(USA Today/Chris Humphreys)
Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed fourth year shooting guard Xavier Henry. Henry played his college ball in Kansas before entering the NBA draft in 2010 where he was chosen 12th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies but has not been able to play at the level that many expected him to.
The 22-year old shooting guard has also played for the New Orleans Hornets(now known as the Pelicans) and last season played in the D-League for the Iowa Energy. In the NBA Henry has averaged 4.5 points per game and 1.8 rebounds.
The Lakers this week have now signed Shawne Williams and Henry which makes it 14 players signed going into training camp. The Lakers have one more roster spot open for the season but can sign up to 20 players going into training camp. The players that the team has signed this off season have been players that will fit Mike D’Antoni’s style of play. NBA training camps will start on October 1st and it will be interesting to see who else the Lakers look to add before and what players will make it on the team.
(NY Daily News)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that they have officially signed free agent forward Shawne Williams. It was announced today by general manager Mitch Kupchak but the terms of the agreement were not released although it is believed he will make about $1.1 million.
Williams last played for the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets(now known as Brooklyn Nets). He was also on the Portland Trailblazers but did not appear in the game.
The 27-year old has played under coach Mike D’Antoni back when he was on the Knicks. He has averaged 5.7 points and 2.8 rebounds throughout his six years in the NBA. The former 17th overall pick played his college ball in Memphis where he was also born.
The signing comes on the same day forward Michael Beasley was waived by the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers had interest in Beasley and planned to acquire him after trading Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol for Chris Paul but the trade was later vetoed by David Stern. Talks were circulating around the web whether the Lakers should look to take a chance on the troubled forward after being waived.
Lamar Odom who has also run into trouble remains a free agent. Odom recently received a DUI and there have been numerous reports of him using drugs. Many Laker fans were hoping for Odom to make a return to the Lakers but it was looking less likely throughout the summer.
By Kevin R. Linares
Since injuring his Achilles there have been many reports of Kobe Bryant being well ahead of schedule. The normal time table for a player coming back from an Achilles injury is 9 to 12 months and so far Kobe has shown great signs of recovery since the injury that took place in the final week of the regular season back in April against the Golden State Warriors.
Bryant has allowed fans to view some of his progress on social media website Instagram. He posted a video of him doing toe curls using marbles and of him running on a anti-gravity treadmill. Now he has posted his first Vine video: https://vine.co/v/hiYWqAIuLlB . The video shows Bryant jumping off a diving board which again indicates how far he is coming along during his rehab.
With the NBA season approaching it is a great sign to see Bryant’s recovery come along quickly but it is still not certain that he will be ready for the preseason or even the first game of the regular season that will take be against none other than the Los Angeles Clippers. A game that he will more realistically be and definitely want to be ready for is against Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets in November.
Whenever it is that Bryant returns to the court it will be best that he makes sure he is fully recovered. Bryant is now 35-years old and next season will once again join teammates Pau Gasol and Steve Nash who were not 100 percent last season. With the Lakers picking up younger players this free agency it will be interesting to see if Kobe will continue to try and average the same minutes he has been in games or if he will allow for his minutes to be slightly reduced.
(Getty Images/Lisa Blumenfeld)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers officially decided to use their amnesty clause on forward Metta World Peace. World Peace was set to make $7.7 million next year and did pick up the player option he had. The Lakers are set to save about $14 million in luxury tax with amnestying World Peace. Other Lakers that could have been victims of the amnesty clause includes Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Blake. The signing of new Laker Nick Young made it easier for the Lakers to amnesty Metta and Young will be expected to take the starting small forward position.
It is a sad thing to hear that World Peace will no longer be wearing purple and gold on the court with all the memories that Laker fans will be left with. Kobe Bryant said it himself, there is no game 7 without World Peace referring to the game 7 against the Boston Celtics in 2010.
The formerly known Ron Artest, who was involved in one of the biggest sports brawls in history when he was playing for the Indiana Pacers, has definitely come a long way. He has become a fan favorite on and off the court in Los Angeles. He is a player that will always be cheered for even when wearing a different jersey. It was just a few years ago that he had a couple of confrontations with Bryant on the court but he then chose to join the Lakers and helped them win a championship.
World Peace could be playing for a number of teams next season. A team with cap space that bids for him like the Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons, and Cleveland Cavaliers, or maybe a team like the New York Knicks which has been said to have a lot of interest if Metta can clear waivers but he recently told Dave McMenamin, Lakers beat writer for ESPN that he is interested in playing in China and that was his number one priority. Whatever team he ends up with it will be difficult for Laker fans to cheer against him. There will definitely be a big standing ovation for him whenever it is that he returns to the Staples Center. He became one of those Lakers that deep inside will be a Laker for life.