Kobe Bryant Mulls A Return To The Los Angeles Lakers

THE LORD LINE

LOS ANGELES, November 17 – The Los Angeles Lakers are relevant once again and may soon welcome back one of the greatest players in franchise history. Kobe Bryant has started telling close friends and business associates that he is in fact contemplating a return to the NBA. According to sources the 18-time All-Star and 5-time NBA champion has been training at the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo with the hopes of getting back on the court by Christmas.

When reached for comment the as of now retired Kobe would not rule out a return to professional basketball saying only that “right now my primary focus is on venture capital. My workout routine with the Lakers is nothing more than good therapy. Could I still dominate at the highest level of basketball? Absolutely. But at this point in my life is playing a game as exciting as investing in something like drone delivery for pharmaceuticals? Time will tell.”

When Bryant’s intentions became clearer, Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton started tinkering with the team offense to better suite the needs of the 38 year old former superstar by moving away from the free flowing, constant ball movement style he adopted from his time with the Golden State Warriors, a system that so far this season has shown great promise in Los Angeles, to something much more isolation friendly and familiar to Kobe back when he averaged well over 20 field goal attempts per game.

“You can’t allow an NBA defense to settle in,” said the first year head coach. “It’s all about multiple looks and regardless of Kobe’s status the players on this roster need to get use to taking the air out of the ball and slowing things down a little bit.”

D’Angelo Russell, the starting point guard, leading scoring and perhaps greatest beneficiary of a Kobe free locker room, was not made available for comment after a recent practice but did show up on the team’s latest injury report as ‘questionable’ for the Lakers next game vs the San Antonio Spurs with what team doctors are referring to as a case of ‘mild sadness’.

Word out of Eugene, Oregon is that Nike hopes to capitalize on Bryant’s potential return to the NBA with a new signature Kobe shoe made with actual black mamba venom.

Help Wanted: The Los Angeles Lakers Backcourt

The Los Angeles Lakers are in serious jeopardy of being swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs. Without Kobe the Lakers were longshots to begin with but are now facing nearly insurmountable odds thanks to in part to a preponderance of injuries sustained by their guards. Steve Nash is all hopped up on numbing pain killers, Jodie Meeks has a bum ankle and now Steve Blake apparently left his hamstring at the Alamo. The fact that the Lakers were already relying on Meeks and Blake says something about their chances to begin with however all signs now point to LA needing a few guards to fill their roster in advance of game 3 Friday night. Here are just a few suggestions.

Matt Kemp – The Dodgers centerfield had already challenged his owner Magic Johnson to a friendly game of one-on-one and may be one of the few baseball players who could hold their own on an NBA court. Actually, the entire starting outfield in Chavez Ravine (Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier) are all athletic enough to command a few double teams on the pick up courts of Venice Beach. Probably not what the Dodgers need at this moment as “The Best Team a Billion Dollar Television Contract Could Buy” fights to float above .500.

Fletch – Rovell recently tweeted something about Fletch’s $4 million salary back in ’85 being worth something in the range of $8.6 million today which is totally reasonable for a gritty guard from the streets of Harlem. At his size, 6’9″ with the afro, he could be an impossibly difficult matchup for some of the Spurs shorter guards.

Jerry West – The Logo is always welcome back in Lakerland and could provide some positive mojo for fellow Mountaineer, and 2013 unfortunate sad face, Geno Smith who at last check was immersed in another game of Temple Run while patiently waiting for some NFL team to draft him in the first round. Shouldn’t the NFL offer assurances to all of the players attending the draft that they will not slip past the first 32 picks? Why subject Smith, or the viewing audience, to such an embarrassing, dehumanizing experience? Although, come to think of it, it wouldn’t be the NFL Draft if players weren’t treated as chattel.

Mike D’Antoni – The former Italian League star could give himself a taste of his own medicine and see how his 61 year old body responds to 48 minutes a game after his peddle to the medal, abusive coaching style contributed to the physical breakdown of Kobe Bryant.

Laker Bros – Because the Spurs couldn’t help but take pity on these two poor lost souls.

 

Scores of Los Angeles Transplants Flee Lakers for Clippers Bandwagon

Very rarely do I make a point of watching preseason NBA basketball, especially when it’s going up against a pivotal NFL Week 15 Monday Night Football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers. However, last night was different because this just wasn’t any other preseason basketball game, this was the Los Angeles Clippers against the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers, as you know, just completed a blockbuster trade for all star point guard Chris Paul which occurred after NBA Commissioner David “Big Daddy” Stern threw his considerable weight behind blocking a proposed deal that would have sent the prolific Paul to the Lakers. Now, amidst rumors the Lakers could be on the verge of acquiring Magic center Dwight Howard, the “Battle Los Angeles” has been racheted up several notches as we approach the start of the 2011-12 NBA regular season.

Here a few highlights/impressions from last night’s preseason Clippers/Lakers game live from the Big Office Supply Warehouse.

a – Any victory over the Big Brother Lakers is a big victory for the Red Headed Step Child Clippers. So while most will look at 114-95 as nothing more than the final byproduct of a glorified scrimmage, to me it is the first sign of an earthquake sized paradigm shift in the City of Angels. Fact: the Los Angeles Clippers will be a much more entertaining basketball team to watch than the LA Lakers. I’m guessing a 4/5 seed and a birth into the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs.

b – I’d had no idea that “jeggings” were permitted in the NBA. Whatever gray “layering” Kobe Bryant seems to be wearing over his upper legs/knees it does very little to cover up all the excess mileage on those 33 year old legs.

c – DeAndre Jordan doesn’t need to take a shot outside of the paint, not when he’s 7′ tall and plays a good 4′ over the rim. Did you see his 1st quarter dunk last night? Aggressive. Assertive. It was like something out of NBA Jam. It was so terrifying that I almost felt sorry for Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

d – When did Caron Butler come to the Clippers? If healthy, he could be the invauluble “glue” guy that holds the team together on both ends of the court.

e – And finally, I know Simmons has already made this observation, but in all seriousness, when did the Los Angeles Lakers turn into the Indiana Pacers? Josh McRoberts? Troy Murphy? They’re a Bobby Plump away from recreating the 1954 Indiana State Championship team.

view from the Staples Center courtesy of @itsChawwnney

If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands

Spoiler Alert!!!! I’m about to go all old man rant on you. Continue reading if you have ever sat on a porch just waiting for a chance to yell at the neighborhood kids to keep their voices down while you finish your Sudoku.

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You know what really is starting to grind my gears about these NBA playoffs? The incessant hand slapping after free throws. Not only is it a time consuming proposition but it also seems to occur irregardless of whether or not the shot goes in. Last night after Joakim Noah shot a free throw he immediately received a cavalcade of congratulatory handshakes from teammates like Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng. I’m pretty sure one of the referees got in there for a butt slap as well. The way people were celebrating it was as if Joakim was running for public office.

And here’s the kicker, Noah missed that free throw by a good 10 inches. Sooooo, what are you celebrating exactly? I don’t mean to make this just about the Chicago Bulls because free throw hand slapping is everywhere in these playoffs and pretty soon it’s going to force me to watch something else like – gulp – the NHL Playoffs. (If only I could find Versus….)

E.K.G.A.T. Every Kid Gets A Trophy. E.K.G.A.T. It’s 50% of what’s wrong with organized sports and athletes in America today. (The other 50% are the parents who live vicariously through their kids. To steal a phrase from Charles Barkley, those folks are “turrible”.) The idea that young athletes are told how great they are, regardless of performance, rewards mediocrity and builds a damaging false sense of entitlement. Consequently we are developing a nation of young people who are unable to cope with stress or manage failure and who also grow up expecting instant gratification for simply doing their job. I see it every day in the workplace where more and more recent college graduates simply cannot function unless their performance is constantly being validated.

We must get back to learning to live with failure. Learning from mistakes, both physical and mental, is a crucial step in the development of personal and professional resiliency. If you’re looking to blame someone for the fragile mental state of our young athletes, blame Joakim Noah, he of the 10 second post free throw handshake routine.

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Enough old man ranting for today. Tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about cell phones and those darn pop musicians who wear their pants too low.

view from the Staples Center courtesy of @RJWilliams

Jesus Shuttlesworth Broke a NBA Record

The TD Banknorth Center was witness to history tonight as Ray Allen passed Reggie Miller as the NBA’s all time leader in career 3 pointers.  It was a nice moment for Ray and his family as the entire arena celebrated his accomplishment between the 1st and 2nd quarters.  Pretty cool for a guy who might be best known for either his Big East showdown vs Allen Iverson and the Georgetown Hoyas or his star turning role as Jesus Shuttlesworth in Spike Lee’s He Got Game.

The game itself, between the Celtics and the Lakers, was all that fans could have hoped for between two of the leagues best.  I love that both teams wore retro uniforms and warmups. I am somewhat disappointed that the Celtics didn’t go with these vintage beauties from when Larry Bird was dominating the 3 point shooting contest. Is it really true that Bird would keep his warmups on throughout the contest because he was so confident he would win that it didn’t matter what he wore? That’s how legends are made.

views of the TD Banknorth Garden courtesy of @Rose_KG and @Cravenfan