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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Lakers

LaVar Ball upset with Lonzo’s playing time: ‘Let him play’

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.

Luke Walton: Lakers deserved to be booed in season opener

Luke Walton

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.

Report: Lakers hire 19-year-old scout

Lakers logo

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.

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.

Report: Lakers made most money in NBA last season

Lakers logo

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.

Could Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Paul George form superteam with Lakers?

The only way LeBron James is going to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for a Western Conference team is if said Western Conference team would have an immediate shot at competing with the Golden State Warriors. As rumors continue to pile up, it sounds like the Los Angeles Lakers have an outside chance to be that team.

Speculation has existed for a while that LeBron could sign with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent next summer. Many believe Paul George is destined to wind up in purple and gold, which would certainly help L.A. sign James. But if George and Westbrook both decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to join the Lakers together, would that seal the deal for King James?

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said recently that the Lakers will be a possible landing spot for Westbrook if he does not sign the contract extension the Thunder have offered him.

“Paul George is from L.A. Russell Westbrook’s from L.A. They’re going to be playing together. If they want to stay together, they could just come to the Lakers or Clippers,” Shelburne said. “The what-ifs — the dominos that start falling if (Westbrook) does not sign that contract extension by the start of the regular season…”

On paper, a Lakers team comprised of LeBron, Westbrook, George, Lonzo Ball and some other young up-and-coming players would obviously sound like enough to contend with Golden State. It would also require some serious salary cap gymnastics, but that’s something Magic Johnson would make sure his team figured out if all of the aforementioned superstars were interested in playing together in L.A.

James would supposedly love to team up with Westbrook, and one reporter went out on a limb last week with a prediction about LeBron’s future.

We’ve seen enough crazy things happen in the NBA recently to know nothing should be ruled out, but Westbrook would look like quite the hypocrite if he left OKC for the same reasons Kevin Durant did. That said, the Thunder have to prove they are committed to competing. There must be a reason Westbrook hasn’t signed his extension yet.

Magic Johnson says Larry Nance is ‘secret weapon’ for Lakers

Larry Nance Jr

There is a lot of anticipation surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason with Lonzo Ball having torn up the Summer League, but one player we haven’t heard a whole lot about is Larry Nance Jr. And that’s just the way Magic Johnson likes it.

Apparently Magic is expecting huge things from Nance this upcoming season. In an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday, Johnson said the Lakers have turned down trade offers involving Nance. He also referred to the 24-year-old as the team’s “secret weapon.”

Nance has averaged 6.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game through his first two seasons with the Lakers. He had one of the best dunks of the year in 2017, but it’s somewhat surprising that Johnson is talking about him like he’s untouchable. The Hall of Famer must see something in the former No. 27 overall pick that the general public does not.

Report: Lakers will retire both of Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers

Kobe Bryant

How good of a career did Kobe Bryant have with the Los Angeles Lakers? Let’s just say the man wore two different jersey numbers, and both of them will be off-limits to future players who wear the purple and gold.

The Lakers are planning to hold a ceremony for Bryant on Dec. 18 before they play the Golden State Warriors, and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports that both Bryant’s No. 8 jersey and his No. 24 jersey will be raised to the rafters of the Staples Center.

While retiring two numbers for one player is unprecedented, what other choice did the Lakers have? Bryant wore No. 8 for the first half of his career, and he helped the Lakers win three championships in a row from 2000-2002 while wearing that number. He then switched to No. 24 — his first high school number — prior to the 2006-2007 season. The Lakers went on to win two more championships over the latter nine years of Bryant’s career.

Many expected the Lakers to retire both of Bryant’s numbers, though the future Hall of Famer had a funny response when asked about the potential predicament a while back. If any player deserves the honor, it’s Kobe.

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