Lakers officially sign Xavier Henry

In this file photo, the Los Angeles Lakers' Xavier Henry celebrates a 3-pointer by Wesley Johnson in the NBA season opener between the Lakers and Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

In this file photo, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Xavier Henry celebrates a 3-pointer by Wesley Johnson in the NBA season opener between the Lakers and Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Photo by Scott Varley, Daily Breeze)

The Lakers officially signed Xavier Henry on Friday to a one-year deal worth around $1 million. Henry’s return adds needed depth at the small forward spot after averaging 10 points per game last season with bursts of athleticism and aggressiveness.

Henry is currently recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee and left wrist, injuries that kept him out for a combined 39 games. Henry said last month that he expects to heal by late July.

“Xavier earned a spot on our team last season after being a training camp invitee, and we hope he continues the dedication to improving he has displayed for us thus far,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said in a statement. “When healthy, Xavier provided our team with an offensive punch, and we expect he’ll strive to add to his skillset and become a well-rounded player.”

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Carlos Boozer “absolutely” sees himself as starter for Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers held a press conference to announce the addition of Carlos Boozer to the team Friday, July 25, 2014, El Segundo, CA. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

The Los Angeles Lakers held a press conference to announce the addition of Carlos Boozer to the team Friday, July 25, 2014, El Segundo, CA. Photo by Steve McCrank/Daily Breeze

It took exactly one word and a few seconds to establish how Carlos Boozer views his role with the Lakers amid a flooded backcourt. He said he “absolutely” sees himself as a starter after the Lakers acquired him shortly after the Chicago Bulls waived him through the amnesty provision. Boozer, 32, also described himself as a “spring chicken” entering his 13th NBA season.

“My body feels great,” Boozer said Friday at the his introductory press conference at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I’m looking forward toward getting back out there. I don’t know how long I’m going to play, maybe four, five, six more years, maybe seven. Well see and go from there.”
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Atlanta Dream expects Michael Cooper to make complete recovery from tongue cancer

Former Laker Michael Cooper had a procedure on Thursday to treat an early detection of tongue cancer and doctors expect a complete recovery, according to the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

Cooper, who helped the Showtime Lakers to five NBA championships, took a leave of absence this week from his head-coaching position with the Dream. Initially, the Dream estimated Cooper would recover in two weeks, while assistant Karleen Thompson overtook coaching duties. On Friday, the Dream said in a statement that Cooper will “be back coaching soon,” but did not provide any specifics.

Cooper has guided Atlanta to an Eastern Conference best 15-6 record in his first season. He also coached the Los Angeles Sparks to two WNBA championships (2001, 2002). Cooper left his second stint with the Sparks to coach the USC’s women’s basketball team. But he resigned in March after finishing 11-20, his first losing record in four seasons.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Lakers, Byron Scott enter negotiating stages

The Lakers have offered Byron Scott the head-coaching position, advancing a three-month search into the early stages of the negotiating process, according to a league source familiar with the situation.

There is a hope that Scott agrees to a deal with the Lakers soon, but it is unclear if that timetable will be finalized in a day, a few days or more. It is not clear what kind of contract the Lakers will offer, and what kind of terms Scott will feel comfortable with in his fourth NBA head-coaching stint. The Lakers offered Scott the position late Thursday night, according to the source.

Scott has been considered the Lakers’ favored candidate by virtue of having three formal interviews with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive Jim Buss. But the Lakers have held off on hiring a coach since Mike D’Antoni resigned on April 30 for a number of reasons.
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Jeremy Lin eager to learn from Kobe Bryant

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14

It took a while at first for Kobe Bryant to know about Jeremy Lin. He experienced a circuitous journey toiling in the Development League, while both Golden State and Houston waived him. Even on the cusp of “Linsanity” in which the first American-born NBA player of Taiwanese descent took the New York Knicks by storm, Bryant still professed ignorance about him.

A day later, Lin helped the New York Knicks carve up the Lakers with a career-high 38 points, a topic he said he has addressed at least 500 times in a recent visit to Taiwan shortly after the Lakers acquired him in a trade from Houston. Perhaps that is why Bryant hardly wasted anytime connecting with Lin despite remaining in different time zones.

“One thing he told me was we have a lot of work to do and that’s 100 percent accurate,” Lin said Thursday at an introductory press conference at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. “As long as we come in with that mindset of coming to work and understanding that we have to earn everything, I think we’ll be okay.”

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Jeremy Lin downplays Carmelo Anthony, James Harden controversies

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo.   Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14"

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14″

As much as Jeremy Lin sounded eager about a “fresh start” with the Lakers, he relived a few things about his time with the Houston Rockets that he described as “up and down.”

The frustrations went beyond losing his starting point guard position to Patrick Beverly. Or experiencing two first-round playoff exits. When the Rockets made an successful attempt at Carmelo Anthony, team officials featured the free agent star wearing a No. 7 Rockets jersey. The only problem: that is Lin’s number. Lin soon went to Twitter and cited a Bible verse from Luke, Chapter 6, verse 29: “If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.”

Did the Rockets’ disrespect hurt Lin?

“I didn’t lose any sleep. I wasn’t outraged,” Lin said Thursday at his introductory press conference. “I wasn’t upset. I just felt like they could’ve kept it internal. IT wasn’t a big thing to me. I did feel like in some ways it could be handled a bit differently.”
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Jeremy Lin downplays bringing ‘Linsanity’ to Lakers

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo.   Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14"

Lakers introduce newest player Jeremy Lin to the gathered media at the Toyota Sports Center training facility in El Segundo. Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/ 07/24/14″

In what marked a rare feel-good moment during an otherwise trying offseason, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak offered a remark that caught Jeremy Lin by surprise.

“Three times is a charm,” said Kupchak. He then detailed how the Lakers tried to sign Lin in 2010 as an undrafted rookie before choosing Golden State because it was closer to home. The Lakers then applied for a waiver claim when the Warriors dropped Lin in 2011, but the Houston Rockets earned the rights because of a worse record. The Lakers finally landed Lin this month after Houston traded him and a first-and-second round pick in a salary dump in an unsuccessful attempt to land Miami forward Chris Bosh.

Much has changed since the Lakers’ initial pursuit toward Lin. He garnered national attention for a breakout season in New York three years ago. Last season with Houston, Lin lost his starting job to Patrick Beverly after averaging 12.5 points and 4.1 assists.

Yet, as much as Lin labeled his arrival with the Lakers as a “fresh start,” he downplayed trying to provide a worthy sequel to “Linsanity.”

“I’m not trying to relive that banner season and I think that’s been a big weight off my shoulder,” said Lin, who spent lots of his 25-minute news conference on Thursday detailing how his Christian faith helped mature him. “I’m not trying to be that phenomenon that happened in New York. I just want to be myself more than ever.”
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Jeremy Lin downplays preference to start or come off the bench

Rockets#7 Jeremy Lin drives to the hoop against Lakers#27 Jordan Hill. The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 145 to 130 in a regular season game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA. April 8, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

Rockets#7 Jeremy Lin drives to the hoop against Lakers#27 Jordan Hill. The Houston Rockets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 145 to 130 in a regular season game at Staples Center. Los Angeles, CA. April 8, 2014 (Photo by John McCoy / Los Angeles Daily News)

What once consumed Jeremy Lin no longer seems to bother him. After having his starting position stripped away last season with the Houston Rockets, Jeremy Lin downplayed whether he would like to start with the Lakers at point guard or play behind Steve Nash.

“That’s a question that’s up for the coach,” said Lin Thursday at his introductory press conference with the Lakers, mindful the team still has not hired one. ” I know right now that’s obviously a question that can’t be answered. If you ask any player,they’ll believe they are capable of starting. If there’s anything I learned from this past year, it’s really not that much about who starts. It’s about who finishes and the time you play you’re given. I think that’s probably one of the biggest things i learned last year. I obviously believe I can start for an NBA team and help that team win. As a competitor, I would obviously love to. But that’s not me coming in saying I need this or need that. I want to be a part of the team.”
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Kobe Bryant loses in game of H-O-R-S-E to fan

The man who has climbed toward fourth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list suddenly cannot make a basket. The man who has dazzled the NBA with difficult shots through double and triple teams suddenly cannot make them unguarded. The man who has willed himself toward collecting five NBA championships on talent, fundamentals and work ethic suddenly cannot win in a game of H-O-R-S-E.

Another video emerged, posted by Youtube user Max Funke, surrounding Kobe Bryant playing a fan in a game of H-O-R-S-E. But despite his trash talking and attempts to make difficult shots, Bryant is the one left eating up a dose of humble pie. He missed routine three-point attempts. Bryant never appeared in a rhythm. He initially stayed in game only because the three-person competition featured one player consistently making shots to knock another camper out.

But once the field narrows, Bryant hardly became the clutch player he usually has been on the basketball court. Bryant accepts the loss graciously, both congratulating and hugging the camper. Yet, the game hardly matches everything we are used toward seeing Bryant doing.


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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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