Tag Archives: Steve Nash

Three things to watch as the Lakers enter training camp

The Lakers enter training camp with a new head coach, largely the same roster as a year ago, and uncertain expectations. While the team they share the STAPLES Center with, the LA Clippers, enter the year a big national story and a potential NBA title contender, the Lakers enter the second year of a massive rebuild.

Here’s a look at three things to watch as the Lakers enter training camp:

Kobe Bryant LakersCan Bryant and Nash stay healthy? Last year was largely a wasted one for both Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Bryant never did quite come back from the torn Achilles he suffered in the playoffs the previous year, suffering a knee injury shortly into his comeback. Nash, a former two time MVP who was signed two years ago along with Dwight Howard with the hopes of bringing the Lakers a championship, has never been healthy as a Laker. The word out of the Lakers camp is that both players are in great shape and feel confident about the upcoming season. How long that health will last is the big question. Nash is forty and Kobe is on his way to forty. Both players are first ballot Hall of Famers and greats at their respective positions. What they have left in the tank will dictate how much the Lakers are able to contend this upcoming season.

LinsanityCan Jeremy Lin re-emerge? The Lakers essentially replaced Jordan Farmar with Jeremy Lin. Lin, who burst onto the scene three years ago with the New York Knicks, earning a big contract with the Houston Rockets, has struggled the last couple of seasons. His inconsistent play had him fall out of favor in Houston, leading to his acquisition by the Lakers. If Lin can re-capture the form that made him the talk of professional basketball the Lakers will have a good compliment to Nash and an upgrade at the point guard position. Last season the Lakers suffered such an incredible glut of injuries at the point guard position that they never really had any semblance of consistency. If Nash can stay healthy and Lin can provide a steadying force the backcourt situation should be more settled.

LA Lakers Julius RandleCan Julius Randle have a breakout rookie season? Of all the members of the heralded rookie class, Julius Randle might have found himself in the most advantageous position. The Lakers are badly in need of young talent, especially athletic interior players that can make an immediate impact. While Bryant will remain option number one in Los Angeles, Randle has an immediate opportunity to seize big minutes and a major role on the team right off the bat. The key for the former University of Kentucky star is to get off to a fast start in training camp and take hold of a key role in the frontcourt, whether it be a starting position or the first option off the bench. Randle surprised many in the Las Vegas Summer League with his ability to handle the basketball, displaying a skill set that may earn him minutes at small forward as well as his more natural power forward.

The Lakers open training camp this coming week and kick off their exhibition schedule on October 6 in San Diego. Chris M.

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Was the Kobe contract worth it?

Kobe Bryant Lakers

KOBE

Sports fans love to play the “what if” game. The latest “what if” in Los Angeles is what if the Lakers didn’t decide to extend Kobe Bryant for 2 years and $48 million? Or what if the Lakers superstar, like Tim Duncan, decided to assist the Lakers in their quest to attract another high paid superstar and took less money? With the big three in Miami opting out of their contracts and potentially taking less money to play together, like they did four years ago, Kobe Bryant now takes up a third of the Lakers salary cap. The massive contract that Jim Buss and the Lakers organization gave Bryant was based on what he’s accomplished as a Lakers player. As one of the greatest players off all time and a five-time NBA champion Bryant was certainly due loyalty from the Lakers organization. Whether that loyalty owed Bryant the biggest contract in the NBA is another argument. When Bryant signed the contract it was immediately questioned. Now, with the Lakers struggling to attract a top free agent, the massive contract is being questioned even more. With the Lakers unlikely to re-sign Pau Gasol, or sign Carmelo Anthony, the franchise is due for another difficult season. In the midst of another potential tough upcoming season is the fact that Bryant’s contract gives the team less flexibility. Which leads to the question: what if the Lakers didn’t re-sign Bryant?

Kobe Bryant Lakers

KOBE

Before they inked Kobe to the two year deal the Lakers had the option to amnesty their superstar. If the Lakers decided to part ways with Bryant they would have had just one contract on the books for this coming season, Steve Nash. With millions of dollars to spend the Lakers could have been major players for one or two top free agents, and a host of second tier players to fill out the roster. It would have been a grand experiment, but similar to what Pat Riley accomplished in Miami four off-seasons ago. The Lakers mystique could have made them a major player for Lebron and Carmelo, or both. With Julius Randle acquired in the draft, the Lakers had a real opportunity to attract top tier free agents.

Of course it’s an interesting “what if”, but the idea of letting Bryant go would have been an impossible decision to sell to the fan base. Bryant’s loyalty to the organization and incredible accomplishments made the idea of amnesty impossible. He deserves to play his entire career with one franchise, like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

Was Kobes contract worth it

KOBE

While using the amnesty clause on Bryant was a non-starter, signing him to such a massive deal is a questionable decision. Bryant has made a remarkable amount of money in salary and endorsements over his career. The decision to reward Bryant for his career accomplishments and keep him as the highest player in the league may be out of loyalty, but it’s arguably wasn’t necessary at this point in his career.

You can’t fault Bryant for taking the money, but the example of Duncan’s decision to accept a $10 million deal is interesting. In order to allow the San Antonio Spurs to keep their championship roster in tact Duncan took a pay cut, for the good of the team. If Bryant would have taken a similar deal the Lakers would have had the ability to sign two max free agents to team with Bryant.

Is the Kobe contract worth it

KOBE

Heading into next season the Lakers have no idea what Bryant they’ll have back. Since he entered the league at 18 Bryant has a tremendous amount of miles on his legs, not to mention a torn Achilles. If he struggles with injuries like he did last season the Lakers will likely struggle as well. With two years and $48 million on the contract he signed, the Lakers need a healthy Bryant.

Time will tell if the Bryant contract is an albatross. At the very worst it could set the teams re-build back a couple of seasons. If Bryant, who’s known for his incredible work ethic and competitiveness, can return and prove the doubters wrong the contract could turn out to be a positive.

It all depends on what roster the Lakers build around Bryant, starting with a head coach. If Carmelo Anthony decides to jump from New York and join Bryant the massive deal may turn out to be a positive. If not, the Lakers might be in for another tough season.

Kobe

LA LAKERS KOBE BRYANT “What I do, I do”

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Can the Heats Failure Help The Lakers?

Spurs

SPURS WIN

The San Antonio Spurs redeemed themselves by beating LeBron James and the Miami Heat after five games in the NBA Finals. Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Gregg Popovich can now celebrate their success while the on the other hand, a period of skepticism and uncertainty begins in Miami. Each of the Big Three holds an option to terminate his contract for next season and on top of that, it was clearly exposed that the Big Three are no longer invincible. This crystal clear loss to the Spurs might open to LeBron’s free agency and the Los Angeles Lakers have to take advantage of the opportunity.

Kobe Bryant LA Lakers

Kobe

The Lakers are looking for a way to not just turn things around and do better next season but also for a way to solidify their future for the years to come. Kobe Bryant is 35 and he will have two or three years more ahead before he starts to seriously considering retirement. The Lakers have three players under contract for the upcoming season, Kobe, the 40 – year old Steve Nash and Robert Sacre. This seems to be the ideal time for Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers to make a strong push for LeBron. And as a matter of fact, they do stand good chances to land him.

Lebron to Lakers

KING JAMES

LeBron now knows that his chances to win more rings in Miami are getting thinner. The Big Three did what they could do together, they reached the NBA Finals in each of the seasons since they were formed and they also won two championships. However, in order for LeBron to continue winning while at the same time being a member of a big organization, living in an environment like Miami, LeBron might have to head elsewhere.

And the Los Angeles Lakers are a very appealing destination.

Of course, the Lakers will have to cook up a very clever plan for their future, one in which LeBron and Kobe can co-exist alongside a capable supporting cast. Mitch Kupchak has not even found the next head coach of the team. And LBJ will have to see a well-designed plan for success before he jumps in.

Could Lebron Come to Lakers

KOBE & LEBRON

For sure the Lakers can offer LeBron a maximum contract. However, a Kobe-LeBron duo will not be enough for the Lakers to win the championship and James will have that in mind when deciding about his next destination. The Lakers will have to carefully study all the possible scenarios and try to ensure that they will be able to not just bring LeBron in LA but ensure long-time success for him and the team
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Miami’s loss to the Spurs opened the window for the deformation of the Big Three and it instantly increased the Lakers’ chances to land King James. Of course, there will be several other teams willing to lure LeBron this summer. And ultimately, LeBron will be the one to choose which uniform he wants to wear next season. Nevertheless, the Lakers are certainly one of the top destinations for the best basketball player in the world.

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Five things the Lakers should do to make the playoffs next season

Los Angeles Lakers Tickets

LAKERS

At the moment, the Los Angeles Lakers are in the middle of a transitional period. They will enter the 2014 – 2015 campaign with a new head coach and most probably with several new faces in the roster. In fact Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre are the only three players with guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season. So what should the Lakers do in order to at least make it to the postseason in 2014 – 2015? Let’s break down five things Kobe Bryant and the Lakers should do to make the playoffs next season.

1) Kobe should adjust his game

Lakers Tickets Staples Center

LAKERS

The Black Mamba is coming off a series of injuries and although he showed some promising signs during the few games he played last season, he is not getting any younger. In fact, act the age of 36 and following an extended period out of action, Kobe will have to slightly alter his game to help his team win. Kobe will most probably never fully rehab from his injuries and in fact, the Lakers will have to preserve the most valuable piece of their puzzle. Fewer minutes, less drives to the basket and more passes will have to become a habit for Bryant next season. After all, he has proven that he can be a great distributor and that he can alter his game when his team needs him to.

2) Kobe should handle the ball

We all know that Kobe is a deadly scorer. In fact he is one of the best scorers the league has ever seen. However, with Steve Nash turning 41 midway through the next season, Kobe and with the point guard situation still unsolved, Kobe will have to step up and handle the ball more. He will have to set up the team on offense and help the Lakers run their plays. In fact, the Black Mamba did that with success during the 2012 – 2013 season and when almost any of the Lakers’ point guards faced injury issues.

3) Make the best use of their No.7 pick

Whether that means trading it on draft night or finding the right prospect, the Lakers have to make the most out of their seventh pick in the upcoming draft. There will certainly be able to add some talent but if a team is willing to offer them a better fit in exchange for their pick, they should go for it.

4) Find affordable role players

The Lakers are one of the most recognizable sports franchises in the world and they are one of the biggest spenders when it comes to salaries. They were the fourth most expensive team last season and prior to Dwight Howard’s departure they were the most expensive one. However, money doesn’t guarantee more victories. That was made crystal clear last season. What the Lakers should do is try and find affordable role players to surround Kobe and another star they might sign.

5) Pau Gasol’s case

Lakers Paul Gasol at Staples Center

PAU

I am not going to vote pro bringing back Pau Gasol. He will be 34 next season and his performance is declining. Nonetheless, the Lakers might not have many better options at their front line, especially if the Spaniard center takes a pay cut to stay in LA. But even if Gasol decides to get on the move, the Lakers should try and benefit from his departure, by agreeing on a sign and trade with another team. They should get something in return instead of watching their former superstar walking away.

The Lakers tip off the Las Vegas summer league play on July 11th Vs the Raptors, July 13th against the New Orleans Pelicans followed by July 14th Vs the Golden State Warriors at the Cox Arena. You can purchase Lakers Tickets for all Summer League Games as well as all games at the LA Staples Center.

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Chris M.

Knicks or Lakers Who Has A Brighter Future?

Los Angeles Lakers Tickets

LAKERS

Two of the most legendary teams in the NBA, the The Garden

MSG

If the Knicks manage to keep Carmelo Anthony, who will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, then they do have the advantage. That’s because, although the Lakers expect Kobe to return at his 100 percent next season, that doesn’t mean he will be the dominant Black Mamba we all knew. Kobe Bryant will turn 36 next year and it’s still unknown if he will be completely healthy. On top of that, he has lots of miles on his body and he is will be on the fall of his career. On the contrary, Melo, who will be 30 next season, will be right in the middle of his prime. Any GM would pick Melo over Bryant at this stage of their respective careers.

Another key issue that gives the upper hand to the Knicks is that they do have some quality players in their roster. Of course, they also have some burden-contracts, like the amazingly big one of Amar’e Stoudemire ($23.4 million). However, at the summer of 2015, all these big fat contracts will have expired. By then Phil Jackson should have already cooked up a nice plan and should have already performed some correcting moves in New York. The Knicks will then be able to chase another superstar to pair with Melo, who will hopefully still be in NYC.

Staples Center

STAPLES

On the other hand, the Los Angeles Lakers have already committed $48.5 million to Kobe over the next two seasons and Steve Nash is under contract for the next season, in the books for $9.7 million. In addition, the Lakers don’t have the young players, the financial flexibility or the draft picks to hope that they can make the difference next season or the one after. They will, too have to wait for the summer of 2015 to hope to make something happen, like an addition of a star like Kevin Love. But even that doesn’t seem much probable at the moment. The Lakers are deep in a whole they have dug themselves and nobody knows how they’ll manage to get out.

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Chris