Lakers’ Timofey Mozgov expects to be starting center next season

The Lakers’ Timofey Mozgov is being introduced before a preseason game against the Kings at Honda Center on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (Photo by Kyusung Gong, Orange County Register/SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO — The Lakers brought Timofey Mozgov here last summer on a lucrative four-year, $64 million with the promise he would become the team’s starting center.

That did not actually play out in real time. Lakers coach Luke Walton shut Mozgov down for the past two months for the sake of developing younger players. It did not help Mozgov averaged 7.4 points on 51.5 percent shooting and 4.9 rebounds and could not elevate the Lakers out of the bottom of NBA in several defensive categories.

So it does not seem surprising Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka did not offer any assurances about Mozgov’s role next season Yet, Mozgov sounded optimistic his role will increase.

“I think it’ll change,” Mozgov said. “I have a feeling.”

Mozgov said he expects to become the starting center to open training camp. Though Lakers coach Luke Walton has said all players will open the 2017-18 season with a blank slate, it does not appear clear whether the Lakers will grant Mozgov’s wish.

Mozgov predicted “there’s going to be some changes this year” as the Lakers seek to upgrade their roster possibly the NBA draft and free agency. But Mozgov also pleased patience on Lakers rookie center Ivica Zubac having an increased role.

“I don’t think Zu is ready to be starting,” Mozgov said. “I think it’s a different thing when you come in the league, you’re up and back and then in the starting lineup as opposed to going into the season in the starting lineup. It’s two different things.”
Continue reading “Lakers’ Timofey Mozgov expects to be starting center next season” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Nick Young suggested potential draft pick could disrupt his future

Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young #0 celebrates after making the game winning 3-pointer. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-109 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA 11/22/2016. Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO –Apparently, the Lakers addressed one of many looming offseason questions. This one involved whether the Lakers would retain 31-year-old guard/forward Nick Young.

“They just signed me to $150 million,” Young boasted after his exit interview with Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka. “Thank you.”

Young then boasted the Lakers granted him a “life-time deal” that entailed handing him cash under the table. In reality, Young insists he has not decided whether he would opt out of a player option that would pay him $5.6 million to stay with the Lakers for the 2017-18 season.

“He said I had a good year,” Young said of Johnson. “They were begging me to pretty much stay. I was like, ‘Magic, we’ll see.’ That’s basically what happened.”

Whether that happened might be up for debate. The Lakers have praised Young after he averaged 13.2 points on 43 percent shooting in 60 games as a starter under coach Luke Walton, a stark improvement from the 7.3 points he averaged last season on a career-low 33.9 percent shooting under former coach Byron Scott. Yet, the Lakers’ offseason plans largely hinges on if they retain their top-three protected pick in the NBA draft lottery and if they can land a marquee free agent in July. Young suggested the possibility of the Lakers drafting UCLA guard Lonzo Ball could affect his future, both because of Ball’s talent and attention his vocal father has sparked.

“They showed interest, but we have to see who else are free agents out there,” Young said. “If they get the top three pick, they might have the Ball family coming here talking crazy. It’s kind of a hard when you have a Ball family and Swaggy P talking crazy. It’s kind of too much.”

It might also be too much for the Lakers to retain Young.

“I think I’ll be more of a vet here,” Young said.” But at my age, I don’t now if I kind of want to sit around and wait for the team to progress and grow. I kind of want to be on a playoff team and see what happens.


RELATED:

Lakers’ Metta World Peace said Magic Johnson informed him he’s probably not returning

Lakers’ Marco Nuñez adapting to role as team’s head trainer

Warriors Steve Kerr thinks Luke Walton did ‘an amazing job’ despite 109-94 loss concluding tough season

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mmedina@scng.com. Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” podcast on iTunes.

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Metta World Peace said Magic Johnson informed him he’s probably not returning

Fans react to the tear of 3 pointers that Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace #37 rained down on New Orleans in the 4th quarter. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 108-96 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 4/11/2017 Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

EL SEGUNDO — Instead of waxing nostalgia about his longevity, Metta World Peace said Magic Johnson revealed one thing in his exit meeting.

“They’re probably not going to bring me back,” World Peace said.
Continue reading “Lakers’ Metta World Peace said Magic Johnson informed him he’s probably not returning” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Why Warriors’ Steve Kerr believes Lakers’ Luke Walton has done “an amazing job”

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has a moment with Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson #6 in the second half. The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 108-96 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. 4/11/2017 Photo by John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News (SCNG)

OAKLAND — The resume will never quite match what Luke Walton accomplished as the Warriors’ interim head coach. While Steve Kerr recovered from a spinal leak stemmed from offseason back surgery, Walton guided the Warriors to a 24-0 start and a 39-4 record before returning back to his assistant role.

More than a year later, Walton is about to end his first year as the Lakers’ head coach with far less of a substantial record. The Lakers (26-55) enter their season-finale against the Golden State Warriors (66-15) at the Oracle Arena with nearly the same amount of wins Walton collected to start off the 2015-16 campaign with Golden State.

Though Kerr has noticed the season has become “very trying” for Walton when they talk every couple of weeks, Kerr argued that Walton has “done an amazing job.” Kerr listed the various circumstances that made the season challenging including a young albeit unproven roster and lacking a definitive star following Kobe Bryant’s retirement. Kerr then cited the Lakers’ 10-10 start, only to spiral amid overlapping injuries and inconsistent performances.

“The start they got off to was really indicative of the joy Luke brought back to the team and to the daily routine and the energy in which they played,” Kerr said. “Then reality set in. You have to have talent in this league. Obviously, the Lakers haven’t had enough.”
Continue reading “Why Warriors’ Steve Kerr believes Lakers’ Luke Walton has done “an amazing job”” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers excuse D’Angelo Russell to see his family after grandmother’s passing

EL SEGUNDO — A night after securing a game-winning 3-pointer in honor of his late grandmother, Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell will honor her in a different way. The Lakers granted permission for Russell to leave for Louisville, Ky. to be with his family.

Lakers coach Luke Walton said he’s “not expecting” Russell to play when the Lakers (25-55) host the New Orleans Pelicans (33-47) on Tuesday at Staples Center. It’s also not clear if Russell will play in the Lakers’ season-finale in Golden State on Wednesday.

“He’s going to be home until he’s ready to come back,” Walton said. “When that is, just keep us in the loop. Do what you do and do what you need to do with your family. We’re here to support him. It’s not a set date he’s coming back yet.”

Russell had originally planned to skip Sunday’s game after learning about her grandmother’s passing earlier that morning. But he missed his scheduled flight and changed his mind after family members convinced him to stay. Russell then capped off an emotional day by nailing the game-winning 3-pointer for a 110-109 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Afterwards, Russell charged into the stands and hugged his brother, Antonio.

“He was still locked into the game. It shows how professional he is and how tough it is,” Lakers backup point guard Tyler Ennis said. “God just blessed him and kind of gave him a light at the end of the day to hit another game winner and get another win and kind of keep this streak going.”

Walton downplayed Russell’s potential growth in handling a moment of adversity, calling it a “unique circumstance.” Instead, Walton sounded more impressed with Russell overcoming a 6-of-19 shooting performance by collecting four rebounds, four assists, making the game-winning shot and performing well on defense. Walton downplayed his own support for Russell, saying “I’m just doing what I should do as a coach, a friend and a man when someone’s in a tough time.” Instead, Walton waxed poetic for Russell playing well in memory of his grandmother.

“To have that type of game-winning shot is special,” Walton said. “It’s part of what makes sports so awesome.”
Continue reading “Lakers excuse D’Angelo Russell to see his family after grandmother’s passing” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Brandon Ingram throws down one-handed dunk over Kings’ Georgios Papagiannis

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers’ rising star does not have Larry Nance Jr.’s athleticism. But that did not stop Brandon Ingram from soaring into the air.

At 6-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Ingram does not have Julius Randle’s power and his 6-foot-9, 250 pound frame to bully nearly anyone guarding him. But that did not stop Ingram from preventing anyone from pushing him around.

After grabbing a looseball, Ingram brought the ball up the court. He drove by a defender on the perimeter. He flashed past a helpside defender in the lane. And even with another defender leaping into the air in the paint, Ingram still soared and threw down a one-handed dunk. While that sequence represented one play in the Lakers’ 98-94 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday at Staples Center, Ingram’s one-handed dunk over the Kings’ Georgios Papagiannis a “different mentality” the Lakers’ forward said he has harbored since the All-Star break nearly 1 1/2 months ago.

“Just attacking the rim,” Ingram said. “The kast couple of games, I’m just using my length and attacking the rim and going until somebody stops me.”
Continue reading “Lakers’ Brandon Ingram throws down one-handed dunk over Kings’ Georgios Papagiannis” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram to play vs Kings

Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (1) drives to the basket against Washington Wizard Ian Mahinmi (28) in the 1st quarter at the Staples Center. Los Angeles Calif., Tuesday, March 28, 2017. ( Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily News / SCNG )

Even if plenty of the Lakers’ fanbase has fretted recently over the team’s diminished odds in the NBA draft lottery, Lakers coach Luke Walton wore a wide smile following Friday’s morning shootaround.

Beyond nursing a rare two-game winning streak, the Lakers (23-55) will have D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram available for Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings (31-47) at Staples Center.

Walton said there are no limitations for Russell (sore left knee) and Clarkson (left knee contusion). After missing Wednesday’s game in San Antonio and having limited participation in Thursday’s practice, Russell completed Friday’s morning shootaround that included making 17 consecutive 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Clarkson sat out of the fourth quarter against the Spurs after bumping knees with Spurs forward David Lee. For the fourth consecutive game, Ingram will nurse a minutes restriction though it’s not clear if it will mirror the 10 minutes he logged against the Spurs.

Lakers guard David Nwaba will also likely have a minutes restriction after playing on Wednesday in San Antonio and in the D-Fenders’ Game 1 playoff loss to Rio Grande Valley in Hidalgo Texas. After posting 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes against the Spurs, Nwaba led the D-Fenders with 29 points in 39 minutes.

Mindful that Nwaba could potentially play every day up through the Lakers’ season finale against Golden State on Wednesday, Walton suggested he and D-Fenders coach Coby Karl will reevaluate how they use Nwaba.

“We’ll take it day by day. I don’t think it’s good for him if he’s going to play 30-40 minutes with both teams,” Walton said. “So we have to sit down and talk as a group as far as what’s best for him health wise.”

RELATED:

What Strategies Will the Lakers’ Front Office Employ in This Crucial Upcoming Offseason?

David Nwaba has dual roles with Lakers, D-Fenders

Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mmedina@scng.com. Subscribe to the “We Want Tacos” podcast on iTunes.

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Why Lakers’ Luke Walton played Metta World Peace in win over Spurs

SAN ANTONIO — With his 37-year-old body on the floor of the Lakers’ locker room, forward Metta World Peace lay on a mat /performing a series of yoga stretches. World Peace fittingly seemed at peace as he twisted his body like a pretzel.

“If I play, I got to,” World Peace said. “I won’t last.”

All of which raises one question: why would World Peace in the Lakers’ 102-95 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday at AT&T Center? The Lakers had acquired World Peace mostly for his off-court mentorship than for his on-court abilities, something that became more pronounced as the Lakers placed priority on developing their young players once the NBA playoffs became unrealistic. Yet, there World Peace was on the court in the last week of the regular season, tussling with Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, posting five points on 2-of-5 shooting and logging 17 minutes.

Afterwards, Lakers coach Luke Walton largely attributed World Peace’s participation to a minutes restriction on rookie forward Brandon Ingram, who had eight points on 3-of-4 shooting in 10 minutes in the first half after feeling increased soreness in the tendinitis in his right knee during morning shootaround. The Lakers also have only one other wing player in Corey Brewer, who had five points and four assists in 21 minutes. Then again, World Peace did not play in the three games Ingram missed last week because of the same injury.

“There wasn’t anyone else to go to,” Walton said. “Not being a knock on Metta, but we are trying to play younger players right now. You look down the bench and San Antonio has big, strong defenders. And to me, I love the opportunity to play Metta.”

Continue reading “Why Lakers’ Luke Walton played Metta World Peace in win over Spurs” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell to miss Wednesday’s game vs. Spurs with sore left knee

Los Angeles Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell (1) and Washington Wizard Bradley Beal (3) battle for the ball in the 4th quarter, at the Staples Center. The Wizards won 119-108. Los Angeles Calif., Tuesday, March 28, 2017. ( Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily News / SCNG )

SAN ANTONIO — With their playoff aspirations dashed nearly months ago, the Lakers still found meaning in trying to develop their young players. If only they can stay healthy.

Lakers second-year guard D’Angelo Russell will sit out when the Lakers (22-55) visit the San Antonio Spurs (60-17) on Wednesday at Staples Center because of what the team called a sore left knee. After initially believing Brandon Ingram could get off a minutes restriction because of previous tendinitis in his right knee, Walton said Ingram will face a minutes restriction because of increased discomfort prior to tipoff.

“I don’t think it’s too serious, but I don’t know,” Walton said. “It’s something that we will get more information on. He was at shootaround and limping around a little bit. But I guess it’s bothering him. We’ll figure out more as the day goes.”
Continue reading “Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell to miss Wednesday’s game vs. Spurs with sore left knee” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page

Lakers’ Brandon Ingram “anxious” to play late vs. Memphis, but respects minutes restriction

LOS ANGELES –While sitting patiently on the bench, Lakers rookie forward Brandon Ingram started wondering if he would ever check into the game during crunchtime.

As the Lakers secured a 108-103 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday at Staples Center, Ingram eventually realized it would not happen.

“I was definitely anxious to get back out there,” Ingram said.

Lakers coach Luke Walton was definitely anxious about doing that, though. Ingram offered continual growth in his aggression by scoring 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. But Ingram had played on the second day of a back-to-back after missing the previous three games with tendinitis in his right knee. So, Walton found more value in keeping Ingram at a minutes restriction than allowing him to grow in a closeout game.

After Ingram logged 24 minutes on Saturday against the Clippers, Walton planned to extend that minutes restriction against Memphis. He chose otherwise for other reasons. Walton found it counterproductive for Ingram to play in a limited fourth-quarter stretch considering that might not be enough to build a rhythm. Walton found the closeout group that included D’Angelo Russell, Tyler Ennis, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. playing just fine. And Walton figured to be cautious, even if Ingram has a day off on Monday and a practice day on Tuesday before the Lakers (22-55) visit the San Antonio Spurs (59-17) at AT&T Center.

So when Ingram learned he would not play again with the score tied, 90-90, with 5:43 remaining, he processed his internal frustration while respecting Walton’s thought process.

“When you first hear it, it’s not something you want to go through. You don’t want to sit out and watch the game,” Ingram said. “I wanted to be in there. After a while, you think about being unselfish, just cheering for your teammates and just trying to get a win and feeding off of their energy.”
Continue reading “Lakers’ Brandon Ingram “anxious” to play late vs. Memphis, but respects minutes restriction” »

Share this post ...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterBuffer this pageShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditEmail this to someonePrint this page