Player News - Lakers

Date: Team: Pos:

General manager Mitch Kupchak compared Jordan Clarkson to Russell Westbrook.

"If there’s a player in the league that plays like him, it’s Russell Westbrook," Kupchak said. "Now, I’m not saying for a second that Jordan Clarkson is the next Russell Westbrook, but he’s that kind of a ball-handling guard." On the downside, Kupchak said "the jury is still out" on Clarkson, so it's not like he's locked in as the starter. The Lakers may wind up picking up a point guard in free agency to go with a PF/C in the draft.
May 22 - 4:40 PM

Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said during a recent interview that Kobe Bryant indicated to him that the 2015-16 season will be his last.

"I think first and foremost, he's on the last year of a deal," Kupchak said. "There have been no discussions about anything going forward. I don't think there will be." Kupchak has made similar statements regarding Kobe's impending retirement numerous times, and it sounds like after 20 seasons of NBA basketball, The Black Mamba is ready to sub-out. Kobe will be paid a league-high $25 million during his final year in the league, a bit of a thank you bonus from the Lakers organization, but after making it through just 41 games over the past two seasons, he's going to be an extremely risky selection in next year's fantasy drafts.
Source: ESPN
May 22 - 1:36 PM

Mitch Kupchak hinted during a recent interview that the Lakers are more likely to use their draft pick this year rather than trade it away, and they will likely go after a big man.

"If we do end up using this pick in the draft, and let’s just assume we get a big player – which if you look at our roster, you might say, well, that’s what they need -- then you can say, hey, they have three young players going forward that might be fun to build around," Kupchak said. Kupchak added that it'll take more than a top selection in the draft to lead the Lakers back to a championship, and they will still look to build through free agency this offseason. LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Marc Gasol will all be atop the Lakers wish-list during free agency.
Source: ESPN
May 22 - 1:18 PM

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said trading the team's second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is an option.

While Kupchak could just be trying to drum up interest in the pick that would likely net Jhalil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns, the Lakers are expected to be active in free agency this summer and may decide they want to move down in the draft. We'll keep an eyes on this situation, but the Lakers expected pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Marc Gasol will likely play a role in what happens here.
May 21 - 12:46 PM

The Lakers moved up to secure the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft on Tuesday, only the fourth time they've picked in the lottery since the system was established in 1985.

L.A. owes a draft pick as part of the Steve Nash deal from 2012, but it was top-five protected this year so they'll keep the selection -- the pick will be top-three protected in both 2016 and 2017. The Heat also kept their top-10 protected pick, picking 10th ahead of the Pacers (11), Jazz (12), Suns (13) and Thunder (14).
May 19 - 9:03 PM

Jordan Clarkson said he still has more to prove after being named to the NBA All-Rookie first team.

After a solid finish to his rookie season, Clarkson has already begun his offseason workouts in order to get a head-start on the 2015-16 season. "It was a good feeling and it’s a good accomplishment. But at the same time, I have to put it behind me," Clarkson said. "I still have a lot to prove. I have to keep working. I have a lot of things I got to get better at. I have to keep grinding. This is just the beginning." Clarkson average 16.7 points, 4,6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.9 three-pointers after the All-Star Break and could be a solid mid-to-late round fantasy value, but that will depend on what the Lakers do this offseason.
May 19 - 11:30 AM

Andrew Wiggins, Nikola Mirotic, Nerlens Noel, Elfrid Payton and Jordan Clarkson were named the 2014-15 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

There are no surprises here based on the performance of these five players over the season. However, Clarkson going in the second round was a huge steal for the Lakers and he becomes the 11th Laker to be named to the first team. They groomed him as a point guard since Las Vegas Summer League and it worked out better than anyone in the organization could have expected. As for next season, his value hinges on what the Lakers wind up doing in the offseason.
May 18 - 2:19 PM

The Clippers are interested in Wesley Johnson, sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne.

Johnson is coming off of two straight one-year deals with the Lakers, and although he said he'd like to be back with the team, the feeling may not be mutual. The Clippers desperately need three-and-d help on the wing, but Johnson isn't much of a needle-mover. That being noted, Johnson may immediately become the Clippers best small forward if he did join the team, and that's saying everything that needs to be said.
Source: ESPN
May 18 - 11:06 AM

According to head coach Byron Scott, Nick Young will have to improve this summer or it will be "hard" to give him minutes.

Scott said that Young must improve his movement off the ball on offense, his ability to attack the basket, and that he needs to become a better help defender. Injuries limited Young to just 42 games this season, but he struggled mightily when he did take the floor. Swaggy P shot just 36.6 percent from the field over the course of the season, and he was heavily criticized by Scott for taking poor shots and a lack of effort on defense. The Lakers have big plans this summer, so it will be interesting to see what kind of role Young will have next season.
May 17 - 10:09 AM

Kobe Bryant (shoulder) is still expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

The Lakers will start their preseason in Hawaii and there's been no word of a setback for Bryant. He also said he could play beyond next season, too. The Lakers' most pressing issue right now will be to keep their top-five protected pick in the draft. Fantasy owners won't be too eager to draft the Black Mamba with his recent run of injuries.
May 15 - 5:31 PM

Olimpia Milano of the Italian League wants to keep MarShon Brooks, according to Sportando.

Brooks signed with the team in 2014 and has been drawing interest from several European teams, but Olimpia Milano wants to keep him for the 2015-16 season. While Brooks is averaging 15 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2 assists per game in Serie A, his NBA days seem like a thing of the past so fantasy owners can feel free to erase Brooks from their memory banks.
Source: Sportando
May 12 - 1:40 PM

The Lakers want Jordan Clarkson to work on his skills as a scorer and become more aware as a passer in addition to adding more muscle to his body.

Finally, the team wants Clarkson to work more off the ball as well in order to improve his versatility in the backcourt. However, Clarkson earned praise from Byron Scott and General Manager Mitch Kupchak, a familiar theme during his rookie season, and also credited Scott for his development. "I want to better myself every day," Clarkson said. "I want to be around winners and guys that want to go out there and get it." As for Clarkson, one goal he has for improvement is to become more vocal on both sides of the ball, something that would be a welcomed development for the Lakers.
Apr 27 - 12:43 PM

After spending time during the 2014-15 season mentoring Jordan Clarkson, Steve Nash said that Clarkson has "a lot of ingredients to be a terrific NBA player."

"The sky’s the limit," Nash said of Clarkson. "He has great size and athleticism. He can score and hit big shots. He’s developing into a good playmaker." Clarkson had a very nice rookie season with the Lakers, putting in averages of 15.8 points and 5.0 assists per game as a starter, and he obviously has the potential to develop into a quality NBA player. However, if the Lakers elect to bring in a top tier point guard through free agency this offseason, Clarkson’s fantasy value will take a significant hit.
Apr 24 - 11:04 AM

The Lakers are unsure if they will exercise Jordan Hill's $9 million team option for next season, but Hill hopes to remain in Los Angeles.

"It’s going to be a big offseason for the Lakers," Hill said. "It’s up in the air right now. They don’t know what’s going to happen. I have to stay positive and hope everything will fall into plan." Hill averaged a respectable 12.0 points, 7.9 boards, 1.5 assists and 0.7 blocks per game this season while shooting 46 percent from the field, but he lost a lot of steam as the season progressed and often appeared fatigued. The Lakers have big plans this offseason via the draft and free agency, so it's certainly possible that they let Hill hit the open market.
Apr 22 - 9:23 AM

The Lakers reportedly have mixed feelings on retaining Wes Johnson.

While Johnson said he'd like to sign a multi-year deal to return to the Lakers, the team is reportedly concerned about the on-going inconsistencies in the 27-year-old's game. Lakers head coach Byron Scott still thinks Johnson can be one of the league's top defenders, but the Lakers will have other priorities as they head into free agency. We should have some clarity on the situation when Johnson becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but there's a good chance that clarity will come in another city besides Los Angeles.
Apr 21 - 1:10 PM

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