March 7, 2012 |
Reporting from Washington — He has won two championship rings and played in two other NBA Finals. Luke Walton doesn't know what to do these days. "This is my ninth year, and this is probably the toughest one," the Lakers forward said. He's the forgotten man of the Lakers, idling at the end of the bench in the first year of the Mike Brown era. The Lakers have played 39 games. Walton has appeared in nine, lowest on the team. "The last couple of years, my back's been hurting so I couldn't really complain about [playing time]
February 20, 2012 |
What an idiotic rant, but not a surprise given Kobe Bryant's track record as a big baby. With the Clippers getting more attention and the Lakers falling flat, it was only a matter of time before we were going to hear from him. "I wish management would come out and either trade [ Pau Gasol ] or not trade him," said Bryant, who threw a tantrum five years ago in demanding to be traded. Obviously, superstars should be seen and not heard. The trading deadline is March 15, and so what is Bryant saying here, that he'd like to see the Lakers at a competitive disadvantage?
February 4, 2012 |
Reporting from Salt Lake City -- Devin Ebanks opened the season in the starting lineup, moved to the bench and now plays sparingly. Darius Morris went from benchwarmer to prominent backup to benchwarmer. Josh McRoberts is the latest Laker to take a spin on the playing-time carousel; the power forward's minutes having been drastically curtailed recently. After averaging 17 minutes per game over a seven-game stretch that ended against Milwaukee on Jan. 28, McRoberts barely played in the next three games.
January 31, 2012 |
It's Metta World Peace's turn. It's anyone's guess whether he can do the job for the Lakers. He became their third small forward to start a game, the revolving door not spitting out much production at the position through 22 games. Devin Ebanks started the first four games, then Matt Barnes got the next 16, followed by World Peace the last two games. The trio averaged a combined 14.9 points before Tuesday's game against Charlotte, or only 51% of LeBron James' scoring average for Miami (29.2 points)
January 21, 2012 |
Brian Shaw wants this to be an easy homecoming. He really does. He spent 12 years as a player, scout and assistant coach for the Lakers but didn't get the job to replace Phil Jackson. He was upset he wasn't hired, especially after finding out through media reports, not the Lakers, that Mike Brown got the nod. So Shaw returns Sunday to Staples Center as the associate head coach of the Indiana Pacers and might wonder "what if?" … but only if his mind lets him. "I don't really like to play that game and look back because if I dwell on that, I'm really cheating the team I'm with now," Shaw said in a phone interview with The Times.
January 15, 2012 |
Lamar Odom will be back at Staples Center on Monday, giving his former teammates a chance to catch up. Not that a few haven't attempted to communicate with the forward in the month since the Lakers traded him to the Dallas Mavericks. "I tried to call him," forward Pau Gasol said, "but he's hard to reach. " The Lakers could always leave a message. Or not. "His voicemail is always full," forward Luke Walton said. "He was like that when he played here. " Odom's game certainly looks different.
January 14, 2012 |
For a team that's played only 14 games, the Lakers don't have much in reserve. Their bench entered Saturday night's game against the Clippers averaging an NBA-worst 21.3 points per game. Things bottomed out Friday against Cleveland when the Lakers reserves combined for only four points. And it could get worse. Steve Blake, the Lakers' primary fourth-quarter point guard and leading scorer off the bench, will be sidelined up to a month after fracturing the cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum earlier this week.
January 1, 2012 |
Reporting from Denver -- Luke Walton has learned that a coach's work is never done. Nearly a month after he left his job as a temporary assistant at the University of Memphis to rejoin the Lakers, Walton continues to coach from afar. "I get random texts from certain [players] and after a game, if I'm able to watch it, I'll send some texts out to some of the guys with some thoughts," Walton said. College basketball used to be an afterthought to Walton except during the NCAA tournament.
December 23, 2011 |
It tugged at them during the off-season, made their vacations less enjoyable, the lockout less bearable and the millions they earned slightly less tolerable. Losers in four games to Dallas last May, the Lakers were bounced from the Western Conference semifinals without any hint of existence from a two-time NBA champion. As crash-and-burns go, it was one of the worst in team history. Andrew Bynum lost his cool, Kobe Bryant lost his touch and Phil Jackson lost his last four games as the Lakers' coach.
December 21, 2011 |
As if there hadn't been enough chaos this month for the Lakers ... Kobe Bryant sustained a torn ligament in his right wrist, simultaneously clouding his capacity to score and the Lakers' ability to win. Bryant planned to endure the discomfort instead of opting for surgery that would dim his chances of playing an already abbreviated 66-game season. He is officially listed as day-to-day by the team. PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Clippers He did not play in the Clippers' 108-103 exhibition victory Wednesday at Staples Center.