Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012 USA Men's National Team Preliminary Round Schedule

Now that the 2012 Olympics have officially kicked off, let's take a look at the USA Men's National Team schedule for the upcoming weeks.  

Click to enlarge
Keep in mind that all times listed above are local, + 5 hours from EDT.
(ex. 2:30 p.m.start time is 6:30 a.m. start time in L.A.)

First game: Tomorrow morning at 6:30 a.m. Kobe and friends will be facing France's goggles sporting Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw, Ronny Turiaf and others.

Photo credit and source: USABasketball.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

NOC Presents: Nash Camera Action - "The Shawshank Redemption"



If you haven't heard already, Steve Nash has an original YouTube series called "Nash, Camera, Action", presented by the folks over at The NOC, where he plays different roles parodying famous movies.

Above is his latest project titled, "The Shawshank Redemption". Pretty funny stuff.

Click on the links below to view past parodies:


 

Friday, July 20, 2012

If only Nash was more specific

It's been widely reported that Steve Nash wants to recruit Hill to also join forces with the Lakers. Kupchak, puzzled by his request but being the good GM that he is made some calls and got Hill to agree to terms with the Lakers for a 2-year close to $8 million deal today.

Needless to say Nash was ecstatic when he got the call from upper management. He immediately phones (yes I said phones) his former teammate only to realize that Laker Grant Hill was not to be.

In a similar story fans were relieved to hear that the Lakers did not sign 49-year old Jordan.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Two part debate with Chat Sports writer Chris Fields: Should the Lakers re-sign Matt Barnes?

We recently participated in a friendly two part debate about the future of Los Angeles Laker Matt Barnes. The following guest post is by Chat Sports.com writer Chris Fields. He argues that L.A. should not re-sign Barnes and we argue to keep him.

Part I - Should the Lakers re-sign Matt Barnes?

The Lakers are going into the 2012-2013 season thinking Championship or bust.

Luxury tax be damned, the Lake Show is gearing up for maybe Kobe Bryant's last run.

GM Mitch Kupchak made big moves by inking Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison to deals and could still land the grand prize of Dwight Howard.

Part of the Lakers run for the championship could be Matt Barnes.

The 6'7 small forward's deal is up and the Lakers have yet to make a decision on his future with the team.

Even though the Lakers are trying to add as many pieces as possible, Barnes shouldn't be a part of the puzzle.

There are several reasons why the Lakers should let Barnes go.

Most importantly, he isn't that good. Barnes has put up semi-average numbers during his two years with the Lakers, but nothing irreplaceable. At best, Barnes has been a below average offense player and a solid defender. He averaged seven points and five boards per game over the last two years, while shooting 45% from the field.

Not has Barnes been average, but the Lakers now have better options at his position. The signing of forward Antawn Jamison has made Barnes expendable. Jamison, though old, is still a much better option off the bench than Barnes. Jamison is more versatile, a better rebounder and a comparable shooter. Plus, he has a lot better of an attitude than Barnes. In addition to Jamison, Devin Ebanks shows potential as an athletic small forward who can come in and provide energy off the bench.

The Lakers should let Barnes go in order to open up another roster spot. Barnes doesn't need to be eating up salary, costing the Lakers luxury tax and not producing. The Lakers could use Barnes' spot to sign a three point threat. With Steve Nash running the show, Kobe drawing attention and Pau and Bynum getting doubled in the post, the Lakers desperately need another shooter. Steve Blake is a solid spot up shooter, but can't play the wing position. The Lakers need a guy who can step in at the small forward and knock down threes. A player who can spot up and play the forward position will be much more valuable to the Lakers than Barnes.

For these reasons, the Lakers should part ways with Matt Barnes.

Written by: Chris Fields @ Chat Sports.com

Here is our argument to keep Barnes with the purple and gold.

Part II - Barnes and no bull

Where in the world is Matt Barnes these days? He’s gotten no love from the media Gods and for the most part the presses have been inked up for the unraveling of the Howard prophecy.

What about those eager remaining top unrestricted free agents roaming around like AMC walkers? Barnes, Landry and even Raja Bell are noteworthy right? Remember those days when Kobe flew in a chopper to sweep Bell off his feet for dinner and a Lakers contract? What about when Kobe dunked on Landry with his left hand and um, well I guess Kobe’s massive dunk has nothing to do with the free agency but still fun to watch…


So where does Kupchak’s off season antics leave Matt Barnes and the Lakers? Well, evidently absent or hopefully tardy for fan’s sake. Listen, for me personally Matt Barnes was not easily accepted when the Lakers acquired him two seasons ago. It took me a while to get over that Orlando game where he failed miserably in his attempts to get into Kobe’s head but hey that’s all water under the bridge now.

Barnes is a slashing threat and showed movement when teammates were anchored by Kobe offense. His toughness was needed especially when World Peace was downed by Artest. Having the option of either starting Matt or Metta was a constant debate but an absolute luxury for the team. Metta was stupid tough while Matt was strategically tough. Let’s look deeper into the comparison from last season's numbers.

Matt was the team’s third best rebounder bringing down 344, Metta 218. Matt was the better shooter - 45% FG / 33% 3PT / 74% FT, Metta 39% FG / 30% 3PT / 62% FT. Matt showed more movement offensively than the two and consequently found himself at the charity stripe the most at that position. Who was the better defender? Well it all depends on how you look at it. Matt blocked more shots (48 - 3rd team best) but Metta, tied with Kobe had a team high 69 steals. Metta was the better Nash having dished the rock for 140 assists, Matt had 126.

Regardless of any stat I come up with, new Laker Jamison will most likely kill any hope of Barnes returning to the purple and gold, similar to Nash’s arrival and Sessions departure. Jamison plays both forward positions and pretty much eliminates the need for Barnes. If you look at Matt’s NBA career, the longest he’s stayed with any team was two years so it only makes logical sense that he moves on.

Photo credits: Getty Images

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lakers bench slumbers no more

Holy bejeebers Batman! Did the Lakers just pick up who I think they just picked up? Laker fans are you telling me that the Busses have agreed to sign Antawn Jamison - who by the way has a career average of 19.5 points and 7.9 rebounds - at a veteran's minimum one year salary of just $1.4 mill? You do know that he was the highest paid Cav last season raking in a little over $15 mill right?

This is as shocking as the Lakers snagging Keystone Light snagging Steve Nash. I tell ya, this off season just keeps getting better! It's quite clear that Jamison has one objective in mind coming near the end of his NBA career and that's to win the last game of a season. Do you blame the guy? His situation is worse than former teammate LeBron's of not winning a title. At least LeBron finally got his in his ninth season. 14-Year vet Antawn has yet to do so and he's betting his entire NBA career on purple and gold.

Jamison plays both forward positions and brings to the bench not only NBA experience as a whole but also brings experience playing with former Dallas Maverick teammate Steve Nash. Is it coincidental that Jamison had his best shooting season (FG% .535 & 3P% .400) while playing alongside Nash in 2003-04? That season he embraced his roll as a reserve having only started in two games so coming off the bench next season feeding off Nash will manifest itself naturally.

One thing is for certain, Kupchak keeps ridiculously improving the Lakers 2012-13 roster. It's as if he's going off the Mayan calendar. We haven't even landed what would be the biggest off season move of all time (a bit of an exaggeration of course). I'm not going to bother giving you the latest on the Superman coaster since those trade rumors move faster than the other Superman coaster over at Six Flags.     

Original top photo credit: TheGoodPoint.com 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sessions is that much closer to Jordan



As quickly as Ramon Sessions became a fan favorite when he was acquired by the Lakers mid season, he's now a thing of the past.


Sessions is a Los Angeles Laker no more. I guess Jack will have to whisper in Nash's ear from now on. Ramon will be replacing D.J. Augustin for the Jordan owned Charlotte Bobcats. The details of the 2-year deal have not been given.

As far as the starting role goes, we'll have to wait and see as the Bobcats just drafted UConn sensation Kemba Walker as their ninth pick. It will be a battle between those two for more minutes.

Here's what Sessions will have to compete with:


Laker fans expected this to happen since picking up Nash but deep down inside they were still hoping that Sessions would stay as a solid back up.

Instead the Lakers will use Blake and Morris as Steve's back up. I'm happy with that. Blake is shooting more confidently these days and Morris has definite promise.


Top photo credit: NBA.com/bobcats
Sources: BleacherReport.com, ESPN.go.com.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

St Nash on Nash St


Is this not the most fitting photo opp for such an occasion? Nash poses for photos after his introductory news conference outside the Lakers El Segundo practice facility on none other than Nash Street?

I have to admit, Steve Nash looks really weird in a Lakers uniform. Somewhat Frankie Muniz-ish.


So why #10? Reportedly being an avid soccer fan may have led Nash’s decision to choose No. 10. That number is usually worn by the best player on the international level like big-name players Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Diego Maradona and Ronaldinho.

I personally believe Nash is paying homage to his former team by showing the total number of seasons he was in Phoenix: 96-97, 97-98, 04-05, 05-06, 06-07, 07-08, 08-09, 09-10, 10-11, 11-12.

Photo credits: twitter.com/Lakers
Sources: Yahoo! Sports, Inside the Lakers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Introducing our new partnership with Gameday Goods Sports Gifts

On behalf of the LakerLiker team, we're excited to announce our new partnership with Gameday Goods.com. With this new partnership comes BIG savings on sports gifts exclusively for our readers.

Gameday Goods sale prices are already well below retail price and with the added 10% discount offered to our readers, your total savings can be endless!

Big savings are just a few clicks away. Visit GamedayGoods.com, add desired items to your cart and type in "LakerLiker" in the Apply Coupon box, then click Go! Your virtual shopping cart will then automatically calculate your 10% discount from your checkout total. It's that simple Laker fans!

You can also click on our "Shop Lakers Gear" banner located in the upper left-hand corner of our webpage to start shopping.     

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Matt Barnes is feeling bleu these days


Los Angeles Laker Matt Barnes is keeping his mind off the free agency by keeping himself busy with his EA Sports/Matt Barnes Basketball Camp and by dropping by to say "hi" for mens fashion mag bleu magazine issue #21 titled - Matt Barnes: Misunderstood.

Barnes spreads the word about his off season activities in his latest tweets:


In the magazine Matt opens up about his on-again, off-again relationship with ex-wife Gloria Govan, NBA groupies...and more.  

Bleu magazine's July issue is now out on stands so be sure to get your copy today!

Magazine cover photo courtesy of bleumagizine.com. 
LakerLiker has no affiliation with bleu magazine. Promotional intent purposes only.
 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

VIDEO: What Nash brings to the Lakers



This is what "38-year-old" Steve Nash brings to the table as a Los Angeles Laker. To those skeptics who throw in his age as a descriptive prefix need to look at this highlight clip from last season.

To Nash, 38 is just a number but to skeptics it's a sign of slowing down. For them I throw in this number - 664.

Nash topped the assists leader board with 664 last season beating a 26-year-old Rajon Rondo.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Kobe's first interview since Nash



Thanks to 3030FM.com, we are able to share Kobe's televised interview with ESPN SportsCenter.

A goatee sporting Kobe speaks about Nash, the Olympics, Dwight Howard, and LeBron getting his first ring.

Nash talks to Max Kellerman and Mychal Thompson


Steve Nash gives his first interview since being acquired by the Lakers via the Max and Marcellus ESPN LA 710 AM radio show yesterday. Former Laker great Mychal Thompson filled in for Marcellus Wiley.

Here's the full breakdown of the phone interview:

Mychal:  Is it shocking that you are now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers?
Nash: It was a surprise for sure. Just ten days ago I said it would be hard for me to put on a Lakers uniform. I think for everyone including myself it's a surprise. Things happen and first and foremost when the Suns decided to go in a new direction, I was obviously looking for a new home and the opportunity to get close to my kids was so exciting to me and I think you guys will agree basketball wise it makes a lot of sense.
Max: Take us through the process Steve, behind the scenes how did the whole thing go down?
Nash: Mitch called my agent shortly after midnight on the 1st. I'm guessing I think the first thing he said is I know that we've had some battles in the playoffs and I hear Steve wouldn't want to play for the Lakers and my agent being an agent said, "Nah that's not true, that's all media speculation", and frankly the idea to be close to my son and my daughters who will be in Phoenix was my number one priority. Now don't get me wrong it's fantastic that you know I think I'm a good fit for the team and they have a great team and we're a contender, that's all incredible too but as far as getting over the hump and being able to be a Laker after being a Sun and trying to beat the Lakers in the playoffs all those years, the reality is it was too good of an opportunity to pass up as far as my children were concerned and fortunate for me it's a great basketball situation.
Max: It has been widely reported that Kobe Bryant called you to recruit you and sell you on the idea, what happened?
Nash: He did. We spoke, I think he was at his basketball camp in Santa Barbara and gave me call. I think for me it was important to speak to him just to make sure he was completely on board and that he can visualize this as being an effective fit and being excited about it so I spoke to him, I spoke to coach Brown. They were excited and Kobe was great, he was excited and explained to me how he thought it would help and why it would be great and I think a lot of the reasons he had were ones that I could already envision before speaking to him...
Max: What were they?
Nash: Well I think for one, somebody to handle the ball and lead. I think he also felt that we're complimentary leaders. I'm more of the positive side, he's more, I think as he said it, crack the whip and that was complimentary. I think pick and roll, adding that to the offense, and being able to space the floor for the big guys inside. I think it's a good fit. He was excited and I think that was important for me and coach Brown the same. It's going to be fun to work it all out and try to create some cohesion and chemistry on the floor and make all those pieces work.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dexter's take on the Lakers landing Nash while still keeping Gasol

I just read a great article by Dexter Fishmore who covers the Lakers over at SilverScreenandRoll.com and contributes for SBN Los Angeles.

He makes a very interesting point about L.A. acquiring Steve Nash while keeping their big man. I just had to share what I think we all failed to realize or at least I did.

He explains:
Who can people who hate the Lakers blame for all this?
Dan Gilbert and Mark Cuban. Remember, the Lakers should have had Chris Paul after they fairly negotiated a trade with the Hornets that would've sent CP3 to Los Angeles for Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. Gilbert and Cuban bitched up a storm to David Stern, who caved to their whining and killed the deal in the infamous "basketball reasons" episode. That triggered Lamar Odom's meltdown, which quickly led to his being dealt to Dallas in return for nothing. And that created the traded-player exception by which the Lakers are able to pay Nash $25 million over three years. So the Lake Show gets Nash instead of Chris Paul and get to keep Gasol for their troubles. Excellent work, Gilbert and Cubes! You guys are the best.
Good stuff. Hey everything happens for a reason right?

Click here for Dexter's entire article.

Lakers get Nash and renewed hope

The fireworks have already started well before any 4th of July fireworks show.

I said it when the Lakers acquired Sessions last season and I'll say it again, the Lakers have remedied their point guard issues!

Steve Nash is officially a Los Angeles Laker. He was apprehensive at first but thanks to his family reconsidering and a reported extra nudge by Kobe he is now part of the purple and gold. 

Here is Steve's statement:
For the last 8 seasons I've been blessed to play for a team and a city that has embraced me and that I have come to call home. This is a tough business and the only thing constant in life is change.

After talking with Robert and Lon we've agreed that it's time for both of us to move in new directions. I approached them and asked if they would be willing to do a sign and trade deal with L.A. because it is very important to me to stay near my children and family.

They were very apprehensive and didn't want to do it. Fortunately for me, they reconsidered. They saw that they were able to get assets for their team that will make them better, assets they would not have otherwise had and it made sense for them to do a deal that helps their team get better.

I couldn't be more grateful to the organization and Robert in particular. I know how hard this was for him and that fact that he was able to help me and my family in this way ... it means a lot and says a lot about his character. I will never forget this gesture. Above and beyond.

The Phoenix Suns are an amazing organization and fans should be excited about their future. I hope the Suns win a championship some day soon for all the amazing fans and wonderful people in the organization.
The deal is for three years in excess of $25 million, sources said, because the Suns ultimately agreed to sign-and-trade Nash to the Lakers, who can absorb him via the trade exception they created by dealing Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks in December.
The Suns will receive 2013 and 2015 first-round picks and 2013 and 2014 second-round picks from the Lakers, according to the Arizona Republic.
This news will most likely hurt Sessions the most as his role looks to be massively absorbed by Nash.

So what does the 16-year veteran bring to the table? His accolades speak for themselves.

2× NBA Most Valuable Player (2005, 2006)
8× NBA All-Star (2002–2003, 2005–2008, 2010, 2012)
3× All-NBA First Team (2005–2007)
2× All-NBA Second Team (2008, 2010)
2× All-NBA Third Team (2002–2003) 

Steve Nash in my opinion is the closest the Lakers will have ever gotten to fill in the void Magic left behind. Nash has superpower court vision and is the most unselfish player out there. He's fundamentally sound and he makes his teammates play at a higher level.

Kudo's to Kupchak and the Lakers organization for renewing all hope for Laker fans! This is the greatest news since obtaining Gasol.


Happy 4th of July

Cover courtesy of SLAMonline.com
Have a safe and happy 4th of July! We felt that SLAM cover #114 was the perfect fit for the occasion.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Morris re-signs - Barnes, Ebanks, Goudelock, Hill, Murphy, Sessions next?

Let the trading begin! As of this past Sunday, July 1, 12:00 AM ET, the 2012 NBA Free Agency has officially tipped off. Sports writers, TV analysts and even us itty-bitty bloggers will keep a close watch.
 
July 11th will be the day that all free agents may sign on the dotted line or forever hold their peace or for at least the length of their new contract. 
 
Lakers waste no time. Darius Morris has agreed to the teams qualifying offer of a reported $940,000. However I've found other sources that have the offer a tad bit higher.

Marc Spears from Yahoo!Sports.com initially reported via his Twitter account that the Lakers QO was $962,000 but then was corrected minutes later by Eric Pincus from HoopsWorld.com replying that the Lakers QO was actually $962,195. Hey every dollar counts and in this case its hundreds. 


Where does this move leave Barnes, Ebanks, Goudelock, Hill, Murphy and Sessions?

The Lakers have extended a qualifying offer to Ebanks for a little over a million dollars and await his fishing expedition.

Jordan Hill and the team share a mutual interest for his return and both representing parties are currently in contract negotiations.

Despite the Lakers reaching out to Sessions recently, Ramon is clearly wanting to take advantage of the free agency in hopes for a bigger payday. He - and agent Karnes - should be cautious as the Lakers are looking vigorously at other point guards and Sessions may be a quick after thought.

Andrew Goudelock is losing weight in hopes to be a little quicker and more explosive. The Lakers will most likely not exercise his $789,000 option until he plays in the Las Vegas Summer League from July 13-22.
  
Troy Murphy is taking some time off this off season but is reportedly not expected to return to the team.

Matt Barnes is testing the waters right now and is reportedly to have aspirations to play in Orlando again.
    
NBA.com has an easy to follow 2012 Free Agent Tracker. This is a great resource for those who get cluttered by all of the luxury tax, salary cap, Bird exception, amnesty and new CBA restriction talk. 

Top photo credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times