Lakers-Knicks game on Feb 1 dropped from ESPN

While Derek Fisher, left, listens, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson speaks during a news conference in Tarrytown, N.Y., Tuesday, June 10, 2014. The Knicks hired Fisher as their new coach on Tuesday, with Jackson turning to one of his trustiest former players. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

While Derek Fisher, left, listens, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson speaks during a news conference in Tarrytown, N.Y., Tuesday, June 10, 2014. The Knicks hired Fisher as their new coach on Tuesday, with Jackson turning to one of his trustiest former players. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW ORLEANS — Two proud franchises in plush media markets have sunk so low that television executives have determined viewers could not stomach watching them play against each other.

ESPN canceled its planned coverage of the Lakers’ game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 1. ESPN has not immediately rescheduled a replacement game, though its reasoning for dropping the Lakers-Knicks game seems obvious. The two teams have a combined 18-66 record. ESPN could also devote the extra hours of programming toward pre-game coverage of Super XLIX.

Meanwhile, the scheduled Lakers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 2 changed for the second time in less than a week. After ABC dumped its plan to telecast the game at 12:30 p.m. and shifted the time to 6:30 p.m., ESPN has since picked up the game and will move the time up to 3:30 p.m.
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Forbes tabs Lakers as NBA’s most valuable franchise at $2.6 billion

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant offered empathy for Xavier Henry having a season-ending left Achilles injury jeff gross – getty images

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant offered empathy for Xavier Henry having a season-ending left Achilles injury jeff gross – getty images

NEW ORLEANS — The Lakers may have struggled to collect wins. But they have done quite well in collecting pay checks.

The Lakers are considered the NBA’s most valuable franchise worth $2.6 billion, according to Forbes’ annual rankings that were released on Wednesday.

There are varying explanations for the Lakers’ profitability despite the team having a 12-30 record, fourth worst in the NBA.

The Lakers are in their third season of a local television cable deal with Time Warner Cable Access SportsNet worth $5 billion through 25 years. The Lakers’ value increased by 93 percent, according to Forbes, because of the NBA’s new $24-billion national television deal. According to Forbes, that increased the value of an average NBA franchise to $1.1 billion, a 74 percent increase. Meanwhile, the Lakers remain a powerful global brand both for their 16 NBA championships and Kobe Bryant’s presence. He is paid $23.5 million this season and will make $25 million next season presuming he plays out the final year of his contract.
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant to play against New Orleans

"The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant #24 looks to shoot as the Thunder’s Andre Roberson #21 defends during their NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Friday, December 19, 2014. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

“The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant #24 looks to shoot as the Thunder’s Andre Roberson #21 defends during their NBA game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles Friday, December 19, 2014. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

NEW ORLEANS — After resting for the past two games in a six-day span, Kobe Bryant will suit up when the Lakers (12-30) visit the New Orleans Pelicans (20-21) on Wednesday at Smoothie King Center.

“He’s ready to go,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott, who still plans to restrict Bryant’s playing time between 30 to 32 minutes.

Bryant did not participate in Wednesday’s shootaround and did not talk to reporters after emerging out of the team’s locker room. After resting in eight of the previous 15 games, Bryant has avoided any on-court work both to maximize his rest and time for treatment. But Scott acknowledged the inevitable that Bryant will likely appear rusty after last playing in Thursday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“There really isn’t unless we want him to play the remainder 40 games and wear himself out. That’s definitely not in our plans,” Scott said. “There are days he’ll have rest. Then there are games he normally will be rusty and get his his timing back the next game. It’s something we have to live with. That’s something he has to live with as well. Right now that’s something he’s more than willing to do that just to make sure we preserve him as much as possible.”
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New Orleans’ Anthony Davis appreciative of Kobe Bryant’s mentorship

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant didn’t practice Tuesday in Phoenix and may not play in today’s game in New Orleans to preserve his 36-year-old body. Hans Gutknecht ‑ Staff Photographer

The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant didn’t practice Tuesday in Phoenix and may not play in today’s game in New Orleans to preserve his 36-year-old body. Hans Gutknecht ‑ Staff Photographer

NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis’ eagerness to return to the court went beyond his frustration over a recently sprained left toe that sideline him for three consecutive games.

Davis also looked forward toward suiting up when the New Orleans Pelicans (20-21) host the Lakers (12-3) tonight at Smoothie King Center to face a certain player. His name is Kobe Bryant. You may have heard of him.

“He’s a competitor and brings the competitive nature out of everybody,” Davis said Wednesday after the Pelicans’ morning shootaround. “Guys have to show up when you play against any good team. When Kobe is on the team, they’re capable of winning.”
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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant listed as questionable to play vs. New Orleans

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, right, looks to shoot as he is pressured by Sacramento Kings' Ben McLemore during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, right, looks to shoot as he is pressured by Sacramento Kings’ Ben McLemore during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

PHOENIX — Within a day’s span, the plan for Kobe Bryant already changed.

The Lakers are listing Bryant’s status to play in Wednesday’s game against New Orleans as questionable after the missing Tuesday’s practice on Tuesday at U.S. Airways Center. Bryant originally planned to squeeze in a light shooting session. Instead, he plans to meet the team at a Phoenix airport before flying to New Orleans on Wednesday. Bryant has missed eight of the past 15 games to preserve his 36-year-old body, including Tuesday’s 115-110 loss in Phoenix.

The Lakers’ fluid roster goes beyond Bryant’s playing status as they reel with a 12-30 mark, the NBA’s fourth-worst record.

The Lakers have ruled reserve rookie center Tarik Black out against New Orleans after spraining his right ankle against Phoenix. X-rays turned out negative, though it is currently unclear if Black will play in Friday’s game in San Antonio.

The Lakers also consider veteran guard Ronnie Price doubtful to play against the Pelicans after missing the past two games because of right elbow soreness. Price, however, completed a partial practice that entailed minimizing use of his right arm. Lakers forward Carlos Boozer missed Tuesday’s practice because of a left triceps contusion, but he is listed as probable to play against New Orleans.


RELATED:


Lakers’ Byron Scott still optimistic Steve Nash will mentor point guards


Kobe Bryant absent in Los Angeles Lakers’ 115-100 loss to Phoenix Suns as team prepares for future


Could Lakers land Phoenix’s Goran Dragic in free agent market?

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’ Tarik Black sprains right ankle in 115-100 loss to Phoenix Suns

PHOENIX — Lakers forward Tarik Black slowly walked out of the trainer’s room, the crutches in his hand and the rolled tape on his right ankle suggesting a serious injury.

Still, x-rays turned out negative after Black sprained his right ankle that caused him to leave with five minutes remaining of the Lakers’ 115-100 loss on Monday to the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. But could Black return quickly enough to play in Wednesday’s game in New Orleans?

“I can’t comment on that one,” said Black, who posted six points on two-of-three shooting and three rebounds in 21 minutes. “I don’t know. But miracles can happen. I rolled it pretty good, though.”

How Black rolled his ankle appears unclear. It seemed as if he fell on a teammates’ foot, believed to be Nick Young. But the Lakers’ eccentric forward vehemently denied that when Black asked him after a reporter suggested the incident happened.

Young scoffed, “I wasn’t even in the vicinity.” A playful Black then answered, “You got beef, homey? We can go get it.” Young countered, “Think about it, I was shooting the ball in the corner.”

Young then repeatedly referred Black to John Coffey from The Green Mile and suggested he could heal quickly with special powers.

“Stop talking to me bro,” Black said, playfully. “Or we’re going to get into it.”

Still, this incident already sours a Lakers’ roster reeling with injuries. Kobe Bryant sat the eighth of the past 15 games to rest his 36-year-old body. He will complete light shooting drills in Tuesday’s practice in Phoenix with hopes to play on Wednesday in New Orleans. The playing status also remains unclear for Lakers guard Ronnie Price, who missed the past two games with persistent soreness in his right elbow.

As for Black, this sours a promising start where he has averaged eight points on 66.7 percent shooting and 5.7 rebounds in 17.7 minutes through six games. The Lakers picked up off of waivers after the Houston Rockets parted ways with the rookie center to make room for Josh Smith.

“I don’t put pressure on myself,” Black said. “It happened. It is what it is. I can’t take it back. No point of worrying about it. I got to heal up, get better and get out there. My biggest thing is helping the team win.”

Black will nurse crutches to alleviate the pressure on his right ankle and prevent it from swelling. Black also downplayed the pain level. And he also expressed optimism in the Lakers’ training staff.

“It just hurt bad when it happened,” Black said. “But as far as the injury goes, I’ll be back soon. It’s just a matter of keeping the swelling down.”


RELATED:

Could Lakers land Phoenix’s Goran Dragic in free agent market?

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Ronnie Price to sit against Phoenix

Phoenix’s Goran Dragic on free agency, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash

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’ Kobe Bryant, Ronnie Price to sit against Phoenix

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. Several athletes have worn "I Can't Breathe" shirts during warm ups in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died July 17 after a police officer placed him in a chokehold when he was being arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. Several athletes have worn “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during warm ups in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died July 17 after a police officer placed him in a chokehold when he was being arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

PHOENIX –Lakers guards Kobe Bryant and Ronnie Price will sit out for the second consecutive game when the Lakers (12-29) visit the Phoenix Suns (24-18) on Monday at U.S. Airways Center.

Bryant will have missed eight of the past 15 games amid the Lakers’ recent quest to “preserve” the team’s 36-year-old star. He only played last week against Miami and Cleveland.

“Just trying to get his body to be not as sore and hurting,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “Like he said the other day, ‘it aches everywhere.’ It won’t be the point to where three or four or five days of rest means he will come back and feel great. But he feels good enough to come out and play against Cleveland. It’s about trying to preserve him as much as possible.”
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Phoenix’s Goran Dragic on free agency, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash

Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) is expected to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Could the Lakers be a possible landing destination for the Slovenian? (File photo/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) is expected to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Could the Lakers be a possible landing destination for the Slovenian? (File photo/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Below is a recent interview with Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic, who talked with the Los Angeles Newspaper Group about his upcoming free agency, whether he’d consider the Lakers, Kobe Bryant and what he learned playing with Steve Nash. The Suns (24-18) host the Lakers (12-29) on Monday at U.S. Airways Center.

When this summer approaches and you become a free agent, what will influence your decision?


Dragic:
“It’s going to be an interesting summer. I’m going to make one of the toughest decisions in my life. I’m going to sit down with my family and my agent and I’ll look at all the options. But I’m really happy here in Phoenix and they have given me everything that I have dreamed of, and this is obviously my first place when I came to the NBA. I feel like at home. But I’ll explore my options. It’s too soon to say something more because I want to be focused on this season.”

Even with the Lakers struggling, do you see them as an option considering their history and their cap flexibility?

Dragic: “It’s not just L.A. I think everybody. Any team in the league. I’m rare in this position. I’ve been working hard and I can explore my options. Back in Europe, there are bad teams financially and teams that aren’t organized. But every team in the NBA is a good organization. It’s going to be tough. But I won’t think about that until after the season.”

What would you think about playing with Kobe Bryant?


Dragic:
Any player that is one of the best players in the league would be cool. Kobe, of course, he’s a legend. LeBron James. I played with Steve Nash, Grant Hill and Amare Stoudemire, and I know how awesome it is to be around those superstars. If you’re patient enough and you listen, you learn a lot. Of course, Kobe is one of those stars.

You’ve been quoted as dismissing the idea that free agents don’t want to play with Kobe is false. What’s your take on that?

Dragic: “I don’t read the media. But maybe some players had bad experience because they didn’t play well with the Lakers. But I don’t think that is the case.”
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Byron Scott offers reaction to Kobe’s retirement comment; Bryant scheduled to travel but unsure if playing

Lakers head coach Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant have not talked about shutting Bryant down for the season, but it continues to be a game-by-game approach to limit the superstar's minutes. Friday, January 2, 2015.  The Grizzlies beat the Lakers 109-106. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)"

Lakers head coach Byron Scott and Kobe Bryant have not talked about shutting Bryant down for the season, but it continues to be a game-by-game approach to limit the superstar’s minutes. Friday, January 2, 2015. The Grizzlies beat the Lakers 109-106. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)”

Kobe Bryant got the attention of the sports world with his recent comments to columnist Bill Plaschke on Sunday when discussing the topic of retirement.

I’d be lying if I said that it hasn’t crossed my mind,” Bryant was quoted as saying.”Right now I doubt it…but anything’s possible.”

Bryant was at the Lakers practice facility on Sunday morning, but did not speak to media, leaving his head coach Byron Scott to provided reaction to the comments.

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Ronnie Price listed as doubtful for Monday; Byron Scott leaning towards resting guard

"Lakers#0 Nick Young, Ronnie Price Robert Sacre celebrate in the 4th quarter.  and The Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 115-105 in a game played at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. December 23, 2014. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)"

“Lakers#0 Nick Young, Ronnie Price Robert Sacre celebrate in the 4th quarter. and The Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 115-105 in a game played at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. December 23, 2014. (Photo by John McCoy Daily News)”

Ronnie Price missed Friday’s game against the Jazz, held out for an aggravated right elbow and his availability for Monday against Phoenix is looking slim.

“He came in today and got his treatment. We will see how he feels tomorrow, but to be honest with you I’m thinking of sitting Ronnie down one more game and seeing how it reacts,” said Scott. “He hasn’t shot a ball basketball…I want to give him another day if I can.”

Price is averaging 5.5 points per game and 3.8 assists with the Lakers in 38 games this season, averaging 23.3 minutes. Price is listed as doubtful.

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