Lakers’ Wayne Ellington expected to rejoin team in Dallas

ATLANTA — The Lakers have given Wayne Ellington a comfortable distance since taking an indefinite absence last week after his father was shot and killed in Philadelphia.

But Lakers coach Byron Scott reported that Ellington informed him Monday night that he intends to rejoin the team Thursday in Dallas. The Lakers will then play Friday against the Dallas Mavericks.

“He’s hanging in there and is also ready to be back with his basketball family as well,” Scott said. “Guys would love to see him and embrace him and tell him how much they care for him and miss him and tell him how badly they feel about what happened to his family. We all want to let him know that we’re here for him.”

Ellington missed the past four games while spending time with his family in Philadelphia. He also attended his father’s funeral on Saturday.

Ellington made the Lakers’ roster on a non-guaranteed contract, averaging 7.8 points on 57.1 percent shooting in 20.6 minutes as both a backup shooting and point guard. Ellington grew up outside Philadelphia before starring at North Carolna and having numerous stops in his five-year NBA career, including Minnesota (2009-12), Cleveland (2012-13), Memphis (2012-13), Dallas (2013-14) and the Lakers (2014-15). Ellington has a non-guaranteed deal in the offseason, though $581,692 of his contract locks in if he stays on the roster past Dec. 1.

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

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Lakers’ Steve Nash intends to return to team soon

Los Angeles Lakers' Steve Nash, right, passes off the ball as Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Pauldefends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Steve Nash, right, passes off the ball as Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Pauldefends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (Danny Moloshok/The Associated Press file photo)

ATLANTA –It took a few days to happen. But Steve Nash finally touched base with Lakers coach Byron Scott.

Well, kind of. Scott reported Nash returned his phone call he made four days ago sometime on Monday afternoon providing suggesting that he intends to have a presence around the Lakers’ soon despite nursing continual back problems that will keep him out for the 2014-15 season.

“He did say on his message that he’s definitely going to come back and see everybody,” Scott said Tuesday before the Lakers (1-9) visited the Atlanta Hawks (5-4) at Philips Arena. “He just needed some time, which we all understood. But he didn’t give me a set time.”
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Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore valued multi-year deal over fondness for Lakers

Kent Bazemore spent only two months last season with the Lakers, averaging a career-high 13.1 points on 45.1 percent shooting. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

Kent Bazemore spent only two months last season with the Lakers, averaging a career-high 13.1 points on 45.1 percent shooting. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

ATLANTA — He often stayed up way past his bedtime watching Lakers star Kobe Brant put on a show. Kent Bazemore would then drift off to sleep dreaming someday he would wear the purple and gold uniform while playing alongside his favorite idol.

But all those years later, Bazemore discovered that nostalgia would not become as strong as other factors determining his NBA future. So as he mulled his free agency options this summer, Bazemore decided to sign with the Atlanta Hawks instead. The thought process strictly involved dollars and sense, his two-year guaranteed deal worth $6 million marking the first time in four NBA seasons he would have relative stability. Before, Bazemore had journeyman roles with the Golden State Warriors (2012-14) and Lakers (2014) without much security.

“Having a non guaranteed contract is the most stressful thing in the world, especially when January rolls around and that deadline comes up,” Bazemore said. “You start losing sleep. Being guaranteed is great. Now it’s just about working and trying to earn your stripes.”
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Lakers’ Byron Scott holds extended film session just on defense

"Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott studies the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)"

“Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott studies the action in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)”

ATLANTA — The Lakers’ worst start in franchise history has looked so abysmal through three weeks that they have already resorted to something most teams have during a moment of crisis.

They held a meeting.

Granted, Lakers coach Byron Scott stressed the dialogue took place in what he called “a normal film session.” But the circumstances changed. In normal cases, Scott said his film sessions entail reviewing both offensive and defensive plays. On Monday night, Scott held a film session he described as “long” that solely entailed the Lakers’ defense, which has averaged a league-worst 112 points per game.

“The question to the guys was, ‘Are we asking you to do things that are impossible for you to do,’” Scott recalled. “‘Or are there things you have to think about too much? Because we’ll try to simplify everything as much as possible.’ The answer they gave was no. It’s not impossible and not difficult. When you say that, I’m anxious to see how we play tonight.”
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Lakers’ Nick Young to play vs. Atlanta off the bench

"Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014.  (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)"

“Lakers host their annual Media Day in El Segundo, CA. Monday September 29, 2014. (Thomas R. Cordova-Daily Breeze/Press-Telegram)”

ATLANTA –Amid the gloom that has engulfed their worst start in franchise history, the Lakers (1-9) are welcoming back a positive presence that could both change their mood and add to their win column.

His name is Nick Young. His nickname is “Swaggy P.” The Lakers say his surgically repaired right thumb is fully healed. And they believe Young will significantly bolster the Lakers once he returns in a reserve role for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks (5-4) at Philips Arena.

“Nick is ready to go. I know his mouth is,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said, laughing. “There was a lot of talking today.”
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Lakers’ Ryan Kelly out at least six weeks with right hamstring tear

An ultrasound sound taken on Monday showed a tear in Ryan Kelly’s right hamstring, an injury the Lakers said will sideline him for at least six weeks.

Should that timetable hold up, Kelly would not return until late December at the earliest. That ensures that Kelly will miss at least the next 17 games. Kelly has stayed limited for most of this season, averaging 3.7 points in only 8.2 minutes through three games.

He missed all of training camp and the first four games of the regular season because of overlapping injuries to his left and right hamstrings. Kelly only played for one game before feeling tightness in his right hamstring and missing the following three games. Kelly appeared in the last two contests before leaving with 10:28 left in the second quarter of the Lakers’ loss on Sunday to Golden State.

Kelly stayed in Los Angeles on Monday to have an ultrasound taken by Dr. Luga Podesta of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, while the Lakers (1-9) traveled for a three-game trip this week with stops in Atlanta (Tuesday), Houston (Wednesday) and Dallas (Friday).

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Lakers’ Ryan Kelly suffers strained right hamstring

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

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Divisions emerge amid Lakers’ 136-115 loss to Golden State

Lakers coach Byron Scott during their game against the Spurs at the Staples Center Friday, November 14, 2014(Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)"

Lakers coach Byron Scott during their game against the Spurs at the Staples Center Friday, November 14, 2014(Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)”

He came into this job determined he could stop the Lakers’ free fall toward mediocrity through a few tactics.

Lakers coach Byron Scott would constantly bring up his expectation to win an NBA title, his history as a three-time league champion during the Showtime Era linking the franchise’s glorious past into its uncertain future. Scott would harp on defense, devoting the majority of his practice time and conversations on revamping that area the Lakers lacked in recent seasons. Scott would lean on Kobe Bryant, confident he could both individually produce and jumpstart an offense after playing only six games last season amid injuries to his left Achilles tendon and left knee.

But as the Lakers showed in their 136-115 loss on Sunday to the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center, Scott’s expectations have hardly matched the reality.

The Lakers’ 1-9 record cemented their worst start in franchise history. They have stayed dead last in nearly defensive statistical category. Bryant’s season-high 44 points on 15-of-34 shooting represented a season-long trend where he has taken a large majority of the shots. The rest of the Lakers’ starting lineup took a combined 35 field-goal attempts, only one more than Bryant’s outlook. It featured Jeremy Lin going scoreless and taking only two shots. Lakers forwards Carlos Boozer and Wesley Johnson shot a combined 6-of-24 from the field.

Meanwhile, the Lakers have offered the first signs of a fractured team.

That all started when Scott devoted his press conference toward ripping his team’s defensive effort. Scott threatened he is “getting close” toward making lineup changes and altering his defensive schemes. Scott acknowledged “patience is running thin” and assigned heavy blame toward the Lakers’ front-court players for the team’s defensive lapses. He then said he will have “a very short leash” on his rotation when the Lakers play Tuesday in Atlanta.

“You either want to do it, can’t do it or won’t do it,” Scott said. “I got to assume that when I see guys jogging that you’re tired. If I assume that, I have to make changes. It’s that simple.”
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Lakers’ Ryan Kelly suffers strained right hamstring

The Lakers’ string of injuries seem to pile up as quickly as their losses.

The Lakers’ 136-115 defeat Sunday to the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center also featured forward Ryan Kelly suffering a strained right hamstring after playing for only five minutes, 25 seconds. It is not clear what caused the injury, but Kelly left the game with 10:28 left in the second quarter.

Afterwards, Lakers coach Byron Scott reported that Kelly’s latest injury marked a different part of his right hamstring that was previously injured. Kelly has only appeared in three games this season amid overlapping injuries to his left and right hamstrings. Kelly will see a doctor on Monday, a visit that will determine whether he travels on the Lakers’ three-game trip this week with stops in Atlanta (Tuesday), Houston (Wednesday) and Dallas (Friday).

“It’s unfortunate. I really like Ryan with the way he plays and he knows how to play,” Scott said. “He’s going to give you everything he’s got. Unfortunately for him and us, we haven’t seen enough of that because of the injuries that he’s had. I don’t have a clue how long he will be out.”

Kelly impressed the Lakers last season as a rookie where he averaged eight points per game. He helped the Lakers with their outside shooting, floor spacing and sharp understanding in picking up concepts quickly.

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Kobe Bryant’s playing status uncertain vs. Golden State

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

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Kobe Bryant’s playing status uncertain vs. Golden State

"The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant #24 during their game against the Spurs at the Staples Center Friday, November 14, 2014. The Spurs beat the Lakers 93-80. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)"

“The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant #24 during their game against the Spurs at the Staples Center Friday, November 14, 2014. The Spurs beat the Lakers 93-80. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)”

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant intends to play in Sunday’s game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center after nursing flu-like symptoms in the past two days.

“If I was a betting man,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said, “I would bet he would play.”

Yet, that is not entirely certain.

Bryant did not attend both the Lakers’ morning shootaround session on Sunday and practice on Saturday. Scott reported talking with Bryant Saturday night and revealing he has “felt a whole lot better” after scoring only nine points on 1-of-14 shooting in 36 minutes of the Lakers’ 93-80 loss on Friday to the San Antonio Spurs. Bryant has shot a career-low 36.7 percent through nine games, but his 25.4 points per game averaged represents a rare bright spot amid the Lakers’ 1-8 record.

“I told him to stay home and get some more rest,” Scott said. “‘Hopefully I’ll see you at the arena.’”
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Kobe Bryant expected to play Sunday vs. Golden State

"The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant #24 during their game against the Spurs at the Staples Center Friday, November 14, 2014(Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)"

“The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant #24 during their game against the Spurs at the Staples Center Friday, November 14, 2014(Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)”

It was only the night before that Kobe Bryant ended his worst shooting performance of his 19-year career battling a viral infection that left him lifeless.

The Lakers’ star conceded uncertainty on how he would face through his latest adversity despite overcoming too many injuries to count. Bryant suggested he would have to change his recovery program. Bryant spoke openly about Father Time delivering a lethal blow that has become harder for the the 36-year-old to overcome in his 19th NBA season.

Yet, the Lakers (1-8) still expect that Bryant will play Sunday when they host the Golden State Warriors (6-2) at Staples Center.

“You would have to amputate his leg for him not to play tomorrow,” Scott said after Saturday’s practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “If he feels 20 percent better than he felt last night, he’ll say I’m good. I never scratch him out of anything except practice. When it comes to playing, he’s the one guy I know that if he can walk, he’s probably going to play.”

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