(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.
(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.
By Kevin R. Linares
Kobe Bryant played 12 minutes and struggled before sitting out the rest of the game. With the questions surrounding how the Lakers would play without their star were answered tonight as they beat the Indiana Pacers in Indiana 99 to 93. “If we want to win we need guys to step up” is what Steve Blake said after the game and that is exactly what he did in today’s game.
Steve Blake had 18 points, dished out 7 assists and grabbed 6 rebounds off the bench. Antawn Jamison also had a big game off the bench scoring 17 points. From the starters Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and Metta World peace were solid scoring all scoring in double digits. Dwight Howard had 20 points, World Peace 19 and Nash added 15 points.
Kobe, at first, was not expected to play but as the game came closer it was a game time decisio. He eventually did play in the game. The importance of the victory today is that the team was able to get a big road win against a very good team in the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers currently hold the 2nd playoffs spot in the East trailing the Miami Heat. With the win, the Lakers are sitting at the 8th spot, a game ahead of the Utah Jazz and 1.5 games behind the Houston Rockets.
Pau Gasol is having a good recovery and is feeling good enough to maybe return to the line up on Sunday or Monday. Gasol has not played since Febuary 5th due to his foot injury. There is still the question of when Kobe will be healthy enough to play a full game after attempting to play today. Kobe needs to rest and take a few days off, meanwhile the rest of the team can look to build the their chemistry. During the game Bryant did show some of his coaching abilities as he had the clip board in hand giving advice to his teammates. The Lakers take the floor again on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings at the Staples Center.
Image from bleacherreport
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers came into Atlanta with a four game win streak and it sounded like they would have it easy as it was announced that Josh Smith would miss the game due to a sprained knee. That was not the case, the Hawks beat the Lakers 96 to 92. Not only did the Lakers lose the game but they also suffered an injury. Kobe Bryant had trouble shooting tonight but put in 31 points and almost had another late heroic performance to lead the Lakers over Atlanta but fell short.
Kobe went up for a jumper to tie the game but fell missed and landed on Dahntay Jones’ foot. Kobe had x-rays after the game which came out negative. It was announced that he had suffered a severe left ankle sprain and would be out indefinitely. Bryant after the game told reporters that referees need to do a better job of protecting shooters. He also tweeted out saying “#dangerousplay that should have been called Period.” Kobe has played through injuries numerous times but when asked about the injury he said it was his worst pain since back in 2000. Dahntay Jones also tweeted after the game saying “Tape doesn’t lie. Ankle was turned on the floor after the leg kick out that knocked him off balance. I would never try to hurt the man.” Back in 2009 Jones received a flagrant 1 foul for tripping Bryant in a playoff series against the Denver Nuggets. The following is a clip from that play:
Now the injury happened right before the end of the game. There is no excuse for the Lakers losing this game especially playing an Atlanta Hawk team missing one of their best players in Josh Smith. Luckily for the Lakers, the Utah Jazz also lost their game to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 87 to 110. With both teams losing, the standings stay the same with the Lakers a half game over the Jazz in the 8th playoff spot.
Kobe’s injury might require him to miss a game or more. It is fair to say he should miss at least a game to rest and heal up. Aside from Friday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, the upcoming schedule for the purple and gold should not be too difficult, but who knows if the Lakers will continue to make games that should be won easy look hard. The schedule includes teams like the Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards. If Kobe needed to rest and heal an injury this would be the best time to do it.
The problem here is if the rest of the players on the team would step up to the plate. A team that has Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace in the starting line up alone should be able to win against the teams coming up, not including the Pacers of course. If Kobe were to miss a few games, Dwight Howard needs to be the Dwight Howard that showed up in Orlando just the other day. Steve Nash is not the same guy that played in a Sun’s uniform but he can still take over a game and needs to do so.
The Lakers are finally sitting in a playoff spot, for now. They need to find ways other than Bryant to make their playoff push. They have been hit with injuries all season and cannot seem to catch a break. With Pau Gasol possibly coming back next week maybe he can try and take some of the load off Kobe. For now we will have to wait and see if Kobe does need to take a game or more off. If he does, will Dwight, Nash and the rest of the team be able to keep it together?