video

Jeff Biggs and Arash Markazi debate whether the Lakers should bring Jeremy Lin back next season.
video

Jeff Biggs and Arash Markazi break down some of the top names the Lakers should target in free agency.
video

HAVANA -- Basketball great Dikembe Mutombo sank baskets from seemingly every position on the court Thursday as a half-dozen Cuban players watched admiringly on the first day of an NBA training camp aimed at boosting the game's popularity on the communist-run island following the declaration of detente between Washington and Havana.

The flags of Cuba and the United States flew at the Havana university where the four-day camp began Thursday.

Steve Nash, a former MVP, and Mutumbo, a Hall of Fame inductee, were joined by former WNBA player Ticha Penicheiro and NBA coaches in teaching the more than 100 athletes in attendance.

"As you know, basketball is a sport that can connect people, give them a bridge for cultural change," Mutumbo said. "I'm glad that we're about to build this bridge that will help so many young men and women here in Cuba to develop the game of basketball."

The NBA is the first U.S. professional league to visit Cuba since the detente announcement. Basketball is arguably fourth most-popular sport, after baseball, boxing and soccer.

Cuba's men's team finished third in the 1972 Olympics and its women's teams dominate International Basketball Federation (FIBA) play in Latin America, but basketball has been one of the Cuban sports hardest-hit by players' departures for other countries. It's widely perceived to be at a historic low point on a national level.

That doesn't deter thousands of young Cubans from taking to street courts and abandoned lots to race between improvised hoops mounted on posts or even trees. The NBA and FIBA plan to renovate three courts as part of the four-day event.

"Our job is to expand our game globally," Mutumbo said. "It's a very historical trip."

After he and Mutombo coached players on a series of skills, Nash lauded the Cubans as talented but lacking international experience.


(Read full post)


On this day, Abdul-Jabbar plays in his final regular season game

April, 23, 2015
Apr 23
6:22
PM PT
By ESPN Stats and Information Group
ESPNLosAngeles.com

On April 23, 1989, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played in the final regular season game of his Hall of Fame career, as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated Seattle, 121-117. Abdul-Jabbar scored 10 points and finished his career with an NBA record 38,387 points.

Updated lottery odds for this season's also-rans

April, 23, 2015
Apr 23
4:24
PM PT
By Matt Walks, ESPN.com
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive

NBA lottery machineNed Dishman/NBAE /Getty Images

So, you're saying there's a chance?

As the postseason marches on, teams watching from home are already looking ahead to draft day.

Hollinger's Playoff Odds, which is designed to calculate teams' chances of clinching a playoff spot, also calculates the lottery odds of those teams that didn't make the cut.

Here is the full table of lottery odds, from this season's relentless losers to teams that fell just shy of the No. 8 seed.


For more on how the system works and what it means, see Hollinger's explanation.

ESPN Insider's Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton return to provide the kind of discussions that are happening in front offices around the NBA -- where scouts and statistical experts are breaking down NBA draft prospects using their "eyes, ears and numbers."

Kevin Pelton: Well, Chad, the NBA's regular season is in the books and the 14 teams that missed the playoffs are looking ahead to the NBA draft lottery. Last week, I previewed their offseasons in my Roster Reload series. Over the next few weeks, we'll take a look at the biggest need I identified for each team in reverse order of finish and how they might be able to fill it in the draft.

Here's a look at the needs and potential draft solutions for the four worst teams this season: the Timberwolves, Knicks, 76ers and Lakers.

video

Jeff Biggs and Arash Markazi break down whether the Lakers should explore trading Nick Young.
video

Arash Markazi breaks down his top three keys to a perfect Lakers offseason.

Lakers' locker room turned into Clippers ownership lounge

April, 21, 2015
Apr 21
1:05
PM PT
Markazi By Arash Markazi
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive

Staples CenterAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images



LOS ANGELES – With the Los Angeles Lakers out of the playoffs, Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is using the Lakers’ locker room at Staples Center as an owner’s lounge during the postseason.

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.



“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.”

NEW YORK -- The Indiana Pacers have won a tiebreaker with the Utah Jazz, giving them slightly better odds at winning the draft lottery.

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.

Houston (56-26) beat the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 27 -- although neither team is keeping the pick. The Rockets' goes to the Lakers, while the Boston Celtics get the Clippers'.

The lottery will be held May 19 to set the top 14 selections. The remainder of the first round is determined by records.


(Read full post)


video

While guest-starring on SportsNation, Lakers forward Julius Randle discusses the time when he faced teammate Kobe Bryant in a game of one-on-one.
video

Lakers forward Julius Randle joins the SportsNation crew and answers the question everyone is interested in: Could the 2014-2015 Wildcats win against the Lakers?
video

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.


(Read full post)


Stockton passes his way to history

April, 17, 2015
Apr 17
6:36
PM PT
By ESPN Stats and Information Group
ESPNLosAngeles.com

On April 17, 1999, Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton recorded 13,000 career assists when he passed to Karl Malone for a jumper in a 109-93 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Stockton would finish his career with an all-time time record 15,806 assists. Andre Miller of the Sacramento Kings leads all active players with 8,437.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
22.3 5.6 1.3 34.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 7.9
AssistsK. Bryant 5.6
StealsR. Price 1.6
BlocksE. Davis 1.2