Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Lakers’

Although the Los Angeles Lakers‘ Big Three of LeBron JamesAnthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook struggled to mesh last season, new head coach Darvin Ham believes he can help the trio figure it out this campaign.

“I trust all three of those guys,” Ham said Saturday, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

While L.A.’s Big Three only played 21 games together last season due to injury problems, the Lakers went just 11-10 in those contests. However, Ham is promising some tweaks in an attempt to maximize his stars’ talents.

In particular, the first-time head coach hinted at a new play call that involves all three players.

“I look forward to that being at a very, very high level,” he said. “There’s different nuances in it that they can play around with.”

Additionally, Ham has implemented a four-out system designed to give James and Westbrook driving angles to push the ball toward the rim.

“Those guys are still two of the most elite athletes in our league who can both handle the ball at a high level and attack the paint and the rim at a high level,” he said.

Ham expressed a desire for his Big Three to play in the team’s preseason opener against the Sacramento Kings on Monday. While he’s used the trio in a starting five alongside free-agent addition Damian Jones and guard Kendrick Nunn during training camp, Ham is open to using any combination of players that’ll fit around the three stars.

“We have a lot of good pieces that we can work with and mix and match,” he said. “So, it’s going to be a fun ride.”

The Los Angeles Lakers are retiring George Mikan’s No. 99 jersey on Oct. 30 against the Denver Nuggets, the team announced Wednesday.

Mikan played seven seasons for the then-Minneapolis Lakers, leading the club to their first five titles in franchise history. The Hall of Famer earned six All-NBA first-team selections, four All-Star nods, three scoring titles, and one MVP award during his illustrious career.

Mikan averaged 23.1 points, 13.4 boards, and 2.8 assists over 439 appearances with the Lakers. He remains the organization’s all-time single-season leader in win shares (23.4) and ranks seventh in total free-throw attempts (3,924).

Mikan revolutionized the game with his two-way play. His ability to score with either hand using the hook shot resulted in the famous Mikan Drill. He also popularized the underhanded free-throw shooting technique.

Before turning pro, Mikan starred at the collegiate level for DePaul, where he was a three-time consensus All-American first-team selection.

The 6-foot-10 center was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996 and selected to the Association’s 75th Anniversary Team earlier this year.

Dennis Schroder is returning to Hollywood.

The free-agent guard confirmed on social media that he is signing a deal to return to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Schroder will pen a one-year, $2.6-million contract, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The 29-year-old German ball-handler previously played for the franchise during the 2020-21 season, averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.1 steals in 61 games as the Lakers’ starting point guard. He became a free agent the following summer, eventually inking a one-year deal with the Boston Celtics after L.A. traded for Russell Westbrook, who remains on the roster.

The Lakers now have an abundance of point guards as they prepare for training camp. Along with Schroder and Westbrook, the franchise also pried recent trade acquisition Patrick Beverley from the Utah Jazz in late August. Former All-Rookie first-teamer Kendrick Nunn is also expected to return after missing all of last season with a bone bruise in his knee.

Schroder’s agent Mark Bartelstein said the Lakers informed him “there will be a lot of minutes for everybody,” according to NBA.com’s Mark Medina.

Though Germany’s EuroBasket campaign came to an end Friday with a loss to Spain in the semifinals, Schroder led the national side with 21.6 points and 7.3 assists per game across seven appearances. Germany’s run to the semifinals will ensure one of the country’s best-ever results at EuroBasket behind a silver medal in 2005 and gold on home soil in 1993.

LeBron James reaffirmed his commitment to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer, inking a two-year, $97.1-million contract extension instead of testing free agency next year.

If Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has her way, the four-time Finals MVP will remain in Hollywood for the remainder of his playing days.

“With LeBron, we have a line of communication between the two of us, and he knows that he can reach me any time and vice-versa,” Buss told Sports Illustrated’s Howard Beck on a recent episode of “The Crossover” podcast. “And I think he feels appreciated. I know I appreciated that he signed an extension to stay here and continue to lead the Laker team.

“He’s a fantastic leader both on and off the court, and I feel like we’re blessed to have him as a Laker. I want to see him retire as a Laker.”

James’ new deal includes a $50.7-million player option for the 2024-25 campaign. The Akron, Ohio, native hasn’t been shy about potentially playing alongside his son Bronny, who is a four-star recruit in the class of 2023 and is draft-eligible the following year.

James joined the Lakers in free agency four years ago. The former No. 1 overall pick has continued to play at an elite level since moving to the West Coast, averaging 27 points, 8.2 assists, 8.0 boards, and 1.2 steals during his tenure in Los Angeles. He registered a league-leading 10.2 dimes per contest in 2019-20 and led the Lakers to their 17th NBA title that same season.

James will likely surpass franchise icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this upcoming campaign as the Association’s all-time leading scorer, and Buss takes a lot of pride knowing that he’ll do so donning the purple and gold.

“(LeBron) will probably become the all-time leading scorer in the history of the NBA, which would break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record. … I’ll never forget when he did that, and Chick Hearn said, ‘This is a record that will never be broken,’ and here we are,” Buss said. “Somebody who is going to break it in a Laker uniform. And that has a lot of meaning to the organization and to me personally.”

The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Utah Jazz guard Patrick Beverley in exchange for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson on Thursday.

With the deal, Los Angeles opens up a roster spot and could have up to $34 million in salary-cap space next season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Meanwhile, Utah creates a $2.74-million trade exception.

Beverley’s move to L.A. ends his brief stint in Utah. After playing 58 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, the 33-year-old was shipped to the Jazz in July as part of a blockbuster trade for star center Rudy Gobert.

Adding the plucky Beverley to the Lakers’ roster doesn’t come without chemistry concerns. The journeyman guard has frequently feuded with Lakers star Russell Westbrook over the last several years, stemming from comments Westbrook made while still with the Houston Rockets.

“PatBev trick y’all, man, like he plays defense,” Westbrook said in 2019. “He don’t guard nobody, man. It’s just running around, doing nothing.”

During an appearance on “The Old Man and the Three” podcast with JJ Redick in March, Beverley said those remarks “damaged” his career.

Beverley registered 9.2 points, 4.6 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game with Minnesota. The trade marks the veteran ball-handler’s second stint in Los Angeles – he played four seasons with the Clippers from 2017-21.

Still only 21, Horton-Tucker was arguably the Lakers’ best trade chip this summer for a team limited in terms of avenues to improve its roster. The former second-round selection scored a career-high 10 points per game in 2021-22, starting in 19 of his 60 appearances. However, he never produced the breakout season Lakers fans hoped for.

Johnson made 27 starts for L.A. last campaign, his most in a single year since his 2017-18 season with the Detroit Pistons (50). He registered 6.7 points and 3.2 boards per contest in 48 games with the Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers will retire Pau Gasol’s No. 16 jersey on March 7, 2023, in a game against the Memphis Grizzlies, the team announced Wednesday.

Gasol played with the purple and gold from 2008-14, earning three straight All-Star nods and helping the franchise win championships in 2009 and ’10. He made third-team All-NBA in those seasons and second-team in 2011.

The Spaniard started his career with the Grizzlies, helping the franchise make the playoffs for the first time in 2004.

Gasol ranks ninth in both rebounds and blocks and 10th in triple-doubles in Lakers franchise history. He’s also recorded the club’s ninth-highest field-goal percentage ever.

After his tenure in L.A., he played for the Chicago BullsSan Antonio Spurs, and Milwaukee Bucks before officially retiring in 2021.

Gasol averaged 17.7 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks across 429 games with the Lakers.

LeBron James won’t be hitting the open market.

The Los Angeles Lakers superstar agreed to a two-year, $97.1-million contract extension Wednesday, his agent told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

James’ new deal includes a player option for the 2024-25 campaign as well as a 15% trade kicker, adds Wojnarowski.

Earlier in August, the Akron, Ohio, native became eligible for an extension with the Lakers and had until June 30, 2023, to sign the new deal.

Los Angeles inked James to a two-year extension in December 2020 worth $85.7 million. He was set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

James turned heads during NBA All-Star Weekend in February when he said “the door’s not closed” on a third stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, another homecoming appears to be ruled out for now, with the former No. 1 overall pick locked in with the Lakers until 2025.

James has averaged 27 points, 8.2 assists, eight boards, and 1.2 steals over four seasons with the purple and gold. The four-time Finals MVP posted a league-leading 10.2 assists during the 2019-20 campaign as he led the Lakers to their 17th NBA championship.

The 37-year-old remains a force entering his 20th season in the Association. James’ 30.3 points per contest in 2021-22 was the second-highest output of his career.

The defending champion Golden State Warriors will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 18 to open the 2022-23 NBA season, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The Warriors will also receive their championship rings before the game, Charania reports.

Golden State served as the class of the league last season, defeating the Boston Celtics in six games to capture the franchise’s fourth title in eight years.

The Lakers, meanwhile, struggled mightily. The LeBron James-led squad limped to a 33-49 record and missed the playoffs.

The Warriors and Lakers also squared off to begin last season, with Golden State picking up a 121-114 victory in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Lakers‘ 2020 championship put the franchise in a tie with the Boston Celtics for the most titles in NBA history, but controlling owner Jeanie Buss isn’t satisfied yet.

Buss told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that in carrying on the legacy of her late father, Dr. Jerry Buss, she’s determined to see the Lakers take the lead over the Celtics in championships.

“When he started, he wanted to take on the Boston Celtics and all the winning they had done,” Jeanie said. “Now, with ring No. 17, we’re tied with the Celtics in terms of winning (championships). That’s what he set out to do. And certainly the work is not done yet. We have to continue that quest, and we’ll do so.”

The Celtics had an opportunity to surpass the Lakers last season, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time in 12 years. However, they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games.

The Lakers failed to reach the playoffs last season after finishing 33-49.

The intercity rivalry between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers has John Wall enthusiastically looking forward to his first season with his new team.

Wall shared his thoughts on the rivalry in a recent interview with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, saying he’s looking forward to playing under the bright lights that the “Battle of L.A.” brings.

“We know who they have over there, and we know who we have on our side,” the five-time NBA All-Star said.

“So I think it’s gonna be a great battle, and I think it’s a great opportunity for me. I think a lot of people get to see me play on TV, and me being with Kawhi (Leonard) and those guys, they have a lot of TV games. I love the stage. When the lights is bright, that’s the best time to perform. So I’m excited for it.”

The Clippers won the “Battle of L.A.” last season, sweeping the Lakers 4-0. All four wins came without Leonard, who remained sidelined for the entire campaign while recovering from a torn ACL.

Wall signed a two-year deal with the Clippers earlier this month after reaching a buyout agreement with the Houston Rockets.