Lakers legend Magic Johnson takes the rein as new President of Basketball operations, hopes to restore Lakers back to respectability:
Via LA Times:
On one of the most dramatic days in the history of the Lakers, the woman at the center of it all made drastic changes Tuesday aiming to help resuscitate the team.
Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ governor and president, fired her brother, Jim Buss, the head of basketball operations.
She fired general manager Mitch Kupchak, who has been a Laker for more than 35 years.
She fired John Black, the team’s spokesman for more than two decades.
She handed the reins of the franchise to a man she has known since she was 17 years old, one who calls her a sister. Magic Johnson, perhaps the best to ever play for the Lakers, is now the team’s president of basketball operations. Read the rest of this entry
NBA: Retiring Kobe Bryant has a game for the ages in his final NBA game after 20 seasons; scores 60pts in his Lakers finale:
Via The Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 60 incredible points. He carried a miserable Los Angeles Lakers team to an improbable comeback victory.
And with sweat and confetti all over his gold uniform for the final time, he expressed humble thanks to his fans and family for their loving support over two decades.”What else can I say?” Bryant asked. “Mamba out.” Now that’s a Hollywood ending to a remarkable career. Bryant utterly dominated his final game Wednesday night, wrapping up 20 NBA seasons with one last offensive showcase in the Lakers’ 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz. He scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first 50-point game since February 2009 and rallying the Lakers from a 15-point deficit to win the final game of the worst season in franchise history.
New Lakers PG Jeremy Lin On His New Opportunity In LA, Moving On From Houston & Gaining Magic’s Support
Sports Media World and Sports Illustrated connect w/ Lakers PG Jeremy Lin to talk Lakers, Kobe, Magic and departing Houston:
Jeremy Lin found out he’d be the Lakers’ starting point guard in peculiar fashion. Magic Johnson vouched for Lin last Wednesday, shortly after Steve Nash was ruled out for the season with a back injury. And yet coach Byron Scott, Johnson’s Showtime backcourt partner, delayed his decision until after Ronnie Price bruised his right knee in the preseason finale on Friday. Once Scott was ready to choose Lin as the starter for Tuesday’s opener against the Rockets in Los Angeles, he informed reporters before telling Lin or his teammates.
Many NBA players might be taken aback by not receiving a direct show of support or a team-wide pronouncement, but the world learned at the beginning of Linsanity in 2012 that Lin isn’t easily included in the group of many NBA players. In less than eight months he went from the D-League, to the toast of the Big Apple and global superstardom, to a three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet with Houston that went unmatched by the Knicks. Read the rest of this entry
(Video) preview of Showtime’s upcoming fall 2014 documentary; “Kobe Bryant’s Muse”, directed by Gotham Chopra:
ESPN Los Angeles on the latest news that Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant is Out again with left knee fracture:
Kobe Bryant is expected to miss six weeks with a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee, the Los Angeles Lakers announced Thursday.
Bryant suffered the injury Tuesday night during the visiting Lakers’ 96-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. An MRI exam Thursday revealed that Bryant played for a half against the Grizzlies with the break.
The news is an undeniable blow to the Lakers, who in late November signed Bryant to a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension before the 35-year-old had made it back onto the court from a torn Achilles tendon he suffered last April.
“It’s too bad,” coach Mike D’Antoni said at the team’s practice Thursday. Read the rest of this entry
CBS Sports NBA writer Ken Berger on the aftermath of the Kobe Bryant Achilles injury and its implications during his recovery:
Kobe Bryant emerged from the Lakers’ locker room at 10:55 p.m. Pacific Time with his family. He climbed into the back seat of a golf cart, his left foot in a walking boot, dangling off the side.
Someone said, “You’ll get through this, man,” and Bryant replied, “Yessir.” And he was off, driven to the loading dock at Staples Center after tearing his left Achilles’ tendon — in the 3,013th minute of the 78th game of his 17th season of this remarkable career.
“I made a move that I’ve made a million times,” Bryant had said at his locker earlier Friday night, “and it just popped.”
And so much popped with it. The pursuit of a playoff berth that Bryant had so heroically –and now, tragically — fueled was rendered pointless in the wake of this vapid, 118-116 victory over the Golden State Warriors. These 48-minute nights, this stubborn battle to push past limits of pain and exhaustion that should’ve long ago conquered him –- over.
The Lakers pass on re-hiring coach Phil Jackson, Select Mike D’Antoni in hopes of resurrecting their promising season:
Via David Aldridge NBA.com:
Showtime, or a veritable facsimile thereof, won.
In a stunning development late Sunday night, the Los Angeles Lakers opted to sign former Knicks and Suns coach Mike D’Antoni to a four-year deal as their next coach, ending negotiations with 11-time NBA champion coach Phil Jackson. He was believed to be the prohibitive favorite to replaceMike Brown, who was fired last Friday.
D’Antoni and former Lakers, Blazers, Bucks and Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy interviewed with the Lakers over the weekend. But they were fallbacks, interviews done just in case the Lakers, somehow, could not reach a deal with the 67-year-old Jackson, who’d won five titles in Los Angeles during two stints as head coach.
Lakers Win Again Landing Dwight Howard From Orlando; Andrew Bynum To Sixers, Andre Iguodala To Denver
Ken Berger of CBS Sports on the Lakers stealing Dwight Howard from Orlando in 4 team trade as Magic house cleaning continues:
In a stunning move that pushes Kobe Bryant ever closer to his sixth championship, the Lakers acquire Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic in a blockbuster, four-team trade.
Yes, it’s Showtime again in L.A.
The deal was agreed to on Thursday night and approved on a conference call with NBA officials Friday morning, the Lakers complete a remarkable transformation that pairs Bryant with the top center in the game and a point guard, Steve Nash, who is among the best of his generation. All of this while keeping power forward Pau Gasol.
The Point Forward’s Zach Lowe outlines several teams who fared well this summer during the NBA’s Free Agency signing period:
It’s offseason evaluation time! We’ll be splitting up the team-by-team assessments into several posts over the next week or so, starting here with teams that, at least from this vantage point, have little hindsight-based hand-wringing to do. Other posts will include teams that have us worried, teams that generally stood pat (and whether that was a good thing) and the teams that have us most intrigued based on the moves they made and the directions open to them now. Keep that last part in mind if you think your team had a successful offseason and it is not mentioned below.
For today: The Lakers, Hawks, Heat, Warriors and Hornets made some fairly dramatic moves and should be very happy with them.
CBS Sports Ken Berger with a look at next month’s NBA free agency as it relates to the new NBA economic model:
MIAMI — In the aftermath of a compelling NBA Finals, a championship coronation for LeBron James and his Miami Superteam, the question is — as always — what now?
That question ripples through the NBA, from the biggest of big markets to the smallest of small, especially now, as the league ventures into new salary cap and player movement guidelines that resulted from the 149-day lockout that almost canceled the season.
How do the Heat add to their championship roster? How do the Thunder keep their core together and still have flexibility to make the improvements necessary to get back to the Finals? How does the rest of the league catch them, and more interestingly, which model prevails? The clear-space-and-load-up-on-stars model? Or the patient, snail’s-pace, build-from-within approach?
These questions take on even broader significance in the coming days as executives, agents and players prepare for the first full-fledged free agency period since the new collective bargaining agreement reset the NBA’s economic and competitive model. Read the rest of this entry