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How a possible lockout affects the Lakers

Here's a look at how the possibility of an NBA work stoppage affects the Lakers organization and some of their players and executives.

Lakers: In 2012-13, the Lakers begin a 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable  that The Times' Bill Plaschke reported could be worth as much as $3 billion. The Lakers already made plans in anticipation of a possible work stoppage, with The Times' Mike Bresnahan reporting the organization will not offer new contracts to about 20 key employees on their player-personnel side. Bresnahan reports that Lakers assistants Brian Shaw, Chuck Person, Frank Hamblen and Jim Cleamons have contracts that expire on June 30. Part-time assistant coaches Craig Hodges and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are also in the last years of their contracts, and two members of the team's video department, Chris Bodaken and Patrick O'Keefe, were told they won't have contracts at the end of the season. 

Derek Fisher: Being the president of the NBA Players' Assn., he's at the forefront of negotiating a new collective-bargaining agreement with the league owners. The Times' Broderick Turner reported the owners presented an offer last week that entailed a hard salary cap, significant rollbacks in existing contracts and a larger share of the basketball-related income, a proposal Fisher in his exit interview called "disappointing." Even with the labor agreement expiring June 30, Fisher said he feels "hopeful and optimistic"  a lockout can be avoided.

"There's a lot at stake," he said. "I think both sides, as bad as we want to get a deal done, we're still going to be very careful about how we proceed with these matters. As much as the NBA speaks about the future of the game and trying to protect the game itself, that's a priority of ours as well.... The goal is to get a deal done and not necessarily rush through it, but to try and get something done that will sustain us for the next several years to come."

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Kobe Bryant looking good on trip; Andrew Bynum still not ready to play

Kobe Bryant hasn’t practiced consistently this year because of his surgically-repaired right knee, but he has looked good during the first two games of the Lakers'  three-game trip that finishes Friday night in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.

But that hasn't been the case for Andrew Bynum and his quest to return from right knee surgery.

Bynum was on the court with Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person Wednesday night in Detroit, but the center probably won't be ready to play anytime soon.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said after practice Thursday that he told Bynum he would like him to be ready to play Dec. 10 when the Lakers start a six-game trip to the East Coast against the Chicago Bulls.

Jackson said Bynum probably will practice with the Lakers on Monday.

“It looks to me like we just have to say, 'We want this to be right,' ” Jackson said. “And we want him to last for a whole season. We don’t want to rush this.”

Bryant hasn't practiced much, but it hasn't been a problem lately.

He's averaging 32 points on 48.8% (21-for-43 shooting) in the first two road games.

He's also averaging eight rebounds and 3.5 assists. His three-point shooting hasn't been good, though. Bryant is making only 30% (three-for-10) of his threes.

“He’s benefited a lot from staying off the court and being strong and ready to play,” Jackson said. “Sometimes his shooting is just not right, but he still finds a way to score points.”

Ron Artest has been playing with a sore back, but he will play Friday night against the Timberwolves.

-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Minnealpolis 

Magic Johnson and his next move: NBA ownership?


A former colleague of ours, Scott Howard-Cooper, had an interesting article on about Magic Johnson possibly joining a new ownership group for the Detroit Pistons. Owner Bill Davidson passed away at age 86 in March and the family is expected to sell the team in the near future, likely to a Detroit group headed by Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.

Magic, an All-American high school player from East Lansing, Mich., and NCAA champion with Michigan State, has been rumored to be in talks to join Ilitch and Pistons GM Joe Dumars to become part of that group.

Does this make sense? Could it really happen? Yes and absolutely. Magic is never one to rest on his laurels and he loves to be part of something new and exciting. I'm not positive of the NBA rules, but I'm sure he'd have to give up his small interest in the Lakers -- I think we all know the Buss family will be running the Lake Show for many years to come -- to join another ownership group for a rival franchise.

The Davidson family has said they'd like to have a new ownership group in place before the start of the upcoming season, so the rumors, talks and discussion on who might take control and who will be involved should start heating up.

-- Dan Loumena

Photo: Lakers star power: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Pat Riley join Lakers owner Jerry Buss on stage during his acceptance speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., this summer. Credit: Brian Snyder / Reuters

Lakers represented in pickup game with President Obama

When President Obama played in an organized star-studded "Dream Team" of sorts pickup basketball game Sunday, the Lakers were well represented.

Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Pau Gasol, coming off back-to-back NBA championships after defeating the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals in June, were part of the group that included LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Derrick Rose. Bryant was unable to play because he's still recovering from right knee surgery he had last month.

Lakers legend and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson also participated in the game that was played at Fort McNair, which is in the District of Columbia. The game was played in front of wounded veterans and participants in a White House mentoring program.

"It was one of the highlights of my life," Johnson said Monday after he had returned home to Los Angeles. "It was just amazing. We got a chance to play pickup basketball with the president of the United States and I had a chance to play with the best basketball players in the world and got to go on the White House lawn and have a barbeque. You can't ask for anything better than that."

Obama, who turned 49 last Wednesday, treated himself with a special birthday gift by playing with the hoop stars.

"It was good that four Lakers were represented," Johnson said. "Obama hit the game-winner in one of the games. It was amazing. It really was just a lot of fun."

-- Broderick Turner

Farmar agrees to deal with New Jersey; leaving Lakers

Jordan Farmar said he has agreed to a three-year, $12-million deal with the New Jersey Nets, ending his ties with the Lakers.

Farmar said he can opt out of his deal after the second season.

Farmar spent all four of his NBA seasons with the Lakers and was a part of two championship teams.

"This is a great opportunity for me," Farmar said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Farmar said he'll get a chance to play behind starting Nets point guard Devin Harris and for a coach, Avery Johnson, who played point guard in the NBA.

-- Broderick Turner

Lakers' Jordan Farmar gets contract offer from New Jersey

Jordan Farmar said Sunday that he has gotten a contract offer from the New Jersey Nets, but that he hasn't signed it yet.

Farmar, who spent his first four NBA seasons with the Lakers, said the offer was for three years and $12 million.

"It's on the table," Farmar said in a phone interview. "Both sides are trying to figure some things out. I'm definitely interested."

Farmar became an unrestricted free agent when the Lakers decided at the end of July not to enxtend the 6-foot-2 guard a qualfying offer. That meant the Lakers couldn't match any offer Farmar got from another team.

Farmar won two NBA championships with the Lakers, but he has always felt his style of play was not best suited for the triangle offense.

Farmar also has wanted to be a starter with the Lakers, but has spent the last three seasons behind Derek Fisher, who still is in negotiations with the Lakers and Miami Heat for a multi-year contract.

If Farmar does sign a deal with the Nets, he'll probably still will be a back-up point guard behind Devin Harris.

-- Broderick Turner

Lakers' Derek Fisher to talk with Miami Heat

Lakers free-agent guard Derek Fisher boarded a flight Friday to Miami and was scheduled to speak with Heat president Pat Riley Saturday about the possibility of joining that team, said a source close to the situaton who was not authorized to speak on the matter publicy.

Fisher still has hopes of playing next season for the Lakers, the source said, but contract negotiations are moving at a slow pace.

"We're having ongoing discussions," Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said Friday. "Both parties want to be back, and hopefully that's what will happen."

With LeBron James joining forces in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat has become a team many think can compete for a championship next season.

That's something that interests Fisher, who has won five championships rings with the Lakers. 

"Yes, Derek is on his way to talk with Pat Riley," the source said. "He's there to hear [Riley] out. I think Derek is going to take everything under consideration before he makes a decision."

Fisher, who will be 36 next month, earned $5 million last season in the final year of a three-year deal.

-- Broderick Turner

Live chat Thursday for LeBron James' special announcement


Just a housekeeping note: Yes, I plan to have a live chat Thursday beginning at 5:30 p.m. and continuing during LeBron James' 6 p.m. special on ESPN, in which he is expected to share his free-agent plans. Will he join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami and completely devastate the city of Cleveland? Will he devote the hourlong slot to share why he's going to stick it out with the Cavaliers? Or will this must-see event involve a surprise, such as why the Clippers just seemed to have too good of an offer to pass up?

Keep in mind that my participation in the chat is tentative at this point. If there is any media availability Thursday on anything Lakers-related, there's a chance I may be tied up putting together the write-ups and video from that session, leaving everyone to enjoy the show unmoderated. However, if all remains quiet on the Lakers front, I'll be sure to join in on the fun. 

The main question I want answered isn't which team James decides to play for, but how on Earth will he fill an hourlong program. Will it feature President Obama giving an introductory speech? Will it showcase James giving a PowerPoint presentation on his decision-making process? Will Jay-Z perform in hopes that he can seal the deal for the Nets?  Or will the segment really just be a 55-minute edition of "SportsCenter," with the last five minutes detailing James' decision? The possibilities are endless.

Feel free to share your predictions in the comments sections below. Whatever happens, be comforted to know that we'll all witness it in the live chat together.

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: LeBron James Credit: Paul Tople / Associated Press

Lakers assistant Brian Shaw withdraws name from Cleveland coaching job

Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw has decided to take his name out of the running for the head coaching job with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Shaw's agent, Jerome Stanley, said Wednesday afternoon that his client thanked Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and General Manager Chris Grant for the two days of interviewing, but that the process was moving too fast for Shaw to make a decision.

"Brian is withdrawing his name from the Cleveland coaching job," Stanley said in a phone interview. "Things were moving too fast and the timing of everything was at a fast pace."

Shaw, 44, also may remain a candidate to replace Lakers Coach Phil Jackson if he retires.

Either way, Shaw, who along with the rest of the Lakers' coaching staff is in the final month of his contract, probably will be back on the Lakers' bench if Jackson does come back to coach the team.

After meeting with the Cavaliers on Monday and Tuesday, Shaw had become the front-runner to replace fired Cleveland coach Mike Brown, but no offer was made to Shaw.

Byron Scott, who also might be a candidate to replace Jackson, has interviewed with the Cavaliers for the job, about a week before Shaw had his interview.

-- Broderick Turner

Lakers don't make offer to Jordan Farmar, who now becomes a free agent


The Lakers decided Wednesday not to give restricted guard Jordan Farmar a one-year, $3-million contract offer.

It means that Farmar becomes an unrestricted free agent, and that the Lakers could lose him and get nothing in return when the free-agency period begins at 9:01 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday.

If the Lakers had tendered Farmar a deal, known as a qualifying offer, he would have remained a restricted free agent and they would have had the rights to match any offer sheet he signed with another team.

"The Lakers cared enough to let me become a free agent," Farmar said in a phone interview. "I was excited to hear it. I was real happy. If I do decide to leave, I'll have nothing but positive things to remember about the Lakers."

Farmar, 23, has spent his entire four-year NBA career with the Lakers, winning two championships.

He also wants to become a starter in the NBA, something Farmar was unable to do with the Lakers because of veteran point guard Derek Fisher.

Famar also feels that the Lakers' triangle offense prohibits his game, which he believes is better suited for an up-tempo offense.

Farmar said he thinks that the Indiana Pacers are just one of the teams interested in him. He didn't rule out returning to the Lakers, but Farmar knows that is a long shot.

-- Broderick Turner

Photo: Jordan Farmar (1) splits the defense of Boston's Paul Pierce and Michael Finley (40) for a layup during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times



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