Nick Young not happy about the Dodgers trading away Matt Kemp

Nick YoungFILE - In this July 29, 2014, file photo, Los Angeles Dodgers' Matt Kemp watches the flight of his second two-run home run, during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Los Angeles. A person with knowledge of the situation says the San Diego Padres have a deal in place to acquire outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz from the division rival Los Angeles Dodgers for catcher Yasmani Grandal and two pitchers. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, because the deal hadn't been announced by either team. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Nick Young, top, was not happy about Matt Kemp (below) trade/Photos courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers, NBA.com and Associated Press (Kemp photo)

 

Nick Young grew up in Los Angeles, attending Cleveland High and then USC. He knows all about the Dodgers, and he said Thursday after practice he wasn’t thrilled that the Dodgers this week traded outfielder Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres.

“Me and Matt Kemp is like the same people,” Young said, “so it’s like the Lakers trading me. You know, I don’t like that. So, hopefully, the Lakers keep me for a while.”

Young, who was smiling, was rather astonished to learn of the trade.

“Yeah, it was very surprising because everybody … I mean, you think of the Dodgers, you think of Matt Kemp and some of the other guys.”
 

 

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Byron Scott raves about emergence of Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs/Photo courtesy of San Antonio Spurs, NBA.com

 

Small forward Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs is the second-leading scorer on a balanced team that has five players averaging double figures in points. Leonard averages 14.8 points and 7.5 rebounds. But he is just scratching the surface, Lakers coach Byron Scott intimated after practice Thursday in El Segundo. That was evident when Scott was asked what problems Leonard will present when the teams square off Friday night at San Antonio.

“I don’t think there is a problem that he doesn’t present,” Scott said. “I mean, he’s a quiet assassin. Offensively, he can make 3s, he can get it to the basket, he can post up. And defensively, he can guard three or four different guys. So he’s just a very valuable piece of the puzzle and his emergence has made him that much better.”

Leonard, just 23, prepped at King High School in Riverside before playing his college ball at San Diego State. He’s in his fourth season with the Spurs (16-6), the defending NBA champions.

Leonard was held out of Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks with a bruised right hand. According to an online report by the San Antonio Express-News, an MRI done Thursday morning on the hand proved negative and he could play Friday.

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Byron Scott still not biting when baited about Magic Johnson’s hope that Lakers lose all their games

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson/Photo by Associated Press

 

Try as they might, reporters still haven’t been able to get coach Byron Scott to express any anger toward Lakers great Magic Johnson, who this week said he wants the Lakers to lose every game so they can get the highest possible pick in the draft next year.

“I got a good kick out of it because I know him; if he was on the court, there is no way in the world he would concede a basketball game,” Scott said Thursday after practice. “That’s how competitive he is. So, again, that’s why it makes me laugh.”

Jim Hill, sports anchor for CBS, kept trying, asking Scott if it irritated him.

“It really didn’t,” Scott said. “Like I said, these guys (beat reporters) asked me and I started smiling and, really, inside just laughing about it. So, no, it didn’t irritate me at all.”

 

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Byron Scott talks about what Jeremy Lin must do to thrive in reserve role

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Lakers, NBA.com

 

Power forward Carlos Boozer and point guard Jeremy Lin were removed from the starting lineup two games ago. Boozer has responded well with 12 points on 6 of 12 shooting in a loss to New Orleans on Sunday and 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting Tuesday in a win over Sacramento.

Lin has suffered. He had just three points on 1 of 5 shooting against New Orleans and three points on 1 of 5 shooting against Sacramento. He did have four assists in each game.

“He has to be aggressive, but you’ve gotta be smart,” coach Byron Scott said, when asked what Lin needs to do to thrive. “As a point guard, he has to understand the situations, he has to understand the guys he’s playing with, who needs a shot, when they need a shot, who’s hot and things like that. But still have an aggressive mind-set. I think right now that’s the one or two things that he’s struggling with.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s as a starter or as a reserve, those are the things he has to implement into his game.”

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Mike D’Antoni has funny retort to conversation had by Nick Young and Pau Gasol

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, prior to Sunday’s game against the visiting Orlando Magic, was told of a recent conversation that took place between Nick Young and Pau Gasol, who apparently want to do everything they can to avoid being the worst Lakers team since it moved to Los Angeles for the 1960-61 season.

The 1974-75 Lakers went 30-52. These Lakers are 22-46 and would have to go 9-5 over their last 14 games in order to accomplish what Gasol and Young want. That would make them 31-51.

“They probably should have had that conversation a little earlier, first off,” D’Antoni said, drawing a large round of laughter from assembled reporters. “But you know, hey, great, whatever we try to do is good.”

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Kendall Marshall says he’s not thinking about what will happen when others return

Kendall Marshall has done a good job at point guard since the Lakers signed him out of the D-League in December. He’s averaging 10.5 points and 9.3 assists in 17 games – 13 as the starter.

But with the news Monday that three other point guards – Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar – are close to returning from their respective injuries, one has to wonder what will happen to Marshall when they do.

Marshall on Monday insisted he is not thinking about it.

“Not at all, not at all,” he said after practice. “The only thing I’m focused on is the next game and trying to win that game. There are way too many variables in this league to try to
predict the future, so I just try to take it one day at a time.”

Marshall, out of North Carolina, is shooting 44.4 percent from the field overall, 47.9 percent (34 of 71) from 3-point range.

Marshall and the rest of the Lakers tonight play host to the Indiana Pacers, who at 34-9 have the league’s best record.

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Mike D’Antoni: GM Mitch Kupchak will do all he can to improve the Lakers

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni was fielding questions from reporters following practice Thursday in El Segundo. Since the Lakers are just 13-19 and losers of six consecutive games, it wasn’t surprising that possible trades were part of the discussion.

One that has been talked about is post Pau Gasol going to Cleveland for former Lakers post Andrew Bynum. There is no evidence that deal is even close to being done. But the Lakers’ situation does beg the question – does this team need to make a major trade of shake-up proportions to give it a chance to make the playoffs and do well in them.

D’Antoni replied to just such an inquiry.

“I’m not sure, that’s Mitch’s job,” D’Antoni said, referring to Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. “He’s going to look at everything possible and try to make us as good as possible. But there’s no magic dust out there. You just can hope and wish and I’m sure he’ll look at everything.”

In spite of all the injuries to Lakers guards – including Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar, Steve Blake and Xavier Henry – D’Antoni insists there remains enough talent on the team to be successful.

“… We have enough to win,” he said.

 

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Kobe Bryant responds to Jim Brown’s comments made on Arsenio Hall Show

NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown had some not-so-flattering things to say about Kobe Bryant during an interview on the Arsenio Hall Show on Tuesday night. For one thing, he said, Bryant “threw Shaq under the bus,” referring to former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal. The worst was yet to come.

Here is more of the dialogue of that interview.

“He is somewhat confused about culture because he was brought up in another country, so it doesn’t quite fit with what’s happening in America,” Brown said of Bryant, who lived in Italy for several years as a youth, but played high school ball in Philadelphia. Brown referred to Bryant as “an unbelievable athlete,” but also said, “In the days when we had a summit and we called the top black athletes together to talk to Muhammad Ali about his status with the armed forces, there were some athletes we didn’t call. So if I had to call that summit all over, there would be some athletes I wouldn’t call. And Kobe would be one of them.”

Bryant’s first response was via twitter: A “Global” African American is an inferior shade to “American” African Americans?? .. that doesn’t sound very or sir.

Bryant on Thursday was asked about the whole thing. The first thing he did was admit to being somewhat astonished by Brown’s comments.

“Well, I mean, it surprised me because it just came out of left field,” Bryant said after practice. “I’ve never even met him, so it came out of left field. But I do think it’s a great opportunity to have these conversations and this discussion. No matter where you come from, whether you come from Italy, whether you come from  Inglewood , whether you come from London, it doesnt matter. Ultimately, the conversation is it doesnt matter what color skin you are to begin with.

“But I think its a good place to start and have a good conversation and try to educate one another and try to improve as a society from it.”

Bryant was asked if he would like to have that discussion with Brown.

“No, there’s nothing to talk about,” he said. “We have different perceptions, different views on it, clearly. So the thing that I try to do is always, what I’ve been trying to do, is try to educate our youth going forward, no matter what color skin you are – African American, white or whatever the case may be.

“Just try to talk about having a bright future and how to help the kids going forward, progress as a society as a whole. So he and I, there’s no reason for us to have a conversation because we’re on opposite sides of the spectrum. I’m an old dog, but he’s a much older dog, so he’s probably a lot more set in his ways than I am.”

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