Player News - Lakers

Date: Team: Pos:

Kobe Bryant told Lakers head coach Byron Scott that he felt encouraged with his surgically repaired right shoulder that prematurely ended his 2014-15 season.

The Lakers expect Bryant to be fully recovered in five months, so he should be good to go for the start of the 2015-16 season. However, health has been a major concern for Kobe through the past two years, as he's managed to play in a total of just 41 games over that span. Despite the apparent risk, his name will likely have people drafting him much higher than where he should go, so we'd recommend letting someone else deal with the debilitated Mamba on draft day.
May 29 - 12:44 PM

Wayne Ellington said on Thursday that his shoulder has fully healed.

Ellington was forced to miss the end of the Lakers 2014-15 season with a Grade 1 shoulder separation, but he's now back to 100 percent. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and it'll be interesting to see where he lands. Ellington had some nice spurts with the Lakers this year, but his averages of 10.0 points and 1.4 three-pointers per game leave a lot to be desired from a fantasy perspective. He's unlikely to hold any standard league value next season, regardless of where he lands.
May 28 - 5:44 PM

Julius Randle (leg) has been cleared for full contact half court 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 sessions.

Randle's next step will be going through 4-on-4 drills, but he continues to move in a positive direction, and at this rate he should be good to go for Las Vegas Summer League. The Lakers have a lot of decisions to make this offseason with regards to the roster, but depending on how things shake out, Randle may have the opportunity to step into a starting role next season. As always, will continue to track his progress closely this offseason.
May 28 - 3:33 PM

The Los Angeles Lakers are happy with Byron Scott as their head coach and are not interested in Tom Thibodeau, according to Ramona Shelburne.

The Lakers had been interested in Thibodeau before hiring Byron Scott last summer, but are reportedly happy with their current head coach and won't make a play for the Chicago Bulls' most recent ex-head coach. While nothing in the NBA is written in stone, it sounds like Scott will get at least one more year as the Lakers head coach.
May 28 - 1:28 PM

Mitch Kupchak said that anywhere from four to eight players could be considered for the Lakers No. 2 overall selection in the 2015 NBA draft.

The Lakers are doing their due diligence with regards to the draft, and while plenty of names will float around, it would be a bit shocking if they didn't ultimately elect to go with either Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns on draft day. When Kupchak was asked what would entice him to trade away the No. 2 overall selection he responded: "It would have to be a heck of an opportunity for us to be doing something like that." This is the second time Kupchak has implied the Lakers will use their draft pick rather than trade it away, so at the moment, that seems like the most likely outcome.
May 26 - 3:40 PM

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak confirmed that this is likely Kobe Bryant's last season in the NBA, but Kupchak said he is willing to reassess in a year.

When asked what he expected to see from Bryant next season, Kupchak said, "I don't know... Father Time is the enemy." While Kupchak left open the possibility of Bryant playing beyond next season, the Black Mamba has been pretty clear that he will only play one more year. Bryant was limited to just six games in the 2013-14 season and just 35 games last season, so it's obvious that the mileage on his body is catching up to him.
May 24 - 11:12 AM

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak said that it looks like Julius Randle (leg) "has recovered completely".

This is definitely exciting news for Randle, and it appears that his recovery is going very smoothly. All signs point to him playing during the Las Vegas Summer League, and it will be interesting to see how he does after such a long time on the shelf. Randle could potentially be the starting power forward next season if he impresses this summer, so we will be sure to track his progress very closely.
May 24 - 10:49 AM

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.
Source: ESPN.com
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


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