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LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers were mostly diplomatic when asked about the Los Angeles Clippers' new initiative, led by coach Doc Rivers, to cover up the Lakers' championship banners and retired uniforms during Clippers home games, but it didn't sit so well with L.A. native, and former Clipper, Nick Young.
"He can do that?" Young said after Lakers practice Sunday, the team's first since returning from China. "For real? That's disrespectful. We got to talk to Doc. He can't have that. We got to do something about that."
|The Clippers put banners of seven of their players over the Lakers' 16 championship banners and 10 retired numbers during a preseason game Friday night.|
The Clippers revealed their Staples Center redecoration during a preseason game Friday, as they plastered giant posters of players Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick over the Lakers' 16 championship banners and 10 retired uniforms.
"That's a lot of pull y'all are giving Doc," Young said, somewhat facetiously. "I think he shouldn't come in and have so much pull like that. He's got to earn his keep."
When a reporter argued that Rivers' championship resume from his time with the Boston Celtics should give the coach the credence to do so, Young retorted, "But he didn't win no title in L.A. That's where it's at. Look at all these banners in here, you can't shadow those up."
The Lakers and Clippers have shared the Staples Center since it opened for the 1999-2000 season, making them the only teams in the league to have such an arrangement.
"I guess if you were in the Clippers' organization you probably want to do that, too," Lakers point guard Steve Nash said. "It's their arena on their night, so I would try to make it feel like home."
Meanwhile, the Lakers are trying to make L.A. feel like home again after spending nine days in China.
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni gave the team the day off Saturday to recover from their cross-continental trip home, which left many of the players jet-lagged. Young said he could not fall asleep until 5 a.m. Saturday morning after the team landed back in L.A. around 10:30 p.m. Friday night.
Despite the fatigue, every Laker other than Chris Kaman (stomach virus) and Kobe Bryant (Achilles rehabilitation) practiced Sunday, although D'Antoni cut the session short, so as not push his players too much. Nash was also held out of the end of practice because of stomach discomfort.
"They were tired," D'Antoni said. "During film session I think a couple of them nodded off. ... Of course, that could be normal, too."
Bryant was able to do some on-court sprinting and set shooting prior to the second of the Lakers' two exhibition games in China, but has yet to ramp up that activity with the team's regular-season opener against the Clippers looming less than 10 days away.
"I have no idea," D'Antoni said when asked if he knew when Bryant would be able to return to practice.
Bryant's teammates are starting to settle into the very real possibility of going into the season without him on the court. Young, who has taken 15 more shots than the next closest Laker through the first six preseason games, is prepared to continue his Mamba impression.
"That's something I've been trying to get in my thoughts and just working on my game and talking to coaches," Young said. "I've been talking to Kobe, too, about where to be at and picking my spots out there."
What does Bryant say to him?
"More specific type things, what I should have done right here," Young said. "He's telling me to watch film more and try to study the game of basketball more."
Gasol is also readying himself to pick up the slack without Bryant.
"I think I have to be more of a vocal leader on both sides of the floor," he said. "Make sure we organize offensively and the ball tries to get through my hands quite a bit so I can make plays for others and get open shots for my teammates, attract the defense, make the defense turn and make it easier for the guys."
Like D'Antoni, Gasol simply does not know when he'll have Bryant back by his side.
"I think he has a big desire of coming back, but he understands there's got to be a few steps that he needs to take in order for him to come back, and I don't think he's taken those steps yet," Gasol said. "He's going to come back when he's going to come back, whether that's in two weeks, three weeks, a month, two months. Who knows?"