Drama In Los Angeles: Back And Fourth, Mitch Kupchak vs. Kobe Bryant

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant poses with General Manger Mitch Kupchak.

Los Angeles is known for its great movie stars, dramas, comedies, and all of that however they’re not used to it taken place on the court. Now everyone knows the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant drama that took place back in the early 2000’s. Where they won three championships together and then came the shocking downfall ending with the unbelievable divorce of the dynamic duo.

However, the drama died down in Los Angeles after that, at least for the most part. Now of course they still had the buzzer beaters, the close losses, the blowout wins, the blowout losses and all of those dramas, but the he said, she said dramas, they were gone.

Though don’t blink now as the drama of Hollywood and the Los Angeles Lakers is back.

Starting with the Chris Paul trade veto, everything went down hill from there. Lakers forward and sixth man of the year, Lamar Odom was traded to the Dallas Mavericks, forward Pau Gasol remained in trade rumors, and the losses began to pile up.

Though no one really said anything one could sense that there was drama revolving the Lakers organization. However after losing to the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, 102-90, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant called out Lakers management saying, “Basketball is such an emotional game, you got to be able to have all of yourself in the game and invested in the game. We didn’t have that,” Bryant said. “Pau, it’s hard for Pau because of all this trade talk and all this other stuff, it’s hard for him to kind of invest himself completely or immerse himself completely into games when he’s hearing trade talk every other day. I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him.”

Bryant would continue saying, “I talked to [Gasol] a little bit about it,” Bryant said. “It’s just tough for a player to give his all when you don’t know if you’re going to be here tomorrow. I’d rather them not trade him at all. If they’re going to do something, I wish they would just [expletive] do it. If they’re not going to do it, come out and say you’re not going to do it. This way he can be comfortable, he can go out, he can play and he can invest all of himself into the game.”

Though Bryant wouldn’t get his wish of management saying if they were trading Gasol or not, he would infact get a response as Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak would say, “As a former player, I understand how the days leading up to the trade deadline can be nerve-wracking for an NBA player. Nonetheless, as General Manager of the Lakers, I have a responsibility to ownership, our fans and the players on this team to actively pursue opportunities to improve the team for this season and seasons to come. To say publicly that we would not do this would serve no purpose and put us at a competitive disadvantage. Taking such a course of action at this time would be a disservice to ownership, the team and our many fans.”

Then just as it appeared that it would stop there as management usually always had the last word, it wouldn’t as following a blowout, statement win on Monday night by the Los Angeles Lakers, as they won 103-92, Bryant would respond saying, “I said what I had to say…I’m done.”

When asked if he spoke with Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak, Bryant replied “Next.”

“I think Pau feels a lot better,” said Bryant, after the 103-92 win over Portland. “He looks a lot better to me. It’s important to know that guys in the locker room support you, that guys are going to step up. That’s my role here. He [Gasol] can’t say that. He’s a nice guy. He would never, ever say anything to shuffle the deck, so to speak. But I would. I’ll say it for him.”

Though post game comments wasn’t all as the Lakers held a team meeting that was organized by both Bryant and Lakers guard Derek Fisher.

“Look, I’ve won championships with him, been in playoff battles with him, gotten swept with him, lost in the Finals with him,” Bryant said of Gasol. “I’m not just going to sit around and [watch him] be down in spirit and things like that. That’s not cool. We all love him. We all want to play with him — especially me.”

After addressing the issue of the Pau Gasol trade rumors on Sunday night, the Lakers who dominated the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night, looked like a whole new team, like the Lakers. Which made it clear that Bryant’s comments made a difference. So while to some this may look like a player making ignorant comments to his boss or a player making comments out of anger after a loss, in reality these comments may have just turned around their team’s season.

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Gilbert Arenas To Los Angeles? Will He Fit? Questions, All Answered

Gilbert Arenas to the Lakers?

After rumors died down of free agent guard Gilbert Arenas going to the Los Angeles Lakers over the past couple weeks they sparked back up again today as over the weekend, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak held a private workout for the free agent guard.

After failing to gain a young point guard during the off-season, after a trade which was accepted to bring in former New Orleans Hornets guard and now Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul, the Lakers are now going after Gilbert Arenas…well at least it seems that way.

Now many have been saying that the Lakers have needed a young point guard to come in as Derek Fisher who will turn 38 this year just isn’t cutting it as so far this season the Lakers have allowed 14 points a game to starting point guards.

That’s just starting point guards, which as we know some of those starters aren’t scorers and as we also know some of those starters split time. Like for instance, the Philadelphia 76ers where Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams both share the roll and when the Lakers played them the two combined for 37 of their teams 95 points and they were also the two leading scorers for the sixers.

Now the Lakers aren’t a bad a defensive team as they rank fourth in the NBA in points allowed at 90.9 points per game. But 14 points a game to just starting point guards? That’s a lot.

Though, despite the poor point guard play from the Lakers, they have been okay this season as they sit at 16-12. However the concern of a point guard acquisition is huge as even guard Kobe Bryant knows it, the one who some have been saying urged the workout of Gilbert Arenas.

“Sure,” responded Bryant during Tuesday’s practice in El Segundo when asked by ESPN if he was in favor of bringing in Arenas. “It certainly wouldn’t hurt, that’s for sure.”

It certainly wouldn’t hurt at all as out of the 12 losses that the Lakers have had they allowed opposing starting point guards to score 17 points a game and even more points a game when including backups.

The Lakers front office have been apt of making moves when Bryant has requested before, like when they acquired forward Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies. So will Gilbert Arenas be a member of the purple and gold? Or will he remain in the free agency waiting for an opportunity to spark up again?

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Will Kobe Bryant Win The 2011-12 NBA Scoring Title? Or Will The Wrist Injury Hurt Him?

Bryant drops 48 points aganist the Suns.

Kobe Bryant came into 2011-12 season with high hopes after under going an experimental surgery on his knees that he said restored him to new as many people close to Bryant have said that he looks young again. However in a pre-season game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Bryant would take a hard fall to the ground falling on his wrist, though he wouldn’t come out.

That wrist injury would later be diagnosed as a torn ligament in his right wrist which is Bryant’s shooting hand. According to Web MD, wrist injuries of this severity require either surgery or a cast/splint and sometimes even both. As far as the timetable of how long the recovery would take, could sometimes be a year. However in most cases it takes about usually six weeks.

As soon as news broke of the injury, many began speculating on how much time Bryant would miss and if he would play in the season opener. Though come Christmas day, Bryant would play in the season opener and would play well scoring 28 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and two steals in a one point, 78-77 loss to the Chicago Bulls.

“You just go out there and play your game,” Bryant told ESPN. “Not think about it as much. … I try to block it out.”

Picture of the fall Bryant's wrist took.

On January 6th against the Golden State Warriors last Friday Bryant would score 39 points in a 97-90 win over the Warriors and would score the most points in a single game for any player in the NBA for the 2011-12 NBA season.

Then just four days later, Bryant would score 48 points against the Phoenix Suns in a 99-83 win breaking in his former record of 39 points for the 2011-12 NBA season. The next closest player to Bryant’s 2011-12 single game season record is Warriors guard Monta Ellis who scored 38 points against the San Antonio Spurs on January 4th.

The Lakers have played 11 games this season so far and Bryant has played in every single one of them. As far as his play, it’s been great as he’s averaging 29.4 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists a game.

Bryant is currently second in the NBA in scoring behind Miami Heat forward LeBron James who’s averaging 29.6 points per game in just nine games. However James doesn’t have a severe wrist injury nor is James 33 like Bryant is. Though age aside, once Bryant’s wrist heals in say a couple more weeks Kobe Bryant will win the scoring title this 2011-12 NBA season. Heck, he could probably win it with his wrist injury.

“I think he’s a player that has remarkable will to fight through anything. And he proved it today by being out there. By not even questioning the fact that he might not play. He’s a fighter. He’s a warrior. He’s out there and he’s the leader of this team, so it’s important for him to do that,” teammate Pau Gasol told ESPN after the Lakers season opener against Chicago.

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Battle of Los Angeles: Lakers vs. Clippers Part Two

Lakers vs. Clippers pt. 2

Chris Paul vs. Derek Fisher: Old school versus new school, except in this case the new school is going to win. 37 versus 26 just really isn’t fair and over the last couple of years it’s been clear that Derek Fisher has lost a step. We saw it especially in the Oklahoma City playoff matchups when Kobe Bryant would have to guard point guard Russell Westbrook instead of Fisher because Westbrook would just blow by him. Yes Fisher is the more experienced, wiser, and more glorified, with his five rings but Paul is on the up and up and is one of the top point guards in the game.

Winner: Chris Paul

Chauncey Billups vs. Kobe Bryant: Rather it will be Billups, Mo Williams, Randy Foye or whom ever at the shooting guard position for the Los Angeles Clippers this is year it won’t really matter as Kobe Bryant will win the match-up every time. He’s a five time champion, multiple time All Star as well as many other achievements and even though at age 33 Bryant still doesn’t seem like he’s even lost a step. Continuing with that, Bryant also underwent an experimental procedure on his chronic, albeit mostly minor knee injury this off-season and it appears that it has worked has people close to Bryant have said that he has his hops back.

Winner: Kobe Bryant

Caron Butler vs. Metta World Peace: Now while there have been talks that new head Coach Mike Brown has said that Artest will come off the bench as the sixth man in the replacement of the absence of Lamar Odom this season. The thought would be that Matt Barnes would get the start; which really does make a difference. However if Artest is the starter, than Artest wins the match up as his lockdown defense and crazy new name is just too much for Caron Butler. Now if it’s Barnes then it’s going to slide in the favor of Butler.

Winner: Caron Butler

Blake Griffin vs. Pau Gasol: People have said that Gasol is no longer the Laker that he once was, as he’s gotten worse, as last season was awful for him and that he should just be traded. Well what those people don’t know is that, statistically Gasol had his best season ever as a Laker, scoring 1,541 points and grabbing a career high 836 rebounds in a full 82 games. That’s why it just doesn’t make sense as he’s a very talented all-around player which despite Griffin’s unique athleticism, I like Gasol. Now unless it’s a contest of who can jump over a car, than it goes to Griffin but if it’s playing basketball then it goes to Gasol, because he can shoot the jump shot, grab rebounds, score, pass, and pretty much do whatever. Also too the Lakers size advantage is just too much as in most cases Andrew Bynum would be helping out in the paint on Griffin too.

Winner: Pau Gasol

DeAndre Jordan vs. Andrew Bynum: Now whether they get Dwight Howard or not, center Andrew Bynum healthy is just a force to be reckoned with as he’s the second best center in the NBA, when healthy. Now don’t get me wrong Jordan is a very nice young talent but he’s no Andrew Bynum, as Bynum not only has the size advantage but he also has the coaching advantage with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. So just as long as Bynum stays healthy like he did in 2006 when he didn’t miss a game, then this Los Lakers team will be at elite status.

Winner: Andrew Bynum

Clippers Bench vs. Lakers Bench: Now while there are some names that jump out to you on the Clippers bench as it could possibly be Mo Williams, Randy Foye, and Eric Bledsoe but the problem is, is that, that’s really it as you look at the rest of their bench, Brian Cook, Ryan Gomes, Travis Lesile, Adam Koch, Trey Thompkins, and Willie Warren there isn’t much. And to top it off too, there really isn’t much at their power forward and center positions as it’s just a four man rotation with Griffin, Jordan, Thompkins, and Cook.

You then look to the Lakers bench and you see Artest or Barnes, Steve Blake, Jason Kapono, Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy, Derrick Caracter, and the young Devin Ebanks as well as some others. But it’s very balanced as they have a three pointer shooter in Kapono, a great sixth man in Artest, a couple talented big men in McRoberts, Murphy, and Caracter, and an up-coming player in Ebanks. While yes the Clippers may have a couple two stars on their bench who are hands down better than any other Laker bench player, but that doesn’t matter as they still lack a lot of depth at the power forward and center positions, which will hurt them.

Winner: Lakers Bench

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