For the second consecutive season, Andrew Bogut is going to be given the chance to go from the wilderness to a championship contender.
Yahoo Sports’s Shams Charania reported Saturday that the Los Angeles Lakers will release Bogut, freeing him up to go to a better team.
Sources: The Los Angeles Lakers are releasing center Andrew Bogut. With Lakers at 11-27, this allows sides to part ways and Bogut to pivot toward signing with a playoff team.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 6, 2018
Bogut has been a fringe contributor to the Lakers, starting just five games and averaging only nine minutes per contest. He will hope that, wherever he lands, the tenure there goes better than it did when this happened last year.
The Los Angeles Lakers are losers of seven of eight and players are being subjected to numerous rumors of a big offseason that could see some of them replaced or moved. All the speculation has done nothing good for the culture in the locker room.
With that in mind, the Lakers held a team meeting on Thursday in which players spoke freely about their frustrations and grievances with what Brandon Ingram called “the business of the organization.”
“Hopefully we think about what we said to each other,” Ingram said, via Bill Oram of the Orange County Register. “What we said to the coaches and that the coaches have listened to what we said. Hopefully we can take it into practice, into games and just get better.”
Some of the frustration stems from roles. Forward Julius Randle played only 11 minutes on Wednesday and has had to listen to various reports about his future with the franchise.
Coach Luke Walton called all the frustrations “normal” and admitted that he understood the sources of it.
“There’s some frustration,” Walton said. “But there’s frustration on every team unless you win every game. Whenever you lose games, there’s frustration, people want to play more as everyone in the league should want to play more.”
Rumors about big moves in free agency and potential trades to clear cap space are exciting for fans, but can certainly unsettle players. A meeting like this was overdue.
- Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers know they can’t stop LaVar Ball from talking to the media, but they appear keen on preventing it from happening at actual games.
According to ESPN’s Chris B. Haynes, the Lakers have begun enforcing an already-existing rule prohibiting media from congregating with friends, family, and guests of players after games.
The rule, which has been nicknamed the “LaVar Ball Rule” by some Lakers staffers, had been in place already, but not aggressively enforced until Ball became a factor.
“It’s not a new policy; it’s an existing policy,” a Lakers spokesperson told ESPN. “There has been more media presence in that area than before. That section is strictly for family and guests of players. It’s a privacy concern.”
With comments like these, you can understand why the Lakers would like to do as much as they can to ensure LaVar isn’t holding court with the media on a regular basis at games. He’ll have to do it on his own time.
LaVar Ball insisted that once Lonzo reached the NBA, his criticism of coaches would cease. But those promises have fallen on deaf ears and LaVar’s frustrations are already beginning to boil over.
Despite the Los Angeles Lakers performing above early expectations and an apparent chemistry building among teammates, LaVar recently expressed his frustration with Lonzo’s playing time and how it impacts his shooting.
Through 10 games, Lonzo is shooting just 29.9% from the field.
“Let him play the whole fourth quarter and bet you’ll always win. He’ll get into a better flow,” LaVar told Bleacher Report. “The in and out, sitting out six to 10 minutes? He’s not going to take no shots because he’s not in the flow. He don’t want to hurt the team by shooting.”
Lonzo has averaged 33 minutes per game so far this season, so it’s not exactly like he’s riding the pine with regularity. But LaVar insists the rotation and late-game rest has been what’s negatively impacting Lonzo’s shooting.
“You’ve got to shoot the ball,” LaVar said last Friday. “You’re not going to make it if you don’t take it.”
Luke Walton relies on is rotation and believes in it, so LaVar’s cries aren’t likely to result in any sort of change. The reality is, Lonzo is a rookie who is going through some growing pains, but he remains the youthful face of the Lakers franchise and will earn fourth quarter playing time when he begins to shoot better over the first three quarters.
The Los Angeles Lakers were a major disappointment on Thursday night in their most highly-anticipated season opener in years, and head coach Luke Walton felt the fans reacted accordingly.
During their 108-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Lakers heard some boos. Considering how poorly his team played, Walton was not surprised.
“I wasn’t happy with what we gave our fans tonight,” he said, via Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register. “Obviously, I heard there were some boos going around on. You know, we deserved it at those times.”
The biggest story of the night, obviously, was Lonzo Ball. The rookie was shut down by Clippers guard Patrick Beverley. Ball shot just 1-of-6 from the field and finished with three points, four assists and nine rebounds. Beverley taunted him on the court numerous times and took shots at him after the game, too.
“Overall, it was a decent game for him,” Walton said of Ball.
It sure didn’t feel that way. Lakers fans are expecting huge things from Ball. Magic Johnson comparisons have already been thrown around, though Ball’s father LaVar is responsible for much of the anticipation surrounding his son. Johnson, the new president of basketball operations for the Lakers, said situations like the one on Thursday night are the reason the team drafted Ball.
“This is why you lace ’em up,” Johnson said. “This is why he wanted to get drafted to the Lakers. This is why we picked him, so we could put him in those types of games and those situations.”
Of course, LaVar Ball had to make headlines after the game by blasting Beverley. You have to wonder if that will get old, especially if the Lakers continue to struggle. You also have to wonder if it will result in fans booing louder if Lonzo doesn’t play like the Rookie of the Year many expect him to be. Walton is almost certainly prepared for that in the back of his mind.
The Los Angeles Lakers are taking their youth movement to a whole new level.
According to a report by international basketball writer David Pick on Friday, the Lakers have hired 19-year-old Turkish scout Can Pelister, who now becomes the youngest international scout ever.
Source: Lakers hire 19-year-old Turkish insider Can Pelister as the youngest international scout of all time.
— David Pick (@IAmDPick) October 13, 2017
Remarkably, Pelister, at 19, is younger than every single player on the Lakers roster except for star rookie Lonzo Ball. We know the Lakers, who recently made headlines with another scouting hire, have been trying to institute a new culture based around youth. But this is a bold move even by those standards.
Even when they are losing, the Los Angeles Lakers stay winning.
According to a report by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe on Tuesday, the Lakers finished with a $115.4 million net profit last season, which was the highest in the NBA by a significant margin. That number was over $25 million more than the next closest team, the championship-winning Golden State Warriors, and it was calculated AFTER the Lakers wrote a $49 million check as a part of the league’s revenue-sharing agreement. Conversely, 14 of the 30 teams in the NBA actually lost money last season.
It’s somewhat of a staggering development after the Lakers finished 26-56 in 2016-17 for their fourth consecutive sub-30-win season. It was also their first season after Kobe Bryant’s retirement. But the colossal Los Angeles market, the legendary status of their franchise, and their mammoth local media rights deals (which Windhorst and Lowe noted were the biggest contributing factor to their profit margin) all but ensure a constant and continued stream of huge income for the Lakers. And if the future is any indication, subsequent seasons could prove even more lucrative in Lakerland, which is a pretty scary thought.