Robert Horry was a part of three championship teams as a member of the Lakers for seven seasons, but the way L.A. kicked him out the door has evidently left a bad taste in his mouth.
Horry penned a wide-ranging piece at The Players Tribune which is definitely worth your time. And while there are stories about Phil Jackson, Rudy Tomjanovich and Hakeem Olajuwon that are all of interest, this part about the business side of things grabbed me the most.
Honestly, I left the Lakers with so much hatred for that team. I felt that the way they handled my situation was so wrong. I remember going into the exit meetings after we had won the title and it was my year to opt out. You walk into the meeting and everyone is hugging you, kissing you, praising you.
I said, “I know I make too much money and I know you’ve got a hard-on for Karl Malone.” They had been wanting him for five years, ever since Phil got there. I’m a realist. Tell me like it is and I will respect you more, just don’t go behind my back. I told them I’d stay for $2 million, but they weren’t interested. All I asked them was to allow me to find a team before the money dried up and not to wait until the last day to release me. They told me, “We won’t do you like that.” […] Well, they didn’t do me like that. They waited until the next to last day to release me.
This is what athletes mean when they say, “It’s a business.” Hell yes, we make a ton of money to play a silly-ass kid’s game. But even if you’re the hero, even if you hit one of the biggest shots in franchise history and win multiple titles, your ass can be out the door the next day. […] I actually have five NBA titles thanks to the Lakers. Three from playing with the team, and two from them showing me the door.
Basketball at the professional level is indeed a business. But if things went down exactly as Horry is saying they did, he’s well within his rights to take issue with the way things ended in Los Angeles.
Seemingly every NBA Draft has its international man of mystery, a skilled foreign-born player who intrigues scouts and team executives more and more as that fateful date approaches.
This year, that man is Kristaps Porzingis, an agile seven-footer with a smooth shooting stroke.
Porzingis participated in a group workout at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas on Friday, an event that was well-attended by plenty of front office decision-makers. And he drew nothing but rave reviews.
From Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Porzingis was VERY impressive in workout. A scout called him the best player in the draft “He’s better than Karl Towns,” said the scout.
Some league executives think Porzingis could become the best player in this draft. However, they believe KAT is the safe pick at No. 1 …
While Porzingis has solid offensive skills for a 7-1 PF, there’s a sense that Russell is still the better option for the Sixers.
Philadelphia is loaded with talented frontcourt players in Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid, so Porzingis, for them, would almost certainly be a duplication.
The Sixers need guard play to compliment those interior players, so D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay appear to be more realistic options.
But Porzingis impressed. It’s unlikely the Timberwolves or the Lakers go there with one of the first two overall picks, but Phil Jackson attended this workout, and if he feels as strongly as some others, the Knicks just might.
The Lakers are reportedly locked in at selecting Jahlil Okafor with the second overall pick in this summer’s NBA Draft.
If true, that’s good for the folks in Los Angeles — because another report says that Karl-Anthony Towns is all but certain to go to the Timberwolves at number one.
From Mark Heisler of Forbes:
In the Lakers’ dreams, Minnesota, picking No. 1 in the NBA draft, would take Jahlil Okafor, dropping Karl Towns to them at No. 2, which looked like it could happen but does no longer.
Minnesota GM/coach Flip Saunders, who had been leaning toward Okafor, is said to have turned pro-Towns after seeing him last week in Los Angeles.
The splash sent ripples throughout the NBA. Says an insider: “There’s no doubt, the T-Wolves are taking Towns.”
The crux of that piece is that now things are difficult for the Lakers, and that plenty of options in addition to Okafor — like Emmanuel Mudiay or D’Angelo Russell, for example — are worthy of being considered.
But this draft is heavy with talent at the top two positions, and since both Towns and Okafor are projected to be franchise-level additions, don’t expect the Lakers to think too hard about going in another direction.