Lakers acquire Ariza

The Lakers acquired forward Trevor Ariza from the Orlando Magic on Tuesday in exchange for reserve forwards Brian Cook and Maurice Evans.
Ariza, a 6-foot-8 native of Westchester who played one season at UCLA, has mostly been a bench player during his three-plus year NBA career with New York and Orlando
Ariza appeared in 11 games for the Magic this season, all off the bench, and averaged 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.5 minutes. Last season, Ariza averaged 8.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in 22.4 minutes.

It’s a swap of players looking for more-defined roles.
Cook, the Lakers’ first-round pick in 2003, never made much of an impact with the Lakers. At 6-9 he had obvious physical gifts but never played good enough defense to earn the trust of coach Phil Jackson.
Evans, acquired from Detroit in a trade before the 2006-07 season, was supposed to serve as a versatile backup but never found a defined role and had been slowed this season with lower-back pain.
In six games this season, Cook averaged 2.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 11.7 minutes, while Evans, in seven games, averaged 4.4 points and 1.3 rebounds in 13.7 minutes.
In a press release, Orlando general manager Otis Smith said, “Trevor is a great talent and we certainly wish him well. … Brian helps bolster our frontcourt. He is a power forward who shoots the ball extremely well, while also bringing added toughness to our roster. Maurice is a tremendous athlete, a solid defender and capable of playing multiple positions.”

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Kwame Brown injured

Kwame Brown has suffered moderate sprains to both his left knee and left ankle and will not return to tonight’s game against Chicago. With 8:28 remaining in the first quarter, Bulls center Ben Wallace tumbled to the ground and hit the side of Brown’s left leg, bending it awkwardly. Brown fell to the ground in pain and clutched his left knee. He had to be helped off the court, and to the locker room, by two teammates.

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Pregame (11/16) notes

Some notes and quotes from Phil Jackson’s pregame media session…

– As expected, Ronny Turiaf will not play tonight, because of his sprained ankle. Coach Phil Jackson said Sunday’s game is “a possibility” if Turiaf shows some improvement by tomorrow.

– Kobe Bryant was limited to 19 and 18 points, respectively, in last season’s games against the Pistons. Jackson called Tayshaun Prince “a really good matchup for Kobe” because of Prince’s long arms and range.

– Jackson also took note of Bryant’s defense this season, particularly with blocked shots, but said Bryant has to be careful not to try to be a one-man gang tonight on defense. “He’s taking it upon himself to be a one-man defensive show. He can’t do that tonight. He has to take care of (Richard) Hamilton.”

– Jackson said of the Lakers’ periodic troubles on defense this season, “Some nights are pretty good. The speed, sometimes, at point guard gives us problems.”

For live game stories, at the end of every quarter tonight, check out www.dailynews.com/sports.

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Phil and GLAAD

Phil Jackson apologized tonight for the comments he made last night following the Lakers’ loss to San Antonio.

Jackson said, “We call this a ‘Brokeback Mountain’ game, because there’s so much penetration and kickouts. It was one of those games.”

It should be noted that none of the four beat writers who travel with the Lakers included the quote in their stories. It was an off-the-cuff joke by Jackson, who often works, um, creative phrases into his discussions with the media, for better or worse. You might remember when Jackson, last week, said he decided to make Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher co-captains while “sitting on the john.” Phil, it seems, is big on creating mental images.

Anyway, the folks at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) didn’t take kindly and issued a statement. President Neil G. Giuliano said, “Phil Jackson’s been coaching long enough that he should be able to talk about the Lakers’ performance without resorting to cheap gay jokes.”

Before tonight’s game against Houston, Jackson said, “I wanted to thank all the journalists and the TV people who thought it was humorous last night in the moment for their support and laughing, but in retrospect it wasnt really funny. When you take it out of context, its not funny. Its a poor attempt at humor, and I deserved to be reprimanded by the NBA. And I said to them that if Ive offended any horses, Texans, cowboys or gays, I apologize.”

Never mind, it seems, that comedians spent months running “Brokeback Mountain” jokes into the ground. Jackson indicated that there’s a time and place for certain jokes when he added, “It’s societal right now. Some people can do it. Some people can’t. That’s something that’s appropriate for certain categories.”

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Not looking ahead

Before tonight’s game, coach Phil Jackson said there wasn’t any chance that the Lakers would be looking past Minnesota, which is winless through three games this season.

“It’s just too early in the year,” Jackson said. “Milwaukee, last year, ended up second or third from the bottom and they beat us both times. We have to play well enough against these types of teams, to not be surprised.”

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Odom in, Walton out

As expected, Lamar Odom returns to the starting lineup tonight. Luke Walton heads to the bench as the Lakers go with a modified lineup that will include Odom at small forward and Ronny Turiaf at power forward.

This, of course, will be Odom’s first game action of any type since May 5, when the Lakers were eliminated by Phoenix in the first round of the playoffs. Shortly after, Odom underwent shoulder surgery and did not appear in any of the Lakers’ preseason games. He was cleared to play by doctors Friday morning.

“It’s great news. It’s about time,” Odom said. “I just have to take my time. It won’t all come back in one day.”

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Lamar Odom quotes

Here’s what Lamar Odom had to say after practice today…

On when he knows he’s ready to play…
“You just try to get as strong as you can and throw yourself into the fire a little bit and mix it up with the guys. I got banged around a couple times today and I feel OK. I go all out. That’s how I play. It’s the college football mentality, right? Just go out there. We’re athletes, so we have to play in pain sometimes. It took me some time to come back from this injury but I feel like I’m ready.”

On whether he believes he will think about the shoulder while playing…
“Not really. I just put my helmet on and tighten my chin strap and just go out and play.”

On what he takes away from the Lakers’ first four games this season…
“We understand that if we play consistent defense and we move the ball and we execute offensively, probably there isn’t a team we can’t beat in this league. I think we’ve proved that. It’s just about playing consistent, playing the same way all the time. Once we do that, we’ll be OK.”

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Phil Jackson quotes

One thing I forgot to mention earlier…Phil Jackson indicated that he will make a decision about his future sometime around Thanksgiving. Jackson is deciding whether to accept the Lakers’ contract-extension offer and coach the team beyond this season. Here’s the quotes from Jackson today…

On Lamar Odom’s day of practice…
“Lamar looked good. He looked really good. There’s still some things that he’s going to have to get adjusted to, as far as offensive things and just being in sync with the rest of the guys, but he’s doing well.”

On whether he has decided to play Odom on Friday…
“I haven’t decided yet, but my intentions are that he should. … He will probably start, all things being equal.”

On whether he knows who will go to the bench…
“I do, but you (reporters) don’t.”

On the possibly of Luke Walton going to the second unit…
“Maybe. He’d be really good to help that second team too.”

On the recent strong play of Ronny Turiaf…
“There’s some things Ronny is doing that are very good for our team. His energy is good on the floor. Sustaining it is not easy for him. It’s a lot of work and he’s not in the kind of condition yet that he can sustain that, so it’s great to have Lamar coming back, who can come in and play a couple different positions.”

On the idea of going for steals, and when it’s OK to take risks…
“I wish I knew. I wish they knew. At certain points of a ballgame, there’s elements of (it being) a good time to gamble. The end of the quarter or any time a player breaks down spacing on the floor. Any time we trap or double team. The aspect of chasing the ball on the offensive board to leave a defensive mismatch, those are things we don’t like. I thought we made real poor choices last night. We went to (Morris) Peterson all the time and we left Stojakovic. I would venture to guess that Stojakovic is just a teeny-bit better 3-point shooter than Peterson, but they’re both good 3-point shooters.”

On how team chemistry is going…
“They’re working really hard, practicing hard. All of that seems to be going real well. I don’t see guys hanging their heads out there.”

On the progress of Kwame Brown…
“He was mostly in a relaxed position today. He did stand upright a couple times and came up to the court, but most of the time he’s been laying down.”

On the likelihood of Maurice Evans missing Friday’s game…
“This is a good time, when we have a limited amount of games, to quiet things down for him.”

On whether he is any closer to determining his future with the Lakers…
“I’ve yet to experience a two-game road trip, or something like that, to just know that I can get out of bed, get my clothes on and make it to breakfast in the morning. People that have been through this kind of thing kind of warned me about the tell-tale signs of fatigue from operations that kind of wear on you. Hawaii went OK. That was a sustained amount of time, where it wasn’t always the best restful area, or the best environment for me to recover in. All things going are very positive for me. I’m feeling very good about it.”

On when he expects to make a final decision…
“It will probably be before Thanksgiving, or around Thanksgiving time. That’s a good time period.”

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Wednesday (11/7) practice

First, an account of the Lakers’ walking wounded. Lamar Odom went through a full practice today and, unless he suffers some setback over the next 48 hours, he will play Friday night against Minnesota. Kwame Brown did not practice today and is considered day to day. At the end of practice, he was on a table, getting some type of electro-stimulation on his injured right heel. Maurice Evans did not practice and is considered doubtful for Friday.

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher went through partial practice, but that was just to give the “old guys” a rest.

The question now becomes, who goes to the bench when Odom returns. The answer, most likely, is Luke Walton. Phil Jackson wouldn’t say, but when Walton’s name came up, Jackson listed the virtues of Walton being a sub. Ronny Turiaf has certainly helped himself with the way he has played in the first quarter of recent games.

Jackson said he’s getting close to making a decision about whether to accept a contract extension. Jackson said he wanted to go through a longer road trip, to see how he responded, health-wise. Jackson estimated that he would make his decision sometime around Thanksgiving.

More notes and quotes to follow this afternoon…

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