The Lakers will retire Shaq’s jersey. As they should.

37 Comments

Sometimes lost in all the clowning, all the injuries of the last few years, people seemed to have forgotten what an unstoppable force of nature Shaquille O’Neal was on the court in his prime.

A lot of that prime was in Los Angeles, paired with Kobe Bryant. They could not have won those titles without each other. But at that point in time, Shaquille O’Neal was the best player on the planet. The Lakers won three titles and Shaq cemented his legacy along with Mikan, Wilt and Kareem as one of the great Lakers centers and players ever.

The Lakers need to retire his jersey, and they will, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.

“We don’t have any specific timetable on this, but you can be assured we will retire Shaq’s jersey,” said Lakers spokesman John Black in an email on Wednesday….

The Lakers will not purposefully hold off on O’Neal’s jersey retirement until Kobe Bryant’s jersey is retired, either.

“At this point in time I’d guess there’s a really good chance that Kobe will still be playing in five years, and by that time Shaq will be elected to the HOF and we will have retired his jersey,” Black wrote.

That news made Shaq happy.

The Lakers have said quietly for years they would retire Shaq’s jersey, it’s not really a surprise. Some Lakers fans, bitter over how Shaq left (the staunch Kobe people) don’t want it to happen, but frankly those people are wrong. They’re Kobe fans, not Lakers fans. Lakers fans still have love for Shaq (he may have said hurtful things, but your parents still love you and you remember some of the things you said to them). The timing was always the question — after the bad breakup of the Kobe/Shaq era, would they wait to let Kobe go first?

Don’t be surprised if they do. But as Black notes, if Kobe keeps playing beyond his current deal with the Lakers, things may change.

Either way, Shaq’s name and number deserve to be up in Staples Center.

Akron store already selling “Stay Home 23” shirts, hats as LeBron decision looms

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ve seen this movie before.

There is all sorts of buzz around the league that LeBron James has one foot out the door in Cleveland. While people around LeBron denied he the rumor he is “100 percent” leaving, good luck finding any league source who thinks he is staying put next summer. Nothing is set in stone, his options — including staying — remain open, but we’ve all been down this road before.

The hometown fans are going to do their part to urge LeBron to stay.

Fan sentiment has some pull with LeBron (he came back to win the city a title). However, what matters more is a sense of a plan to keep the Cavaliers as title contenders for the coming years — and that is more than just Dan Gilbert paying the tax. The Cavs did nothing this summer that got them closer to beating Golden State, and while they swung for the fences with Paul George, what they really needed was wing defenders and athletes, and they didn’t get those either. Luc Mbah a Moute signed a one-year deal for the minimum somewhere else. Instead, Cleveland overpaid Kyle Korver.

Despite all that, the Cavs remain the team to beat in the East. If Cleveland gets to the Finals — LeBron’s eighth in a row — and they win or make it close, he may see staying as his best option. A season can be a lifetime in the NBA in terms of shifting attitudes. Still, I wouldn’t bet the rent on it.

Marshall Plumlee gets camp invite, partially guaranteed contract from Clippers

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Los Angeles Clippers have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, plus a partial guarantee for DeAndre Liggins (who likely is on the roster opening day). They also are pretty much set at center with DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed (plus when they go small they can play Blake Griffin there, something I wish they’d do a little more).

That said, Doc Rivers — just a coach now — needs bodies for camp, so in comes former Duke star and Knick Marshall Plumlee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Plumlee played in 21 games for the Knicks last season, logging a total of 190 minutes. He bounced between New York and the D-League Westchester Knicks, when down he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.

He’s not making the Clippers’ squad (barring injury), but he could show well and get noticed by other teams. Over the course of a season, there will be a need for bigs as guys go down injured, Plumlee is getting a chance to show how his game has developed. And he makes some money in the process.

Kawhi Leonard is smiling, and that confuses Manu Ginobili (PHOTO)

Twitter
Leave a comment

Much like Kevin Durant, it appears that Kawhi Leonard is having a great summer.

In fact, this appears to be the Summer of Kawhi Smiling. Which, according to one of his longtime teammates, is a bit confusing.

When the Spurs posted a photo of Leonard with a big old grin on his face to their Twitter feed recently, San Antonio legend Manu Ginobili responded asking the team whether something was up.

Specifically, Ginobili said that he had seen more photos of Leonard smiling in the past two days then he had in six seasons as a teammate.

Via Twitter:

You can leave an anonymous tip about why Kawhi Leonard is smiling so much by contacting the produce manager at your local H-E-B.

Kobe is the Lakers’ all-time leader in steals (and other trivia rookies don’t know)

4 Comments

“He played 20 years … I mean, yeah I guess.”

That’s what Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball had to say in this video after learning that Kobe Bryant was the all-time leader in steals for his franchise. You have to hand it to him, it is a little surprising. Even more surprising is that Bryant has 220 more than Magic Johnson at No. 2.

In a video posted to YouTube by Complex on Saturday, rookies tried to answer questions similar to the one Ball pondered over, like what team drafted their head coach, who the NBA all-time leading scorer is, and what day the first game of the season starts on.

A lot of the responses were pretty funny, including the guys getting wrong what year Adam Silver became NBA commissioner. Poor David Stern has already been forgotten about!

Meanwhile, Ball looked the sharpest. He’s going to come in handy when the Lakers play pub trivia.