The Lakers perimeter defense is a mess this season — Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jodie Meeks are not good defenders. Kobe Bryant can be but is prone to gambling. The result is Dwight Howard left trying to clean up too many messes.
Metta World Peace is the one guy the Lakers count on to alter that dynamic, plus he is really the only true small forward worth anything on the roster.
But the Lakers are going to have to be without him for a while.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ snake-bit season continued Tuesday with Metta World Peace receiving an MRI in Minneapolis on his left knee that showed a lateral meniscus tear.
World Peace will return to Los Angeles where he will be examined Wednesday by team doctor Steve Lombardo, forcing him to miss that night’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
There is no timetable for his return yet. World Peace tweeted he hopes it will be a week and a half, but players tend to be optimistic about these things. People around the team expect it to be longer.
Look for Earl Clark to be back in the Lakers starting lineup until World Peace can play again. Coach Mike D’Antoni likely also will play around with a smaller lineup of Nash, Meeks and Kobe moving over to the three.
It comes at a bad time for a Lakers team that has lost three in a row and is just one game ahead of Utah for the final playoff spot in the West and 1.5 ahead of Dallas (heading into Tuesday night). The Lakers need wins and World Peace had been a reliable three-point shooter and defender for them in a season when little else has been dependable. The Lakers will miss him.
Report: Donatas Motiejunas not reporting to Rockets over $6 million
Donatas Motiejunas — with his agent B.J. Armstrong — has backed himself into a bit of a corner.
The restricted free agent signed a four-year, $37 million offer sheet with the Nets, but it had a lot of favorable terms (the final two years are not fully guaranteed, for example) so as one would expect the Rockets matched it. However, under NBA rules the Rockets only had to match the base of the contract — $31 million worth — not the incentives. Which is what the Rockets did.
Restricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas won’t report to the Houston Rockets because of a difference of nearly $6 million from the offer sheet he signed with the Brooklyn Nets, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
Last week, Motiejunas signed a four-year, $37 million offer sheet with the Nets. The Rockets on Monday opted to match that offer. However, based on the CBA, the Rockets only had to match the principle terms of the offer sheet, which came to $31 million. The $6 million difference was to be paid to Motiejunas via incentive clauses if he played for the Nets.
Motiejunas may not like it, but the Rockets have almost all the power here. As of Thursday, the Rockets can pull the offer (even if they don’t, it will expire eventually on March 1), and at that point Motiejunas is a restricted free agent again. Right where he was before. The Nets can’t re-sign him to an offer now for another year. Other teams with the cap space aren’t interested (for example, Philadelphia has the room, but the last thing they need is another big man in the rotation). The Rockets would like him to play — as a big who can shoot the three he should fit well in the Mike D’Antoni system — but they are not going fail him on the physical and let him go for nothing (they can’t trade him until after the season, even if Motiejunas relents and signs the deal with the Rockets)
Motiejunas’ only play? Sit out. But at age 26, why is he wasting part of his short career window to make money playing basketball?
LeBron James: No statement by not staying at Trump-branded hotel
NEW YORK (AP) —LeBron James said he wasn’t trying to make a statement by not staying at a Donald Trump-branded hotel with the Cleveland Cavaliers, calling it a personal preference.
“It would be the same if I went to a restaurant and decided to eat chicken and not steak,” James said.
James and some other players didn’t stay with the team at the Trump SoHo in lower Manhattan before the Cavs’ game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday night. James said it was the first time in his career he hasn’t stayed with his team, though he said he rode the bus to the morning shootaround as usual with the squad.
James endorsed Hillary Clinton and campaigned with her in Ohio. Several of his teammates, including Richard Jefferson, Iman Shumpert and others have expressed their disappointment about Trump’s win.
“At the end of the day I hope he’s one of the best presidents ever, for all of our sake,” James said. “For my family, for all us.”
A team spokesman didn’t say how many players opted not to stay in the team hotel and wasn’t sure how James met up with the bus.
Coach Tyronn Lue, who stayed with the team, was asked if it was odd to have the players split up on the road.
“It’s not normal, but considering the circumstances that’s what we have,” Lue said. “But that’s not my main objective. My main thing is to try to get this team to stay on track and play the right way and try to get back on track by playing Cleveland Cavalier basketball.”
James wouldn’t talk about Knicks President Phil Jackson, who angered the All-Star forward last month by referring to his friends and business partners in an ESPN interview as a “posse.”
Boston’s Marcus Smart gets flopping warning from NBA
It happened on the game’s final play — you were probably focused elsewhere, wondering how Al Horford could miss the game-winning layup. But watch Smart as he gets in position for the rebound on that shot.