Tag: Lamar Odom

New center Dwight Howard greets Kobe Bryant during NBA media day for the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team in Los Angeles

Kobe says this is most talented Lakers team he has been on


Kobe Bryant has been on Lakers teams with amazing talent — Shaquille O’Neal in his prime, Glen Rice, Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum.

But he said he has never been on a more talented team than this one, which has a likely starting five of Steve Nash, Bryant, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard (once everyone is healthy).

That’s an impressive (and expensive) superteam. One that could contend for a title. Kobe talked about it with Marc Spears of Yahoo.

“On its face, it’s the best talent I’ve been around,” Bryant said. “Whether that translates into winning a championship remains to be seen. But just on paper you’re talking Defensive Player of the Years, MVPs, All-Stars. You’re talking about a myriad of things. Guys who are at the top of their position at one point or another. It’s pretty dope.”

He’s right.

This is more talented than the 2004 team (with Payton and Malone, a team that fell short in the finals to a hot Pistons squad), because this team has more guys near their peak. Nash is not young but he is still as good as anyone alive running the pick-and-roll. Howard can score and is a defensive monster — and defense is the key for the Lakers. Gasol will make it work because he’s versatile and besides, that’s his personality. He fits in. And Kobe will do what it takes to win.

The team needs to come together, no doubt. There are a lot of “on paper” questions about the Lakers that still need to be answered. (And probably will in the affirmative — these are veteran players whose skills don’t overlap. They likely figure it out.)

It’s going to be fun to watch because they will be one of the best teams in the league, but if it goes south it could be a firey train wreck. Howard knows all about being in one of those.

Lamar Odom apologizes to Cuban, Mavericks

Lamar Odom Clippers

Ric Bucher of ESPN tweeted Friday the following:

Lamar Odom, unprompted, told me he’d like to apologize to Mark Cuban and Mavs fans for not being himself. Felt it was beyond his power.

via Twitter / RicBucher: Lamar Odom, unprompted, told ….

So how did that go over, ESPN Dallas?

Asked about Odom’s apology Friday evening, Cuban declined comment.

via Is apology from Lamar Odom on the way? – Dallas Mavericks Blog – ESPN Dallas.


Odom’s trying to turn over a new leaf back in L.A. with the other team. He’s trying to get back on the good foot to fix his career, but what happened in Dallas will remain a fairly substantial black mark on his permanent record, so to speak. He abandoned his teammates, let the coaching staff down, and made Cuban and management look foolish for believing in him.

Oh, yeah, and the trade helped the Lakers land Steve Nash, who the Mavericks were interested in. So, no, I wouldn’t expect a Christmas card from the Cubans.

But the good news is that he has a chance to turn it all around with a strong performance for the Clippers and get back to where he was a vital contributor on a championship team. And at least he’s willing to own up to what happened. To a degree. As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes, that last line about it being beyond his power isn’t going to go over well with some people, despite all the personal turmoil of the past two years for Odom.

No pressure Vinny Del Negro, but it’s the last year of your contract

Vinny Del Negro

All season long the talk around the Los Angeles Clippers will be about contracts — Chris Paul will be a free agent next summer. It’s the smart move financially for him to become a free agent and re-sign with the Clippers, but that free agency gives him leverage. Enough leverage that pretty much every player he asked the Clippers to sign they did this past summer.

But it’s not the only contract up next summer.

Coach Vinny Del Negro’s is as well, the Clippers picked up a one-year option for this season to keep him. In one sense he’s in a good spot because owner Donald Sterling likes him, but with a good young team and an expiring contract Del Negro’s seat is going to be warm this season.

He is not too worried about it, he told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

Del Negro said there has been “a little bit” of discussion about his contract extension, but there is “no sense of urgency for either side” to get a deal done right away.

“Of course, I wish it was under maybe a different situation,” Del Negro said. “But I was on a one-year deal last year and I’m still here and enjoying myself and believe in what we’re doing. I think all those things work themselves out over time.”

In the middle of last season, then Clippers GM Neil Olshey was pushing to have Del Negro removed, but didn’t win that battle. Now Olshey is collecting a larger paycheck in Portland and Del Negro has more power within the organization. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have leverage to push for a change if they want it, but neither wants to be seen as a coach killer.

The Clippers made the second round of the playoffs last year, only they second time they have gotten that far with Sterling as owner (32 years). They have been a back-to-back playoff team just once, but they should match that again this season (especially with new additions like Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom). It’s hard to let a coach go in that setting.

But there are still questions about whether Del Negro is getting everything out of this team and how far he can really take them. Questions that will undoubtedly come up this season.

But in the end, it’s Sterling’s decision. So anything could happen.

Chris Paul a few weeks away from workouts due to thumb

Los Angeles Clippers v Charlotte Bobcats
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Chris Paul quietly played through pain to get a gold medal in London — his thumb injury suffered one of the first days in Las Vegas was bad enough to require surgery afterward, but he was not going to bow out.

He got his surgery, and he should be ready to go when the season opens in six weeks.

But with training camp a couple weeks out CP3 confirmed he is going to need a few weeks before he is cleared by doctors for basketball activities, he told the team’s Web site.

“The thumbs doing better, a lot better,” he said. “I’m still a few weeks out from being ready to play and stuff like that, but I go to rehab every day trying to get back because I’m tired of watching these guys play.”

That timeline fits with what we were told after the surgery. It also likely means when the Clippers and Heat play preseason games in China, Paul will waive to the fans while wearing a suit.

Paul has been showing up to the team facilities, working out with a Clipper squad that has a lot of new faces — Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom, Matt Barnes, Grant Hill and more. Paul pushed for a lot of that.

“I’m excited about this season,” Paul said. “Our locker room is filled with a lot of veterans and guys that know what it takes to win.

“It starts with training camp. Fortunately, we have a great group of guys and fortunately they got here early, extra early, and guys have been in for workouts and getting to know each other as well as you can.”

Good chemistry and a team he likes could be key in getting Chris Paul to re-sign with the Clippers as a free agent this summer. In the end, that is all that should matter to the Clippers, because any dreams of title contention for them in the coming years end if CP3 bolts town.

Griffin “excited” about Clippers, says Lakers good on paper

Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two

There was a point at the start of the summer, way back in June, when you could picture the Clippers being better than the Lakers this season. The Lakers were what they were, the Clippers had young pieces like Blake Griffin that should be improving.

Then Steve Nash and Dwight Howard happened. And now in Los Angeles once again are an afterthought (at least if you read the papers or listen to sports talk radio).

Blake Griffin, he doesn’t care. He’s pumped about the Clippers — who added Jamal Crawford and Lamar Odom — and is not sold on the Lakers, as he told the Oklahoman while back at his alma mater.

Griffin said he’s “very excited” about where the additions have placed the Clippers but added that Howard’s arrival in Los Angeles have overshadowed those and others around the league.

“There’s a lot of great teams and a lot of good talent as well,” Griffin said. “It’s funny because the Heat have managed to somehow fly under the radar this summer and they added Ray Allen. So we can’t forget about all these other teams. We can’t worry about just the Lakers.”

The Lakers are getting all the buzz because that’s what the new teams get, and when it’s a superteam in a major market it is moreso. But Griffin’s point about the West is valid and he also used the common “on paper” comment about the Lakers.

“On paper it looks great,” Griffin said during a recent visit to Norman. “People said the same thing when we got C.P., Chris Paul. But they still got to go out there and play…

“I think there’s a lot of tough teams in the Western Conference. There’s one right here (in Oklahoma City) that the Lakers have to get over,” Griffin said. “The Spurs have been a good team for the past 500 years. And I think we’re preparing for that. So that’s kind of what you expect people to do. You expect them to hand out the trophy in the middle of the summer. So we’re not worried about that. We’re not worried about just the Lakers.”