|Report: Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has told Dwight Howard he will not be traded||02.06.13 at 2:43 pm ET|
Despite numerous rumors to the contrary, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has told Dwight Howard that he will not be traded before the Feb. 21 deadline, according to league sources.
Sources also told ESPN.com that Howard, who will be a free agent after the end of the season, is unsure of his offseason plans and has no concrete intentions to leave in free agency or request a trade.
According to the ESPN report, the Lakers are “very confident” Howard will remain with the team this summer. They can offer him a longer contract than every other team — five years compared to four — and can offer him about $118 million over that span compared to about $88 million for other teams.
Howard has said that his only concerns at the moment are getting to the playoffs and winning a championship. The Lakers are 23-26 and in 10th place in the Western Conference.
|Lakers’ Pau Gasol to have MRI on right foot||at 12:06 pm ET|
Pau Gasol will undergo an MRI on his right foot after straining his plantar fascia in Tuesday’s Lakers win over the Nets. He’s scheduled to have the procedure on Wednesday after the Lakers travel to Boston for Thursday’s game against the Celtics.
Gasol left Barclays Center on crutches. He said he tweaked the fascia in the first half and was playing on it for much of the game.
“I was dealing with it, but that play when I tried to jump off of it and try go block the shot [by Brooklyn's Brook Lopez], just as I took off, I felt a pop in the bottom of my foot on my fascia and I couldn’t get up,” Gasol said. “I’m worried about it.”
“I’ve been dealing with it for a couple months now,” he added. “But I never felt anything like I did tonight. Right now it’s a certain level of strain. We just don’t know how bad it is.”
The timetable for Gasol’s return is uncertain and will likely be determined after his MRI. He has missed 13 games this season due to tendinitis in both knees and a concusion.
|Lakers could begin shopping unhappy Dwight Howard||01.23.13 at 4:06 pm ET|
The Lakers have been reluctant to talk trades so far, hoping to avoid making their topsy-turvy season even more dramatic, but ESPN reports that they could begin shopping Dwight Howard before the trade deadline because he’s frustrated with his role in coach Mike D’Antoni‘s system.
The Nets were recently rumored to be making a play for Howard in a three-way trade that would also involve the Timberwolves, but they denied that rumor quickly and vehemently.
Reports of that deal may have been exaggerated, but the likelihood of Howard moving before the Feb. 21 deadline seems to be growing. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said nothing is imminent, but he didn’t deny that Howard could be traded.
“I don’t think we’re at the point where you say, ‘It’s time for a trade,’ and a trade happens in three to four days. That’s just not how this league works,” Kupchak told ESPN.
Howard came to the Lakers as a free agent after a high-profile departure from the Magic. He would be a free agent again this offseason if the Lakers don’t sign him to a long-term contract. Howard hasn’t expressed any desire to leave in free agency or specifically to be traded, but he has struggled on the court recently and appears frustrated with a system where he doesn’t get the chances he feels he deserves.
After the Lakers’ Jan. 21 loss to the Bulls, Kobe Bryant, too, spoke about the problems he and Howard have had finding a rhythm.
“I’ve tried to go out of my way to get [Howard] the ball,” Bryant said. “Sometimes I end up looking like an idiot, because I get up in the air, I’ve got a shot, but I try to find him. But he thinks I’m going to shoot, so his back is turned. I’m trying to think about getting him the ball a lot — take care of him as much as I possibly can. It takes me out of rhythm a little bit, but I’m fine with that. If that’s going to help our team, I’m more than willing to do that.
|Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak stands by coach Mike D’Antoni||at 9:49 am ET|
With the Lakers 17-24 and in 12th place at the midpoint of the season, Los Angeles general manager Mitch Kupchak voiced his support for coach Mike D’Antoni and said he’s not the Lakers’ problem.
“Without a doubt, we have utmost confidence in Mike [D'Antoni] as a coach,” Kupchak told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Tuesday. “I think if you spoke to him, his vision on Day 1 was dramatically different than it is today. It’s the coach’s job to adjust and to make changes. Sometimes a player is just not going to fit. Sometimes a coach has to make changes and compromise in the way he’s done things and I think that’s what Mike is going through right now is just the process.”
Kupchak said D’Antoni isn’t in danger of meeting the same fate as Mike Brown, the coach the Lakers fired after their 1-4 start to this season. He said the main thing that does concern him is the players’ effort, or lack thereof.
“When the ball is not bouncing your way, when shots aren’t going in, you just can’t seem to get a break, the one thing you can control on the court is your effort and loose balls and running the floor, defending, offensive rebounding,” Kupchak said. “I think back to the Miami game and I have that vision of LeBron [James] diving on that ball at midcourt. That’s effort.”
In D’Antoni’s introductory news conference in November, he said the team should “easily” average 110-115 points per game under his guidance. That’s happened just eight times in his 31 games in Los Angeles. His players, most notably Dwight Howard, have also expressed frustration with D’Antoni’s system and his frequent lineup changes, although Kupchak argued that his willingness to try different combinations of players is a positive.
“Understandably, I think the longer the season goes the more is at stake and the bigger hole you dig, the more dramatic your adjustments or your take on coaching has to become,” Kupchak said. “I think that’s what he’s doing. He’s grabbing every rabbit out of the hat trying to look for something that works.”
|Report: New Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni plans to debut Tuesday||11.19.12 at 12:59 pm ET|
After delaying his Lakers coaching debut on Sunday, new coach Mike D’Antoni plans to make his debut on Tuesday night, according to an ESPN report.
D’Antoni is recovering from knee replacement surgery, and a Lakers spokesman said a combination of pain, fatigue and the medication D’Antoni is taking made the coach weary of being on the court Sunday afternoon. Lack of mobility was also a concern, according to the spokesman, as D’Antoni could have to move quickly to avoid a player careening toward the sideline.
“I’m a little disappointed, I wanted to be on the bench,” D’Antoni told reporters before Sunday’s game. “After talking with [Lakers trainer] Gary Vitti … he convinced me a little bit not to do it.”
“The biggest problem I have is just energy kind of waning toward the end [of the game],” D’Antoni added.
Bernie Bickerstaff continued as interim coach. With Sunday night’s 119-108 win over the Rockets, Bickerstaff is 4-1 since taking over for the fired Mike Brown.
The Lakers play the Nets at home on Tuesday before heading to Sacramento to play the Kings on Wednesday.
|After first Lakers practice, Mike D’Antoni says team is ‘built to win this year’||11.16.12 at 3:00 pm ET|
Four days after formally accepting the Lakers coaching job, Mike D’Antoni was at his first practice for the Lakers on crutches Thursday.
D’Antoni is on crutches and pain medication following surgery earlier this month, but he said he’ll soon be back to normal as he attempts to help the Lakers become an up-tempo, high-scoring team.
“I’m really happy to be here — excited,” D’Antoni said. “[We're] starting to put stuff in now. Might take a little bit, but … we’re built to win this year. This is not a five-year project. We have a window, and we’re going to try to get through it.”
Dan D’Antoni, Mike’s older brother and a new assistant coach on the staff, ran the team through a variety of shooting and pick-and-roll drills during the practice.
D’Antoni has high hopes for the Lakers going forward.
“I told the team if we’re not averaging 110-115 points a game, we need to talk,” D’Antoni said. “That’s our goal. It should be easily done.”
Kobe Bryant has been full of praise for D’Antoni since his hire. Former coach Mike Brown was fired after just five games.
“He has a very calm demeanor about himself,” Bryant said. “He simplifies the game to its purest form. It’s not overcomplicated for him.”
D’Antoni, the former coach of the Nuggets, Suns and Knicks, said he would not coach Friday’s game against the Suns, instead targeting Sunday against the Rockets as his debut.
|Lakers PG Steve Nash doubtful for Friday’s game||11.02.12 at 12:58 pm ET|
Lakers point guard Steve Nash is listed as doubtful for Friday night’s game against the Clippers after suffering a lower-leg bruise on Wednesday night.
Nash suffered the injury in the second quarter of the team’s 116-106 loss to the Trail Blazers in Portland.
Nash did not practice Thursday and was seen walking with a limp.
“Luckily, it’s not anything major or structural. It’s just a contusion in a bad area,” Nash said. “Maybe I’m too optimistic to say doubtful, but it’s definitely touch and go.”
Steve Blake, who subbed for Nash on Wednesday, would start in Nash’s place if the new Laker can’t play.
|Ailing Kobe Bryant might miss opener for Lakers||10.26.12 at 11:28 am ET|
The Lakers are not sure if Kobe Bryant will be ready to play in Tuesday’s season-opener against the Mavericks.
Bryant has a bruised and strained right foot. He did not make the trip to San Diego for the Lakers’ final preseason game on Thursday night against the Kings. The Lakers are winless in the preseason.
Asked whether Bryant would play Tuesday, coach Mike Brown said, “I don’t know if he will or not.”
Added Brown: “He came in and got some treatment for his foot. It didn’t make sense for him to make the bus trip because he needs to elevate the foot. And the 2½-hour ride down and back would not be good.”
Bryant missed several practices earlier this year in training camp because of discomfort in the same right foot. Sources told ESPNLosAngeles.com that this injury is in a different place on his right foot and is considerably more painful.
|Dwight Howard ‘really emotional’ about debut with Lakers||10.22.12 at 1:49 pm ET|
Dwight Howard made his debut with the Lakers in Sunday night’s preseason loss to the Kings, recording a double double as Los Angeles dropped its sixth preseason game, 99-92.
Howard, who hasn’t played in a game since early April with the Magic, was traded to the Lakers in August.
“I actually shed a couple of tears,” Howard said. “During the starting lineups, one of my teammates caught me, so I tried to hide it, but I was just excited. It is really emotional, because I hadn’t been on the court in a while. I didn’t know what to expect, but it’s a very humbling experience.”
Howard had 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in the game.
“I just never thought this would happen, me being in L.A.,” Howard said.
The Lakers hazed the superstar before warmups, letting Howard run out onto the court while the rest of the team stopped and waited in the tunnel. Howard ran out by himself to a large ovation from the Staples Center crowd.
|Report: Lakers could be setting up for future run at LeBron James||10.19.12 at 1:54 pm ET|
An ESPN.com report Thursday suggested that the Lakers might be positioning themselves to make a run at LeBron James after his contract with the Heat allows him to opt out at the end of the 2013-14 season.
James didn’t want to get into the discussion of his future following a preseason game against the Pistons on Thursday.
“I’m here, and this is what it’s all about,” James said. “I’m preparing for this season, preparing to defend our title and that’s it. This is where … I’m here now.”
Multiple NBA executives told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that they believed the Lakers would be able to add James, and would have the salary cap space to offer him a deal as long as Kobe Bryant sticks to his plan to retire when his contract ends after two more seasons.
In other Lakers news, Dwight Howard might take to the court as soon as this Sunday.
Howard reportedly has told teammates and friends that he’s hoping to play in the Lakers’ exhibition game against the Kings on Sunday.
Howard, who had surgery to repair a herniated disk in April, said he has to keep his nerves down when playing in front of the Los Angeles crowd.
“This is a new team, new city, and I think everybody is expecting a lot out of me, so I have to make sure I keep all that out of my mind when I play in front of the home crowd,” he said.
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