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Category: Jordan Farmar

Brandon Jennings denies Kobe Bryant beef

Ignore Brandon Jennings' claims Kobe Bryant shouldn't be able to play in the Drew League because he's not an Angeleno native. Ignore Jennings wearing a shirt titled "Nobody likes a snake" in reference to Bryant's Black Mamba persona. That's because Jennings' words were no more than just manufacturing attention.

"Kobe Bryant is my favorite player," Jennngs told the Hoop Doctors. "It was just a joke. I was just clowning around. If it was up to me, I'd probably sell it for $24.95. At the end of the day, I was just having fun with it. Of course, everybody is going to take it to the next level. But Kobe is the best player in the NBA."

Jennings said those same sentiments to me at the 2010 ESPY Awards long before he took swipes at the Black Mamba. But this of course is nothing new for Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks. You may recall in 2010 he had a heated Twitter exchange with a Jordan Farmar impostor account after the two trash talked during a regular-season game. Jennings may see it as simply no harm, no foul, but he surely seems aware that Bryant may not take it so kindly.

"I heard he circled our game for next year," Jennings said with a smile. Too bad that schedule is irrelevent since, you know, there is an NBA lockout. Hoping to see Bryant attempt to make Jennings eat his words is one of many reasons why this work stoppage needs to end.

RELATED:

Canceled World All-Star Classic means no Kobe Bryant

Brandon Jennings says Kobe Bryant shouldn't appear in Drew League

Jennings has Twitter feud with Jordan Farmar impostor

--Mark Medina

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

NBA lockout: Former Laker Jordan Farmar to play in Israel

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The news falls under the radar compared with Deron Williams' overseas stint in Turkey. It also won't receive as much attention as to what Kobe Bryant's offseason entails, even if his proclamation about wanting to play overseas becomes nothing more than a threat.

But former Laker Jordan Farmar has joined the Israeli basketball team Maccabi Tel Aviv and will play for as long as the NBA lockout lasts. Farmar, who is Jewish, won two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers before moving to the Nets in 2010.

In an interesting twist, Farmer is the second ex-Laker reserve to take his talents elsewhere. Sasha Vujacic also signed with the Turkish basketball team, Anadolu Efes Istanbul.

There's a split among Laker fans on how much the team should actually miss these guys, considering their upside (youth, talent) never truly outweighed their poor decision-making and consumption with playing time and individual performances. It's also debatable whether their overseas stints will even mean much, but at least they're capitalizing on playing overseas rather than just giving lip service that they'll take their services elsewhere. 

RELATED:

Jordan Farmar agrees to deal with New Jersey

Farmar's move could provide a bigger opportunity, or more frustration

Lamenting lost Lakers reserves from 2010 title team points to 20/20 hindsight

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar splits the defense of Boston's Paul Pierce and Michael Finley in the 2010 NBA Finals. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Lamenting the Lakers' lost reserves from the 2010 NBA title team points to 20/20 hindsight

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Throughout each exit interview, every Laker dropped a morsel suggesting the missing piece to the championship puzzle.

Coach Phil Jackson lamented the team's lack of  speed. Center Andrew Bynum wished the team practiced with more intensity. And nearly everyone acknowledged in some form that the heavy basketball mileage accumulated through three consecutive NBA Finals appearances finally caught up to them. 

Interestingly enough, some of the Lakers from the 2010 championship team fit that description before parting ways. Jordan Farmar, who accepted a three-year, $12-million offer with the New Jersey Nets, provided plenty of speed as a backup point guard. Sasha Vujacic, whom the Lakers traded to the New Jersey Nets for Joe Smith, earned a reputation for playing with full intensity in practice and in games. DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell provided enough minutes to keep the Lakers' front line fresh, but the Lakers' failure to re-sign them resulted in Mbenga and Powell joining the New Orleans Hornets and Atlanta Hawks, respectively. 

The Lakers could have used all those missing ingredients, but fans shouldn't criticize Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak for replacing that bench with a veteran-laden reserve unit. Kupchak hardly expressed much satisfaction with the team's bench, citing Steve Blake's feeling uncomfortable on the floor, Matt Barnes' lateral meniscus tear limiting him and Theo Ratliff's arthroscopic surgery on his left knee happening only eight games into the season. But no one could've anticipated the worst-case scenario involving the newly signed players to unfold.

Sure, I found it risky for the Lakers to sign a 37-year-old Ratliff because of the uncertainty about how long he would last. Sure, I found it a little odd that little effort was made to give Smith a role to play  after lamenting the team's lack of support in helping Pau Gasol absorb Andrew Bynum's minutes while Bynum recovered from offseason surgery. And sure, the Lakers at some point are going to have to inject youth into the team to make the transition seamless when the contracts of Kobe Bryant (2013-14), Gasol (2013-14), Ron Artest (2013-14), Lamar Odom (2012-13) and Derek Fisher (2012-13) run out. But criticizing Lakers' front-office decisions during the 2010 offseason only points to 20/20 hindsight.

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Phil Jackson not losing any sleep over Lakers' shooting woes

Kobe1 The Lakers used to walk out of their locker room and casually wander into 110 points a night, no problem.

But the last few weeks? Big problem.

They’ve failed to break 100 in seven of their last nine games, the exceptions coming against Sacramento and Washington, teams whose season-long slogans might as well be “Defense = afterthought.”

The Lakers’ shooting has dipped steadily, be it Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol, who never seem to shoot well on the same night.

On top of it, the Lakers are foundering with a 6-5 road record, well below the 8-1 marks of Western Conference front-runners San Antonio and Dallas.

“I’m really concerned,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said Friday, pausing for dramatic effect. “But I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.”

Instead of panicking, the Lakers are waiting.

Waiting for Andrew Bynum to return, waiting for Theo Ratliff to come back, waiting for something to stimulate them on their road to a possible “three-peat.”

Maybe it will be that Dec. 25 game against Miami. Maybe it will be a steady stream of tough road games that starts at the end of this month with a back-to-back in San Antonio and New Orleans. Maybe it will be the return of their two centers, both of whom are recovering from knee surgeries.

In the meantime, the Lakers (16-7) need timelier shooting from Gasol and Bryant to get a victory Sunday over New Jersey (6-17).

Gasol was fine Friday against Chicago, making nine of 15 attempts, but he shot only 38.7% in the six games before that, numbingly low accuracy for him. Bryant had been the opposite, on a four-game average of 50% accuracy before a nine-for-23 effort against Chicago.

Gasol and Bryant haven’t had great shooting efforts in the same game since a Nov. 17 victory in Detroit.

“We’re shooting poorly. That’s a big difference,” Jackson said after the Lakers’ 88-84 loss in Chicago.

“Guys were long, inconsistent. We made one outside shot in the first half. That’s just not a professional response to this game.”

Said Bryant: “It was just an ugly game.”

How’s he doing?

The Lakers will run into a familiar face Sunday against New Jersey.

Former Lakers and UCLA guard Jordan Farmar is averaging 10.4 points and 4.6 assists in his first season with the Nets.

He had some notable games while subbing for injured starter Devin Harris earlier this month, including 28 points and nine assists in a triple-overtime loss to Oklahoma City and a 16-point, 10-assist game against Charlotte.

Farmar, 24, signed a three-year, $12-million deal last July to join the Nets. The Lakers were not interested in keeping him.

He averaged 6.9 points and 2.1 assists in his four-year career with the Lakers.

Good morning

The Lakers play the Nets at 10 a.m. Pacific time Sunday, the first of two games on their six-game trip that start that early.

The Lakers also play at 10 a.m. PST against Toronto a week from Sunday.

The two games are easily the earliest tipoff times for the Lakers this season.

--Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Kobe Bryant soars in for a reverse layup against against Taj Gibson and the Bulls on Friday. Credit: Tannen Maury / EPA

Lakers start trip with a loss but still decide not to practice

Bulls1_300 The Lakers have lost six of their last eight games, including a defeat Friday night at Chicago that kicked off a six-game trip.

The Lakers have scored fewer than 100 points in seven of their last nine games. They won only two games during that span.

So what does Lakers Coach Phil Jackson do when the team arrives today in New York in advance of Sunday's game against the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center?

Jackson canceled practice.

Maybe it's because the Lakers have defeated the Nets in their last five meetings, and in seven of the last eight.

The Lakers will see former teammate Jordan Farmar, who signed a three-year, $12-million contract with the Nets over the summer as a free agent.

Farmar is averaging 10.4 points and 4.6 assists in 26.1 minutes a game. The point guard is a reserve, but he did start twice when Devin Harris was out with an injury.

Farmar spent the first four years of his professional career with the Lakers. He played two seasons at UCLA.

 -- Broderick Turner, reporting from New York

Photo: Some in-your-face defense by Kobe Bryant and the Lakers couldn't prevent a loss on Friday night to Derrick Rose and the Bulls. Credit: Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune

Five things to watch in Lakers-Minnesota matchup

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1. Can all the Lakers starters play less than 30 minutes? -- The outcome doesn't even appear in question, what with the Lakers starting off 7-0 and Minnesota (1-6) clearly showing that the rebuilding project is going to take some time. No need to exert all your energy on an opponent that doesn't deserve it. The Lakers need to build up a sizable lead, grant rest to the starters and allow the bench take care of the rest.

2. Does Minnesota cause bad luck for the Lakers' health? - Another good reason for the Lakers to build up a double-digit lead entails the fact that it'll make it less likely any of the starters get hurt. That's a universal fact in all games, but for some reason the Timberwolves were present for some rather significant Laker injuries. In a meaningless regular-season game Dec. 11, 2009, former Lakers guard Jordan Farmar fed a poor entry pass to Kobe Bryant that ultimately resulted in an avulsion fracture to his right index finger, and arthritis eventually developed in the knuckle. Then in March 19, 2010, Lakers center Andrew Bynum strained his left Achilles tendon while running up and down the court, an injury that sidelined him for the final 13 regular-season games. I don't really believe in omens, but perhaps some of the Lakers do.

3. See Kevin Love on the bench: UCLA fans might feel inclined to attend the Lakers game tonight considering Love, a former Bruin, will be in town. Not a bad idea, just don't expect him to play much. Perhaps Minnesota Coach and former Laker Kurt Rambis will consider otherwise considering this is a homecoming for Love and, well, he is a good player. But it would strongly deviate from what has happened so far. With the T-Wolves trading Al Jefferson to Utah this summer, it was assumed Love would receive more than a bench role. Despite the third-year power forward leading the Timberwolves with 16.9 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, his 26.4 minutes per game has baffled plenty. As one NBA scout told ESPN's Chris Broussard, "You have to be on crystal meth not to give Love more minutes on that team. It makes no sense.''

4. See the difference in how triangle offenses are run - What's impressed me the most about the Lakers' 7-0 start entails how smoothly they've run their offense. The Lakers' league-leading 114 points per game, league-leading 45% rate from three-point range and league-leading 13.6 per contest reveals a well-oiled machine. The usual consistency from Pau Gasol (24.1 points and 10 rebounds) and Lamar Odom (15.9 points and 11.1 rebounds) showcases their dominance in the post. All these parts, however, reveal how well the Lakers have run the triangle, thanks to constant ball movement, sharp cutting and effective spacing.

"When the triangle works the way it's supposed to, it's beautiful," Lakers forward Luke Walton said during training camp. "It's fun to watch. It's fun to play. When you've got guys working on the same play and making the right reads, it's great. It's the way basketball is meant to be played."

Ever since Rambis' arrival last season with the Timberwolves, he's instituted the triangle system, but it's not run in its entirety simply because of the learning curve. He told the Star Tribune that he doesn't need to tinker with the system other than just allowing time for the team to fully learn it.

"There's nothing that we're doing that's complicated," Rambis told the Star Tribune. "This is all stuff that they know. Young players just have trouble being consistent."

If nothing else, tonight's game should serve as a visual reminder why the Lakers' offense has functioned so well. Having experienced and talented players makes a heck of a difference.

5. The Lakers won't be tested on defense. For all well the Lakers have played, the defense could still be sharpened. But that's going to be a problem against Minnesota. No player shoots above 50%. And for all the concern about how Bynum's absence exposes the Lakers' interior defense, they can be comforted by the fact that T-Wolves center Darko Milicic only shoots 23.1% from the field, considering his attempts mostly come from, you know, inside the paint.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

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

Photo: Kobe Bryant takes the ball past Minnesota's Wesley Johnson during an exhibition game in Europe. Credit: Dylan Martinez, Reuters.

Preseason question of the day: Will the Lakers manage to rest their starters enough this season for the playoffs?

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Whenever I hear the tired argument that Phil Jackson has won 11 championship rings simply because he's coached some of the league's best players, I offer a litany of responses.

Jackson knows how to manage egos: he properly assesses which players need their space, which players need positive reinforcement and which players respond well to criticism. Jackson knows how to keep his team relaxed: he properly assesses when to keep an even keel, when to express anger and when to maintain his sense of humor. And most importantly, Jackson knows how to get his team looking its best once the postseason begins: He properly assesses how to pace the team through the regular-season grind, when to dial the intensity down and when to raise the level up.

Surprisingly enough, the Lakers actually entered the 2010 postseason looking far from their best. Kobe Bryant (sprained right knee), Andrew Bynum (strained left Achilles tendon) and Sasha Vujacic (sprained left ankle) entered the postseason with significant injuries. The team had limped into the playoffs with a 4-7 mark in the last 11 regular season games. And because of the bench's inconsistency, it was unclear whether the Lakers would really have the depth to absorb injuries during the postseason.

Fortunately for the Lakers, everything turned out all right. They won the 2010 championship and the Lakers proved healthy enough to slog through June. It can't be stressed enough how instrumental the weeklong rest between the West semifinals (Utah) and the West finals (Phoenix) became in the Lakers' title run. After getting his knee drained following Game 5 of the first-round series against Oklahoma City, Bryant sat out practices entirely for the rest of the postseason. So  did Bynum, who had torn cartilage in his right knee and eventually drained his knee twice during the playoffs. And everyone else on the roster at least enjoyed catching their breath and recovering from the numerous dings they absorbed throughout the season.

It's a good thing they rested then because the Lakers didn't have the same luxury during the regular season. Although the team overcame that challenge, it's something they would much rather avoid doing. That's without a doubt one of the biggest preseason questions: how much rest will the Lakers starters receive during the regular season so they're at their full strength  during the playoffs?

 

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Former Laker Jordan Farmar makes cameo appearance on Entourage

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HBO is the gift that keeps on giving. It provides amazing enterprise reporting with Real Sports. It recently finished hilarious and revealing behind-the-scenes coverage of the New York Jets' training camp in Hard Knocks. And it features the original series Entourage, which recently had former Laker Jordan Farmar and former UCLA star Kevin Love in a cameo appearance in the season finale.

Feel free to re-read that sentence again. Also feel free to re-read the following sentence I'm about to type. In the episode, Farmar and Love help break up a fight between Vinny Chase and Eminem. Something tells me Farmar did this kind of thing plenty of times in practice whenever Sasha Vujacic and whoever made him upset went all Rage Against the Machine.

I can't link to the described video because it's Times policy not to link articles or videos that feature profanity. And Entourage has plenty of that. So instead, I'll walk you through a Google search: type "Jordan Farmar" and "Entourage" and you'll see a website titled "JerseyChaser.com".  After a few clicks, watch and enjoy Farmar playing peacemaker. 

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin.com

Highlighting the best from the 1,000-comment post

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It had served as nothing more than a throwaway line. But it quickly became a rallying cry for the L.A. Times Lakers blog readers. With there being very little Laker news and the fact I wanted to enjoy a Saturday at the beach, I suggested to everyone to try to shoot for 500 comments in that day's only post. When I returned the next day, I saw everyone carry that pledge ... and then some.

At that point, there were around 600 comments on the thread, and I thought at first maybe I had just been out in the sun too long. But no it wasn't a mirage and it wasn't about to stop anytime soon. After then raising the ante to 800, this legendary post eventually reached 1,130 comments, which might spark a petition on my behalf to see if it this qualifies for any sort of Guinness World Record. Hey, then we'll be spoken within the same breath as Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown for shattering a record for most free throws made in a minute. To make it easier to store this legendary post for future use, I made a new category called "1,000 comment post," which is included in the categories below. That category will include the original post as well as this one that highlights all the best comments so you can treasure it for years to come. It could also serve as an easy reference tool for when the good people with the Guinness World Records verify our claim. Now we just need a volunteer to get in touch with them.

Without further ado, below the jump are the best comments from that memorable post.

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Caught in the Web: Matt Barnes asks for love from Laker fans

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-- The Times' DeAntae Prince details Magic Johnson's prediction that the Lakers will three-peat.

-- The Orange County Register's Janis Carr argues that Theo Ratliff will provide the Lakers with a defensive presence.

-- The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Christian Boone looks at how former Laker forward Josh Powell will fit into the Hawks' lineup.

-- NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper explains how Matt Barnes has patched things up with the Lakers.

-- Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins explains in the video below how much Barnes will help the Lakers.

-- Ball Don't Lie's Trey Kerby looks at Kobe Bryant and Barnes and the ready-made "boyfriend-and-girlfriend" heckle.

-- ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin believes Derrick Caracter has a good chance to crack a spot on the Lakers' roster.

--Hoopsworld's Eric Pincus analyzes the Lakers' roster.

-- Lakers.com's Mike Trudell talks with NBA.com's John Schuhmann about USA Basketball, including Lamar Odom.

-- The China Daily's Chen Xiangfeng says Bryant is struggling with accepting that he should do nothing this off-season so he can recover from injuries and fatigue.

-- Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark has a report card on Jordan Farmar.

-- Forum Blue and Gold's Jeff misses Rick Fox.

Tweet of the Day: "Quick question?? All those LAKER fans that hated me you rolln or yall still cool on me.... Hahahaa We family now rite???????????????????????" -- matt_Barnes22 (Lakers forward Matt Barnes)

Reader Comment of the Day: "I disagree with what Magic Johnson said that the heat will win titles in 2 to 3 years.my personal take of this matter is as long as kobe is healthy and still playing probably 4-5 years more i think with the current lakers line-up as long as their all healthy the lakers will win it all" -- Adrian Palomar

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Former Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes agreed to a two-year deal with the Lakers, turning down a more lucrative offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Credit: Elsa / Getty Images

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