who would help him acquire his coveted sixth championship ring.

After L.A.'s attempt to land All-Star point guard Chris Paul fell through before the season, all eyes turned to Howard as a potential savior for the Lakers. And that story isn't going anywhere until he signs an extension or is traded somewhere else. Bryant may have the luxury of tuning out the small stuff, but the bigger issue still looms. This kiddy drama spit ain't going away anytime soon.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 5:50 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 10:32 am
 

Kobe Bryant passes Shaq on all-time scoring list

Kobe Bryant moves ahead of Shaquille O'Neal on the all-time scoring list Monday night. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Kobe Bryant passed Shaquille O'Neal on the all-time scoring list Monday night with 28 points, passing the former Lakers center in the first half of a loss to Philadelphia. 

Of Bryant's 1,127 games, he has scored 23 points or fewer in just 498. To put that in perspective, Bryant has scored 24 points or higher more often than he's scored less. Which is independently insane. So the odds were pretty great that Byrant would score 24 points Monday night. Bryant came out firing and lit up the Sixers in the first half to clear the mark before bottoming out and going 2-of-12 in the second half. 

It set the stage for what nonetheless was a phenomenal night in Philadelphia, a home of sorts to Bryant, if anywhere can really be home for Bryant.  Bryant was born in Philadelphia, and spent his high school career there. It was there he declared for the NBA draft right out of high school, and began a career that has become legend. And throughout that career, during good times and bad, he has been intertwined with the player he passed Monday, Shaquille O'Neal. 

NBA scoring listThere is no narrative here of student and teacher. Bryant and O'Neal were no contemporaries. Shaq's prime came during Bryant's ascension. Bryant was not the man when O'Neal was in town, not in role, not in effect, not in personality. It was Shaq who was the face of the Lakers, and Bryant's brilliance was an underlining, a framing of that. But every year it became more and more apparent that it was Bryant in which the Lakers' future resided, and more and more apparent that the two could not co-exist.

I spoke with former L.A. Daily News and current New York Times reporter Howard Beck for an audio magazine I publish independently of CBSSports.com. Beck covered O'Neal during that championship run in the early 2000's, and in the interview he discusses how you can't discuss Shaq of that era without discussing Kobe, nor vice-versa. He spoke of how at one point O'Neal discussed in a private moment with Beck his ongoing tumultuous relationship with Bryant and how he himself, how neither side could understand why they couldn't get along. 

And yet they did not.

The Lakers lost the 2004 title due to brilliant defense by the Detroit Pistons and an injury to Karl Malone, the Lakers traded Shaq for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and pieces, and O'Neal went on to win his fourth title. Bryant languished in L.A., trying to drag a poor roster deep in the playoffs behind his own monstrous individual performances. It was the birth of the questions of exactly how much Bryant should shoot, how much Bryant should try and score, whether he can make his teammates better.

It remains a debate, two titles later.

Bryant passing O'Neal, however, was not the the petulant child crossing the pillar of dominance without validation. Kobe Bryant, remarkably, considering what we thought that summer in 2004, has proved himself the better player. He is the second-best shooting guard the game of basketball has ever witnessed. Were it not for his airness, he would likely be regarded as the best player of the modern era, arguably the best of all time. That he is measured constantly against the complete, nearly spotless, and unfathomably incredible resume of Michael Jordan only fuels the fire that is the public debate over Kobe Bryant. Never as good as Jordan, but good enough to dare and make the ascent to try.

We talk of defense in the modern game. Of the pick-and-roll, and efficiency, of usage and help defense, of points per possession and win shares. But the game of basketball is built around one team, made up of five players, trying to score more points than the other. Kobe Bryant took another step up the scoring mountain Monday night, passing his rival, his former teammate, his former partner in championship glory.

Bryant's career isn't over. He's seeking revenge for a humiliating sweep to the Mavericks. He's cementing his legacy and still trying to prove he is the player his loudest advocates suggest. He scored, he passed O'Neal, he will move forward to the next game. But it's important to take this moment and recognize that Bryant passing O'Neal isn't simply a matter of digits. It's a microcosm of where Bryant came from, Philadelphia, where he came to prominence, alongside while simultaneously versus Shaq, and where he has arrived, as the elite scorer of the modern age of basketball.

28 points on 26 shots. Passing another legend, losing the game. The fire of debate over Kobe Bryant continues.

Posted on: February 5, 2012 2:00 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2012 2:03 pm
 

West thinks teams shouldn't trade stars

By Matt Moore

Jerry West is old school. And while there were certainly players who wanted out and negotiated their way out of their teams during his era, it wasn't the marketing/sponsorships/exposure/sta
r-power league it is today back when he played. West has been involved in the league for decades, was around for the Shaq transformation in L.A.. And in his mind, all this nonsense from players forcing their way out through trade demands should be stopped... by management. From ESPN.com: 
I honestly think I'd call their bluff," West said in an interview on 710 ESPN's Mason and Ireland show Thursday, not mentioning Howard specifically. "I really would, because I don't think any agent or player is going to leave $30 million on the table.

"I just don't believe that's going to happen."

"If I were an executive on a team where a player says he's going to leave, let him leave," West said on 710 ESPN's Max and Marcellus show earlier Thursday. "It would be better than saddling yourself with a bunch of players that are not going to fit in to what you're trying to do -- high-salaried players, in many cases overpaid players by today's standards, that would burden you going forward. "I'd almost rather start over again myself. You're not going to replace that player, but there's an enormous penalty there and it looks like to me like the inmates are running the asylum if you let that happen."
via Jerry West says teams shouldn't give in to players' trade demands - ESPN Los Angeles.

West is basically saying "Orlando, if you trade for a bunch of high-priced vets you're stabbing yourself in the face." And West's right. 

Orlando is reportedly looking for veterans back in a trade for Dwight Howard, in an effort to keep some semblance of a window of contention open. But the reality is that when Howard leaves, the franchise is starting over and having an expensive terrible team is much worse than a rebuilding terrible team because of the limited capacity for improvement. 

But more to the point, West's advocation of calling the bluff is salient. How are players ever going to be deterred from trade demands and scuttling seasons if there's no punitive reaction from teams? Forcing Howard to walk away from a significant amount of money may not stop players like Howard from their plans, but it'll make them think twice and at least give those smaller market teams some leverage. 

West is a former member of the most star-studded, bandwagon-hijacking franchise in history (though his relationship with the Lakers has been strained at times), and he's advocating for smaller market teams to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, the era may have simply changed. After "The Decision" and the Melo trade last season, it's hard to see things reversing direction, for anyone. 

Posted on: February 5, 2012 3:43 am
Edited on: February 7, 2012 6:29 am
 

Mike Brown suspended, fined after ref bump

Posted by Ben Golliver

Update 12:08 p.m. Monday, February 6th: Yahoo Sports reports that the NBA has suspended Lakers head coach Mike Brown for Monday's game against Philadelphia. The league subsequently announced Brown had been fined $25,000.

------------------------------

New Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown was very anti-zen during the fourth quarter of a loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

Brown completely lost his mind during an argument with referee Zach Zarba, earning himself an immediate ejection and potentially a fine and/or a suspension from the NBA league office.

The Los Angeles Times reports the details of Brown's meltdown and his comments after the incident.

The Lakers coach could face a suspension after appearing to bump referee Zach Zarba early in the fourth quarter of a 96-87 loss to Utah on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena. Brown was upset after watching Utah guard Earl Watson mug Pau Gasol for a steal that led to a dunk by Derrick Favors with 8 minutes, 35 seconds left in the game. The Lakers coach bounded onto the court and received two technical fouls, resulting in his first ejection of the season.

Brown said he apologized to his team but did not think his actions resulted in the defeat.

"I shouldn't have done what I did because it put our team in a deeper hole than it was in," Brown said. "It's not good to do that. It's not setting a good example or setting the right tone for our team."

Lakers assistant John Kuester and forwards Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace had to restrain Brown during his argument with Zarba. Brown told the Times that he wasn't sure whether he had made contact with Zarba during the fracas. 

The Lakers next play on Monday against the 76ers in Philadelphia.

Here's the video of Mike Brown getting ejected for arguing a foul call and melting down gainst the Utah Jazz via YouTube user TheScrappyCocoz.

Skip ahead to the 2:55 mark.


Posted on: February 3, 2012 9:19 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 9:19 am
 

Nick Young says Arenas had 'Kobe treatment'

A former teammate of Arenas says he received the same treatment Kobe Bryant had on his knees. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore

Gilbert Arenas has not been productive on the floor in a good, long time. Knee injuries robbed him of his explosiveness, but also of his ability to create space for his jumper and lateral quickness. He had a handful of moments for Orlando but in the end gave the Magic very little in terms of a pace-changer guard. He's been on the shelf since being amnestied and recent reports linked an interest in the Lakers to sign him. But what are they getting, physically, at this point, if they do acquire Arenas?

Turns out he could be feeling much better.

Arenas is known to be very close with Nick Young, who he mentored in Washington during the end of his time with the Wizards. Wizards blog TruthAboutIt.Net  asked Young how Arenas was doing, and Young said Arenas has done some things to fix his knee.... alongside the Kobe way. 
You said you talk to Gilbert just about every day. How is he doing? Is he just down in Orlando working out?

“Yea, he’s been working out. He said he got the — I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this — but he got that Kobe treatment on his knees…”

“Yea, yea… you could say it’s the Kobe System, but he said it feels great, his knees feel great, and he’s been working out. When I seen him last time, he looked like he was in shape. He lost a lot of weight.”
via Truth About It » Gilbert Arenas To The Lakers? What Nick Young Thinks.

If it's true that Arenas did get the same procedure and the results are similar, Arenas could have a Tracy-McGrady-like resurgence for L.A. or whoever winds up signing him. But there's a lot more that would need to fall in place. His conditioning has to be the biggest issue. Losing weight is great but game condition goes beyond that and into endurance and pacing. 

Most importantly, Arenas needs to find his jumper. Having lift off the knees will help, but Arenas is a jump shooter who's shot largely abandoned him. He's got to rediscover that in order to be a productive player again.
Posted on: February 2, 2012 3:43 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 3:57 pm
 

Metta World Peace says roaches are his friends

Posted by Royce Young



"I grew up around roaches," Metta World Peace said. "And it was bad. Too many of them. Too many friends, yeah, in New York. I got a lot of roach friends. I'd wake up, they'd wake up in my cereal. They'd wake up like, you know, just Ron what's up, good morning. One leg in my macaroni, the other leg in my corn. They just made themselves comfortable at my home."

And this concludes your daily reminder that Metta World Peace is not your everyday, normal human being.

Via the L.A. Times

Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:37 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 1:28 pm
 

Who's contending and who's pretending?

Posted by Royce Young

Are the Lakers and Celtics challengers for a championship, or for just a postseason appearance? (Getty Images)

Almost every team has played 20 games so far this season, which is a pretty nice sample size to make a semi-educated judgment on just how good some are. We know there are a lot of competitive teams in each conference. Teams that have a quality roster, a decent record and a chance at the postseason.

But what's coming into focus more and more is who is for real and who is for fake. Not in the sense of who is actually good and who is fool's gold, but what teams should we be really watching for to make a push at a championship?

In the same way there's no reason to waste time saying the Wizards and Hornets are not contenders, I don't need to tell you that the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are obvious contenders. They aren't just contenders, they're the title favorites as of now. Those three teams have clearly separated themselves a bit from the pack, but that doesn't mean that there isn't another team lingering as a potential title threat. This time last season nobody was really looking at the Mavericks as a team poised to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy.

So let's break down the current field of playoff contending teams and separate the contenders from the pretenders.

Orlando Magic

After an 11-4 start, a good number of people kind of came around from "They have to trade Dwight Howard right now" to "Maybe they should keep him and make a run at it." Now, after a week of complete stinkage, maybe it's time to take another good look at blowing the hinges off the organization and starting over. If you're consistently having trouble getting out of the 60s, you're not going to win a seven-game series against a good team.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Philadelphia 76ers

A 15-6 record and the best point differential in the league is not something to be ignored. A 4-4 road record indicates that maybe the Sixers aren't quite ready to step into the conversation of competing for the East. I'm going to choose to ignore that. The Bulls and Heat are clearly the class of the East, but it's not hard for me to picture the Sixers taking down one in a seven-game series. Their depth, defense and determination will have them right in any game they play.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Utah Jazz

Rewind to last season. Jerry Sloan had resigned and Deron Williams was traded. It was understandable that the Jazz would finish out the season in the lottery. That was the plan. Get younger, find some cap flexibility and plan for the future. Except that didn't work out. The Jazz aren't a franchise that deal with losing much so this season wasn't just going to be one of tanking. But they're overachieving. They have some nice wins on the resume, but a core of Paul Millsap, Al Jefferon and Gordon Hayward aren't making a title push.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Indiana Pacers

I want to believe. I really do. The Pacers are a fun team and their resurgence over the past two seasons has been something else. David West was a nice addition and Roy Hibbert is playing really well. They've built up their resume with some good wins over the past couple weeks, but I don't see how they improved in the area that killed them last postseason -- fourth quarter execution. Danny Granger is a good player but can't shoulder the load of getting tough, key baskets in crunchtime. I can't see them beating the Bulls, Heat or even 76ers.

Verdict: PRETENDER

New York Knicks

I almost didn't even include them in this list. And not for the reason the Bulls, Heat and Thunder aren't in it. Unless Baron Davis has a superpower in that beard, the Knicks aren't getting out of the first round, and that's if they even get there. Serious obstacles are going to have to be overcome before this team actually competes for a championship.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Dallas Mavericks

It appears the championship hangover is finally wearing off. But for a while there, the defending champs had us concerned. They looked flat, uninterested and worst of all, not as good after losing J.J. Barea, Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson. But the Mavs are finding their form a bit and if Lamar Odom can ever finally wake up, Dallas goes eight deep with a nice rotation. And as long as that tall German guy is on the roster, they're a tough matchup for anyone.

Verdict CONTENDER

Houston Rockets

As I was writing down the teams I needed to mention for this, I didn't have the Rockets. And then I looked at the West standings and their record and said, "Whoa, the Rockets are 12-9? When did that happen?" I think they're going to be players at the trade deadline, but as the team stands now, they're position in the West's top eight will probably be short lived.

Verdict: PRETENDER

San Antonio Spurs

Could the Los Angeles Clippers -- the Clippers -- really be contenders? (Getty Images)
You just wait. Gregg Popovich knows what he's doing. Manu Ginobili will be healthy soon and the Spurs are going to go on a run of games in late February or March where they win like 14 of 16 and rocket up to third in the West. It's coming. I know it is.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Clippers

I picked the Clippers to finish second in the West but also wrote that they weren't a contender. I'm confused about the Clippers. But they definitely showed a little something this past week with a win in Denver and a win against the Thunder. Part of the reason many doubted that the Clips were ready to contend was it looked like they needed another piece for some depth. But they may already have it as Mo Williams is making a strong case for Sixth Man of the Year. Two top 15 players, a monster rim protector inside, a solid identity and veteran leadership -- the Clips kind of have it all. Only two things are holding them back -- Vinny Del Negro and a 35-year history filled with miserable failure.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Atlanta Hawks

I'll put it simply: The Hawks made no dramatic improvements to a team that's basically been the definition of pretender and then their best player was injured for pretty much the rest of the season. Their winning record without Al Horford has been a bit of a mirage as they've fortunately found a soft spot in the schedule at the worst time. Playoff team, yes. Title contender? Nah.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Portland Trail Blazers

For about five minutes, the Blazers had everyone talking about them as the prime contender to challenge Oklahoma City in the West. And then they lost their next five of eight and have slipped out of the top eight in the West. There's really not that much distinguishing this Blazer team from the one the was eliminated in last season's opening round. Is Ray Felton an upgrade over Andre Miller? Jamal Crawford an upgrade over Brandon Roy? LaMarcus Aldridge has become a legit superstar, but I don't see him carrying this roster to the Western Finals.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Memphis Grizzlies

I fear the Grizzlies were that classic chic preseason pick that everyone kind of likes that ends up going down in flames. Some would call that the "Houston Texans Disease." But Memphis didn't stumble into the second round of the postseason by accident. They upended the Spurs and then were a seventh game on the road away from advancing to the Western Finals. They're an enigma right now without Zach Randolph, but if he comes back healthy, the Grizzlies could be a nightmare matchup for teams in the playoffs.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Boston Celtics

After all of that, the Celtics are back to .500. They're 10-10 and have eased some of the fears that they might miss the playoffs. But they haven't been able to restore confidence that they're a team that's dangerous in the postseason. Kevin Garnett can't jump, which is a problem. Their offense completely fizzles for long stretches. They're actually relying on key production from guys like Mickael Pietrus and Chris Wilcox. The Celtics aren't bad, but I think ubuntu is on life support.

Verdict: PRETENDER

Denver Nuggets

Can team ball really win? Well, it's winning now and looking pretty darn good doing it. The Nuggets ran into a bad matchup last postseason and the Thunder took care of them in five games. I wouldn't say they necessarily improved this offseason after losing Wilson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith while adding Rudy Fernandez, Corey Brewer and Andre Miller, but Al Harrington is playing wonderful basketball, Ty Lawson is blossoming and Danilo Gallinari shows flashes of being a star. Winning this way isn't easy, but I wouldn't rule the Nuggets out.

Verdict: CONTENDER

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers are 2-7 on the road. They've only scored 100 points three times this season. For any other team, we'd say that's a major red flashing sign that they aren't for real. For any other team, we'd look at their offensive struggles, their chemistry issues and the fact they're looking older than ever and easily write them off. But this is the Lakers, the home of Kobe Bryant and you don't do that. But I'm going to. Point guard is a massive issue, they have no depth inside and I still have absolutely no idea why they traded Lamar Odom for nothing. This team subtracted a key piece from a group that got swept out of the playoffs by the Mavericks and they expect that adding Josh McRoberts and a new coach is going to push them over the top? Unless the Lakers have a big trade coming down the pipe, the Lakers as currently constructed aren't going anywhere.

Verdict: PRETENDER

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