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Category: Phil Jackson

Mike Brown laying groundwork for 2011-2012 season

Every time Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak looks out his office window, he sees the team's practice court.

There, Mike Brown and his coaching staff are usually laying down a foundation for their offensive and defensive sets, for whenever the 2011-2012 season starts.

"They're on the court every day," Kupchak said. "We don't have much going on right now, so it's nice to see a court lit up and people on it."

It's hard to quantify what that work will mean until the season starts. Who knows whether Magic Johnson's optimistic prediction that Brown is "going to do an outstanding job" will pan out? After all, the Lakers' coaching staff can't contact any players. Kupchak has to wait for the league and the players union to reach a new collective bargaining agreement deal before scouring potential free-agent and trade scenarios. More important, who knows how the Lakers' veteran-laden roster and Brown will work together?

Brown has plenty of reasons, however, to view the offseason as "very productive."

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Magic Johnson ready for some football

Magic Johnson --ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne notes that Magic Johnson is reaffirming his involvement with AEG in trying to secure an NFL team in L.A.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding argues that Pau Gasol can only redeem himself on the NBA court, but he credits Gasol for his good effort in the FIBA European Championships.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer provides an evenhanded take on the non-relationship between Jerry West and Phil Jackson.

--Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin pokes fun at Lamar Odom publicly tweeting his plans to possibly play in Europe after next season.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky as well as 710 ESPN's Dave Miller debate which Laker would suffer the most from an extended lockout.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin reports that Derek Fisher plans to skip the Impact Basketball Academy's Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas next week because of his responsibilities as president of the National Basketball Players Assn.'s Mike Trudell details the Lakers' 33-game winning streak during the 1971-72 season.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano notes the importance the Competitive Training Series will have on Derrick Caracter.

Tweet of the Day: "While I fully support the Impact League and all the players, I have NOT committed to playing, nor can I at this point." -- derekfisher (Lakers guard Derek Fisher)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "Why would Lamar choose such a public way of reaching out to Pau? A text or phone call would seem more appropriate unless he is trying to stir something up here. The soap opera continues..." -- baytola2


Magic Johnson talks about possibly owning an NFL team or the Dodgers

Magic Johnson appears in Quicken Loans commercial

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Magic Johnson. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Phil Jackson appears in Audi commercial

Even as he's enjoying retirement, it appears Phil Jackson's coaching hasn't stopped.

Appearing in an Audi commercial, Jackson walks into a restaurant, overhears a "chef" yelling at one of his workers and explains why that wasn't the best approach.

"I've found that anger is the enemy of instruction," Jackson says.

"You don't know the egos I have to deal with," the chef responds, supposedly not realizing he's talking to the Zen master.

Jackson smirks, perhaps thinking back to his days handling Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. "You're probably right," he says.

Of course, Jackson could've followed his own advice at times. Ripping Bryant in his book "The Last Season" required both Bryant and Jackson to go at great lengths to restore their relationship during the coach's second run with the Lakers. Jackson poking Pau Gasol in the chest during Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Dallas Mavericks only sapped the power forward's confidence even more. 

But Jackson's legacy, with 11 championship rings, will always be closely tied his Zen-like qualities. They helped persuade Michael Jordan to embrace the triangle offense. They spurred O'Neal and Bryant to temporarily put their issues aside for three consecutive title runs. And recently they helped Rodman compose himself through an emotional Hall of Fame acceptance speech.

They also apparently don't hurt when shooting car commercials. 


Lakers Report Card: Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson downplays sentiments regarding retirement

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson conflicted about team's readiness for the postseason

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

NBA Hall of Fame: Tex Winter credited for teaching triangle offense

Tex Winter

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding looks at the influence Phil Jackson provided on Tex Winter and Dennis Rodman.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer looks at how the secondary market will hurt with an NBA lockout.'s Scott Howard-Cooper details the long wait Winter endured before being inducted.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky talks with Trevor Ariza about growing up playing in L.A.

--Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum argues Dennis Rodman doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame because he was simply a supporting player.

--Fox Sports West's Joe McDonnell explains how Winter earned respect for his willingness to tell the truth and teach basketball. details the Laker Girls traveling to Kentucky.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano wonders if Pau Gasol will find his groove in the European Championships.

--Lakers Nation's Daniel Buerge talks with former WNBA great Lisa Leslie about the Lakers.

Tweet of the Day: "Lakers fans owe Tex Winter so much for his mentorship+friendship of the young Kobe. Tex played a key role in his development." -- lazenby (Lakers author Roland Lazenby)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "A well deserved and overdue induction into the Hall of Fame. Congrats to Tex Winter." -- Martina Kienzie


Lakers learned plenty from Tex Winter

Roland Lazenby discusses Tex Winter's Hall of Fame induction

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: The Lakers' Tex Winter in 2001. Credit: Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times

NBA Hall of Fame: Roland Lazenby discusses Tex Winter's Hall of Fame induction

For far too long, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame each year has announced an induction list that left out one important name: Tex Winter.

It left plenty of people confused and frustrated about why Winter's role as a key architect of the triangle offense didn't warrant a spot in the Hall of Fame beyond his "contributor" tag. Former Chicago Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause resigned from the committee in protest. Former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson campaigned for Winter's inclusion through letter-writing and comments in the media, but said he believed Winter wouldn't get in because he "outlived his contemporaries." Lakers guard Kobe Bryant argued testily that "they should fire the whole panel" because of the snub. And Winter's son, Chris, once told reporters that his father had received seven nominations to be inducted, though the limit is supposed to be five, efforts that hardly worked out.

Until now. 

Winter will be among those inducted Friday at Springfield, Mass., and Jackson will be his presenter. Winter didn't sound entirely thrilled about the news when he initially learned about it, telling reporters he was irritated because the stroke he suffered two years ago will prevent him giving his own speech. Longtime Lakers author Roland Lazenby, who's known Winter since his days as a Chicago Bulls assistant coach, argues that the new inductee has been wrongfully overlooked in the past because he mostly has been an assistant coach in the NBA, but that at least the snub didn't last forever.

"There was a little bit of loosening in attitude," said Lazenby, who's written about Winter extensively in books such as "Mind Games: Phil Jackson's Long Strange Journey" and "Mad Game: The NBA Education of Kobe Bryant." "But you couldn't be sure. He had been turned down so much." 

Lazenby hit on a number of topics in the audio clip above. Click below the jump for the highlights

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Kobe Bryant pours cold water on Besiktas talk

Kobe Bryant By constantly name-dropping Kobe Bryant, the Turkish basketball club Besiktas performed the same mistake plenty of guys make when they brag about girlfriends they don't have and cars they pretend they own.

They soon become exposed as nothing more than frauds and further hurt their chances of their wishes and dreams actually becoming reality. Case in point, Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears and Adrian Wojnarowski reported Bryant "became irritated with Besiktas officials making public proclamations on the status of talks with him," which is why it isn't surprising he claimed ignorance to reporters in Washington, where he attended the World Football Challenge on Saturday and the Mia Hamm-Nomar Garciaparra Celebrity Soccer Challenge on Sunday.

"I've been touring. I get the Internet. I'm computer literate, so I can read on the Internet, and I read a lot of things and hear a lot of things," Bryant told reporters. "To be honest with you, that's the first time I hear those things. So, I'll let you decipher what that means, but a lot of that stuff is news to me."

In other words, those talks about Bryant meeting Besiktas or the organization having a 50-50 chance are about as accurate as when the Chicago Tribune reported that Dewey defeated's David Aldridge and the aforementioned Yahoo report both indicate that there is a 0% chance Bryant will play with Besitkas. But that doesn't mean Bryant is saying no to playing overseas, as highlighted by The New York Times' Juliet Macur.

"I’m just waiting for my phone to ring," said Bryant, whose cellphone was reportedly on the table in front of him. "I’d play anywhere. I grew up overseas, so I’m very comfortable playing overseas."

So for those European and Chinese teams hoping to sign Bryant. Here's a few words of advice: Do the opposite of what Besiktas did. Don't share your intentions with the press. Make sure you have enough moeny to actually pay Bryant and not become tied down because of something idiotic, such as being linked to a match-fixing scandal. And call Bryant's bluff by calling his phone. Perhaps he might pick up.

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How can the Lakers upgrade at point guard?

6a00d8341c506253ef014e89569edb970d-320wiThe consensus on how to make the Lakers better next season involves addressing the point guard spot.

Former Coach Phil Jackson suggested it in his final exit interview when he said the Lakers need to add "more speed" to their veteran-laden roster. Former Laker Robert Horry clamored for it when he acknowledged at the ESPYs that Derek Fisher's "age has caught up to him." And team General Manager Mitch Kupchak has tabbed the position as the off-season's No. 1 priority.

But as we all found out growing up, just because you put something on a holiday or birthday wish list didn't always mean our parents listened. Likewise, just because we want to buy a beach house, drive a sleek convertible or take an extended vacation around the world doesn't mean it's going to happen.

On the Lakers' end, they face plenty of constraints. No one knows what the next collective bargaining agreement will look like and how much the Lakers can draw from their mid-level exception. They are coming off a season that featured a $91-million payroll, and their core players are locked into long-term contracts. In other words, the Lakers aren't going to be able to add an All-Star point guard at the flip of a switch. But here are some options on how they can address their point guard needs.

6a00d8341c506253ef014e611163e9970c-800wiSave up for Deron Williams or Chris Paul.

As most Laker fans have noticed when consulting these various free-agent profiles, the options are pretty limited. So as much as it's necessary for the Lakers to address their point guard needs, it's  unrealistic to expect them to suddenly bolster it. Instead, the Lakers would be better off working with what they have and then gear up for when Williams and Paul become free agents after the 2011-2012 season, presuming neither sign extensions with their current teams. Both players are starved for a championship. Both show elite point-guard skills. And both have much respect for Kobe Bryant.

This approach won't solve the Lakers' problems right away and could keep the team from winning a title next season. But making a push for a trade or a free agent this year might do more harm than good. It would require the Lakers to give away some of their resources for a short-term gain at the expense of a long-term investment. Any slight upgrade at point guard this year still may not result in an NBA title, and it would give the Lakers less positioning power to go after Williams or Paul next off-season. Because of how highly coveted they are and the salary Williams ($16.4 million) and Paul ($16.359 million) would command for next season, the Lakers would have to be tight with their finances this year.

It would be shortsighted, however, for the Lakers to simply unload salaries much like the New York Knicks did in making an unsuccessful attempt at LeBron James, because it would put them in a weaker position to win a title in the future. Andrew Bynum will have a team option in 2012-2013 for $16.1 million, but I highly doubt the Lakers would let him go unless they could get Dwight Howard. Lamar Odom enters next season with two years and $17 million left on his contract, including a team option in the 2012-2013 season worth a partially guaranteed $8.2 million, giving the team some possible wiggle room there. But other than those two scenarios, the Lakers would have to make small tinkerings to ensure they're financially in a position to get either Howard or Paul.

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Kobe Bryant, Brian Shaw and Ronnie Lester have communication issues with Lakers' front office


They have had different roles and histories with the Lakers organization, but there's a common thread that's tied Kobe Bryant, Brian Shaw and Ronnie Lester together.

The commonality goes beyond the 13 combined NBA championships they won with the Lakers. It points recently to their frustration over the front office's apparent lack of communication over important issues. The examples prove to be wide-ranging.

Bryant reportedly has been upset that management apparently didn't consult him and give him a heads-up about the hiring of Mike Brown as coach. Shaw, formerly the top assistant on Phil Jackson's staff, wishes he'd been told directly by the team that he wasn't getting the head coaching job, instead of learning of it through media outlets. And Lester, a former assistant general manager for the Lakers, feels offended that they provided little information on the 20 or so Lakers staffers, including himself, who were let go after their contracts expired June 30 and the NBA imposed a lockout.

The circumstances are different, but these examples involving Bryant, Shaw and Lester reveal that some of their misgivings could've been minimized with a simple phone call and more respect. Below is a more detailed look at all three situations. 

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Lakers Q&A: Chuck Person says Lakers will be held more accountable in executing similar defensive scheme

6a00d8341c506253ef0148c81784d0970c-800wiThis is the first post  in an occasional series of Q&As with a member of Mike Brown's coaching staff. Below is an email exchange with Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person, facilitated through the Lakers' media relations staff. 

During your interview with Coach Brown, what points did you emphasize to him and what questions did he want to know from you?

"The hiring was pretty much immediate because of the relationship I had with Mike working with him in Indiana under Rick Carlisle. He asked me if I wanted to be here and I told him yes because I like the Lakers organization, what this team’s about and what type of players we have moving forward to try to win a championship again in the future."

What was your overall approach to the interview in terms of selling yourself?

"It wasn’t a matter of me selling myself because our philosophies are similar both offensively and defensively. I know what Mike Brown’s approach is to game planning and implementing his system because of his days in San Antonio. Then we worked together in Indiana, so I am familiar with his approach and I can continue to carry those things on while working for him."

What responsibilities has Brown assigned to you? This can range from any opponents he’s put you in charge of scouting or certain team responsibilities. What’s your overall philosophy on those areas you’re going to oversee?

"It will be different from what Phil [Jackson] had us do. Phil gave us each certain teams to scout, where Mike has us each learn the entire league. Our scouting responsibilities will be on a game-by-game basis, we’ll just rotate it that way. In terms of personal assignments, we are just going to coach the team. All coaches are required to know both sides of the ball; obviously we have our different strengths we bring to the table. My strength is on the defensive side of the ball. The system we are going to implement will be similar to last season because it’s a system I learned from Mike Brown. So there won’t be much change in the defensive philosophy."

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Debating Kobe Bryant's clutchness

61174123--The Times' Mark Heisler questions True Hoop's David Abbott about his skepticism concerning Kobe Bryant's clutchness.

--Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin expresses amusement over Bryant taking $1,000 from rapper Bow Wow by beating him one-on-one.  

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky as well as 710 ESPN's Dave Miller debate which free agents the Lakers should target.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin talks to Ron Artest's agent, David Bauman, who contradicted Artest's claims that he's going to play in Britain.

--Speaking of Ron Ron, McMenamin finds a link showing a cool place where you can order your Metta World Peace shirts

--Fox Sports West's Matt "Money" Smith looks at some of the questions surrounding the Lakers during the NBA lockout. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's Dexter Fishmore provides a player report card on Bryant. 

--Celtics Hubs' Hayes Davenport provides some play-by-play of Artest's comedy show. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Phillip Barnett looks at how different the Lakers are without Phil Jackson's coaching staff. 

Tweet of the Day:"Bbl still has a shot to get me!! Bbl league is leading; but my agent is talking to other countries also! I'm a huge fan of the bbl!!" -- ronartest (Lakers forward Ron Artest)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "Hmmm. The great Bynum debate again. Let's see if this brings anyone to the comments section. Yippeeee, he said sarcastically." -- Phred Phredphredington

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Kobe Bryant rises to the rim for a dunk in Game 5 of the Lakers' playoff series against New Orleans. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times



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