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Lakers spend their All-Star weekend in various fashion

In only a span of 72 hours, Kobe Bryant can't believe how he fit all the NBA All-Star activities in such a compacted schedule.

First came the obligatory: practices and media appearances. Then came the fun: Bryant became the first athlete to have his hands and feet imprinted at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre; Nike released "The Black Mamba" short film, directed by Robert Rodriguez, which has been hyped for weeks in anticipation of Bryant's new Nike sneaker, the Zoom Kobe VI; and he capped Saturday night with a party at Boulevard 3, with an extensive guest list that included Lenoardo DiCaprio, Eminem, Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Jimmy Kimmel, Nia Long and Tyrese. Lastly came the competition: Bryant tied with Bob Pettit for a fourth All-Star MVP, dropping 37 points on 14 of 26 shooting and 14 rebounds and embraced being the elder statesmen of sorts on an All-Star squad that featured Blake Griffin's dunking, Kevin Durant's scoring and Russell Westbrook's speed

"It was a long weekend," Bryant said. "But it went by pretty fast when it’s all said and done."

Now it's back to business as the Lakers prepared for Tuesday's game at Staples Center against the Atlanta Hawks with a 2 1/2-hour practice Monday, a rarity for a veteran team fixated on maintaining health and energy. It's necessary to look at what exactly this All-Star break serves for them. Before the break, the Lakers capped off a three-game losing streak with a loss to the league's worst team in Cleveland. Even though there's plenty of concern and areas to correct, the Lakers simply felt the need to get away from each other, feeling the time apart would help rejuvenate the team's focus.

"We hope they benefit from it," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "Its’ good for them to get away from the game a little bit."

And the Lakers did in various fashion. Bryant and Pau Gasol simply played basketball with other All-Stars and received satisfaction from it for different reasons. As much as Bryant has embraced an elder statesman's role, he insists that by no means does he feel threatened with his standing as the league's top player. "I don’t give a .... It doesn’t matter to me," said Bryant, who sat out of Monday's practice. "You can’t beat me in June. All the other stuff, it doesn’t matter." Gasol, meanwhile, continued a stat line that's been pretty common during the month of February, posting 17 points on eight-of-13 shooting and seven rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. "I feel better," he said. "I probably would’ve felt rustier if I didn’t exercise yesterday a little bit. You got a little bit of a run in and a little bit of fun. It was a positive experience."

Then there were others who avoided basketball altogether. Jackson said he couldn't recall an instance where he watched the NBA All-Star game other than when he was the coach in 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2009. He wasn't planning to change his habits anytime soon, arguing, "I'm not a big fan of the game. I don't think it contributes to basketball." That apparently didn't apply to the NBA Slam Dunk contest, perhaps intrigued by all the hype surrounding Griffin, who ultimately won the contest by jumping over a 2011 Kia Optima and catching a lob from Clippers guard Baron Davis from the sunroof. Jackson appeared in no mood to compliment Griffin, but eager to throw a dig at Davis: “I really liked Baron, like a chipmunk sitting there." In between resting and avoiding film, Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss managed to drag Jackson out to Grauman's ceremony for Bryant.

Were Ron Artest's All-Star festivities as exciting, he's sure not eager to share it. Perhaps aware that he's come under scrutiny for tweeting about the release of his mixtape shortly after the Lakers' loss to Cleveland, Artest claimed ignorance on his All-Star activities. One of those activities at least included promoting his shoe, Ball'N, Friday afternoon at ESPN Zone. Lakers center Andrew Bynum said he just hung out downtown. And forward Lamar Odom threw a party at Club Nokia and avoided watching the All-Star game for unspecified reasons, though an All-Star snub surely comes to mind.

What this all means for the Lakers moving forward proves uncertain. But it's the team's hope that the mental break from the game will prove beneficial.

"Notoriously, this game is a bad game," Jackson said, referring to the first game after the All-Star break. "It’s not a good game for teams. They have trouble getting back on the court . . . [regaining] that rhythm. But we’ll see how we do."

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

 
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CARMELO TRADED TO THE KNICKS!

Knicks get Carmelo, Billups, Balkman, Anthony Carter and Sheldon Williams.

Knicks gave up Gallinari, Mosgov, Wilson Chandler, Ray Felton and Draft Picks.

MM, WHAT DO YA THINK?

Chauncey Billups will not be used in NY. Should we go for him?

Billups current contract is 13.5 mil and next year is 14.2 mil. He wants to get bought out by the end of the season.

Magic Phil, who would you give up? It would probably take 2-3 players (with or without draft picks). Fisher wouldn't fit in in NY system. Blake would be about 1/3 of the deal. How could you make this work?

@Magic Phil - Like Triangulator said...the Lakers would have to give up to much to trade for Billups and I just can't see the Knicks offering him a buy out.

I hope Boston doesn't get Battier. Boston realize they have a problem trying to slow down Kobe...and they're trying to rectify it!

@LRob-I think BOS and LA are in the same boat, no assets to trade.Speaking of buyouts, one buyout that could change things in the East, is Rip Hamilton being bought out and going to Chicago, who really needs a quality 2 guard.

Getting Felton from Denver is more feasible than Billups. I'm not saying he is better, but his salary is more adequate, and he is having a good season so far. Rumor is Denver is still looking for more trades including some of the players acquired. Felton and Chandler for Artest and Blake would be my proposal. Wishful thinking, I know.

If we are to revisit DEN trade ideas, wouldn't it be nice to somehow get Nene? I have always thought of him as an underrated player, and Chandler would be nice to0.

Posted by: Laker J | February 21, 2011 at 10:25 PM

How about we trade you to cow town Sacramento for free..!

Posted by: Worlds Richest Man | February 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM

How about you stop letting your 6 year old kid post for you. That was one intelligent argument.

@LRob-I think BOS and LA are in the same boat, no assets to trade.Speaking of buyouts, one buyout that could change things in the East, is Rip Hamilton being bought out and going to Chicago, who really needs a quality 2 guard.

Posted by: TNTLakerFan | February 21, 2011 at 10:20 PM
----------------------

TNT - I wouldn't mind seeing Chicago get Rip or another quality 2 guard. Of course, I rather see them come out of the east instead of Boston or Miami. But I don't think Rip is a possibility. He has two more years left on his contract after this year at about 13mil a year...so the Pistons aren't going to give him a buyout. Plus, that's why they've been unsuccessful in moving him...no one wants to take on that contract.

The Knicks are fools for gutting the team to get Melo. If you read the NYT blog, most Knicks fans are panning the trade.

Lakers management was smart avoiding this mess entirely.

@World's Richest Man

You ask we what I think, so I'll tell you. Ding Dong, The Thuggets R Dead! And will be further disbanded either by the 24th or by the summer.

As for NY, Melo and Amare need a fast PG to fit Dantoni's system. Billups will most probably be bought out of his contract to make room for the Chris Paul lottery this summer (if there isn't a lockout).

That's what I think.

As for the Lakers, a trade isn't going to solve their boredom. A trade will just disrupt things more--unless they could get a player already familiar with the triangle.

A healthy ramp up to the playoffs, including getting Matt Barnes back to 100% (or as close to as possible mid-season) is what they need.

Again, SIT TIGHT AND RAMP UP FOR THE REAL SEASON!

@World's Richest Man

Just so you don't think I'm talking about myself as a multiple personality, the first sentence should've read "You ask me what I think..." I must've mistyped and the iPad spell checker dropped in "we" instead of "me".

Oops!

@The Triangulator,

You were handle-jacked by TrollTheGreat, who goes by many names and a few IP addresses that have been blocked in the past. He somehow is able to wait a week or two and get back onto the blog with previously blocked IP addresses.

I deleted the handle-jacked comment and the follow-ups by LRob and yourself.

How about that Knicks-Nuggets trade? Looks like Denver will finish behind the Blazers this year! Sorry, had to do that.

Back to work I go. Take care all.

LakerTom,

Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. I was just calling it the way I see it. Glad to see you & Larry are cool. Now, on to Lakers Basketball!!! =)


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

GOOD MORNING LAKERS FAM!

GAME DAY TODAY!!! Second half of the regular season coming right up! Let's do this LAKESHOW!!!


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Melo, now a Knickerbocker.

I was so glad to see the MELO drama end!

Now, our players- especially Andrew(who's name has been dragged the past two weeks) can FOCUS on playing basketball and not think about being traded or something.

LET'S DO THIS LAKESHOW!!!


LAKERS ALL DAY!!!

Laker J: "Getting Felton from Denver is more feasible than Billups. I'm not saying he is better, but his salary is more adequate, and he is having a good season so far. Rumor is Denver is still looking for more trades including some of the players acquired. Felton and Chandler for Artest and Blake would be my proposal. Wishful thinking, I know."
-
Count me in.

Yes, I hear about Ron Ron's defense, and how defense win championships - which is true. Look at Ben Wallace for the epitome of that argument. But Ron is a perimeter player, at least he has been with the Lakers (the triangle is frankly ill-suited for his skillset, much like The Glove during his lone season here). On some nights his lack of production at the offensive end is flat-out killing us. Just calling it like I see it here. Compounding that fact is he doesn't post up and instead sets on the perimeter, has anyone noticed how far off of him his defender usually plays? They are usually closer to our bigs, crashing the boards.

I'm not bashing, just calling it like it is.

Blake, well he's been less than spectacular. I was a big-time Blake advocate, still feel he is a steady, fine reserve - but Raymond Felton would be a tremendous upgrade.

Felton is super-quick. He's got a quick eye and is a nice distributor. He's a good defender too, about as decent a defender at the PG position as there is out there. He would address something that has killed the Lakers for years: defending quick, penetrating guards. He was pretty much an all-star this year, should have been one if not for 4 chowds/3 meat/2 hawks making the team.

Chandler has arguably been the Knicks third-best player. He's a very nice rebounder and can hit a 3. He's very quick for his size and has some hops. He played some guard in NYC too, although he's got a big body. He would make a solid bench player and is young.

They could either play Chandler at the 3 or maybe move Barnes into the starting lineup.

Felton though is the key of this trade, he's been outstanding this year.

Only thing is, I just don't see the Nuggs taking back those Laker guys and the years left on their deals, wish they did but can't see it happening. We gotta sign up Laker J, if anyone can make it happen he could! lol...

- - -

Ross Snyder Park: "You so call Laker Fans are a joke when you say trade Andrew Bynum. This kid can play and will be with the Lakers for a long time if Jim Buss has his way. What we should be worried about is our guards production.Chill out Lakers fans we will get it done again."
-
Well said.


AS ALWAYS - AND FOREVER - GO LAKERS!!!!!!

GAME DAY!!!

I'm present and refreshed after an ASG break. Hoping to see our Lakers feeling the same but more. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel and should be cleaning up the little mistakes that have been hurting us.

Woop-dee-doo with the Melo trade. It's another team that will have to duke it out to get to the finals. Those EC playoffs are going to be something to watch. And it weakens the West that much more.

Back to Lake show - here's hoping we have a good week, chalk up some W's and get Barnes integrated quickly and with good health.

Chat later folks - Cheers! PLG

Watching the PG's during the all-star game it seemed to me that the PG's like Rose, Westbrook etc, blew by their counter part from the other team.
They can't stop each other.
Getting another PG may or may not help the Lakers defense much, but it may surely help the offense if it's someone who can hit with more consistency and maybe drive and create better than Blake/Fish.

As far as how the Melo deal affects the Lakers, it's fairly minimal. Denver is no longer a serious threat, although that was going to be very obvious. The Knicks are going to be even more exciting to watch, but it's not going to win championship basketball. That team will score 200 points a night, but give up 210

Laker J: "Getting Felton from Denver is more feasible than Billups. I'm not saying he is better, but his salary is more adequate, and he is having a good season so far. Rumor is Denver is still looking for more trades including some of the players acquired. Felton and Chandler for Artest and Blake would be my proposal. Wishful thinking, I know."
-
Count me in.

------------
Oh perish the thought. Chandler is a big (good) Felton is a pg(good) but both Artest and Barnes are sf (bad). That means we have Luke as starting sf (very bad) and Ebanks who PJ has not given him time to develop (bad move now but good for future). So we would be overloaded at PG but getting rid of Ratliff and Smith and adding Chandler would be upgrade. So which pg goes? Lakers won't let Fish go so Blake would go. So Felton for Blake? Mid season bad move because of triangle.

>>>>As for the Lakers, a trade isn't going to solve their boredom.


Actually, partly it would.

Part of the inspired play in last year's playoffs was Ron Artest, playing for his first ring. His inspired play on defense - shutting down Durant and Pierce among others - brought energy to the other players on the team.

If the Lakers added Felton (for instance), it would be his first shot with a true contender, so you might get that same injection of extra energy. In theory, Barnes and Blake will provide that spark, but Barnes hasn't been on the floor in awhile and Blake has seemed timid to shoot lately.

>>>So Felton for Blake? Mid season bad move because of triangle.

You don't have to know the triangle to play defense.

Felton is a much much better defender than either Blake or Fisher. The improvement at the point would more than make up for the loss in offense of not knowing the triangle.

>>>Watching the PG's during the all-star game it seemed to me that the PG's like
>>>Rose, Westbrook etc, blew by their counter part from the other team.

NOBODY plays defense in an All-Star game. If Luke was playing in the game (shyeah, right), they would have let him blow by for an easy layup (attempt) as well.

While it's true that nobody can completely stop Rose, Westbrook, Rondo, etc., a good defender can at least stay close enough so that the eventual layup or short shot is contested. And a good TEAM defense rotates well to shut them off before they get to the rim.


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