Love Letter to Larry and Jordan

Dear Larry and Jordan, I’m going to miss both of you!

First to Larry … your energy and effort and your good looks and your exciting dunks and your good looks and let’s not forget your leadership, your ability to get 50-50 balls, your good looks.  My friends will tell you that I called you “my boyfriend”.  There’s no way to replace what you brought to the Lakers and the fans.  We will miss you and I am sad that the next time I see you, you will be wearing a Cavaliers’ uniform.  I am excited for you, however,  that you will get the opportunity to go deep in the play offs, maybe even the finals.  Don’t forget me!!

And to Jordan … your floater is a thing of beauty, along with your love of the game, your ability to come off the bench and score, one of the best in the game at that, we’ve watched you grow and develop into the player that the Cavaliers know will help them going forward.  While you are probably very sad, you must also be damned proud that you are considered a valuable addition, a tool to help the Cleveland Cavaliers get another championship.  If I were to give you any advice, it would be to remember to always have fun when you’re playing.  It makes a tremendous difference in your game.  Thanks for everything you gave the Lakers fans and we won’t forget you!!

Lakers’ defense defines their road win in Chicago

The Lakers hold the Bulls to 37.6% field goal percentage in Chicago tonight with strong team defense, leading to a 108-103 win.  On the season the Bulls shoot 44% but the Lakers made the Bulls work hard for their baskets tonight.  Chicago did manage to recapture the lead in the fourth quarter, primarily due to out rebounding the Lakers (with the final tally 53 to 48) but L.A. dug deep and pulled out the win.  The Lakers actually shot a better percent from the free throw line tonight than their opponents, 75% to 67% (Lakers 21 of 28, Bulls 16 of 24) !!  Hooray!!

It was nice seeing Brandon Ingram have a good all around game.  He was the game top scorer with 25 points and missed a double double by only one rebound and he had 5 assists.  Kuzma started out strong in the first half with 9 points but couldn’t find his shot in the second.  Fortunately, several Lakers scored double digit points tonight, Brook Lopez (probably intent on showing up his brother, Robin) had 17 points, Clarkson with 19 and Randle  14.

It’s a good start to their five game road trip and Lakers fans are happy to see them win four consecutive games again.  Next up is a tough opponent on Sunday when the Lakers face the Toronto Raptors.

And when is Lonzo Ball returning to the line up?????

Trade Rumors Swell (“As the NBA Turns”)

As the NBA trade rumors continue to circulate, one wonders how many, if any, will actually happen before the February 8th deadline.  Current gossip concerning top NBA players being traded includes the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, the Hornets’ Kemba Walker, the Kings’ George Hill and, the craziest of all, DeMarcus Cousins leaving the Pelicans for the Cavaliers.  As a big Lakers fan, I have a perpetual stomach ache from ongoing trade talks circulating regarding Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance, Jr., not superstars but important players nonetheless!

So let’s take a look at last season’s rumors leading up to the February 23rd, 2017 trade deadline and see what actually happened before the trade deadline (without boring you with the other players, draft picks, etc. involved in these trades):

By the way, when I started doing the research for this post, I assumed that most of the trade rumors regarding last season were just that, rumors.  But, as you will clearly see, a lot of the trade talk was an accurate reflection of these NBA teams wanting to part ways with the players that were mentioned in the rumor mill:

THE RUMORS WERE CORRECT … Serge Ibaka traded from the Orlando Magic to the Toronto Raptors … Nerlens Noel traded from Philadelphia 76’s to Dallas Mavericks … Kyle Korver traded from Atlanta Hawks to Cleveland Cavaliers … Taj Gibson traded from Chicago Bulls to Oklahoma City Thunder … Lou Williams traded from Los Angeles Lakers to Houston Rockets. 

THE RUMORS WERE CORRECT BUT NOT THE TIMING AS THESE TRADES OCCURRED BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE 2017/2018 SEASON … Carmelo Anthony from New York Knicks to Oklahoma City Thunder … Dwight Howard traded from Atlanta Hawks to Charlotte Hornets … Ricky Rubio traded from Minnesota Timberwolves to Utah Jazz … Brook Lopez from Brooklyn Nets to Los Angeles Lakers.

PLAYERS INVOLVED IN LAST SEASON’S TRADE RUMORS WHO SIGNED ELSEWHERE AS FREE AGENTS … Paul Milsap leaves Atlanta Hawks for Denver Nuggets … Rudy Gay departs Sacramento Kings for San Antonio Spurs … Rajon Rondo from Chicago Bulls to New Orleans Pelicans.

THE RUMORS WERE NOT CORRECT … Nikole Vucevic is still with the Orlando Magic although rumors persist this season … Reggie Jackson remains a Detroit Piston … Gorac Dragic is still a valuable Miami Heat asset … Brandon Knight remains a Phoenix Suns player but is out for the season with a torn ACL.

We may not know until next season the accuracy of the current trade rumors, but if last season is an indicator of accuracy, hold on to your hats!!!

 

Lakers 5 in a row at Staples !

Another fun game today as the Lakers protect their home court against the visiting Knicks.  A better outcome than the last meeting in Madison Square Garden where the Knicks won in overtime.  In that outing, Porzingis had 37 points but today the Lakers hold him to 17.

The Lakers stand-outs today are Julius Randle with another double double (27 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and shooting an outstanding 65%), and Jordan Clarkson with his own double double (28 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds and shooting 63% from the field).  Way to go, Jordan … 10 assists will get it done!  Several other Laker players were key in the victory  . . .  Nance with his constant energy and intensity  (13 points and 5 rebounds), Kuzma (who scored 15 points in just over 10 minutes before taking a seat after re-injuring his finger) and Lopez who put in 4 of 6 three-point shots! (welcome back, Brook, where you been?)

It was definitely a team win today.  BI played but was not his usual self as he is still recovering from his ankle injury, but the other players stepped it up and came up with the victory, again minus Lonzo Ball.

I can’t talk about today’s win without mentioning Alex Caruso.  He was very  pivotal in today’s success,  playing with pace and passing the ball (he had 8 assists).  His experience with the South Bay Lakers is showing as he looks comfortable and in charge on the floor.  Coach Walton, we want to see more of this young man!!!!

Clarkson saves the day while Lakers are awful from FT line!

Congratulations, Jordan Clarkson, on a great game at Staples Center against the Indiana Pacers, scoring  33 points  (a very efficient 14 of 19) 7 rebounds and 7 assists.  It’s a miracle the Lakers won the game 99 to 86 as they were recipients of an embarrassing new NBA record for a winning team from the free throw line (a shocking 2 of 14 which translates to 14%).   How can a professional basketball team shoot 55% field goal percentage and 14% from the line in the same game?  Wow!!!!

I know, a win is a win, but as I have  said before, the odds of winning a game are much improved when free throw shots  go in the basket!  After all, they are ‘FREE” throws!!!!!

 

Lakers Can Stop Trade Considerations By Buying Out Deng

Let’s talk trade rumors circulating in the media involving Randle, Clarkson and now Larry Nance Jr.

Message to Laker brass:  Nance is a fan favorite.  We love to watch him “sky” to slam dunk the ball; he plays mean defense and gives 100% every time he is on the floor.  He’s not someone you trade away, he’s the type of player you trade for!

 

Why trade Randle and Clarkson?  They are valuable assets for the Lakers now and going forward and Nance too!  All three have considerable up-side and fit in well with the other players.

And the Lakers don’t need expiring contracts to make cap space for the possibility (key word possibility) of signing superstars next season.

Here’s what they do … they bite the bullet now and get rid of Luol Deng’s contract with $36 million remaining.  Buy him out and say “bye bye”.  I don’t know exactly how they accomplish this but that’s what lawyers are for.

With Deng gone and no trades, here’s the roster for next year:

Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Hart, Randle (with a new deal), Clarkson, Nance, Ennis, Bryant and Zubac.

By getting rid of Deng’s awful contract and signing Randle to a new contract, the 2018 team salaries will be roughly $51 million with the NBA salary cap reportedly to be $101 million.  So that leaves the Lakers with $50 million to sign free agent De Marcus Cousins who should be happy with a new contract that pays him $31 million the first year.  The  Lakers will then have more than enough, $19 million, to fill the remaining slots with good role players.  I would like to see them sign a back-up point guard who plays with pace and loves to pass the ball (sorry Ennis, but that’s not your game).

THIS ROSTER GETS THE LAKERS DEEP INTO THE PLAY-OFFS, KEEPS THE FANS HAPPY AND SHOWS THAT THE LAKERS ORGANIZATION SUPPORT A STRONG TEAM CONCEPT, THE WAY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN TODAY’S NBA.