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.”
Ryan Kelly returned to practice on Saturday in a limited capacity but his status remains up in the air for Sunday’s game as he continues to battle a right hamstring injury.
“He’s questionable but it’s more like doubtful. I want to see if he can go a full day of practice on Monday and then we’ll go from there,” Byron Scott said.
On first glance, Nick Young appeared his usual self shooting on the court. Except that was shooting and dribbling with his left hand as his right hand was in a sling.
It was Young’s first appearance since tearing the radial collateral ligament in his thumb guarding Kobe Bryant. He later joined the team for sprints at the end of practice as Byron Scott said it was encouraging to see him run despite the sling. Continue reading
It seems like the Lakers’ injury woes continued to get worse as Jeremy Lin suffered a sprained left ankle during practice and will be re-evaluated for tomorrow’s game against Golden State.
Lakers coach Byron Scott said Lin suffered the injury during 5-on-5 workouts after being stepped on by Robert Sacre. He was able to walk off the court on his own power but was in pain.
The hits keep coming for the Lakers, who announced Monday that Dwight Howard suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team also said Pau Gasol has a concussion and also will be out indefinitely. Jordan Hill has a right hip injury and won’t travel with the team to Houston for Tuesday’s game.
When the doors to the Lakers’ practice facility opened Thursday afternoon and reporters were granted access to the gym, they were treated to the sight of Steve Nash working his magic with the basketball in his hands during the team’s scrimmage.
Nash ran away from Darius Morris’ defensive pressure and darted into the paint before passing to an open Metta World Peace for a jump shot that hit nothing but net. A few moments later, Nash set up Jodie Meeks for a 3-pointer that also was good.
Lakers center Dwight Howard either gave a thoughtful answer or a silly one when a reporter asked Monday if the worst was over for the team. Said Howard:
“Some of our players, we watch ‘Batman’ a lot. ‘The Dark Knight.’ There’s a point in the movie where he says, ‘The night is the darkest right before the dawn.’ Which basically means right now this is probably the darkest moment for our team. It’s not going to last forever. The sun’s going to come up. I think we’re going to be where we need to be. … We’re not playing our best brand of basketball right now. We’d love to be 20-0 or whatever it may be right now. Sometimes being 20-0 could put you in a position where you feel like you’re already there. We know we have to work out of this and we will. We can continue to get better at it and we won’t lose faith.”
So, wait, the guy known as Superman watches “Batman” movies?
Pau Gasol and Steve Nash practiced with their Lakers teammates Monday, with Gasol saying he might play Tuesday night against the Charlotte Bobcats and Nash saying he might be ready to play on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks.
Gasol said the tendinitis in his knee wasn’t as painful as it was and as if to show off his newfound health he ran a series of post-practice sprints before shooting a number of free throws. He said a decision about his participation will be made just before the tip.
“I’m happy with the practice and how I felt,” Gasol said. “We don’t want to make the decision quite yet. So, we’ll see how tomorrow in the morning how I feel. … It (a two-week layoff) helped, not just the rest but the work we did to strengthen the knees.
“I can move around much better.”
Nash ran without pain in his fractured left leg during what could only be described as a light practice, devoid of any contact. The Lakers went through a number of drills, but didn’t scrimmage as they prepared for Tuesday’s game against the Bobcats.
“We’ll see,” Nash said. “Hopefully, I can play by Christmas. We’ll see how it responds this week. Today we didn’t do anything 5-on-5 or with any contact, so it was just running and cutting. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes.”
The Lakers returned home Monday to practice at their El Segundo HQ and prepare for the arrival of the dreaded Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday at Staples Center. The Lakers have winning records against all but two NBA franchises. The Boston Celtics are one, of course. The Lakers are 123-153 all-time against Boston. Amazingly, incredibly, the Bobcats are the other. The Lakers are only 7-8 against the Bobcats, who began play in the NBA in the 2004-05 season. The good news is the Lakers get the Bobcats at home, where they are 5-3 all-time against Charlotte. They’re only 2-5 against the Bobcats at Charlotte, however.
Mike Brown (you remember him, don’t you?) went on SiriusXM’s NBA show “Off the Dribble” Thursday and had a few things to say about his former employer and a few of his former players. Nothing earth-shattering, but it’s still fairly interesting stuff.
Among the highlights, Brown said of coaching Kobe Bryant: “I had a good time working with Kobe. I really felt like I learned a lot. He’s a guy that is extremely intelligent and extremely intense. In my opinion, when you’re around people like that, they only push you to get better and so being around him I really felt like he made me a better coach.”