Category Archives: Lakers

Breaking Down KCP Signing With The Lakers

July 12, 2017

The Lakers surprised everyone on Tuesday night signing free agent guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (KCP) to a one-year $18 million deal.  The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Before we talk about those nerdy salary cap ramifications, let’s talk about how this helps the Lake Show.

KCP is a 24-year-old shooting guard who played for the Piston last season, averaging 13.8 points, 2.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds.  Although he shot only 40% from the field last year and 35% from 3, he is a 3-and-D player that has improved his game every year in the league.  His length and athleticism also make him an excellent defender.  While he still has room for improvement in his efficiency and playmaking, his versatility make him a very useful player now for LA, and one that they might even continue to build with in Luke Walton’s vision of a position-less basketball system.

As for his contract, KCP signed a one-year deal for $18 million.  That gives the Lakers roughly $54 million in contracts coming of the books next summer, allowing them to follow their plan to chase free agents like Lebron James, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook.

In recent seasons, we’ve seen the Lakers (as well as other teams aggressively planning for free agency) strikeout in free agency.  If that happens again, don’t underestimate the significance of Caldwell.  After sending D’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn to shed the Timofey Mozgov contract, the Lakers had one less young talented player on their roster.  Caldwell adds to the Lakers young core, and could still be a significant part of that young core if LA doesn’t land the stars it hopes to.

Keep in mind, since KCP is on a one-year deal, the Lakers would not have his Bird Rights.  Instead, they would either have to use cap space to sign him, or use the non-bird exception, giving him a starting salary of nearly $23 million next season.

In reality though, the Lakers and KCP are hoping he has a career-year, and keeps them in playoff contention. Since they are also hoping to lure some big-name free agents to LA next summer, if all goes well for both parties, he probably won’t be on the roster.  Still, he’s another young asset for the franchise, even if it’s short-term.

Finally, the reported $18 million salary means the Lakers would have to shed a non-guaranteed contract to make it work.  It also means that despite the fact they have no cap room left, they still have The Room Exception, allowing them to spend an additional $4.3 million to add another free agent.  Rajon Rondo appears to be the strongest candidate for that, after he met with the Lakers on Tuesday.  Rondo would serve as a nice backup and a mentor to Lonzo Ball, and could serve to make the Lakers more competitive in a season where they don’t have a 1st round pick.

An offseason in which the Lakers are able to sign KCP and Rondo would have to be considered a great success for Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka in their first off-season on the job.

Lakers Ready To Ball

June 22, 2017

The Lakers drafted UCLA and former Chino Hills High School point guard Lonzo Ball on Thursday night with the 2nd pick in the NBA draft.

Since the Lakers are run by the greatest point guard of all-time, Ball gave respect to the Laker legend after being selected.

“He’s one of the best to ever do it, and I can’t — there’s never going to be another Magic Johnson,” Ball said. “So I’m trying to be myself, but if I can come halfway short of him, you know it’s going to be good.”

Ball, 19, was one of three UCLA players drafted on Thursday night.  The others were TJ Leaf, who was selected 18th overall by Indiana.  Ike Anigbogu also went to the Pacers with the 47th pick.

Ball is known for his unselfishness and playmaking ability.  Those intangibles are what coach Luke Walton really liked.

“When he’s on the floor, all four guys out there with him become better instantly,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “That’s a quality trait that not many people have. The great ones all have it. I hope by the way he plays, everyone else on our team becomes better.’’

The Lakers also selected I selected Utah forward Kyle Kuzma with the 27th pick, which they received  earlier in the week from Brooklyn.

LA then traded the 28th pick, which they originally received from Houston, to Utah.  In exchange, the Lakers received the 30th and 42nd pick.  They took Villanova guard Josh Hart with the 30th pick and Indiana center Thomas Bryant with the 42nd pick.

And so the Ball era begins in LA…….


Lakers Trade Russell & Mozgov To Nets

June 20, 2017

The Lakers have traded D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.

The move was largely driven by salary cap savings from the Lakers’ perspective.  LA opens up an additional $22 million in cap space for the summer of 2018, and a total of nearly $60 million that will allow them to offer two max contracts.

It just so happens that the summer of 2018 free class is expected to include Lebron James, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, and DeMarcus Cousins.

Lopez will be entering the final year of his contract that will pay him just over $22 million in 2017-2018.  The 7’0 center was an all-star in 2013, and averaged 20.5 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Nets last season.  He also led the NBA in three-point attempts by centers, while making a reasonable 34% of them.

Moving Mozgov was the most significant part of the deal, after he signed a 4-year $64 million contract last summer.  He fell out of the Laker rotation midway through the season.  However, it was Russell who was a casualty of getting rid of Mozgov’s contract.

Russell was selected #2 overall in the draft by the Lakers two years ago.  He averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists in 63 games.

It was an up and down two years for the 21-year-old.  During his rookie year he video taped his teammate Nick Young admitting that he cheated on his then current fiancee, Iggy Azalea.  That video was somehow released onto social media, causing a rift between Russell and his teammates.

This past season he was the team’s starting point, but went down with a knee injury in December, causing him to miss 12 games  He was removed from the starting lineup for three games in March.  Upon his return, he scored a career-high 40 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers.  He had a strong statistical finish to the season, while starting at shooting guard.

The Lakers continue to be engaged in talks for Paul George according to multiple sources.  However, it appears likely that they will keep the #2 overall pick for this Thursday’s draft and select UCLA’s Lonzo Ball with it.

Lonzo Ball Works Out For The Lakers

June 7, 2017

Lonzo Ball worked out for the Lakers on Wednesday morning at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.  The workout involved only Ball and no other prospects.  It was held in front of Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka, Luke Walton, and other Laker front office executives.

Afterward, Ball was greeted to a swarm of media members, who bombarded him with 8 minutes of questions.  The former UCLA and Chino Hills High School point guard re-iterated his desire to play for the Lakers.

“Of course,”  he said. “It’s home.”  However, Ball did indicate that he would play for any team if the Lakers did not select him with the #2 pick in the draft later this month.

“I’ll go to any team and just do what I do,” Ball said. “Play basketball.”

Despite recent speculation that the Lakers have interest in Kansas’ forward Josh Jackson or Kentucky guard De’Aaron, multiple NBA sources indicated that Ball is still the favorite to be selected by the Lakers with their #2 pick.

Ball spent Tuesday evening dining with Johnson and other members of the Laker brass.  After his workout, he was scheduled to have lunch with the Buss family on Wednesday afternoon.

Ball was also not accompanied by his father Lavar, who has made headlines recently with the media.   When asked about his father, Lonzo explained that there is nothing to be concerned about.

“They said they love him. That’s about it.”  He went on to say that this isn’t unfamiliar territory for him either.

“They said that about me in high school, they said that about me in college,” Ball said. “I don’t think it will affect me.”

The 6-foot-6 point guard averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds in his lone season with the Bruins, while leading them into the Sweet 16 against Kentucky.

“They need a leader,” Ball said when asked why the Lakers should draft him. “They need a point guard. I feel like I can fill that hole.”

Members of the Laker front office will travel to Sacramento on Thursday to watch Jackson workout for them.  A workout with Fox is schedule for next week.

Lakers Get #2 Pick In NBA Lottery

May 16, 2017

The Lakers learned they will receive the #2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft after the league held the draft lottery on Tuesday night in New York.

LA can now breathe a deep sigh of relief since their 1st round pick in June’s draft was top 3 protected.  Had the Lakers pick fallen out of the top 3, it would have been sent to Philadelphia as part of the Steve Nash trade from 2012.  The Suns received the draft pick from the Lakers, then traded the pick to Philadelphia later on.

The Boston Celtics received the #1 pick in the draft.  The Celtics received that draft pick from the Brooklyn Nets, as part of the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets in 2013.

The 76ers will be picking 3rd, their third straight year in the top 3.  Following the 76ers will be the Suns, Kings, Magic, Timberwolves, Knicks, Mavericks, Kings, Hornets, Pistons, Nuggets, and Heat.

The Lakers had the most at stake of any team on Tuesday night.  By keeping their 2017 1st round pick, LA will also be keeping their 2019 1st round pick as well.  Had they lost this year’s pick, they would have had to to sent the 2019 1st round pick to Orlando to satisfy the Dwight Howard trade.  Instead, the Lakers’ 1st round pick in 2018 will go to the 76ers unprotected, and in 2019, they will send Orlando a pair of 2nd round picks.

As for who the Lakers might select with the #2 pick, many of the top players in this year’s draft are point guards.  Washington’s Markelle Fultz, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Kansas’ Josh Jackson, and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox are all candidates.

Expect all four to workout for the Lakers over the few weeks.  At this point, draft experts expect Fultz to go #1, which makes Ball a strong candidate to go #2.



Lakers Fall To Warriors In Finale

April 12, 2017

The Lakers season came to an end Wednesday night in Oakland, which came after a 109-94 loss to the Warriors.

The game was rather meaningless for both teams.  The Lakers were officially eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago, and they were already locked into the 3rd worst record in the league prior to the NBA Draft Lottery.  The Warriors had already clinched home court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs, and rested Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala.

The Lakers played their regular rotation, with the exception of D’Angelo Russell, who was still in Louisville, Ky, mourning the death of his grandmother.

Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 17 points, while it was Kevin Durant leading all scorers with 29 points in the game.

The Lakers only lead was 3-2, which came 90 seconds into the game. They trailed by 15 points after the 1st quarter, and were down 64-50 at the half.

During the 4th quarter they trailed by as many as 27 points, before fighting back and cutting the lead to under 20 points.

Walton put the season into perspective after the game.  “This wasn’t, coming in, ‘Hey let’s go turn this thing around in year one, competing for a title. … We didn’t have the same goals as Golden State had starting this year, or Cleveland starting this year,” he said. “Our goal from the coaching standpoint was getting better at passing, getting better at playing defense, making reads on the court, having the individual skill level of the young guys. That’s where we’re at right now and that’s going to continue into the summer.”

The Lakers now turn to the offseason where the biggest question will be whether or not they will retain their top 3 protected 1st round pick, or if they will be forced to trade it to Philadelphia if the pick falls out of the first 3 slots.  In the meantime, the team will begin their exit interviews tomorrow.

Lakers Make It 5 Straight


April 11, 2017

The Lakers kept their late season win streak going by beating the Pelicans 108-96 on Tuesday night at Staples Center.  It was their 5th straight win, and came in the final home game of the season.

Metta World Peace led the way with 18 points for the Lakers, in what might have been the final home game of his Laker career.  Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson each scored 15 points as well for LA.

The Pelicans played without Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins, who were both nursing injuries.    D’Angelo Russell sat out for the Lakers, opting to be with his family after the death of his grandmother.

The Pelicans were led by Cheick Diallo, who scored 19 points.  Jrue Holiday added 14 in a losing effort for New Orleans.

The win means that the Lakers will finish with the 3rd worst record in the league, and will enter the NBA Draft Lottery with a 47% chance of keeping their top 3 protected 1st round pick.  If their pick doesn’t land in the top 3, they will have to trade it to Philadelphia to fulfill the Steve Nash trade.

The Lakers finished the 1st quarter with on a 7-0 run, capped by a 24-ft three-point shot by Larry Nance Jr.  That gave them a one point lead, which was extended to four points by halftime.

After Thomas Robinson made 2 of 3 free throws, the Lakers had a 16-point lead in the 3rd quarter.  The Pelicans would make a run to cut the lead to 7, but by the end of the 3rd, the Lakers held a 12 point lead.

Another jumper by Nance Jr. with 5:01 left gave the Lakers a 17-point lead, and LA never looked back from there, holding on for the 12-point win.

The Lakers will play their final game of the season on Wednesday night in Golden State.  The game will be fairly meaningless for both teams, as LA will finish with the 3rd worst record, and the Warriors will be resting some players after clinching the best record in the NBA.



Russell Beats Wolves At Buzzer

April 9, 2017

D’Angelo Russell hit a game-winning 3-point basket at the buzzer, and the Lakers defeated the Timberwolves 110-109 on Sunday night at Staples Center.  It was the 4th straight win for the Lake Show.

Russell revealed that he was playing the game with a very heavy heart, after his grandmother, Pamela Russell, had passed away early Sunday morning.  Russell even considered sitting out of Sunday night’s game, but elected to play in honor of his grandmother.

“She was a strong woman,” Russell said.  “She did a great job raising my dad. Piggybacking off that my dad did a great job raising his sons and his kids in general. Being a great father. That’s what she was put on this Earth for.”

Russell had 16 points on the night, while Tyler Ennis led the way for the Lakers with 20 points.  The T-Wolves got 41 points from Andrew Wiggins, and 40 points from Karl-Anthony Towns.  It was the first time in T-Wolves franchise history that two players had reached the 40-point mark in the same game.

The Lakers got off to a nice start, but led by only two points at halftime.  They trailed by a basket heading into the 4th quarter.  That’s when Metta World Peace entered the game.

He played 11 minutes, scoring 8 points, and kept the Lakers in the game.  The Lakers trailed by 4 points with 33.8 seconds left.  Randle cut the lead to two points, and the Wolves missed an opportunity put the game away on the ensuing possession.

In the final moments, Russell passed the ball to World Peace, who launched a 3-pointer that missed.  However, Randle grabbed the rebound, and found Russell for the game-winning shot, which bounced out before bouncing back into the hoop as time expired.

“That’s just God, honestly,” Russell said. “… For me to win the game with a game-winning shot, that’s just God putting the cherry on top. A win would’ve been good enough.”

The win was a missed opportunity for the Lakers to improve their lottery odds though.  The Suns defeated the Mavericks, which means they are still 1.5 games worse than the Lakers, with two games remaining for both teams.

The Lakers will take on the Pelicans on Tuesday night at Staples, before closing out the season on Wednesday at Golden State.  The Suns final game will be on Tuesday evening at Sacramento.

Lakers Make It 3 In A Row With Win Against Kings

April 7, 2017

The Lakers made in 3 straight wins by beating the Kings 98-94 on Friday night at Staples Center.  Once again, the win hurt the Lakers chances in the lottery, but helped the development of their current young players.

“I know my guys around me we don’t believe in going out there and trying to lose games,” Julius Randle said.   “The basketball gods come back, I believe in that, it’ll come back and haunt you. So you don’t do that. You gotta treat the game with respect.”

Randle led the Lakers with 25 points and 6 rebounds.  Brandon Ingram contributed 14 points as well.  The win kept the Lakers 1.5 games better than the Phoenix Suns in the West.  Phoenix, who has the 2nd worst record in the NBA, defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.  The Lakers first round pick needs to land in the top 3 this year, or else they will have to trade it away to Philadelphia to satisfy the Steve Nash trade.

Skal Labissiere led Sacramento with 19 points.  The Kings also have some incentive to improve their chances in the lottery, and rested three healthy players of their own: Kosta Koufus, Ty Lawson, and Garrett Temple.

The Lakers led 93-92 with 5 seconds remaining in the game, and Larry Nance Jr. at the foul line for two shots.  Nance Jr. missed the first free throw, and made the second, which gave LA a two point lead.  Corey Brewer stole in the inbounds pass from Buddy Heild on the next possession, and Brewer made two free throws to secure the win for the Lakers.

“We’re getting team effort really from everybody right now,” Laker coach Luke Walton said. “Everybody’s kind of rising to the challenge as far as the way they’re playing, competing mainly on the defensive end. … They’re having fun and competing. When we were playing well early in the year that’s what we were doing. Losing took that from us. We found it again in the last couple games.”

The Lakers have three games left on the season.  Sunday night they’ll host Minnesota at Staples Center, followed by games against the Pelicans and Warriors.  If the Lakers finish with the 3rd worst record in the NBA, they will have a 47% chance of keeping this years draft pick.

Lakers Surprise Spurs

April 5, 2017

The Lakers went in to San Antonio and shocked the Spurs 102-95 on Wednesday night.  Tyler Ennis started in place of the injured D’Angelo Russell and scored 19 points, and the Lakers snapped an 8-game losing streak against Spurs.

LA got off to a fast start and lead by as many 26 points.  Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t play in the 2nd half.

“I didn’t want to overplay anybody just to win a basketball game,” Greg Popovich said. “It doesn’t make much sense in the long run.”

The win was probably a bad thing for the Lakers lottery chances.  LA is now 1.5 games better than Phoenix.  The Suns have the 2nd worst record in the NBA.  The Lakers 2017 1st round pick is top 3 protected.

“They’re having fun,” Los Angeles coach Luke Walton said. “We’re trying to build momentum for this off-season and hopefully we can stay healthy and keep playing a certain way.”

The Lakers outscored the Spurs 58-38 in the paint.  Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points, and Larry Nance Jr. poured in 15 points and 9 rebounds.

The Lakers return home to play the Kings on Friday night at Staples Center.