Boozer 'humbled' during final Bulls season

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
1:40
PM PT
By Staff
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Carlos Boozer said he was "humbled" by playing more limited minutes during his final season with the Chicago Bulls, who used the amnesty provision earlier this month on the last year of the veteran forward's contract.

Boozer
"It was (difficult). It was at times," Boozer said Friday as he was introduced by the Los Angeles Lakers. "But you learn a lot. I was humbled a lot and I grew a lot as a man and as an individual. So, I take all that with me in my new experience."

Boozer rarely played in the fourth quarter last season under Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who favored Taj Gibson, a superior defender.

"Playing first quarter and third quarter, not having a chance to help my team at the end of the game to win was tough," Boozer said. "As a competitor, you want to be out there doing everything you can to help your team win and to not get an opportunity, it was humbling. So, I learned a lot from that process."

The Bulls used the amnesty provision on the final season of Boozer's five-year, $75 million contract on July 15. Nine teams with cap space were able to make a blind bid to pick up the remaining portion of his $16.8 million deal. The Lakers won with a bid of $3.25 million, sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein.

Boozer, who averaged 15.5 points and nine rebounds in four seasons in Chicago, praised the Bulls for the way they handled the amnesty process.

"Chicago was great about everything," Boozer said. "They’re a great organization, first class. They were in touch with me and Rob Pelinka, my agent, along the whole process. So, as they were making their decision for where they were going with the team, they let us know. So we knew we were going to get amnestied, I think, the day before and we went forward."

ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.

Lakers, Byron Scott talking offer

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
11:17
AM PT
video

The Los Angeles Lakers have offered their head-coaching job to Byron Scott, according to league sources.

The two sides are now in negotiations on a contract.

The Lakers made Scott a verbal offer on Thursday after Scott spoke with owner Jim Buss. Scott and his representatives are reviewing the Lakers' offer.

Scott, a former Lakers star who won three titles playing next to Magic Johnson, has long been the front-runner for the job.

The Lakers have been without a coach since Mike D'Antoni resigned at the end of April. Scott interviewed for the job three times, but the organization prioritized the draft and free agency over hiring a coach.

Scott received a key endorsement from Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who played with Scott as a rookie in 1996 and has maintained a close relationship with him since.

Information from ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne was used in this report.


(Read full post)


Carmelo Anthony: I want to win

July, 25, 2014
Jul 25
9:40
AM PT
video

LAS VEGAS -- Carmelo Anthony said it was not the money, but instead his confidence in team president Phil Jackson and his belief that the New York Knicks "aren't that far away from contending for an NBA title," that made him opt to remain in New York instead of signing with the Chicago Bulls.

"I want to win. I don't care about the money," Anthony told ESPN.com. "I believe Phil will do what he has to do to take care of that.

"I don't think we're that far away," he added. "People use 'rebuilding' too loosely."

In what were believed to be Anthony's first public comments since agreeing to a five-year deal worth $124 million earlier this month, he told ESPN.com that the decision was so agonizing in the final days that he could not watch TV or go on the Internet.

"It was overwhelming," Anthony said. "It was stressful in the final days, one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make."

Anthony said, though, it ultimately came down to New York and Chicago.

"I was flip-flopping," he admitted. "It was hard. It was Chicago, but then after I met with L.A., it was L.A. But it came back to Chicago -- and was pretty much always Chicago or New York. That's a situation where I could have walked in now to an opportunity to compete for the next however many years."

But the 30-year-old Anthony said he is invigorated to work with a new team president in Phil Jackson and a new coach in Derek Fisher.

"It's a matter of me believing in the organization, believing in Phil," Anthony said. "I wanted to go somewhere where I can end my career."


(Read full post)


video

"SportsCenter" in Los Angeles created a room for Jeremy Lin, who was recently traded to the Lakers.

Jeremy Lin welcomed by Lakers

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
3:01
PM PT
video

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Jeremy Lin remains one of the most recognizable basketball players in the world, and he's joined perhaps the most popular global brand of any basketball team in the Los Angeles Lakers.

But it doesn't mean Lin is looking to use all that attention to replicate the same lightning-in-a-bottle situation he had when he burst onto the scene with the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 season.

"I'm not trying to relive that banner season," Lin said during his introductory news conference with the Lakers on Thursday. "I think that's been a big weight off my shoulders, and I think that's very important for me as a player. I'm not trying to recreate a 'Linsanity.' I'm not trying to be that phenomenon that happened in New York. I think I just want to be myself more than ever."

The player Lin is today in some respects is even better than the one who dropped a career-high 38 points on the Lakers at Madison Square Garden in February 2012. Even though Lin lost his starting point guard role with the Houston Rockets to Patrick Beverley last season, he still shot career bests from the field (44.6 percent), from 3-point range (35.8 percent) and from the free throw line (82.3 percent). He also limited his turnovers to just 2.5 per game after averaging 3.6 with the Knicks.


(Read full post)


Lakers are a Hollywood tragedy

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
7:14
AM PT

The Los Angeles Lakers have been at the hub of the NBA universe pretty much forever, but their star went supernova a couple of years ago. For decades, the Lakers seemed to hover above any of the rules that governed typical basketball operations, but no more. And like Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard," the Lakers continue to preen like stars, but outside of Los Angeles, fewer and fewer seem to care.

This is a franchise at its nadir. The Lakers missed the playoffs last season for just the sixth time in the franchise's 67 years of existence. Their 27 wins were the fewest since arriving in Los Angeles in 1960 -- three fewer than the season before the Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Los Angeles also missed the playoffs in Kareem's first season on the West Coast -- the only time the organization has ever missed the postseason two years in a row. It very well could happen again this season.

How did the NBA's most glamorous franchise plummet to such depths?

Davis focused on moving ahead with Lakers

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
2:39
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Ed Davis Fernando Medina/NBAE/Getty ImagesEd Davis will switch to No. 21 when he joins the Lakers next season.


EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- After turning down a contract extension offer from the Memphis Grizzlies last fall worth north of $20 million, according to multiple league sources, Ed Davis said he was comfortable with how everything played out after signing a two-year, $2 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

“No regrets at all,” Davis said during his introductory news conference. “Everything happens for a reason. I’m not trying to sound cliché, but just looking forward to this opportunity here with this great franchise and just being able to contribute every night.”

Davis, 25, is one of five new players the Lakers have acquired since their miserable 27-55 season ended in April. While he comes to the Lakers at a relatively bargain $1 million annual price tag, Davis has a player option for the second year of his deal and could test the market looking for a more lucrative offer should he put up big numbers in L.A. next season, similar to what Nick Young and Jodie Meeks accomplished this summer.

“As you know we’re working on completion of our roster and we feel we’ve made significant improvements and changes and we’re happy to add a young player with a very promising future who is going to continue to work and develop in this league in Ed Davis,” said Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak before presenting Davis with his No. 21 uniform.

Davis, who wore No. 32 for the Toronto Raptors and the Grizzlies, had to choose No. 21, the number he wore in ninth grade, because No. 32 is retired by the Lakers for Magic Johnson.

The real number Davis is concerned about is how many minutes he will be able to play in L.A. After seeing his career start to blossom during the first half of the 2012-13 season for Toronto -- averaging 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 24.2 minutes per game -- he saw his playing time dip to the 15-minute range in the last season and a half after being traded to Memphis.

“Obviously it’s a great organization, franchise, a lot of history here,” Davis said. “And it’s a young team. I think it’s an opportunity where I can play and help this team win.”

Davis played behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph in Memphis and now will likely play backup minutes to Lakers rookie Julius Randle, who has drawn comparisons to Randolph already.

“I think he’s going to be a real good player in this league,” Davis said of Randle. “He kind of reminded me of Zebo a little bit, but he puts it on the floor a little bit better than Zebo.”

He’ll also have competition in the frontcourt in L.A. outside of Randle, with the Lakers re-signing Jordan Hill, winning an amnesty waiver bid on Carlos Boozer and retaining Robert Sacre.

Davis, at 6-10 and 225 pounds, says he brings versatility to the court.

“I think I can play both positions, the four and the five,” Davis said. “I think all the players here are different players and we all complement each other in different ways.”

While Davis hopes to have a breakout season to establish his footing in the league, he said the Lakers did not try to lure him with any promise of guaranteed playing time.

“Not at all,” Davis said. “I think it’s tough to say that without a coach. But I’m just going to work in training camp and earn everything, so, I’m going to be ready.”

The Lakers continue to operate without a head coach in place, nearing the three-month mark since Mike D’Antoni resigned. Kupchak elusively made his way out of the press room immediately after introducing Davis on Wednesday, perhaps to avoid any questions that would come his way concerning the coaching search.

No matter whom it is the Lakers hire, Davis should be able to adapt. He has already played for four coaches in his four seasons in the league -- Jay Triano and Dwane Casey in Toronto and Lionel Hollins and Dave Joerger in Memphis -- and coming to L.A. will guarantee a fifth coach in five seasons.

“It’s going to be my fifth coach this year, but I think the NBA game is pretty much the same, it uses the same terms,” Davis said. “All the coaches use the same terms. But it’s just figuring out what the coaches like every year. They all have their own schemes and stuff like that.”

For any new player coming into L.A., Kobe Bryant figures to be just as influential as the coach to their transition.
Davis shares the same agent as Bryant in Rob Pelinka and has already spoken to the veteran shooting guard over the phone about coming to the Lakers. What did Bryant say to him?

“A couple things,” Davis said. “Keep it private.”

Davis knows that with such an intense media focus coupled with extreme fan expectations in L.A., few things are truly kept private, however. He said there was a similar atmosphere at the University of North Carolina, where he won a championship as a freshman in 2009.

“It definitely motivates you,” Davis said. “Like Carolina and here, they hold you to high expectations. They want to win no matter what, no matter what the situation is. So, it does motivate you in the summertime and it’s a good thing to have that support, to have the big fan base.”

If Davis accomplishes what he is setting out to in L.A. -- protecting the rim on defense, playing multiple positions on the frontline and improving as a player -- those Laker fans will adopt him real quick.

“I feel over these past four years I got a lot stronger,” Davis said. “I grew a lot mentally, just understanding the game because it is a big leap from college to the pros. Then I just feel like I’m going to keep working every day and just continue to build my game and just get better.”
video

Mark Willard and Arash Markazi break down the holdup with the Lakers naming a new head coach.
video

Mark Willard and Arash Markazi evaluate the Lakers' offseason.
video

Max Kellerman, Marcellus Wiley and Michelle Beadle debate whether it is fair to call Kobe Bryant "this generation's Michael Jordan."

Nick Young, Ryan Kelly sign with L.A.

July, 21, 2014
Jul 21
6:08
PM PT
[+] EnlargeNick Young
Soobum Im/USA TODAY SportsThe Lakers officially signed Nick Young to a four-year, $21.5 million deal on Monday.

The Los Angeles Lakers took care of some unfinished business on Monday, officially signing both Nick Young and Ryan Kelly to contract extensions.

The signings were merely a formality, as the team had already reached agreements with both Young and Kelly in the last several weeks while general manager Mitch Kupchak attempted to fill out the roster for next season through free agency.

"When Nick became a free agent in June, I expressed hope that we would be able to bring him back on a contract that was in the best interest of both the Lakers and himself, and I am proud to say we were able to do so," Kupchak said in a statement. "Nick was a bright spot for us last season, and we are happy to retain such a skilled player who is committed to being a part of what we are building as a franchise."

Young signed a four-year, $21.5 million deal with a player option on the fourth year. The Lakers used part of their "room exception" to sign Kelly to a two-year deal worth approximately $3.5 million. The new contracts represent a nice raise for both Young and Kelly who made approximately $1.2 million and $500,000, respectively, while with the Lakers last season.


(Read full post)


video

ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin discusses Atlanta Dream coach and ex-Laker Michael Cooper being diagnosed with early stage tongue cancer; Cooper has taken a leave from the WNBA team.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Imagesnull

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Nick Young
PTS AST STL MIN
17.9 1.5 0.7 28.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.4
AssistsK. Bryant 6.3
StealsK. Bryant 1.2
BlocksW. Johnson 1.0