Los Angeles Lakers: Trey Johnson

PodKast: Paper champs, Cap's statue and theoretical turmoil

August, 31, 2012
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Everyone else keeps talking about the Lakers. Why shouldn't we?

The show can be heard by clicking on the module and a list of talking points is below:

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- (1:30): Basketball players are often reticent to shower the opposition with more than generic or obligatory praise. Thus, eyebrows raised when Chris Bosh of the reigning champion Miami Heat recently declared the Lakers the best team "on paper." Interestingly enough, Academy Award front-runner Kevin Durant, whose OKC Thunder squad took out the Lakers en route to reaching the Finals, seconded that statement.

Is this a case of gamesmanship or self-motivation from Bosh and Durant or just a begrudgingly honest assessment? In a world made of paper, are the Lakers really the best team?

- (10:50): Seven years ago, I conducted a wide-ranging interview with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but forgot to seek a critical bit of clarification about his role in 'Airplane.' This brain cramp has eaten away at my soul ever since. Kinda like the way not having a statue in front of Staples Center seemed to have eaten away at Cap's soul. That honor is finally (and deservedly) a scheduled event, but it's fair to wonder if Kareem's previous complaints will put a damper on the impending ceremony.

- (20:16): The Lakers loaded their roster this offseason, but with those stars comes the fear of clashing egos. Factor in the Lakers' well-documented history with this problem, and it stands to reason the media is licking its chops in anticipation of an implosion.

Or not.

As part of its "Summer Forecast" series, 100 ESPN.com "experts" (quotation marks added since Brian and I are part of that panel) voted on which team would be most likely to experience turmoil this season. Not surprisingly, the Knicks led the pack with 41 votes. But in what might be considered a minor shock, the Lakers only received two votes. Whether that's because smooth sailing is expected or the talent on hand is simply immune to tension, the results caught BK by surprise.

(And speaking of surprises... Ramon Sessions: Team killer? It feels like one voter considered this a very real danger.

PodKast: Matt Barnes, lockout talk and Rise of the Planet of the Apes

August, 6, 2011
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
There are three things Lakers fans can always count on: Death, taxes and Ear Candy. Brian and I would like to think we're the most enjoyable item. Among the talking points:

Andy and Brian talk with Lakers forward Matt Barnes about his knee, the Lakers' playoff fizzle and his charity golf tournament. Plus, thoughts on the lockout and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

Podcast Listen
- After establishing that Trey Johnson will in fact be playing in Italy next season -- as opposed to India -- we discuss why he felt inclined to commit in August to an overseas gig: The lockout. The mood has grown so tense, what with the NBA's recent lawsuit and such, Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter declared that were he a bettin' man, his money would be on a canceled 2012 season.

Of course, it's important to remember public negotiations rarely use the media to convey sunshine and lollipops. Even if both sides felt confident about avoiding Armageddon, they'd never cop to it, on or off the record.

- Having said that, if you take Hunter at his word, it's not just the owners and players standing to lose a substantial chunk of change. David Stern could be out ten figures, according to recent reports. Considering the league is crying poor, should Stern's salary raise eyebrows? And how would fans feel if, in the event of a missed season, he served as Commish for a Euro league?

- With "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" coming out this weekend, we lament how scientists in movies clearly never watch science fiction movies. Otherwise, they'd have learned by now that creating a super "pick your animal" always leads to disaster!

- Finally, our conversation with Matt Barnes, who joined us earlier that day. Topics include the status of his knee, his thoughts on the Lakers' playoff fizzle and his charity golf tournament. Unfortunately, we spoke right before he slugged an opponent during a San Fran Pro Am, so we couldn't ask about the incident. Hopefully, our interview didn't put him in a bad mood.

Trey Johnson signs in Italy

August, 3, 2011
Kamenetzky By Brian Kamenetzky
ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin has the news:
"...[Trey] Johnson, a late-season call-up by the Lakers from the D-League last year, signed a one-year deal with Teramo Basket of the Italian League on Wednesday. Johnson's agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPNLosAngeles.com that his client's contract does not include an opt-out clause to return to the NBA should the lockout be resolved in time for the league to hold all or part of the 2011-12 season..."

Johnson lit up the D-League last season, averaging 25.5 points and 4.5 assists a night, and impressed L.A.'s former coaching staff both in training camp and through his late season cup of coffee. He's a hard-working kid who probably deserves a shot to stick in the league. He's also incredibly smart to take a guaranteed deal with a solid team in an appealing location. It's one thing for Deron Williams to ink a deal with Besiktas in Turkey, or Jordan Farmar to sign in Isreal, both with opt-out clause. Johnson is a guy with absolutely no guarantee of making the Lakers or any other roster heading into an NBA season that, quite frankly, may not take place.

Waiting around does him no good, and an opt-out isn't a luxury he can necessarily demand. While we spend a lot of time (for obvious reasons) looking at where the big stars might go, it's the dudes at the other end of the food chain likely to jump at the first-and/or-best available opportunity abroad.

Player to player, the impact on the season, assuming it happens, is minimal. Still, if enough of the Trey Johnson/Sonny Weems/Sasha Vujacic's of the world head overseas, at least in theory it could drive up the demand, and therefore the price by a few bucks, on other players who might otherwise have been available for the league minimum. If so, that could be problematic for cap strapped teams like the Lakers, hoping to fill as many holes as possible with limited funds.

Derrick Caracter, Devin Ebanks, Trey Johnson exit interviews: Videos

May, 11, 2011
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
Among the points shared from Derrick Caracter's exit interview was the need and determination maintain a suitable weight. D.C. has lost about 30-40 pounds since college and wants to drop another 15-20. The approaches will include proper eating, boxing and ballet, the latter to additionally increase flexibility. (I'll go out on a limb and predict he's the biggest student in class.) He also talked about the rookie experience, plus the ways he learned under a squad of veterans and Phil Jackson, whose unique approach was an eye-opener.

His most compelling thoughts, however, were shared on the topic of maturity, arguably of the reddest of flags for Derrick coming out of college. His admission of room to grow could have applied in a lot of aspects, whether his recent arrest in New Orleans or the admitted failure to remain mentally ready for opportunities earlier in the season.

"Just staying true to your word," said Caracter on where he fell short. "If I say I'm gonna go do this, then do that. If I say I'm gonna work out at a certain time, not pushing it back. Coming up with a plan and sticking to the plan."

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