Tag: Steve Nash

Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets

Lakers’ point guard Jordan Farmar out 4 weeks with torn hamstring


The Lakers injury woes just continue (for a second consecutive season).

Jordan Farmar, who has played well as a reserve point guard for the Lakers this season sparking a bench unit that has been key to their 9-9 record, will be out for a month with a torn left hamstring, the team announced Monday.

Farmar pulled up grabbing his hamstring in the first quarter Sunday of the Lakers loss to Portland and did not return to the game.

Farmar had been playing well of late, averaging 16.7 points, and 4.7 assists per contest in his last three games. On the season he is averaging 9.2 points a game in just shy of 19 minutes a night and has been a spark off the bench many nights.

Farmar had been the guy with the ball on the Lakers two most successful bench units. When paired with Jodie Meeks, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill the unit shot 48.1 percent and outscored opponents by one point per 100 possessions. Put Farmar, Henry and Hill with Shawne Williams and Nick Young and they outscored opponents by 14 points per 48.

Without him the Lakers bench will not be quite the same. Steve Blake will get more run and guys like Meeks may be forced to play some point.

Steve Nash could return to provide some depth at the point. Could. But we’ll see how that shakes out.

In other injury news, an MRI on Pau Gasol’s ankle confirmed a mild sprain. There is no timeline on his return but the Lakers do not play again until Friday.

Steve Nash to return to Lakers’ practices, return to court still up in air

Steve Nash

While everyone is focusing on No. 24 returning to the Lakers practices this week — you should hear the radio promos in Los Angeles which just refer to Kobe Bryant as “him” and everyone just knows who is being discussed — the Lakers could be getting close to getting another one of their stars back.

Steve Nash is expected to return to the Lakers three practices this week, reports Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles.com. Los Angeles has Monday off, will practice the next three days before a Friday game in Sacramento, one where it is possible Nash could play (he is needed with Jordan Farmar likely to miss a little time with a hamstring injury).

Nash spent last week in Vancouver, British Columbia, working out with his longtime personal trainer, Rick Celebrini, while the Lakers were on a three-game trip through Washington, Brooklyn and Detroit.

“I think he made some improvements, but we’ll see,” D’Antoni said of Nash.

Nash has been bothered by a nerve root irritation that runs from his back to his hamstring, something he battled last season and has not been able to shake.

He has not looked right in his six games this season, averaging 6.7 points on 26.1 percent shooting. Steve Blake and Farmar have played well in his absence running the Mike D’Antoni system and that’s why the Lakers are at .500.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

While some Lakers fans have prayed Nash would call it quits (and free up more cap space) Nash is not the kind of guy who gives up in the face of adversity. He still plans to play this season and next.

We’ll see if the practices this week are a step in that direction.

Lakers’ Pau Gasol to have MRI on sprained ankle

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets

Because what the Lakers need is another injured star player…

Pau Gasol has a sprained right ankle that he says will get an MRI on Monday, reports Dave McMenamin at ESPNLosAngeles.com. After the game Gasol described the ankle as “a little sore.”

Gasol sat out practice Saturday and was not himself Sunday in the Lakers loss to Portland — 3-of-15 shooting and most of those were him settling for jumpers as he showed no explosion or ability to get to the rim. Then he sat out the entire fourth quarter because of his ankle.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Monday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Monday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The good news for Lakers fans is the team is off all week until Friday, when they face the Kings in Sacramento. That’s a week of rest.

Friday’s game also could mark the return of Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash to the Lakers lineup, depending on how they respond to a week of practice. The Lakers goal was to win games and hang around .500 until the Lakers got Nash/Kobe/Gasol healthy and then they could make a push for the playoffs. So far the bench guys have done that and carried the team to a 9-9 record playing a Mike D’Antoni style of ball. Soon we’ll see if the second half of that plan works.

With Kobe staying as highest-paid player in NBA, the Lakers can rebuild but it’s not easy

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant has signed a contract extension and is staying on with the Lakers for two more seasons. That news made Lakers nation happy — go to a Lakers game and you see the flood of 24 jerseys in the crowd — you quickly realize why the Lakers could not let him go at any cost. He fills the luxury boxes, he draws the sponsors, he is worth a lot to them financially. More than they can pay him.

But they are still paying him a lot.

ESPN reports the deal is for two years at $48.5 million — Kobe Bryant will remain the highest paid player in the NBA.

For a team that has sold its fan base on making moves with a lot of cap space this summer to again contend, this throws a little kink in the plan. A big kink. Maybe a crippling kink.

The Lakers will still have money to go after a max free agent (if they can recruit one, that’s another issue) but after that they wouldn’t have a lot left. Especially since they do not want to go over the luxury tax line next year, they want to get away from the repeater tax.

That is not going to make the Lakers a contender. The contract holds them back (remember Tim Duncan scaled back to $11 million, Kevin Garnett about the same).

The Lakers still should have about $22 million in cap space next summer, reports Larry Coon at his NBA CBAFAQ. (Ed. note: These numbers are updated from the original version of this post.) In case you’re curious, is more than LeBron James will get but less than Carmelo Anthony’s max ($23 million). Not that either of them are likely to leave their current settings ( you never know, but don’t bet on it). The Lakers will be in the market for second tier guys — Luol Deng, Zach Randolph, Danny Granger and others.

The salary cap next summer is projected to be $62.9 million. The Lakers will also have their own first round draft pick. Based on their current record, this pick would fall around #15, and would therefore count around $1.5 million against their cap.This would give them a total of about $37.66 million for six players. We need to add another six cap holds totaling $3,04 million, which brings the total to about $40,70 million.

With this team salary, the Lakers would have about $22.2 million in cap room next summer.

However, the situation gets even more complex for the Lakers.

The Lakers process has to start with a clear plan for  what kind of team they are building — if they are keeping Mike D’Antoni around as coach they can’t just go get anyone (particularly Carmelo Anthony), they need to get specific players that fit his system and what he wants to do.

The Lakers go into next season with three contracts on the books — Kobe at $23.5 million, Steve Nash with $9.7 million (with what he is saying I don’t expect he will retire), Robert Sacre at $915,243 (Elias Harris has a non-guaranteed deal, we will assume he is gone). They will have a roughly $1.5 million slot for their first-round draft pick this year. In theory Nick Young could stick around as he has a $1.2 million option, but it is more likely he opts out to try and find a longer deal. The Lakers have a player option on Ryan Kelly at $1 million they may pick up. The Lakers also likely would want to keep Jordan Hill around, but he is an unrestricted free agent playing his way into a bigger payday than the $3.5 million he made this year.

Then there are the cap holds — placeholders against what the Lakers can spend based on them keeping their own free agents. Pau Gasol is at $20 million, Steve Blake at $7.6 million and it goes on down the list through Chris Kaman, Jodie Meeks and others.

To have their max money to go after free agents the Lakers have to renounce their rights to all of those guys – plus Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and others playing well in their roles — and let them be free agents. Only then do they have the empty roster and cap space. Or they could re-sign those guys and cut into the $20 million.

Which is to say, the Lakers can’t just test the market and expect Gasol to be there as a fallback in case their dalliance with others doesn’t work out.

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak has said before rebuilding is a multi-year process for the Lakers — they are not going to check everything off the box this summer.

But if they are going to get Kobe Bryant the ring No. 6 he so desperately wants they only have a couple of years now as a window. And it’s not going to be easy to get those guys. Not with Kobe’s salary on the books.

Lakers sign Kobe Bryant to two-year, $48.5 million contract extension

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is going to finish his career a Los Angeles Laker — 20 seasons with the same team. That would be the longest single-team tenure in NBA history.

Monday morning the Lakers announced that Bryant — who has yet to play this season as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles tendon — has signed a two-year extension with the team.

“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a released statement. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”

This does not come cheaply. At all.

Understand Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett became free agents then took salary cuts into the $10 million range.

For the Lakers this is the smart business move — Kobe Bryant the player is what fills the seats and the luxury boxes, what gets sponsors on board, what drives the team’s financial engine. Even at $48.5 million for two seasons, he’s a bargain.

But that salary is going to cut pretty deeply into who the Lakers will be able to bring in and put around Kobe Bryant. With Bryant’s new salary plus the stuff on the books (Steve Nash, for one) they should have about $22 million, enough to bring in a max free agent (if they can attract one).  It’s not simple. The need to deal with Pau Gasol and his contract this summer (he is a cap hold of $20 million until he signs with the Lakers or another team) and some of the other pieces to create that space. Unless they can bring Gasol back.

Whoever they bring in, for two more seasons in Los Angeles this is Kobe Bryant’s team.