By Kevin R. Linares
After defeating their crosstown rivals in what was a big win to start off the season, the Lakers could not get a win in their first road game of the season. The Lakers lost 125-94 to the Golden State Warriors who had control of the game throughout the night.
The Lakers did not look nothing like the team that had just beaten a Clipper team that is expected to have a promising season. It was a second game of a back to back against a talented team but no Laker played more than 28 minutes in the game against the Clippers. Steve Nash did not play in the game because the Lakers will be looking to rest him on back to back games throughout the season to prevent any setbacks.
Jodie Meeks was added to the starting line-up while Steve Blake moved to the point guard position. The Lakers could not get a rhythm going and played with a lot less speed and aggressiveness than many expected after seeing the bench score 76 points on opening night. Meeks and Xavier Henry both led the team in scoring with 14 points each while Pau Gasol did not have his best game scored 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
The Warriors looked like a team that was having fun shooting a total of 15 three pointers and had the Lakers struggling on both ends of the floor. Klay Thompson grabbed his career high scoring 38 points while David Lee added 24. The Lakers return back to Los Angeles on Friday and will play against the Western Conference champions San Antonio Spurs.
(Getty Images/Doug Pensinger)
By Kevin R. Linares
Dwight Howard has reportedly reached a decision of what team he will be joining and will be announcing it on twitter this weekend. The Golden State Warriors were considered a long shot to sign Dwight because of their cap space but have put themselves in position for a possible sign and trade for Howard with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers have made it clear they would not agree to a sign and trade for Howard and would prefer to let him walk clearing up space for 2014 when there will be many high profile free agents. The Warriors do have some players that the Lakers would like to have in Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes but would probably have to take Andrew Bogut and his expiring contract. Last season Thompson, a shooting guard averaged 16.6 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Barnes, a small forward, in his first year in the NBA averaged 9.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
The Warriors have agreed to a trade of Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson and Brandon Rush to the Jazz clearing up space for Andre Igoudala to sign with them for 4 years for about $48 million, making them more attractive for Howard as well as making Harrison Barnes more expendable. Would the Lakers agree to a sign and trade for Howard with them getting either Barnes or Thompson along with the expiring contract of Andrew Bogut?
(USA Today/Mark J. Rebilas)
By Kevin R. Linares.
The Los Angeles Lakers have lost their athletic forward in Earl Clark. Clark has agreed to a two year deal worth about $9 million with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the second year being a team option. There were reports that the Los Angeles Clippers were also interested in Clark and the Lakers also interested in bringing the small forward back but under their terms.
Clark was acquired by the Lakers from the Orlando Magic in the trade that brought the now free agent Dwight Howard to Los Angeles. Although Clark was just a throw in for the trade he was a bright spot for the Lakers in what seemed to be a catastrophic season. In a roster full of veterans and lacking youth, Clark provided youth and athleticism playing minutes because of the injuries the Lakers suffered throughout the season. He played one of his best games earlier in the season against the San Antonio Spurs scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
The Lakers were interested in bringing Clark back but playing the way he played this past season teams had gained interest in him. With the Lakers’ luxury tax they could not offer Clark the kind of money a team like Cleveland did. Last season Clark averaged 7.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. He will be joining a very young and athletic Cavalier team that includes Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and the number 1 overall pick of this years draft Anthony Bennett.
(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.