Lamar to be more aggressive

So I was cleaning out some of my old interviews off my tape recorder this morning and caught a few interesting comments from Lamar Odom’d exit interview that I thought were pretty interesting, especially in light of some of Phil Jackson’s comments about Lamar’s play this year.

Phil basically said that he and Mitch Kupchak talked to Lamar about being more of a scorer and that they were reminded of how good a player he is by his Game 5 performance against the Suns. Lamar’s response:

“I know they want me to score. I might be catching the ball closer to the basket,” he said. “I try to play the game of basketball and not just score, but if that’s what the people want to see, I guess they can expect that a little bit more from me next season.”

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Sactown

Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis interviewed for Sacramento’s vacant head coaching job on Thursday. According to a television station in Sacramento, the meeting took place in Los Angeles.

The Sacramento Bee lists New Mexico State head coach Reggie Theus, former Miami coach Stan Van Gundy, former Kings assistant Elston Turner, Houston assistant Tom Thibodeau and Lakers assistant Brian Shaw as other top candidates who will interview with Kings president Geoff Petrie in this first round of interviews.

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Family Feud?

Is there dissention in the House of Buss? Part two of the saga came down this morning, when Jeanie Buss criticized her brother Jim’s harsh comments about her boyfriend, Lakers coach Phil Jackson in another radio interview last week.

Jeanie took exception to Jim’s comments disliking Jackson’s penchant for criticizing players through the media.

“I thought that was interesting because that’s what he was doing to Phil,” Jeanie Buss said on Fred Roggin’s morning sports talk show on AM 570, the Lakers’ flagship station. “It’s a tough situation because I date the coach and so that brings some different dynamics into the relationship.”

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Jason Kidd chatter … again

From today’s New York Post:

“The reality is too grim to bear. A loss tonight and “The Big Three” might be headed for “The Big Breakup.” Vince Carter, Jason Kidd and Richard Jefferson, who combined to shoot a dreadful 11-for-48 in Game 4′s 87-85 loss to the Cavaliers, may have just one last night to prove the trio’s long-term worth.

If you believe Rod Thorn’s remarks last week that the results of this second-round series have no effect on breaking up the team, you also believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and that Isiah Thomas has never told a lie.

Jason Kidd could be on the move, too, if Nets ownership deems it’s time to rebuild for Brooklyn 2009. Yesterday, Kidd declined to speak with reporters. Nets spokesman Gary Sussman said a sore Kidd was “in the tub.” It could be Kidd’s last Nets-sponsored bath.

Lakers minority owner Magic Johnson sat in the first row at the Meadowlands on Monday night and it’s unclear if he was scouting Kidd for Jerry Buss. During the All-Star Break, when talks with the Lakers heated up, Kidd sounded upbeat about playing for the Lakers, raising speculation he initiated the talks.

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Odom surgery successful

Here’s the official word from the Lakers on Lamar Odom’s shoulder surgery:

El SEGUNDO Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom underwent successful surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, it was announced today.

The arthroscopic procedure, which lasted 40 minutes, was performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum at the Kerlan Jobe Surgery Center in Los Angeles. Odom will wear a sling for 10 days and then begin rehabilitation. He is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of training camp in October.

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Surgery for Odom

Not that this will come as a huge shock to anyone, but Lamar Odom will have surgery tomorrow to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder. As I’m sure most of you know, Odom was playing through substantial pain late in the season. A timetable for Odom’s return likely will be announced after the surgery tomorrow, but under normal circumstances he should be fine for training camp. Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform the surgery.

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Assistants on the move

Following last week’s news that the Indiana Pacers will talk to Brian Shaw about their head coaching opening, the latest word is that Jim Cleamons will be considered for the open Seattle job. Then there’s Kurt Rambis, who was a finalist for the job at Santa Clara, his alma mater, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Rambis got a job at some point.

As far as trade rumors go, there are a lot out there these days, but the names haven’t changed much. The only thing you’re seeing, league-wide, is less reluctance on the Lakers’ part to trading Andrew Bynum. Does that mean a return to the Jason Kidd talks? Quite possibly. Kevin Garnett remains little more than a pipe dream.

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A buyer’s market for Ron Artest

Scott Howard Cooper has a great story in today’s Sacramento Bee in which he says that trading Ron Artest has become a priority, if not the priority for the Kings this summer. So which teams might want to take the troubled but talented small forward off their hands? Howard Cooper (a former Lakers writer for the LA Times BTW), names three: 1. Lakers 2. Clippers 3. Miami

Enjoy:

“Said a member of one front office — requesting anonymity since he was criticizing a player not on his team — when asked whether many teams will be willing to take on Artest and his reputation: “I just can’t see it happening. I don’t see how. Especially not now.”

Good thing for the Kings other teams have their own problems to address. Los Angeles Lakers

Going pedal to the metal, after failing to reach the second round or the playoffs at all for the third time in as many years, isn’t just about adding a star to ride shotgun to Kobe Bryant. While that is the obvious part of it, putting them in the middle of any discussion for Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O’Neal, the Lakers on the whole are pushing hard to win now and deal with potential complications later.

The Lakers could offer Kwame Brown in a match of similar salaries. The Kings would inherit the frustration of an enigmatic player unable to grasp his considerable potential, but also the benefit of being able to clear cap space a year earlier than with Artest if Brown did not work out. And if Brown did work out, they would have the inside track on re-signing a talented young center.

The Lakers also could offer Luke Walton in a sign-and-trade, packaged with another, lesser salary (Sasha Vujacic, Maurice Evans, Brian Cook). Artest has superior skills. But Walton has become a good complementary weapon, a smart player who moves the ball, and plugs in to the same spot at small forward. Los Angeles Clippers

Artest for Corey Maggette had been discussed last season. But the serious knee injury that could keep point guard Shaun Livingston out all 2007-08 means a greater likelihood of the Clippers pursuing Mike Bibby. Miami Heat

Much like the Lakers, the Heat has a very strong coach, Pat Riley, and a ticking clock. Miami needs to make something happen before it’s Dwyane Wade against the world.”

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Jim Buss: Give us until May 22

Jim Buss gave a great interview on AM 570 the other day. His message: I’m as frustrated as you guys, but hang tight until after the Lottery is done on May 22.

“May 22 is a big date. A lot of teams will make trades after that date,” he said. “ Before that, to analyze what the Lakers are doing is premature … after that, yes, we should be making some decisions.

“You just have to wait for certian dates to come. I’m impatient. I don’t know what to do with myself up until the times that teams are willing to make deals, but teams aren’t willing to make deals until they find out where they are going to draft.”

Buss also tried to clear up a few issues.

1. His relationship with Jerry West and whether his increasing power within the organization precipitated West’s departure: “There’s no way we had a problem of my authority increasing. … it had nothing to do it. …I can’t tell you how comfortable Jerry and I were working together.” He later added that, “If Jerry decides he wants to come back, I’m sure my father, myself and Mitch (Kupchak) would have to consider that.”

2. Andrew Bynum’s status on the protected list: “I don’t know where the idea that Bynum was protected by me came from. When you’re talking about adding another all-star, another MVP of the league and I’m going protect bynum for that, there’s no way. …We’ll use an example of kevin garnett. If that’s a deal breaker (for Minnesota), then we did a great job of drafting him at 10, didn’t we.”

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Interesting Letter

Hey Guys,

Got an interesting letter this week I thought I’d share with you…

Heres a tidbit for you. Out of the 82 regular season games LA played, our opponents scored 100 pts or higher in 49 of them. That means in terms of percentages that we gave up 100 pts or more nearly 60% of the time. 59.76 to be exact and out of that 59.76% or those 49 games that our opponents score 100 or more pts we lost 27 of them. Again looking at those 27 losses that equates to just over 55%. 55.10 to be exact in terms of percentages. Yes Kobe needs help however all the help in the world wont help him if the team doesnt play better defense. We know we can score..(81pts in a game by yourself?) enough said. Can we stop the opponents from scoring is the real question. Until we began to do this we can continue to expect 1st round playoff eliminations season after season. We can also expect to lose Kobe after the next season or two if this trends keep up. Now thats what Mitch, Phil, and Jerry Buss need to be focused on.

Ricky Gill

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