News 'n Views - May 2016: The Lakers' adjusted culture could pay dividends going forward
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lakersfreak
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 12:13 am    Post subject:

Everybody Loves Luke: Why Walton is set for success in Los Angeles
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Los Angeles' new head coach is bringing positive vibes back to his former team.

There were 17 teams in the NBA D-League in the 2013-14 season, and each of them had a handful of assistant coaches. Logic holds that most of their ranks won't ascend to NBA head coaching jobs. The odds are even lower for player development coaches, but D-Fenders head coach Casey Owens saw something special in the "laid-back, Southern California kid" who was dominating the team's scrimmages without taking a shot.

"At some point we all kind of expected him to be the head coach of the Lakers," said Owens. "I thought that then [when I was coaching with him.] It may be ten years, but this guy is going to be the head coach of the Lakers."

The level of optimism required for such a feeling is rare, but it has been matched by fans of the Los Angeles Lakers in the recent weeks since Walton was hired to replace Byron Scott at the beginning of May.

Some might argue that all of this hope is unwarranted given the uncertainty surrounding both of those pieces of news. Is Walton actually a good head coach, or did he just ride the Steve Kerr's established system and a historically great roster to 39 wins and a nice payday in Los Angeles?

Opinions differ, but his former boss thinks that theory is bogus.

"I think it's ridiculous," Kerr told Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com when asked about getting all of Walton's wins. "I'm sitting in the locker room and watching the games on TV, and I'm not even traveling to most of the road games. Luke's doing all the work with the rest of the staff. Luke is 15-0 right now. I'm not. So it's the dumbest thing I've ever heard, to be honest with you. I don't even understand it."

Walton being able to guide a talented team to a 15-0 record is nice, but that is not going to happen in his first season with the Lakers. As Kerr noted when Bill Oram of the O.C. Register asked what advice he would offer Walton next season, "It's too bad you don't have Steph, Klay, and Draymond anymore. You're on your own pal."

Walton won't get to bring those All-Stars with him to Los Angeles, and in their place he'll have a young roster with as many questions about it as many have about him, the experience of a 10-year playing career, and a background in player development to lean on.

The latter aspect will be the key to Walton's tenure. If the former Lakers forward wants to lead his old team back to prominence, he's going to have to help the team's young core reach their full potential. Those who have worked with him believe Walton has the skillset for it.

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 12:14 am    Post subject:

Jordan Clarkson on Luke Walton’s offensive system: “It’s dope”
by Honi Ahmadian - lakersoutsiders.com

There has been nothing but excitement since Luke Walton was hired as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Golden State Warriors assistant was viewed as the Lakers’ top choice and his youth and energy will almost certainly be an improvement for the team.

More importantly, Walton will bring a schematic change to the Lakers. After two years of playing isolation-heavy basketball on the offensive end of the court, the Lakers will benefit from their new coach’s experience on the Warriors’ coaching staff. From all accounts, Luke is planning to bring in that offensive system and style of play to implement in Los Angeles.

As expected, the young guys seem to be as excited about next season as the fans are. Jordan Clarkson embodied that sense when he went on Power 106 for a radio interview and spoke about his expectations offensively under Walton. (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll)

“I think it’s dope. It fits us really well. We’ve got a lot of guys that can do a lot of things: Julius [Randle], D’Angelo [Russell], Larry Nance, including myself. So I think it’s something we should be excited for.”

Clarkson also mentions that Walton called all of the young guys one-by-one after his hiring was made official to speak to them about his goals and expectations.

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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 3:01 am    Post subject:

That's what you want to read. I hope this all pans out.
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 7:17 am    Post subject:

Lakers Could Select Dragan Bender With Second Overall Draft Pick
by Trevor Lane - lakersnation.com

During last year’s 2015 NBA draft the Lakers were the team to watch, as whether they took D’Angelo Russell, Jahlil Okafor, or Kristaps Porzingis with the second pick, they would start a domino effect that would alter the equation for every other team down the line.

This year it would appear the Lakers will avoid such a spotlight. They essentially have the easiest decision of the day, as all Kupchak has to do is kick back, relax, and select whichever of Simmons or Ingram Philadelphia passes on with the first pick.

Of course, that’s assuming that the Lakers agree with the popular sentiment that there is a drop-off between the top two and the rest of the field. As most see things, the duo of Simmons and Ingram are standing at the top of the superstar chasm, Spartan-kicking the rest of the field into a never-ending pit of role player free fall.

What if the Lakers don’t agree with that perception?

Consider this quote from Kupchak, via David Aldridge:

“One is always better than two. If you’re one, you can get anybody you want; if you’re two, you can get anybody you want — minus one. I’m not sure there’s as dramatic a cliff as people think between two and three. Any way you look at it, we feel we’ll get an excellent player at two."

The pre-draft period tends to feature more misinformation than Nixon during Watergate, but still, Kupchak either believes–or wants people to believe he believes–that he doesn’t see a significant drop off between the second and third pick in the draft.

Suddenly, the most boring position in this year’s draft gets interesting.

Suppose, for a moment, that the Lakers went into the lottery hoping to get the first pick just as badly as Simmons’ shoe deal wanted them to have it. With the versatile Simmons now likely going to Philadelphia, the Lakers are left choosing between the lanky Ingram and…who? Jamal Murray, Buddy Hield, and Kris Dunn don’t make much sense with Russell and Jordan Clarkson already in Los Angeles. Bigs like Jakob Poeltl, Henry Ellenson, Skal Labissiere, and Marquese Chriss would all be major reaches with the second pick. Surely, there has to be an alternative that could match Ingram as a prospect.

Enter (the) Dragan Bender.

The 7’1”, 225 pound Bender has been playing professionally in Israel for Maccabi Tel Aviv, and could be exactly the kind of big the Lakers are looking for.

Quote:
The Lakers may well get more bang-for-their-buck by paying Bender a rookie contract and going after a wing like Nicolas Batum or DeMar DeRozan in free agency, rather than using their pick on Ingram and having to shell out big money for a talented-but-incomplete center like Whiteside, Bismack Biyombo, or Festus Ezeli.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 8:21 am    Post subject:

^ nicely done Purps
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 8:36 am    Post subject:

lakersfreak wrote:
^ nicely done Purps
Thank you! Tried to follow your format.
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 5:02 am    Post subject:

Lakers Finally On The Upswing?
by Jabari Davis - basketballinsiders.com

The Los Angeles Lakers continued their upswing in terms of positive organizational momentum by landing the No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft (June 23), but that hasn’t stopped some from still questioning the direction of the franchise. Following the most brutal stretch of the team’s history – three consecutive “worst seasons ever”- the Lakers finally appear to have things headed in the right direction, but that still doesn’t seem to have eased the minds of analysts like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and even some of the less optimistic fans that still express distrust with the front office.

We can rehash and debate the steps and/or missteps that led to the team’s current situation to no end, but the fact remains they have an intriguing young core of players, as much as $68.3 million to work with on the market this summer and a pick that will land them either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram. While there have admittedly been some questionable coaching hires from a timing standpoint, and failed free agency strategies and moves along the way, you cannot deny these Lakers are in a pretty good spot as first-year head coach Luke Walton gets set to take over the reigns once his season is complete with Golden State.

Another key for the Lakers will be how Walton puts together his supporting staff on the bench. The luster and promise of a fresh start can be intoxicating, but let’s not forget it will still be important that he surround himself with assistant coaches who not only share his overall philosophy but also provide the type of support a young head coach will need in his first full season at the helm of a team. There have been reports of long-time assistant and former head coach Brian Shaw potentially having an “offer” to join his staff, but Shaw remains undecided at this point. The veteran coach could certainly be another positive addition if things were to work out. Shaw may have seen his share of difficulty as a head coach for a transitioning Denver Nuggets team (2013-15), but he’s always received praise and recognition for his work as an assistant with the Lakers and Indiana Pacers. Like Walton, Shaw is generally credited with having positive relationships and the respect of players.

In fact, if you were to draw up a hypothetical “best-case scenario for the Lakers” checklist, the team would have seemingly checked off a number of things. They sent long-time franchise player Kobe Bryant off with a fond farewell, kept their first-round pick and made the decision to go with Walton (who was viewed as one of the best up-and-coming coaches in the NBA). It would be tough to say these Lakers haven’t absolutely nailed it thus far.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 5:04 am    Post subject:

Lakers to hold workouts for second overall pick next week
by Honi Ahmadian - lakersoutsiders.com

With the Los Angeles Lakers luckily keeping the second overall pick in the draft, their decision has been made much easier. In what has been widely regarded as a “two-player” draft, the Lakers will have their decision made for them when they draft whichever of the Ben Simmons-Brandon Ingram duo falls to them.

Despite what is effectively a lack of choice, LAL will still do its its due diligence, however. According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, the team is planning to hold workouts for the second overall pick, possibly as early as next week.

Lakers not planning to work out players for second overall pick until middle of next week, at the earliest. #ingram #simmons
2:03 PM - 24 May 2016


The Lakers have been fairly quiet on the workout front ever since the draft combine with no official list of players yet named. This may have to do with the status of new head coach Luke Walton who is still with the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. If the Dubs are eliminated in the Western Conference Finals, workouts starting next week would theoretically include Walton. If not, the Lakers may push the workouts even further in order to have their coach present, although they could opt to go on with them without Luke and use recently hired Brian Shaw as the coach by proxy.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 5:05 am    Post subject:

Who the Lakers should look for with the 32nd pick
by silverscreenandroll.com

Five players who will likely be available that can make an impact for the purple and gold.

The Los Angeles Lakers maintained their No. 2 slot in the lottery and will be able to use that pick to either trade for an established player or draft another intriguing young prospect.

There isn’t much of a debate at the top of the 2016 NBA Draft, but the Lakers also have to think about the 32nd overall selection they have in this draft. The second round has produced quality talent in the last few years, including a Missouri guard who joined the purple and gold in 2014.

The Lakers cannot take this selection lightly. Since the 2012 draft, the second round has produced the following notable players; Draymond Green, Jae Crowder, Khris Middleton, Will Barton, Mike Scott, Allen Crabbe, Nikola Jokic and Josh Richardson, to name a few.

Obviously Los Angeles shouldn’t be expected to take a player of Green’s or Middleton’s caliber. However, the above list shows that second round picks can no longer be considered ‘throwaways’. The Lakers can add another piece to the rebuild if they do their homework with this pick. Here are five players I think the Lakers should target with the 32nd overall pick and possibly even trade back into the late first round for.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 5:06 am    Post subject:

2016 NBA Draft: Potential Center options for the Lakers in the second round
by Gary Kester - lakersoutsiders.com

The 2016 NBA Draft is officially less than a month away, and as each day passes, it looks more and more likely that Brandon Ingram will fall to the Lakers with the No. 2 pick, finally providing them a long-term solution at the small forward position.

If that scenario plays out on June 23, that would leave one glaring hole on the roster left. With Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass, Tarik Black (restricted) and Robert Sacre all hitting the free agent market in July, the Lakers will need to address the center position.

Since virtually every 2016 NBA Mock Draft (Except our latest, of course) has the Lakers drafting Ingram with the second pick, what could be their center options in the second round with the No. 32 overall selection? The draft is always unpredictable, but here are a few options that are projected to be selected near the end of the first round or early in the second.

Note: Players are listed in the order that they are ranked in DraftExpress’ mock draft.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 5:08 am    Post subject:

Lakers Draft 2016: 5 Players Worth Trading No. 2 Pick For
by Cody Williams - lakeshowlife.com

Five players that the Lakers trading the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft would be worth it to receive

Essentially from the moment that the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery played out, the possibility of trading the No. 2 pick in the draft that the Los Angeles Lakers were awarded has been floated out there by numerous people. Undoubtedly the most intriguing of those sources, though, was when Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak brought up the notion.

With how valuable both Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are considered to be as the two consensus top players in this draft, though, one thing’s for certain is that the Lakers aren’t going to give up the pick for just any offer. It’s going to have to be a game-changing trade to even be considered.

That of course begs the question of what players would make the Lakers start considering trading the pick—or rather what players around the league would be worth trading the rights to Simmons or Ingram. It’s an interesting notion to explore, especially when you look at a young team like the Lakers.

Not only would the Lakers have to be getting a player that would fill a position of need and not push a player like a D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, or Jordan Clarkson (assuming he stays) out of his role in the rotation, but also a player that the young players that would remain in Los Angeles could grow alongside.

Moreover, if the Lakers are going to trade the No. 2 pick, it’s going to have to be a player that will likely cost more than just a draft pick to pry away from their current team.

Given all of that, let’s take a look at five players that would be worth the Lakers trading the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Note: Obviously guys like Stephen Curry or Kawhi Leonard would be nice, but we’re looking at semi-realistic options here.

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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 12:55 pm    Post subject:

lakersfreak wrote:
Lakers Draft 2016: 5 Players Worth Trading No. 2 Pick For
by Cody Williams - lakeshowlife.com

Five players that the Lakers trading the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft would be worth it to receive

Essentially from the moment that the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery played out, the possibility of trading the No. 2 pick in the draft that the Los Angeles Lakers were awarded has been floated out there by numerous people. Undoubtedly the most intriguing of those sources, though, was when Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak brought up the notion.

With how valuable both Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are considered to be as the two consensus top players in this draft, though, one thing’s for certain is that the Lakers aren’t going to give up the pick for just any offer. It’s going to have to be a game-changing trade to even be considered.

That of course begs the question of what players would make the Lakers start considering trading the pick—or rather what players around the league would be worth trading the rights to Simmons or Ingram. It’s an interesting notion to explore, especially when you look at a young team like the Lakers.

Not only would the Lakers have to be getting a player that would fill a position of need and not push a player like a D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, or Jordan Clarkson (assuming he stays) out of his role in the rotation, but also a player that the young players that would remain in Los Angeles could grow alongside.

Moreover, if the Lakers are going to trade the No. 2 pick, it’s going to have to be a player that will likely cost more than just a draft pick to pry away from their current team.

Given all of that, let’s take a look at five players that would be worth the Lakers trading the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Note: Obviously guys like Stephen Curry or Kawhi Leonard would be nice, but we’re looking at semi-realistic options here.

Continued....


This is what I would consider if I were the Lakers:

Option 1: If you are absolutely positive from the workouts and everything else that either Simmons and Ingram have 'it' and are can't miss-players then you pick whoever Philly leaves on the board.

Option 2: Should there be any doubts that option 1 is the case, I would call the Pacers first thing in the morning once the cap space becomes available about swapping George for the rights to the pick. Should the Pacers be fine with this simple swap, perfect. In case they ask for some sweetening, I would offer Randle along with the pick. I would ty to have an oral agreement in place on draft day. Complement that move by tading Williams for Ariza or Afflalo and signing Ezeli/Noah and suddenly we have a defensive juggernaut on our hands: Russell, Ariza/Afflalo, George, Nance, Ezeli/Noah.

Option 3: The Pacers do not bite. My fall back option would be to offer the pick to the Suns for the 4th and 13th pick. Hield with the 4th, Maker or Labissiere or Luwawu with the 13th. Maybe include Young for Tucker. Possible first unit with Russell, Hield, Tucker, Randle and Ezeli
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 4:21 am    Post subject:

lakersfreak wrote:
Lakers Draft 2016: 5 Players Worth Trading No. 2 Pick For
by Cody Williams - lakeshowlife.com

Five players that the Lakers trading the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft would be worth it to receive

Essentially from the moment that the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery played out, the possibility of trading the No. 2 pick in the draft that the Los Angeles Lakers were awarded has been floated out there by numerous people. Undoubtedly the most intriguing of those sources, though, was when Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak brought up the notion.


Note: Obviously guys like Stephen Curry or Kawhi Leonard would be nice, but we’re looking at semi-realistic options here.

Continued....


First off, we don't even know what we have. How good are DLO, Randle, Clarkson, Nance Jr., etc going to be?

And this can easily be said about either Simmons or Ingram... whichever we end up with.

At this point, I'm not making any trades until we have gone through the Free Agent process. If we can pick up two talented starters in FA and put them with our group of potential great players...we may not need to trade anything.
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:30 am    Post subject:

Pro Comparisons For the Top Draft Prospects
by Eric Yee - lakeshowlife.com

The 2016 NBA Draft is just around the corner and teams would be wise to scout their prospects thoroughly before blindly selecting a player

Though Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons are widely regarded as the top two picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, you’d be wrong if you think that even the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers aren’t doing their due diligence when it comes to scouting all of the top talent.

Just Monday, ESPN Insiders’ Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton made the argument that Dragan Bender could sneak into the conversation as a top two pick, just as Kristaps Porzingis did last season.

Nearly every season when it gets close to the draft, people begin to make pro comparisons for the top prospects — as of late the most notable was Jalen Rose’s awful attempt to do so.

While it’s easy to say that a prospect like Ben Simmons plays like the next Magic Johnson because he is big and can pass, or LeBron James because he is strong and fast, it also completely ignores the fact that both LeBron and Magic are two of the biggest outliers in NBA history.

With that in mind, here are some of our fair pro comparisons for the top prospects, obviously backed up with a little bit of rational.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:32 am    Post subject:

Watch Zhou Qi’s Pre-Draft Workout Video
by Eric Yee - lakeshowlife.com

Chinese prospect, Zhou Qi recently had some of his pre-draft workouts posted by Draft Express where he showed off just what kind of player he could be in the NBA

Just last week, we threw Chinese prospect, Zhou Qi’s name into the fray in regards to players who the Los Angeles Lakers could select with their 32nd overall draft pick.

Seeing how Qi isn’t even expected to go in the first round in ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s latest mock draft, it’s fair to say that the Lakers could have an actual shot at snagging yet another gem with their late pick.

Draft Express recently posted a video of Zhou Qi’s pre-draft workouts providing people with a better look at just what kind of player he could become in the Association.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:34 am    Post subject:

Free agent wings the Lakers should consider signing
by Thai Luong - lakersoutsiders.com

The Lakers’ offseason has been picturesque, but it is not quite complete just yet. They were able to send Kobe Bryant off with the perfect retirement finale. Shortly after, they fired Byron Scott and hired Luke Walton. Luck fell on their side when they were able to retain the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. The Lakers will enter the next phase of their offseason rebuild, focusing on free agency in July when they will have at least $60 million in cap space to spend.

The Lakers have struggled in the past few years to sign any marquee players, but this year might be different. The Lakers will rely on the positive accomplishments and momentum in their offseason so far as a platform to attract players during free agency. The team’s roster right now is lacking depth at the small forward/wing position, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they target that position at the start of free agency. There are a couple of wing players that I think the Lakers would have a realistic shot at signing. I will look at two different scenarios the Lakers could be in that would be detrimental in their free agency chase.

The first scenario would look at decent role players if the Lakers draft Brandon Ingram. Ingram would fit nicely for the Lakers at the wing position if he is still available at the second spot. The second scenario would look at the players the Lakers would sign if they draft Ben Simmons. Simmons would likely play the power forward position so the Lakers would need to sign a starting caliber wing.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:35 am    Post subject:

Bismack Biyombo Could Receive $60 Million Contract This Summer
by Trevor Lane - lakersnation.com

The Los Angeles Lakers will have over $60 million to spend this summer in free agency, but they also have a lot of roster spots to fill. Only Lou Williams, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr., Anthony Brown, and Nick Young have guaranteed deals for next year, leaving GM Mitch Kupchak with his work cut out for him.

With the team not likely to bring back free agent big man Roy Hibbert and Tarik Black headed for restricted free agency, one immediate area of need for the Lakers is starting center. Toronto Raptors’ reserve Bismack Biyombo has turned heads during the playoffs, but according to a report from Sean Deveney of Sporting News, whoever wants to sign Biyombo will need to be prepared to fork over a substantial chunk of change:

“But you factor in the cap spike and it’s probably going to be high, I’d say, $16-17 million. It’ll be a heck of a $17 million-per-year gamble.” […] And another Eastern Conference executive said Biyombo’s price tag could wind up being even a bit higher. “With the way free agency could wind up going, three years and $60 (million) would be my guess,” he said.

For the Lakers, a three-year, $60 million gamble on Biyombo would eat up roughly a third of their available cap space, and the team will still need to re-sign restricted free agent Jordan Clarkson as well as fill out the rest of their roster. However, Deveney notes that Biyombo is exactly the kind of big the Lakers (and others) are looking for:

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:37 am    Post subject:

Joakim Noah could be reliable center in Los Angeles with the Lakers
by Keith Rivas - lasportshub.com

Now that Joakim Noah seems officially headed out of Chicago, it’s time for Los Angeles to make a move.

According to an article posted by Bleacher Report, Joakim Noah doesn’t plan to stick around with the Bulls heading into next season.

Despite this season being a trying one for Noah, coming to Los Angeles would be a perfect chance for the veteran center to finish his career strong.

Based on what we’ve seen from the centers that Los Angeles has to offer, Noah would definitely be an upgrade.

Roy Hibbert, Robert Sacre, and Tarik Black don’t seem to be the kind of players that the Lakers could really build around in the long-term, anyway.

Hibbert’s flaws at the position only got worse after coming to the Lakers after seven seasons in Indiana, and the other two players on the roster to fill in the crucial role of a big man haven’t exactly proven themselves.

The former Pacers star went from averaging double digits in terms of points per game and being effective on the boards to not-so-helpful in purple and gold.

Roy Hibbert Season Stats:

5.9 PPG, 4.9 REB, 1.2 AST, 1.4 BLK, 0.4 STL, and +13.39 EFF (on 23.2 MPG)

Status: $15.5…
8:12 PM - 18 Apr 2016


And while Hibbert had a lot of hype before playing a game with Los Angeles, that all clearly turned into nothing special.

Noah, on the other hand, just needs the right environment.

While the front office issues seem to be at the forefront of an unofficial move by Noah, spending nearly a decade with the same franchise is a big decision to turn away from.

In terms of room for concern, injury is the biggest x-factor up for consideration by the Los Angeles front office.

This past season in Chicago provided Noah with the humbling position of a bench player instead of a starter along with a season-ending shoulder surgery.

In the five seasons before the 2015-16 campaign, Noah had only played in two games that he hadn’t been a starter in — last year saw him only start twice.

Playing for the Lakers would get him back in the starter role in the hopeful resurrection of a career.

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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:37 pm    Post subject:

Metta World Peace Receives Certificate Of Congressional Recognition
By Trevor Lane - 05/25/2016 3

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World Peace has helped create awareness for an issue that plagues many Americans and has used his status as a sports icon to make it more acceptable to openly discuss. As a result of his efforts, Metta World Peace has been awarded a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from Grace Napolitano, the U.S. Representative from California’s 32nd Congressional District. World Peace announced the good news via his Instagram account:


http://www.lakersnation.com/lakers-news-metta-world-peace-receives-certificate-of-congressional-recognition/2016/05/25/
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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 5:26 am    Post subject:

The Lakers Have More To Sell In Free Agency
by lakersoutsiders.com

For years, the Los Angeles Lakers were regarded as the (purple and) gold standard of the NBA, with a the perfect blend of organizational reputation and perfect location that commanded the respect of everyone else in the league – and attracted many to Los Angeles. It’s that blend which the Lakers used to sign the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal in free agency. Both of those now-legendary big men went on to win MVPs and championships while playing for L.A.’s premier pro sports team.

That reputation continued through the end of last decade, most notably when the Lakers signed Ron Artest to bolster their small forward position. Despite Artest only being a few months removed from a public, verbal clash with Kobe Bryant, he couldn’t pass up the chance to sign with the then-defending champions. Artest was a major part of getting that team back to the finals the very next year, and wound up forging a bond with Bryant that has lasted to the present day (but more importantly made this happen).

After that glorious 2010 victory over the Celtics to secure Los Angeles’s sixteenth NBA title, however, the Lakers’ luck in free agency has mostly run dry. Phil Jackson’s departure, the failed Chris Paul trade, and the Steve Nash debacle started to weaken the Lakers’ image around the league, but that was just the beginning. Dwight Howard’s shocking decision to leave for the Houston Rockets following the disastrous 2012-2013 season plunged Los Angeles into a full-on rebuild. That rebuild was only accelerated by the departure of Pau Gasol and retirement of Nash. Soon, the Lakers had been transformed from one of the top free agent destinations in the league to one of the most toxic.

The Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak led front office, however, seemed not to care. They still went hard after superstars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony (even spending $1 million to produce a film on Anthony’s life) – and missed on both. Yet the lowest point in decades of Laker free agency exploits came in 2015, when they courted former Trail Blazers All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.

Aldridge reportedly headed into his meeting with the Lakers hoping to be blown away by their pitch, but instead was disappointed by how much they focused on the marketability of being a Lakers star in L.A. and how little they talked about, well, actual basketball. Although he gave the Lakers a second chance to sell Aldridge on the actual quality of their team, the power forward instead made the easy decision to sign with the playoff-ready San Antonio Spurs instead. Yes, the front office took a lot of deserved heat from this, but it was easy to see where they were coming from. When it came to the actual quality of the Lakers on the court, there was virtually nothing to sell in the first place.

This year, things are different. The Lakers are finally making progress back toward their high-water mark of being able to literally sign Kobe’s enemies. Here’s how.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 5:27 am    Post subject:

Lakers could have league-leading $64.1 million in salary cap space this summer, according to latest projection
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

Los Angeles is going to have a lot of money to spend in free agency.

Everyone knows that the Los Angeles Lakers are going to have gobs of cap space this summer, which is good news for a team sorely lacking in talent outside of a couple of promising young players. Now that the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery set team's draft orders, we have a better idea of exactly how much the Lakers will have to spend (Hint: it's a lot).

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders calculated his latest projections for each team, and the Lakers are slated to have up to $64.1 million in salary cap space this summer following the outcome of the draft lottery. That is the highest possible figure in the league, nearly enough to offer three max contracts (before, as Pincus notes, accounting for the salary of restricted free agent Jordan Clarkson, whom the Lakers have indicated they want to retain).

Even with Clarkson's next contract, the Lakers will still have enough to offer more than two max contracts, but a bigger question still remains: who is going to take their money?

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 5:30 am    Post subject:

Not Worthy of No. 1: LSU Reporter Details Concerns with Ben Simmons
by Andy Schwartz - csnphilly.com

So you think Ben Simmons should be picked first or second in the next month's NBA draft.

We found someone who thinks Simmons doesn't deserve to go in either spot. Someone who has seen Simmons play plenty.

It's USA Today LSU beat writer Glenn Guilbeau, who didn't mince words as a guest Thursday on TCN's Breakfast on Broad. Guilbeau didn't question Simmons' desire and motivation — "I don't think that was an issue," he said — but did express concerns with other areas.

Several other areas.

"To me, he's more of a specialist player and a complementary player than someone who can really take over a team," Guilbeau said. "He's not a strong, inside player like a brute. A physical player. And he also does not shoot from the outside, which is amazing, but he's a great passer and a great scorer."

Complementary player? Can't take over a team? Say what?

"I don't think he should be the first pick," Guilbeau said. "I can see him being a high first-round pick. It depends on the team he's going to. Do they have enough of the other parts of the team where he can be a facilitator and a complementary player?

"He would have to go to a team where he can flourish as a complementary player, a team that has a very good center."

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 5:31 am    Post subject:

Lakers draft rumors: Brandon Ingram says he doesn't care which team picks him
by Harrison Faigen - silverscreenandroll.com

The top prospect isn't trying to force his way to a certain team.

Duke freshman Brandon Ingram is almost universally considered one of the top-two prospects in the 2016 NBA Draft after averaging 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 41 percent shooting from behind the arc during his lone college season. While there have been some rumors of fellow top prospect Ben Simmons' camp attempting to navigate him to the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the Philadelphia 76ers, Ingram made it clear he wouldn't be doing any such maneuvering.

"It doesn't matter to me [which team selects me], any organization that can take me, that's where I want to be," Ingram said in a pre-draft interview with Draft Express. "I don't have a certain place that I want to go. Whatever team drafts me, that's it."

Ingram isn't resting on his laurels while waiting to find out which organization that will be. The Duke product is currently working out in New York and says he wants to improve "Every aspect of the game. Whether it's driving, shooting the ball, or being on the defensive end, trying to get deflections or blocking shots, said Ingram, before adding "and of course getting stronger."

That last area will have to be a priority for the lithe forward. Ingram weighs just 196 pounds despite towering over most average humans at 6'9, and adding at least some bulk will be necessary for him to succeed in the NBA. To Ingram's credit, he understands that and is already putting in the necessary hours to make it happen.

"Normally when I wake up it's straight to the gym," said Ingram. "Probably about 6:30 I'll get some shots up, probably run on the treadmill and then just wait for another workout. We work out at a gym about 10 or 20 minutes from where we live and we're in there for probably half of the day."

However, Ingram also acknowledges that building an NBA frame won't happen overnight.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 5:32 am    Post subject:

Kobe Bryant To Be Named ‘Athlete Of The Decade’ At Spike TV’s Guys Choice Awards
by Corey Hansford - lakersnation.com

Now that Kobe Bryant’s playing days with the Los Angeles Lakers are finished, it would make sense that his the majority of his awards and honors would be done as well. As it turns out, however, that is not quite the case.

Spike TV has announced that they will honor Kobe Bryant as ‘Athlete of the Decade’ which will be received at the 10th Annual Guys Choice Awards. The ceremony will take place on June 4th and will air on Spike TV June 9th.

This is more proof as to how beloved and respected Kobe is across the country. Plenty of athletes would have made great choices for this honor, but Kobe was the choice and a very worthy one at that.

A five-time champion and the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer, his impact on the game of basketball and in the sports world as a whole will never be replaced. Kudos to Spike TV for honoring Kobe with the award.

Check out the press release below.

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PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 5:33 am    Post subject:

5 Players to Consider Drafting With the 32nd Pick
by Anthony Yassa - lakeshowlife.com

Much has been made of the Lakers retaining their first round selection in this year’s draft, and rightly so but LA’s track record recently with late picks is also encouraging

Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are players who can single-handedly shift the future outlook of the organization, and getting the chance to select one of them is a huge victory for the team. However, in the excitement following the draft lottery, it seems that the Lakers’ other draft choice has often been overlooked.

Although second round picks are not nearly as important as those in the first round, Lakers fans know full and well that not all impact players are chosen in the lottery. With the team landing Larry Nance Jr. in the late first round, and Jordan Clarkson in the second, it has become clear that high impact players can be found deeper in the draft.

With that in mind, the Lakers will have their choice of some impressive talent with their second round pick. Whether each player will be there when the time comes remains to be seen, but they will be evaluated here based on fit, future potential, immediate impact, and likelihood of being available.

Here are some prospects the Lakers could consider come Draft Day.

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