Right now, as you are reading this, the Lakers have a payroll of $91,906,072 for next season (thank you Sham Sports).
That is more than $500,000 higher than the Lakers payroll last season, which was already higher than any other team in the Association. And we are underestimating Shannon Brown’s salary by roughly $500,000. Plus the Lakers have yet to sign second-round picks Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, which will push the Lakers payroll for next season to the $93 million range.
So all that talk about the Lakers cutting corners, Jerry Buss laughs at it. As he told Scott Howard Cooper at NBA.com.
“I don’t know where that came from really. We didn’t ever have a meeting and say, ‘OK, let’s slash payroll.’ We sat down and said, ‘How can we improve this team?’ And basically we came up with (Steve) Blake and (Matt) Barnes. We were really exceptionally happy and thrilled to get both of them at a decent price.”
Did anybody really expect the Lakers to cut player payroll? Nobody sane. Buss likes to win, is too competitive to cut a team off at the knees in the middle of a championship window.
But make cuts other places to help? Now that’s a different matter.
Phil Jackson admitted that he was going to have to take a paycut to return as Lakers coach, and he did. We don’t know (yet) what his salary for next season will be, but Buss is saving some money there.
There are other places in any business where costs can be cut. Moves on the business operations side that fans would never really see or notice.
But the Lakers are not looking to slash payroll. Well, unless they can trade Sasha Vujacic for a couple picks.
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.