The Lakers and Clippers share the Staples Center, along with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, and the arena gained permission from the Lakers and Kings to use their locker rooms during the postseason. The Kings' locker room is being used for the San Antonio Spurs' ownership in the first round after the Kings missed the postseason for the first time since 2009. The Sparks' locker room is being used as a press conference room.
The Clippers are even taking over the Lakers locker room during the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/fjfJldUXQ1
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) April 20, 2015
“We always go to the teams to get permission before we use their locker room,” Staples Center President Lee Zeidman told ESPN.com on Tuesday. “In the playoffs, for example, when the Kings had their big Stanley Cup run last season, we would go to the Clippers and Lakers and tell them, 'We’re looking for some hospitality space, is it OK if we use your locker rooms?' We always get permission.”
The locker rooms are almost unrecognizable when Staples Center uses them for hospitality space, with black carpeting protecting the floor and black drapes covering the walls.
“We protect the locker rooms,” Zeidman said. “We carpet over them existing carpet and pipe in drapes and make sure nothing happens within the rooms, and the building takes full responsibility for it. It’s the building that asks the teams. It’s not the teams that go to the other teams. The building always asks for approval. The Kings and Lakers granted us approval, and we’re using their locker rooms for additional hospitality spaces, i.e., for Clippers ownership and for Spurs ownership.”
Throughout the year, Staples Center uses the team locker rooms for the Grammys, the NCAA West Regionals and various concerts. The Lakers' locker room is next to the Clippers' locker room, and the Kings' locker room is next to the visiting NBA team’s locker room, which is why the Clippers ownership lounge is in the Lakers' locker room and the Spurs ownership lounge is in the Kings' locker room, Zeidman said.
“This isn’t the Clippers commandeering the Lakers' locker room or dissing the Lakers, or even dissing the Kings for that matter,” Zeidman said. “We are a very multipurpose building. We have a lot of traffic and activity in the building, and we built it to use spaces when they’re not being used for other functions, and that’s what we’re doing.”
The Lakers and Clippers have shared the Staples Center since it opened in 1999, making them the only teams in the NBA to share the same arena. The Clippers irked many Lakers fans before last season when they put banners of seven of their players over the Lakers' championship banners and retired numbers.
“Listen, I think this is our arena when we play,” Doc Rivers said last season. “So I just thought it would be good that we show our guys. No disrespect to [the Lakers]. But when we play, it's the Clippers' arena, as far as I know.”
Both teams finished with 38-44 records. The Pacers have a 0.8 percent chance at the top pick, and the Jazz have a 0.7 percent chance.
Three other ties were broken Friday, all among teams who made the playoffs.
Dallas (50-32) beat Chicago for the No. 21 spot.
Memphis (55-27) beat San Antonio at No. 25.
The lottery will be held May 19 to set the top 14 selections. The remainder of the first round is determined by records.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing quadruple coronary bypass surgery on his 68th birthday Thursday at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the UCLA Health System announced in a statement Friday.
Abdul-Jabbar was admitted there this week with cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Richard Shemin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery, performed the operation.
"At this time, Abdul-Jabbar would like to thank his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA, his alma mater, for the excellent care he has received," the statement read.
"He is looking forward to getting back to his normal activities soon. He asks that you keep him in your thoughts and, most importantly, cherish and live each day to its fullest."
During his 20-year NBA career, Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time MVP, six-time NBA champion and 19-time All-Star. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points.
He was drafted first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 and played six seasons with them before being traded in 1975 to the Los Angeles Lakers, where in his 14 seasons in purple and gold he further established himself as one of the most dominant players in the history of the game.
As teams complete their seasons, ESPN Insider's NBA team will take a look at the offseason picture and priorities for all 30 teams. Below, Kevin Pelton offers a snapshot of the Los Angeles Lakers.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- This season, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves near the bottom of the standings, in the same company as the Philadelphia 76ers, a fellow historic franchise that's rebuilding.
However, the teams are taking very different paths that they hope will lead them back to contending status. The Lakers prefer acquiring top-flight talent through free agency and trades while the 76ers are trying to do so through the draft, specifically by constructing a non-competitive roster that gives them a poor enough record that could result in a high lottery pick.
The 76ers' rebuilding approach is one of the most aggressive and controversial in professional sports -- and Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak doesn't appear to be much of a fan.
"I still don't understand what they're doing," Kupchak said Thursday at the Lakers' practice facility, where the team conducted exit interviews after its 2014-15 season ended the day before.
Kupchak made his remarks when a reporter asked about the Lakers' philosophy toward rebuilding and how it compared to, say, the 76ers, whose plan, while bold, appears rather clear for all to see.
"Can you explain it to me, if it's so clear?" Kupchak asked, seemingly half-joking.
Kupchak told ESPN.com earlier this season that he's very much against the idea of losing in order to ultimately land a top draft pick.
"Our feeling is, you can't manipulate [the system]," Kupchak said last November. "It's bad karma."
The Lakers rarely find themselves in position to acquire promising players through the draft, as this May 19 will mark only their fourth draft lottery appearance since it was introduced in 1985.
But this past season, they clinched the league's fourth-worst record and have a 37.9 percent chance of landing a top-three pick and an 11.9 percent chance of landing the top overall pick. However, if the Lakers fall out of the top five, their pick goes to the 76ers as part of the Steve Nash trade.
In regards to the Lakers' philosophy for rebuilding, Kupchak said, "Our basic philosophy is to use the three tools available to us -- that's the ability to make a trade, the draft and cap room during the offseason. There's no way to etch a plan in stone that you know you can execute. You don't know who's going to be in the draft and we don't know which free agents are going to be free agents.
"A lot of them don't have to declare until June 30. All you can do is set yourself up. We feel that we are set up to take advantage of all three of those ways to improve the team."
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- A day after the worst season in Lakers franchise history finally ended, general manager Mitch Kupchak discussed when he believes the team will be a contender again.
"We can get better quickly," Kupchak said Thursday, pointing to the upcoming offseason. "We can be in the hunt quickly. A lot depends on May 19 and how we end up with the [draft] lottery, the draft and the period leading up to the free-agent period, which is July 1.
"We are in a good position despite having a terrible year."
The Lakers finished 21-61 this season, their most losses and worst winning percentage (.256) ever. The previous record for most losses came last season, when they finished 27-55.
The Lakers hold a 2015 first-round pick that is top-five protected. If that pick falls outside the first five slots, it goes to the Philadelphia 76ers, who acquired the pick from the Suns in February. Phoenix acquired that pick in the 2012 trade that sent Steve Nash to the Lakers. Because the Lakers clinched the league's fourth-worst record, they'll have an 82.8 percent chance of retaining that pick, a 37.9 chance of vaulting into the top three and an 11.9 chance of landing the top overall pick come the May 19 lottery draw.
"We'd like to have something in our pocket for the way the year went," Kupchak said.
For the final time this season, ESPN.com Lakers beat writer Baxter Holmes, along with ESPN.com NBA writers Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi, weigh in on three questions that are on the minds of Los Angeles Lakers followers.
1.Can the Lakers put their immediate future in the hands of Rajon Rondo if they were to acquire him?
Holmes: Only if they add other pieces around him, because that's the only way he thrives. If Rondo is the only major acquisition they make this summer, then they failed. That said, I'm not sure point guard is a position the Lakers need to focus on the most this summer. If anything, Jordan Clarkson has proven he could be their point guard of the future. They have other issues that need tending to as well.
Shelburne: Yes. It's a risk, but at the right price I think it's worth it. Rondo might be hard to coach, but he's respected by players around the league and it's never a bad thing to have a pass-first point guard. I wouldn't commit to this course without doing due diligence on Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and others, but the Lakers need to get someone this summer as it's the last summer they'll have more cap space than everyone else.
Markazi: No. I think giving Rondo a big contract would be the worst mistake they could make. I think Russell Westbrook is the long-term fix at point guard when he becomes available, and in the short term, the answer is Clarkson. Giving Rondo a long-term, big-money contract would be a big mistake at this point in his career.
2. Jeremy Lin says he hasn't ruled out a return, but do the Lakers want him back?
Holmes: It's hard to see any sort of Jeremy Lin-Byron Scott relationship working out, just as it's difficult to see any sort of Nick Young-Byron Scott relationship working out. As long as Scott coaches the Lakers, it'll be very difficult for Lin to fit in.
Shelburne: No. He'd be OK as a backup for $3 million-$5 million a year, but I don't think that's the role he wants and we've already seen he's not that comfortable in Scott's offense and playing alongside Kobe Bryant. It's best for both sides for Lin to be playing elsewhere, in a role he's comfortable in, next season.
Markazi: I think Lin could still be a nice role player off the bench. The problem is I think it's clear he's not a reliable starter, so if he wants to come back as a starter, this might not be the best fit for him. But if he's fine being a role player off the bench, I think there's a spot for him on the roster.
3. What is the No. 1 thing the Lakers need to accomplish before next season?
Holmes: Draft well and develop some of their young players through summer league. Sure, it would be great if they could hit a home run in free agency, and the Lakers will no doubt try (as they always do), but they'll likely have a top-five pick as well as Julius Randle from last season. Those two players alone, plus Clarkson, offer a lot of promise as building blocks going forward.
Shelburne: They need to acquire talent. It doesn't matter who they get or what positions they play or how it all fits together. The Lakers just need to bring in the proverbial "best players available." You can always make moves and adjust on the fly after you have talent, but if you have no assets to work with, it's hard to generate much movement.
Markazi: Get an All-Star player. I know that sounds obvious and ridiculous, but the Lakers need to start the rebuilding process now by attracting a cornerstone piece they can start building from. Bringing in the likes of Carlos Boozer and Jeremy Lin isn't going to cut it this offseason.