(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
The Los Angeles Lakers lost some size when Dwight Howard decided to sign with the Houston Rockets and have found someone to replace some of that size for the 2013-2014 season. The Lakers have agreed to sign center Chris Kaman on a one year deal using their mini midlevel exception. Last year Kaman played for the Dallas Mavericks where he averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
The 31 year old center was being looked at by several teams that include the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings and the New York Knicks before signing with the Lakers. With this signing the Lakers have the option to still look to use Pau at the center in the starting line up, bringing in Kaman as a back up center or having him in the starting line up along side Gasol. Prior to playing with the Mavericks Kaman had played with the Clippers for his first 8 seasons in the NBA and the New Orlean Hornets, now known as the Pelicans…
It has been the Clippers who have been signing former Laker players that include Matt Barnes, Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Ronny Turiaf and there are now reports that the hometown rivals are having discussions with Antawn Jamison who played for the Lakers this past season. Other NBA free agents that the Lakers are reportedly looking at include Anthony Morrow, Nick Young, Elton Brand, Sasha Vujacic and Lamar Odom. Elton Brand also played for the Mavericks last season along side Kaman. Both Kaman and Brand played together with the Clippers as well. Odom and Vujacic won championships with the Lakers before they were both traded. Like Kaman and Brand, Odom played with the clippers earlier in his career including last season and it would be interesting to see him along side Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol for one last ride.
(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.
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers got a much needed win at the Staples Center against the Memphis Grizzlies beating them 86 to 84. With only six games remaining in the regular season the Lakers need to pull away from the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. The win did not come easy for the purple and gold as the Grizzlies came close to taking the game into over time as time expired.
Kobe Bryant led the game for the Lakers scoring 24 points and dished out 9 assists. Bryant continues to play heavy minutes for the shorthanded teams playing 43 minutes, more than anyone else on the floor played tonight. Pau Gasol has continued to show consistency putting up great numbers scoring 19 points against his brothers’ team. Both Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark scored 13 points each off the bench. Dwight Howard did get it going in the game being in foul trouble and only scored 9 points. Steve Blake who started in place for the injured Steve Nash managed the floor well and scored two big 3 pointers. Jodie Meeks had a quiet night in the starting line up replacing Metta World Peace scoring 2 points.
Steve Nash will continue to rest up with no word if he will be ready in time for the next game. Metta World Peace seemed to be having a good recovery as he tweeted out earlier in the day “My first day of running today went excellent.” With the Laker injuries right now they have been playing with just seven players getting minutes. Kobe Bryant has felt the heavy minutes looking tired late in the game as he missed a couple of shots to pull away from the Grizzlies late in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers remain at the 8th spot just half a game over the Utah Jazz who beat the New Orleans Hornets keeping them in the fight for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Next up for the Jazz are the Golden State Warriors. The Dallas Mavericks are right behind the Jazz, 3 games behind the Lakers and also won tonight against the Sacramento Kings. The last few games left in the season will be must wins for all these teams with their shot at the playoffs being at stake. Up next for the Lakers is a big game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. The Clippers are looking to sweep the season series, while the Lakers look to show they will be a threat in the playoffs if they indeed make it.