Monthly Archive for September, 2009

Media Day, Via Twitter

Ron ArtestIf you followed along to our @LakersReporter and @Lakers Twitter accounts, here’s what you saw from Lakers Media Day, which took place on Tuesday morning in the team’s El Segundo practice facility:

(Warning … links galore)

- An idea of what media day was like for @RealLamarOdom: http://twitpic.com/jnryd

- RT @LAIreland: Lamar Odom tells Mason and I why he decided to get married now: http://bit.ly/ROFGn

- True. RT @Lakers: Andrew Bynum talked with @LakersReporter about his summer at Media Day: http://bit.ly/zoZXX

- RT @Lakers: Pau Gasol talking about his summer. Watch the full vid here: http://bit.ly/ePmsl

- RT @DuranLA: How about @Lakers Andrew Bynum wearing a #Dodgers hat http://pic.gd/d12839

- One basketball update: Andrew Bynum said he is “100% healthy.” His personal goal is to make the All-Star team.

- Here’s Artest getting his Manny Wig on. Can’t complain about this one either: http://twitpic.com/jn645

- Tell me you don’t like this Artest pic … Oh wait, you can’t: http://bit.ly/VaNZS

- RT @darrenrovell1: @LakersReporter took pic of me w/Kobe http://twitpic.com/jmk8i Bryant is hands down the best interview in all of sports.

Continue reading ‘Media Day, Via Twitter’

Now Batting for the Dodgers… Ron Artest!

Tell me you don’t like this picture … nope, you can’t.

Ron Artest

Kevork Djansezian/NBAE/Getty Images

Lakers Sign Four to Training Camp Roster

Via L.A.’s PR Staff:

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forwards Tony Gaffney, David Monds, Mickael Gelebale and Michael Fey, as announced (on Monday). Per team policy, terms of the agreements were not released.

Gaffney, an undrafted forward out of Massachusetts, finished his senior year at UMASS averaging a double-double with 11.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. The 6-8 forward was ranked 3rd in the nation in blocked shots (3.8) and was named the 2009 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year. Most recently Gaffney was a member of the 2009 Lakers summer league team where he averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds in four games played.

Monds, a 6-9 forward out of Oklahoma State, was a member of the Lakers 2009 summer league squad where he scored 14.0 points and pulled down 5.2 rebounds in five games. The Georgia native spent last season playing in the NBA Development League as a member of the Albuquerque Thunderbirds where he averaged 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds before finishing out the season with the Dakota Wizards.

Gelabale, a 6-7 forward from France, finished the 2008-09 season as a member of the Los Angeles D-Fenders where he averaged 16.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in six games played. Prior to his stint in the NBA D-League, Gelabale spent two seasons (2006-08) with the Seattle SuperSonics where he averaged 4.5 points and 2.1 rebounds in 15.6 minutes.

Fey, a 7-0 forward/center out of UCLA, played all four seasons at UCLA where he averaged 5.2 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 54.6% from the field. The former Bruin spent the 2008-09 season playing for Al Shabab (United Arab Emirates).

The Lakers training camp roster now stands at 17 players.

Media Day On the Horizon

Throughout the summer on Lakers.com, we’ve taken a shot at Kobe Bryant’s top 31 Moments, shot the breeze with Lamar Odom, followed Pau Gasol’s MVP performance in EuroBasket 09, gone behind the scenes with Ron Artest when he signed and so on.

But on Tuesday in L.A.’s practice facility, we’ll get a chance to catch up with the whole gang of purple-and-gold-clad basketball players.

Stay tuned to Lakers.com and the Basketblog tomorrow; you can also follow me on Twitter (@LakersReporter) for frequent updates.

Phil Jackson: 2009-10 Intro Presser

Phil Jackson Game ShotMedia day is still three days away, but that didn’t keep Phil Jackson from sitting down at L.A.’s practice facility on Friday to provide a little teaser for a hungry group of journalists that assembled in El Segundo.

It was a busy summer in Laker Land, featuring the 15th championship celebration for the franchise, the return of Jackson for another run, the acquisition of Ron Artest, the re-signing of Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown, Pau Gasol’s finger injury and subsequent MVP award in the European Championships, an assemblance of most of L.A.’s young players at the practice facility and, sure, Odom’s weekend wedding.

Alas, as Jackson was talking, we did our best to follow along with the fingers moving:

- The Coach opened by answering a question about his T-Mobile commercial, citing that he goes “way back” with Jesse James because James was a companian of Dennis Rodman’s. Your usual soft opener.

- The first comment Phil had regarding the coming basketball season was that the team wanted to “make the transition for Ron Artest seamless,” adding that Artest is “The defensive player we’ve wanted over the course of the last couple of years. Defense is going to be the item of the day.” Jackson also mentioned that he doesn’t think Artest’s presence will disrupt the offense: “Our game is not predicated on calling plays, it’s about the players reading the game and trying to get the ball to the open man.”

- Jackson neglected to talk about his contract after the coming season, saying he hasn’t talked to Jerry Buss.

- On Kurt Rambis taking the Timberwolves’ head coaching position: “I don’t think a person particularly (will replace him) but the do-it-all nature that he had has to be picked up by some people. I’ll have to spend a little more time working with the big guys, and the staff will have to take on the defensive responsibility that Kurt had. We’ll miss that but we’re (happy he had the opportunity in Minnesota).”

- Jackson agreed that his frontcourt foursome of Bynum-Gasol-Artest-Odom is easily the most talented he’s ever had, and cited the Portland team in 2000 as the last big foursome that had similar on-paper talent.

- On distractions regarding certain players’ off court interests: “It will be something we have to talk about. There’s a certain amount of privacy that we have to demand from (the players) and I think these guys are professional. They’ll understand it.” Jackson said one difference between his Bulls days and now is the media climate, including Twitter, TMZ and constant internet coverage.

- There will be restrictions for players in terms of social media from the team. “There are things they’ll have to be cognizant of.”

- Jackson said he is going to Lamar Odom’s much-reported wedding. “I’m very supportive of Lamar and want everything to go right for him.”
Continue reading ‘Phil Jackson: 2009-10 Intro Presser’

Richard Jefferson on Ron Artest

Ron Artest - Richard JeffersonThe newest Spur had a few words to say about newest Laker over on Spurs.com:

Here’s the intereaction as Spurs.com’s Ben Hunt relayed a question from one of San Antonio’s Twitter followers to offseason signee Richard Jefferson:

Spurs.com: Who is the best defender not named (Bruce) Bowen you ever faced?
RJ: You know there are different guys. Ron Artest is definitely one of those guys. For his size, he is just so big and strong. There are just certain guys that you know you have to do a little bit extra. You have to be a little more exact and Artest is definitely up there. His addition to the Lakers only makes the Spurs and what we’re doing here more exciting. To know that the Lakers probably got better and so even though we made some huge strides here you know that the champions got better. It makes everything we’re doing here just try to get that much more focused and more direct, so we got a lot of work to do in front of us.

Those interested in reading the rest of the interview can CLICK HERE, but one primary point to take out of Jefferson’s comments is that Artest is an ideal defender for some of the league’s best threes with size, such as Jefferson, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Paul Pierce and Brandon Roy.

Player of the Decade: Kobe Bryant

Kobe Sporting News

From L.A.’s PR desk:

Los Angeles Lakers guard and 2009 NBA Finals MVP Kobe Bryant is Sporting News‘ NBA player of the decade.

The honor is part of a 14-page tribute to the athletes, coaches and teams of the 2000s in the new issue of the magazine, which arrives this week at all Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson Retail outlets. SN honored one athlete in each sport and enlisted the help of teammates, coaches and legends to make a case for both the winner and runner-up.

Said former teammate Shaquille O’Neal of Bryant: “The thing about Kobe is that, over the course of my career, I have never played with anyone who was as fierce as he is. By fierce I mean just having that extra killer instinct that you know when the game is on the line he is not going to shy away from the big shot, he is not going to make excuses. If we would go into the fourth quarter, playoffs or just some game in the season and we were within a little bit of the other team, Kobe was not going to shy away from the challenge of getting the win. He was going to take the shots.”

Bryant was SN’s player of the year in 2008. But 2009 was his favorite. “This year meant a lot,” he told SN. “We won a championship. It was satisfying, very satisfying, because we put in a lot of time and effort to fix things and get better. It’s a great memory. I feel that we just had such a great team, such a fun team, from our chemistry to the way we executed. We went through some years and years of frustration to get to that point.”

Bryant also made SN’s NBA all-decade team:

FIRST
G Steve Nash
G Kobe Bryant
F Tim Duncan
F LeBron James
C Shaquille O’Neal

SECOND
G Allen Iverson
G Dwyane Wade
F Dirk Nowitzki
F Kevin Garnett
C Yao Ming

Lakers Top 10 Moments

ts_0809top10_02Over the past two weeks, we’ve been posting the Top 10 Moments of L.A.’s 2008-09 Championship season.

Each moment features a written summary and the NBA’s video feed from that game; there are worse things, of course, for Lakers fans than reliving the title-garnering journey.

The most recent moment we posted was No. 2 – “Fisher For Three … Twice,” – which is a moment that has already dug its way into Lakers lore.

The rest of the moments can be viewed by CLICKING HERE, while Moment No. 1 will go up on Thursday afternoon.

Walton Workout Video

Training camp may be two weeks away for the 2009-10 Lakers, but several of the players have been in El Segundo to get a jump on the process, particularly in the past few weeks.

Last week, Lakers Director of Athletic Performance/Player Development and strength coach Chip Schaefer walked us through a player-by-player update of each player.

This week, he invited us into the training room – video camera in hand – to follow along with forward Luke Walton’s circuit-style workout.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

Gasol Wins EuroBasket Title, MVP Honors

Pau Gasol and SpainIf winning his first NBA Championship weren’t enough for one summer, Lakers forward/center Pau Gasol added a EuroBasket title for his native Spain, earning MVP honors in the process.

Prior to EuroBasket – a Euro tournament that not only declares the continent’s best team but also qualifies its top performers for the World Championships – Gasol injured a finger, forcing him to sit out through much of August. Yet he quickly proved the finger not to be an issue by leading all players with 18.7 points and 2.2 blocks per game in the tournament, while finishing second with 8.2 rebounds and a 64.4 percent mark from the field.

MVP, indeed.

Gasol’s performance in the final game, an 85-63 drubbing of Serbia, was consistent with his production throughout as he led Spain with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. He even out-rebounded Serbia 8-7 by himself in the first half, helping the Spaniards win their first European championship after six second-place finishes.

“It was a great game, and obviously we won the final that we lost twice before this year, so I’m extremely happy and it’s an unforgettable day for us,” Gasol said as reported by the associated press. “We just worked so hard to win this championship and I’m just super proud of my teammates.”

The decisive victory over Serbia was particularly sweet since Spain had opened the tournament with a 66-57 loss to the Serbs. The Spaniards also dropped an early game to Turkey, but much like the Lakers, Spain played their best when they had to, winning their final five games by an average of 21.2 points.

Spain’s run to the championship included an easy 18-point victory over Greece in the semifinals, a 86-66 quarterfinal win over Tony Parker’s French side, a big victory over Poland and a besting of Lithuania.

Next on Gasol’s list: defense of the NBA title. After all, Lakers training camp is just a couple weeks away.