Author: Kurt Helin

Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker to have knee surgery; Hornets looking at trades for depth while he is out


The Charlotte Hornets are not going to be able to replace Kemba Walker. He has averaged 18.8 points and 5.2 assists a game for them this season, and when he is on the court their offense jumps 3.3 points per 100 possessions. Coach Steve Clifford recently called Walker the Bobcats best player.

But Charlotte is going to have to try to replace him.

As we said could be coming, Walker is going to need knee surgery, something first reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

The team has since confirmed the news.

This is a setback for Walker, who at age 24 was having the best, most efficient season of his career.

The good news for the Hornets — currently sitting as the eight seed in the East after winning 10 of 12 games — is they could have Walker back for the playoffs, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

That would have him back likely in the middle of March, a month before the playoffs start.

The problem is, even at the bottom of the lowly East playoff race, the Hornets can’t afford a big step back while Walker is out and still make the playoffs. Right now Brian Roberts is the next point guard on the depth chart, although what this really means is the ball in Lance Stephenson’s hands more. So the Hornets are looking at trades to bridge the gap until Walker is back.

The Nets and Hornets are also talking about a potential deal involving Stephenson for Joe Johnson and other players, which could provide some scoring and ball handling depth while Walker is out. However, the Hornets could pull back in their talks due to this injury.

Quote of the Day: Nick Young’s answer to Lakers’ offensive woes is more Nick Young

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

Of course, Nick Young’s answer to all problems is more Nick Young.

If it were not for Nick Young the Lakers might be completely unwatchable the rest of the season.

Kobe Bryant was a good show but the curtains have come down on that production for the season.

The Lakers offense looked uncentered Sunday night without Kobe against Houston, there is no go-to guy that forces double teams and the Lakers ball movement is inconsistent. To his credit, Nick Young is one guy who can create shots. The problem is he creates them for himself and if you chase him off the three-point line he doesn’t make the shots — Young is shooting 39 percent from three and 35.8 percent inside the arc. Or, look at it this way: The Lakers offense is the exact same in points per possession this season whether Young is on the court or not.

But what has Byron Scott got to lose (except more games, which the Lakers may want to do anyway) — give us more Nick Young. No matter how disinterested he may be on defense.

Kobe Bryant to have surgery on shoulder, is done for season

Kobe Bryant

Sunday night Lakers coach Byron Scott said he was holding out hope Kobe Bryant could still find a way to come back and play this season, even though every medical professional anyone spoke with said he would need surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff — which had detached from the bone — and that would be the end of his season.

Monday, after seeing another specialist, it became official. The Lakers announced Kobe would have surgery on Wednesday. While the team would not provide a recovery timeline until after the operation you can be sure he will not return this season according to every medical professional I consulted. No, not even Kobe. From the official release.

“(Kobe) was examined this morning by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. Dr. ElAttrache confirmed an earlier diagnosis of a torn rotator cuff, and advised Bryant to have surgery to repair the shoulder. Bryant has agreed, and surgery has been scheduled for Wednesday morning.”

The recovery from this kind of injury usually takes at least four, maybe six months. Either way, Kobe would be back for next season if he wants. And it’s hard to imagine Kobe not wanting to be back.

Hall of Famer and current Rockets coach Kevin McHale provided an interesting perspective on whether Kobe would return next season to play. He said that he played through pain because he didn’t want injuries to force him out, either.

“I wanted to go out playing, and we made it to a playoff series and we lost but I went out playing as hard as I possibly could, I found a little magic in a bottle for a couple weeks and played pretty good, then that was the end of it,” McHale said before his Rockets beat the Lakers Sunday night at Staples. “It’s hard. You’re used to being able to do things, you’re used to your body responding, and if you’re a good player you’re used to your body bouncing back and doing a lot of stuff. You never really thought it could not hold up, but at some point it goes down.”

Kobe is going to want to leave on his own terms. So while his body may require more rest and nights off, that strong will — not to mention the $25 million salary — will almost certainly bring Bryant back for one more year.

In the short term the Lakers will struggle. A lot. Which is not all bad because if they are in the top five of the draft after the lottery this season they get to keep their pick (otherwise it goes to Phoenix as part of the Steve Nash trade, and that pick will go to them next year). The Lakers are currently 12-33, which is the fourth worst record in the league, and it’s hard to imagine them getting past 20 wins now.