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Category: Luke Walton

Kobe Bryant has other people pack his suitcase [Video]

The Lakers play at Denver on Friday evening in their first game of six-game trip.

While Kobe Bryant has to worry about improving his team's dismal 2-7 road record over an arduous 10-day stretch, he does not have to think twice about packing.

That's because he has other people do the job for him.

"I don't do that," he said. "I'm Hollywood; my stylist does it for me. I don't touch a suitcase. I'm Hollywood, I've been here for 16 years now man, I don't lift a finger."

Since Bryant has millions upon millions of dollars and the Lakers have two rookies on the team, that statement may be more literal than one may think.

Rookie guard Andrew Goudelock recently said that he often has to fetch the veterans' laundry and shoes.

Failing to deliver comes with major consequences.

Just ask Darius Morris, who was hazed during the team's last trip because he didn't bring his teammates burgers from In-N-Out. Among his punishments, Morris had to pose like a butler with a towel over his wrist while his teammates dined.

When Bryant was asked whether the rookies help him pack as another one of their duties, he shook his head.

"No, you seen them dress?" he said. "They don't touch my stuff."

In the video above, the Lakers discuss their favorite and least favorite things about traveling together.

Morris sits next to Bryant on the plane and while he wouldn't reveal what the Black Mamba does en route, he said that the NBA star talks to him and gives him valuable tips on the plane.

"I witness the Kobe System every day," he said.

Other fun tidbits -- Metta World Peace's favorite cities are Miami and New York. Jason Kapono said (jokingly?) that he wears cucumbers and a mask on the plane to beautify his complexion and claimed (jokingly) that Luke Walton changes clothes every two hours.

"I don't know if it's a Hollywood thing or like a bodily thing," he said.

The Lakers enter this long road stretch coming off of a 106-73 victory against Charlotte on Tuesday in which they were able to rest their starters.

Denver is currently in second place in the Western Conference with a record of 15-7 while the Lakers are sixth at 13-9.

MORE:

It's game on in Denver despite heavy snow

Roaches, road trips? It's all the same to Metta World Peace [Video]

Lakers' Darius Morris is hazed for not getting teammates "In N Out" [Video]

-- Melissa Rohlin

Luke Walton needles Derek Fisher, Fisher jabs Mike Brown [Video]

Clad in sharp clothes while sitting on a stage at a recent event at Staples Center, the Lakers were quick to dish out loving jabs at one another. No one was immune from the joking, not even the team captain and the coach.

It began when Luke Walton was asked what music was on his iPod. The forward immediately named singer Adele.

"That was your first thought?" Fisher asked jokingly.

Said Walton: "I'm going in alphabetical order."

Walton then shot back at his teammate, saying that he's also been listening to Fisher's single.

"It went platinum in Bosnia, didn't it?" Barnes added.

The ensuing laughter prompted Lakers legend A.C. Green to ask Fisher to give a live performance. Fisher refused, claiming that he has a wife and children now.

"Don't forget who the captain is," Fisher said.

Lakers Coach Mike Brown was the next target.

When asked what TV shows he likes watching, Fisher interjected.

"Defensive clip No. 17, offensive clip No. 12," Fisher said.

Said Brown: "Are the film sessions that bad?"

"They're not that good, though," Barnes replied with a laugh.

The Lakers off-court chemistry is palpable. Let's see if it can translate to the hardwood when the team plays the Clippers at Staples Center on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

— Melissa Rohlin

Teammates say Kobe Bryant is Laker with the most swagger [Video]

Jason Kapono and Luke Walton clearly have a lot of chemistry. During an event at Staples Center on Tuesday evening, Kapono joked that the first word out of his mouth was "Luuuuke," his voice turning low and exaggerating the word as Lakers fans do when Walton enters the game.

"This guy gets so much love it is crazy," Kapono said of Walton. "He's been here for eight years. He's a casual guy, he's a likable guy."

The love fest continued.

Kapono fawned over Walton's semi-unbuttoned shirt and Walton complimented Kapono's purple tie. "When I grow up, that's what I want to look like," Walton said.

Though the two men obviously respect each other a great deal, when asked who has the most swagger on the team, they chose another teammate.

"I don't think it's possible to have more swag than Kobe," Walton said.

Said Kapono: "Yeah, No. 24 has swag. I don't think anyone else throws on a pair of sunglasses right after practice ends."

-- Melissa Rohlin

Lakers have trouble reaching Lamar Odom

The Lakers' locker room appears less jovial. The team's bench remains at worst unproductive and at best inconsistent. The reality television show cameras no longer are present.

But there is another tangible reminder of how much life has changed for the Lakers without Lamar Odom: Nearly all of the phone calls that Pau Gasol and Luke Walton have made to Odom lately have gone unanswered.

"He doesn't answer his phone," Walton said. "His voicemail is always full."

Odom's relationship with the Lakers organization became strained after the team included him in a three-team trade centered around Chris Paul, a move the NBA rejected. So much so that the Lakers accommodated Odom's request for a trade and sent him to the Dallas Mavericks. But that hardly applies to Odom's former teammates, who look forward to hosting the Mavericks on Monday at Staples Center.

The game marks the first time this season that the Lakers will face the team that swept them in the Western Conference semifinals last season, and it also will be the first time at least for some of the Lakers players that they have talked to Odom for a while.

Continue reading »

Things to watch in Lakers-Kings game

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Some things to keep an eye on when the Lakers play at Sacramento on the second day of a three-game stretch.

1. How will Kobe Bryant's wrist hold up? I hope to keep the Kobe wrist-watch analysis in perspective, so it doesn't sound redundant. Believe me, asking Bryant how his wrist is feeling becomes as annoying to him as the reporter asking it. But it's going to be inevitable, at least for the next couple of games. As Bryant showed Christmas Day with a 28-point performance on 11-of-23 shooting, his stroke is largely unaffected -- at least to the point that he only needs to wear athletic tape around the wrist, instead of a protective device. However, his eight turnovers can be at least partly attributed to his wrist problem. The lower that number drops, the more it will indicate that Bryant is making better adjustments on his handle. 

2. The Lakers need a pick-me-up. The Lakers definitely need this back-to-back to immediately rectify blowing an 11-point lead in the final minutes of the Christmas opener. In that game, they showed that hard work alone won't be enough to beat elite opponents, and certainly won't wipe out ridiculous mistakes. The game against Sacramento gives them an opportunity to correct those and errors and feel better after collecting a win.

Continue reading »

Clippers catching Magic Johnson's attention (Web links)

Magic Johnson

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan and myself highlight Magic Johnson's impressions of the Clippers and why the Lakers need consistently strong performances from Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

--The Times' Ben Bolch dives into how NBA teams and players have handled a frenetic free agency period and training camp overlapping.

--The Times' Broderick Turner explains why Clippers guard Randy Foye isn't worried about his future. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr and Kevin Ding focuses on Kobe Bryant relishing Mike Brown's criticism. 

--Fox Sports ranks the Lakers as the sixth-best team in the NBA. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky argues the Lakers should pursue Gilbert Arenas. 

--Sheridan Hoops' Mark Heisler muses over the Clippers' stealing attention away from the Lakers. 

--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe says Chris Paul has already arrived with the Clippers. 

--Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum ranks Derek Fisher in ninth place among aging veterans. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne explores Bryant's leadership qualities. 

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford explains why Bryant feels fine with Brown criticizing him.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell explains how Bryant and Brown bond over hard work. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's Ben R. breaks down the Lakers' offense. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano previews the Lakers-Clippers matchup. 

Tweet of the Day: "Let's remember Kobe has around clock training staff that he swears by. Might be only person not concerned" -- DuranLA (710 ESPN's Beto Duran)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "With the Lakers potential of a slow start to the season....I guess we could see more of 'Kobe taking over' with 'more' minutes than he should be playing for such an ardous season. It will be hard for Coach Brown to stick to his game and season plan if the Lakers are falling behind in the standings." -- John Fatland

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Magic Johnson, clockwise from left, says the Lakers will need Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to play their best for the team to be successful. Credits: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times; Paul Buck / EPA; Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Luke Walton isn't planning on early retirement (Web links)

Luke Walton

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan talks with Lakers forward Luke Walton, who says he won't retire early and isn't concerned about the team possibly cutting him through the amnesty clause. Bresnahan also reports Metta World Peace arrived at the Lakers' facility Thursday heavier than last season.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi hears the crickets chirping Thursday at the Lakers' practice facility. Markazi also argues Dwight Howard would be a perfect fit with either the Lakers or the Clippers.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding believes Andrew Bynum is primed for his best season yet.

--ESPN.com's John Hollinger comes up with a few trade scenarios involving the Lakers acquiring Howard and Chris Paul (insider subscription required). 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin highlights the importance that Lamar Odom remain consistent this season.

--CBS Sports' Matt Moore wonders if the Lakers should trade Bynum for Howard. 

--NBA.com and NBA TV return to normal and actually feature current NBA players!

--NBA.com's John Schuhmann ranks the Lakers fifth overall in his first set of power rankings. 

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell catches up with Coach Mike Brown about how he gets ready for the 2011-12 season. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's J.M. Poulard reviews Shaquille O'Neal's book. 

Tweet of the Day: "Bulls and Lakers lust after Afflalo, I'm told, but it'll take a cap-room team to assemble an offer good enough to get him out of Denver" -- ESPNSteinLine (ESPN.com's Marc Stein)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "This Lakers team is very good 'as is'. But just as the used car you buy that's sold 'as is', the Lakers have some problems needing fixing with no guarantees of a Championship" -- John Fatland

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers forward Luke Walton, who has been an assistant coach at the University of Memphis this fall, will rejoin the team soon to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. Credit: Justin A. Shaw / For The Times.

NBA lockout: Who should Lakers waive via amnesty clause?

Mitch KupchakAll the hand-wringing during the NBA lockout negotiations makes it unclear what exactly a new collective bargaining agreement will entail.

But there's one thing that's likely to come to fruition: All teams will have an amnesty clause allowing them to shed a bad contract without any financial consequences.

Forget about wondering what this could mean for Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum. Even if Bryant is nearing the tail-end of his career, Gasol played poorly in the 2011 NBA playoffs and Bynum may remain injury-prone, sizing up those scenarios are just absurd. Bryant remains the team's franchise player, and shedding ties would only start an L.A. riot. Gasol's postseason showing will prove to be nothing more than an aberration. And for Bynum, the Lakers' front office loves him so much there's nothing outside of an offer for Dwight Howard that would prompt the Lakers to part ways.

There are a few others, however, who should be worried about their future should this likely scenario happen. 

Continue reading »

Luke Walton reportedly contemplating retirement

Luke Walton is reportedly considering retiring from the NBA.

In news that will cause many Lakers fans to pop champagne bottles as if it were New Year's Eve or the end of another Lakers championship run, forward Luke Walton is reportedly considering retirement.

"One team insider said that Walton, though just 31, has indeed begun to contemplate retirement because of a debilitating back condition, with Walton himself telling ESPN.com’s Andy Katz earlier this summer that he’s seen multiple doctors who have advised him to stop playing," as reported by ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Chad Ford.

Lakers fans may need to hold on tight before popping the cork just yet. Walton is still owed $11.46 million in the next two years. Presuming his assistant coaching gig with the Memphis Tigers doesn't suddenly put him on the market as one of college basketball's elite coaches, there's 11.46 million reasons for Walton to resist hanging up his laces. The Lakers, though, may very well force the issue.

Should the new collective bargaining agreement entail an amnesty clause, as expected, all NBA teams will be able to shed one contract as if it were a Monopoly's "Get Out of Jail Free" card. There's plenty of reasons why the Lakers would most likely use that on Walton. Even though he got through the 2010-11 mostly injury free, his extensive back injuries could return. His triangle offense expertise no longer holds value with Phil Jackson gone. His lack of athleticism and speed are  not good matches with Mike Brown's fast-paced offense.

So Lakers fans, hold off on celebrating for now. Like a championship run, these things don't happen overnight.

RELATED:

Five things Luke Walton needs for a successful season

Luke Walton says criticism on contract 'obviously bothers me'

Kevin Love exchanges playful trash talk with Luke Walton

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Luke Walton talks to reporters in Memphis about his opportunity to coach college basketball. Credit: Justin A. Shaw / Commercial Appeal

Five things Luke Walton needs for a successful season

Luke WaltonThis is the ninth in a series of reports that focus on five things each Lakers player must do to have a successful 2011-12 season (assuming there is one, of course).

1. Stay healthy. Nothing has saddled Luke Walton worse than falling to the injury bug. For a player that has already fallen on the Lakers' depth chart, hurting his back or any other body part will only exacerbate matters.

2. Improve shooting. Of course, staying healthy won't do much if he doesn't offer anything valuable on the basketball court. It's a telling sign that former coach Phil Jackson limited Walton's playing time as he averaged 1.7 points on 32.8% shooting despite his strong understanding of the triangle offense.

Walton can't bring any of that value in the 2011-2012 season because Coach Mike Brown will have a faster-paced offense. So it's important that Walton's apparent work this offseason on his shot actually translates on the court. After all, Kobe Bryant has often said Walton remains one of the team's most consistent shooters in practice, but those qualities haven't translated to the games.

3. Hustle in practice. Credit Walton for not allowing his frustration over lost playing time last season to affect his overall work ethic. He's often been considered one of the team's hardest workers in practice, and the 2011-2012 season shouldn't be any different. Walton might not bring anything to actual games, but at least he can help sharpen the starters' practice work habits.

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