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.
By Kevin R. Linares
July 1st is slowly arriving and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has been saying that center Dwight Howard is the Lakers’ future. The Lakers wanted to make sure Dwight knows what they want him to do while he is driving around Los Angeles.
When you look up at the Staples Center or in Hollywood you can see “Stay D12” posters. Dwight Howard is reportedly taking a very strong look at the possibility of him joining James Harden and his friend Chandler Parsons in Houston. Maybe a few posters might help change Howard’s mind. There has been chatter around social media with Laker fans thinking these posters are a bad idea. The Lakers organization should not have to beg Howard to stay is what many are saying.
When Dwight Howard was in Orlando fans put up billboards there as well. One telling the Magic GM to bring Chris Paul to make Dwight Howard’s decision to choose to stay in Orlando a bit easier. That did not happen and he obviously did not stay. Is it a good decision for the Lakers to put up these posters up?
(USA Today Sports/Craig Mitchelldyer)
By Kevin R. Linares
With talk about where Dwight Howard will end up next season growing, there have been many teams that have risen as possible threats to the Lakers. Teams that have been named include the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks and even the Los Angeles Clippers.
Teams like the Warriors and Clippers would definitely love to have Howard playing for their team. How crazy would it sound to have Howard, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the Warriors? Or how about both Dwight Howard and Chris Paul on the Clippers? That would definitely make Laker fans “love” David Stern and his vetoed Chris Paul to Lakers trade even more. Realistically speaking, Howard going to the Warriors or Clippers would be a long shot. Both teams would have to make difficult arrangements to free up space as well as break up the teams they have now which are not bad at all.
The Mavericks, Hawks and Rockets are teams that would be able to bring Howard because of their free cap space or ability to free up cap space. The Mavericks have put themselves in a great position and are reportedly shopping around their 13th pick in the draft to make their run at Howard. With Dirk Nowitzki aging, would Howard give up around $30 million that the Lakers can offer more to go play with an aging superstar in Dallas. People will say he already is playing with an aging superstar in Kobe Bryant but how about that $30 million difference?
The Atlanta Hawks will have some edge with it being Howard’s hometown. With players coming off their payroll they will have enough cap space to bring in Howard. If Josh Smith, a close friend of Howard’s, intends to resign with the Hawks he can be the man to try and lure Howard. Again, will teaming up with Josh Smith in his hometown be enough to have Howard turn down that extra $30 million the Lakers will be able to offer him?
The Houston Rockets have been able to assemble some young and very talented pieces led by James Harden and coach Kevin McHale. This is a team that almost shocked the favorites in the West in their first year being together. Something the Rockets were missing was defense and bringing in Howard would definitely be a boost in that category. The Rockets can work to make cap space for Howard and might have enough in terms of talent to lure Howard away from the Lakers.
No team can offer Howard as many years and as much money that the Lakers can. Howard wanted to be in the spotlight and what better place for that than with the Lakers in Los Angeles. It would take sometime for the Lakers to bring in some other pieces to bring them back into title contention with them having an aging roster but if all healthy and in the same page they can be a threat. We saw a a glimpse of that in the second half of the 2012-2013 season. The biggest threat to the Lakers would be the Houston Rockets. The spotlight is definitely not as big, the money and years are not as much but the roster is something special. Howard will listen to what teams have to offer and coming to play with a young talented roster led by James Harden in Houston will be something he will take into serious consideration, for the Laker’s sake, hopefully not too serious.
By Kevin R. Linares
The Lakers dropped game 2 against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday 91 to 102. The Spurs shot the ball better than they did in game 1, shooting for 51 percent. Tony Park led his team scoring 28 points and dishing out 7 assists. For the Lakers, both Dwight Howard and Steve Blake led the way with 16 points each.
Injuries have pretty much made the season a terrible one for the Lakers and something they would have liked to avoid for the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Lakers will have a tough one in game 3 with reports of Steve Blake out indefinitely and both Steve Nash and Jodie Meeks doubtful. Steve Nash was seen hobbling on the floor during game 2 because of the injuries he still has not recovered from. Pau Gasol told reporters that if it was the regular season Nash would still be sidelined. Jodie Meeks did not play in game 2 because of the sprained left ankle he suffered in the first game between the two teams. Meeks is considered to be doubtful for game 3. Steve Blake who has been impressive in the absence of Kobe Bryant went down suffering a strain to his right hamstring.
Game 3 will definitely be scary to watch for Laker fans with there guards down. With Blake, Nash, Bryant and Meeks injured, the Lakers are now left with the options of Chris Duhon, Andrew Goudelock and Darius Morris. If the Lakers had problems getting the ball down low before it will only get harder with the Spurs having to face less of a threat from the outside.
The better match up for L.A. was the Spurs but that was with their super star Kobe Bryant and at least most of the roster being healthy. The Lakers now have three seldom used guards to look to hopefully play well enough to steal a game at home. The Lakers take the floor against the Spurs for game 3 at home on Friday and it will be interesting to see how the possible future center piece for the Lakers in Howard and the rest of whats left of the team responds.