Los Angeles Lakers Rumors
The Los Angeles Lakers have exercised their team options for the 2017-18 season on forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Julius Randle, and guard D’Angelo Russell, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Nance Jr., selected with the 27th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, appeared in 63 games (22 starts) in his rookie season, tallying three double-doubles. He finished third among all rookies in field goal percentage (52.7%) and 10th in rebounds per game (5.0). On January 14 at Golden State, Nance Jr. recorded a career-high six steals, becoming the first Laker rookie since Eddie Jones to have at least six takeaways in a game.
At the WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach, California, yesterday (Oct. 25), the former US National Basketball Association player discussed his new projects now that he’s retired from sports. Among them, Bryant said, is writing and editing, which he’s so passionate about that he got lost in it on the day of his last game in April. “I was actually at the office until 4 or 4:15 editing a bunch of short stories, and lost track of time,” Bryant told the Wall Street Journal’s Dennis K. Berman. “And I looked at my watch, ‘Oh…I better go home. I got my last game to play.’”
“The Warriors are too damn good. I saw them play four times. They are unbeatable. I saw one preseason game when Klay was off and KD and Steph just easily took over the slack. They’re just too good offensively. One of the best offensive teams we will ever see,” he said. Better than Magic Johnson and the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers? “Yes, better than ‘Showtime,’ ” the scout said. “They have more shooters than that Lakers team did.”
Meanwhile, a new team philosophy-and a Kobe-sized hole in the game plan-has Clarkson, at least, envisioning a Warriors South in LA. “We’re all about playing together now,” he says. “It’s not about one guy anymore. It’s about sacrificing for the team.” Adds Russell, “Kobe deserved every bit of attention he got in his last year, but there’s freedom in Kobe not being around.” There’s also a leadership vacuum that they plan to fill as a unit. “There’s no one leader, no face of the Lakers,” Russell says, citing the Spurs as the template. “When we traveled to San Antonio last season, I noticed that it’s about everybody-they had all those household names, but the 15th guy got the same amount of attention as Tim Duncan, who’s a legend. I feel like we’re all buying into that concept. We’re a team now. And that’s exciting.”
I owe all of this to former Laker Roy Hibbert, who introduced paintball outings to the team when he signed with LA in the summer of 2015. Now it’s Russell and Clarkson, 20 and 24, respectively, who serve as torchbearers of the team’s top pastime, which they believe will play a role in building chemistry on a remodeled roster of recent draft picks and league transients, among them free agent signees Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov. “It gets us talking, trying to get to the same goal of beating the other team, so it all transfers over,” Clarkson says. But mostly “it’s us bonding, something where we can get away from the basketball stuff and have fun.”