Lakers’ Journal

Are you an avid Lakers fan? How about just a sincere hoops fan who wants the scoop on the defending champions? Then I suggest you head over to the Lakers’ Journal at MVN.com to find anything and everything about the Lakers. As of recent I have become a free-lance writer for MVN and have been putting in contributions over there. Of course more is coming soon here at Basketball with Dino Gomez but if you’re in need of some news regarding Phil Jackson and the crew then I suggest MVN is your spot.

Lakers With Artest Could be Great or Terrible

The Los Angeles Lakers are only a few months past this most recent NBA championship. Of Course they took the title for a fourth time in the last decade and did so by way of a Hall of Fame coach and arguably the best 2-guard in the league.

However the Lakers had other key players that more than contributed to their 2008-2009 title. Pao Gasol did major work for them in the post while Lamar Odom provided the versatility that all teams desire from a power-forward. Lets not forget Trevor Ariza who was an amazing defensive stopper for L.A. and who came up with a few big time steals in the playoffs to seal victories for the team.ron-artest-lead

So the question begs if the Lakers had such a great chemistry on their team and perfect fit players at every position, why did they let Ariza go and bring in Ron Artest? Of course Artest may be an upgrade on the court but Ariza for this specific team is more valuable. You don’t have to worry about Trevor causing problems off the court, in the locker room, or with the media. With Artest you definitely do. Ariza also made all the plays you would have wanted him to make without taking away from Kobe’s brilliance.

Here is why Artest is probably the worst off-season acquisition the Lakers could have made. Bringing in a fellow all-star who desires and expects attention and setting him next to Kobe is simply a bad idea. It was different bringing in Gasol who is humble and isn’t a media whore. But Artest is going to want interviews and the spot light and photographs and I bet he will do what is necessary to make sure he gets all of that.

Championship caliber teams are always about chemistry and not simply about talent. Remember when the Lakers had Shaq, Kobe, Malone, and Payton all on the same starting roster. That did not work out for them. Surprising as it is you need a balance of players that compliment each other and that are not just individually talented.  The lakers had that last year and by getting rid of Ariza for Artest they may have lost it all. It will be exciting to see.

Follow me on Twitter: @DinoGomez.

NBA Big-Timmers’ Schedule

As ESPN reports, the schedule for the 2009-2010 NBA season is out and there are a few surprises, but lots of good bait for betting online. There are a some changes from last year however. The Houston Rockets were broadcast plenty in the 2008-2009 season because they were stacked and a force to be reckon with. They pushed the Lakers to a seventh game in the playoffs and all. Amazing how quickly things can change. With Yao Ming and T-Mac injured and sulking on the bench and with Artest NBA-main_Fullhaving left to the defending champions lineup, the Rockets will not receive one nationally televised regular season game this year. Of course they aren’t the only team that is expected to produce boring and lackluster performances. New Jersey, Sacramento, Charlotte, and Milwaukee will also not have a game televised anywhere but on NBA television this year.

That leaves us with the teams that we want to watch and which will receive plenty of  camera time. On October 27th on TNT, the season opener will boast the new look Cavaliers against Eastern Conference rivals, the Boston Celtics. Later that evening the defending champs will play their ugly shadow, the Clippers. October 29th will be your best opportunity to see Richard Jefferson dressed in Oakland Raiders attire for his first game as a San Antonio Spur playing against a Chicago Bulls team.  And most importantly we all want to know what we will be unwrapping presents to on Christmas day. We will unwrap gifts to a second consecutive year in which the NBA broadcasts a quintupleheader. For those of you who like me had no idea what that word means; a 5 game match up. That’s right, this year on December 25th we will see the Heat vs. Knicks, Celtics vs. Magic, Cavs. vs. Lakers, Clippers vs. Suns, and the Nuggets vs. Trailblazers. It will surely be an amazing day.

Rasheed Wallace chooses Boston Celtics

Rasheed Wallace was one of the leagues best available free agents until this evening when reports surfaced that he has officially chosen Boston as his next location to play. Wallace was considering San Antonio, the Orlando Magic, and the Dallas Mavericks as other possibilities but in the end it looks like he chose Boston in order play alongside Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. Immediately the discussion on ESPN is whether Wallace will provide the lift the Celtics need to return to an NBA final. My answer is contingent upon whether Cleveland adds any more pieces to their team.Rasheed_Wallpaper_NBA

Right now I would imagine an Eastern Conference final featuring Boston and Cleveland with Boston slightly edging out Lebron and the big Diesel. However if the Cavaliers add anything more, I mean anything more like a better towel boy that keeps the players better hydrated, then it would seem the duo of Shaq and Lebron with solid complimentary players would still be too much for Boston to handle. Lets face it those Boston stars are getting up there in age. Not to say that Shaq isn’t but that is only one player compared to the core starting 4 of Boston. On paper Boston does looks better, on the court Cleveland does. This Celtics line up can be compared to that of the Los Angeles Lakers a few years back when they had 4 future hall of fame players in the starting line up: Kobe, Shaq, Malone, and Payton. That line up also looked amazing on paper but did not on the court. The NBA championship teams of the most recent years tend to be built around a perfect mesh of young talent and clutch veteran play. Big news that Wallace has chosen Boston but still no upgrade for the Celetics. Trevor Ariza would have been a better fit there with the defense that he brings, his youth, and his low-key profile.

NBA removes Liquor ban

Within the past month the NBA officially removed a long time ban on courtside advertising by spirit brand companies. The Miami Heat was the first NBA team to make the removal of this ban advantageous for their biggest sponsors, supposedly by allowing Bacardi to assume the ability to advertise court side in the upcoming 2009-2010 season.Teams which already have sponsorship deals with spirit brand companies may have signed previous contract agreements that were contingent upon the removal of court side advertising for an increase contract sum. It is estimated that these type of contracts have clauses that will increase the amount that NBA teams recieve from their spirit brand sponsors by 10%. Is it possible that the Boston Celtics court will look something similar to what is pictured below for this upcoming season? Besides the bottle neck changing the figure of the 3-point line, it really could become a possibility over the next few years.

The league had a remarkable year in regards to viewership of the NBA finals which surpasses the record setting viewership numbers of the previous year’s final between the Celtics and Lakers; so you can guarentee sponsors will be after NBA teams this upcoming season. With the economic crisis it would make sense that NBA teams accept such sponsorships while the offer is on the table. You do have to wonder about thenba-liquor-ban NBA’s social responsibility iniative which carries the slogan, “The NBA where caring happens.” After all court side advertisements which encourage  you to drink seem to run in the opposite direction and who knows what will go down at the palace in Detroit if fans are throwing back shots before the game. Indeed the NBA and everything it has to offer this upcoming season should be amazing, so amazing.

The Lakers lose an A only to get an A+

10-year veteran Ron Artest is heading to the Los Angeles Lakers, and he will surely be paying some fees for his extra baggage. The move comes after Trevor Ariza, an important part of the Lakers championship run, turned down the team’s multi-year offer. In basically performing a trade without the trade, the two free agents will swap jerseys as Ariza has agreed in principle to a deal with Houston worth $5.8 million for next season, with long term talks on the table. So what does the Artest move mean for the defending champions, and which Artest will they be paying those millions to?

Coming to Hollywood with a shady and checkered past, Artest unfortunately will always be rememkobe_artest_400bered by his participation in the Auburn Hills brawl on November 19, 2004 when he played for the Indiana Pacers. However, I would like to argue that last year with the Rockets was a huge step forward in the maturation process of the forward, who meshed well with his teammates and showed leadership qualities as Houston pushed the Lakers to a game seven in the second round of the playoffs. The Lakers are not only getting the 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year who, for his career, has averaged 2.1 steals per game, they are getting the “I have learned from my past mistakes Artest”.

In an interview with ESPN, Artest was asked about why he decided to take less money and play for the Lakers. His response: “I am playing to win; I am not playing for the money anymore”. If you just had a Karl Malone and Gary Payton flashback, you are not alone. However the difference here is that Artest is only 29 and coming off a stellar season. The next big question is what will happen to Lamar Odom? In an ESPN interview, expert NBA Analyst Ric Bucher reported the chances of Odom signing with the Lakers is “good”, stating that the two sides can focus on the contract now that Ariza is out, and that there are limited suitors for Odom around the league. If Odom stays on board, I’m putting my money on the Lakers for a repeat.

An article by David Peterson- our most recent addition to our committee will be found under the writing name: Davepete starting tomorrow

What is Vince Carter going to do for the Magic?

Vince Carter was recently traded from the New Jersey Nets to the Orlando Magic along with Ryan AndersoNets Magic Trade Basketballn for Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee. This is a brilliant move on the part of Orlando. Phil Jackson and the Lakers exploited the weakness of Orlando a few weeks ago in the NBA finals by showing the world that 1) Dwight Howard can’t make free throws and 2) that the team is still lacking a court leader (and maybe a head coach). The first problem Dwight will figure out. He just needs to sing Soulja Boy in his head to relax himself at the line but the second problem needed to be solved with a trade.

Vince Carter works as an answer to the second issue. He is a fiery individual on the court and he will make his voice heard when it counts at the end of playoff games. He might say something to his teammates along the lines of, “Remember, contest all three point shots or foul them while they are on the floor. We got this game by three right now and can’t afford them an open trey.”

Best of all the Magic didn’t have to give up much to acquire Vince. I love Skip to my Lou, a.k.a. Rafer Alston but  he still hasn’t figured out his three point shot with all that practice and free rebounding from coaches and for some reason still refuses to bench the bar in the weight room. I can’t figure that out. Jameer Nelson will come back in as starting point guard this next season for the Magic with his shot on que and with enough bulk to gain a loose ball rebound at least. In regards to losing Courtney Lee, that is definately good for both the Magic and Courtney. I heard the Magic owners and committee members were so upset that Lee missed that lay up tip-in from an out of bounds pass in game 2 of the NBA finals that they went down to the court after the game and after the arena cleared out to try that move themselves. Once a committee member with grey hair and tux on made that play that Courtney couldn’t, they decided they just had to let him go… so out with Alston and Courtney and welcome home Vince.

Richard Jefferson Traded to Spurs!

Richard Jefferson was traded from the Milwaukee Bucks to the San Antonio Spurs today in what I will immediately call a Blockbuster trade. With Jefferson at the small forward position on a previously contending Spurs team, all of a sudden they are youthful again. Well they are more youthful because they recieved Jefferson and dished out Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto. Jefferson was the only other player in the league besides Kobe Bryant to play in every game the last two seasons and average over 20 points a game. He is not only good but durable. The addition of Jefferson makes the Spurs the best team on paper positions 1-4. The starting line up next year will have Tony Parker at Point Guard. Manu Ginobli or rising star Rodger Mason at shooting guard. Richard Jefferson at small forward and Tim Duncan at Power forward. The only whole in the starting lineup will come at the center postion where Drew Gooden and Matt Bonner will have to do work.  Just imagine how amazing the NBA playoffs will be next year with the Nuggets, Lakers, and Spurs choosing dominance in the Western Conference and possibly Shaquille O’neal and Lebron representing the East.

Happy Fathers Day

As promised a few articles ago, we are bringing you more Bill Walton. Whether it be the best impersonation of Bill ever or a story about how he bought a new Tie-die t-shirt, we will continue to cover him.

This time we bring you footage from exactly a year ago today on Fathers Day during the 2008 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Good ole Bill sat down with his son Luke at the time and recalled ever lasting childhood memories of Basketball. As always Bill might as well be a cartoon character with his massive white teeth, silly grin, and exceptional comments.

The last time I had seen this video was truly a year ago today. What I picked up this time that I failed to recognize last year is that Bill Walton had Chick hearns (the greatest sports announcer maybe ever) edit and create an audio tape in which he enthustiastically congratulated Luke Walton on becoming an NBA champion for the Los Angeles Lakers. Chick hearns made this tape and gave it to Luke before he reached age 10. For over 16 years now Luke has been listening to that tape and manifesting his destiny to not only play for the Lakers but to win a championship with them. It’s funny how that came true. After all not too many players that are drafted 32nd are still seen in the league more than 5 years later, let alone in their choice city playing for a contending organization like the Lakers.

What does this Lakers Championship really mean?

An article by David Peterson.

I have heard it over a hundred times…”Kobe can’t win a championship without Shaq“. ESPN made sure to tagline this past finals series between the Lakers and Magic as Kobe’s quest for a ring of his own. But can the Lake87746142AB051_LAKERS_NUGGETSrs recent title be watered down to simply acknowledging that Kobe led the re-built Lakers back to the top of the NBA world? I would like to argue otherwise.

There is no doubt that Kobe Bryant was dominating in the playoffs and deserved finals MVP honors. However, without the addition of Trevor Ariza, the stronger play of Lamar Odom, and a healthy Andrew Bynum, the Lakers would have been in the same spot as last year, when they walked out of TD Banknorth Garden with green and white confetti falling to the court. The fact is this: Kobe is Kobe, a dominant, consistent, top 5 player in NBA history. However, he alone cannot win an NBA title. Jordan had Pippen, Rodman, Harper, and Kukoc. Kobe now has Pau Gasol, whom Magic Johnson calls “the second best skinny big man in the NBA behind Kevin Garnett“, as well as Trevor Ariza, who is the most athletic player on the team and who came up with some of the biggest steals in playoff history. Throw in strong play from Lamar Odom and an emerging star in Andrew Bynum, and you have a team with no visible weakness or flaws.

This Lakers team, and this championship season, is much more than Kobe getting the Shaq monkey off his back, it’s the beginning of another Lakers dynasty. This team is built to win two more titles within the next three years. Now it’s just up to Mitch Kupchak to keep the team together and Phil Jackson to somehow find another finger for his next ring. Parting words of wisdom: WARNING-don’t ever leave Fisher open for a crucial 3, you will get burned!