Dec 31, 2002 11:53 PM EST
As Scottie Pippen visit's Chicago for what many consider to be the final time as an NBA player, with Pippen previously stating that this will be his last hurrah, Scottie is hinting that he may just have more fuel left int he tank after all.
Ex-Bulls teammates Michael Jordan and Horace Grant both appear to be in their final seasons in the league - though with Jordan you can never be sure - Pippen believes that if he can continue to contribute he will continue to play. Play where, however, is the question.
Pippen has not ruled out playing again in Portland, but their cap situation might prevent the six-time champion from returning. But what about a reunion with Phil Jackson in Los Angeles?
"If I can contribute, yeah," Pippen said. "If Phil wanted me and I could contribute, not be a 12th or 13th man."
"I don't regret going to Portland," Pippen said. "The only regret I have is going to Houston. I should have sat out the '99 season and then put myself on the market. I tried to push a deal [to the Lakers from Houston]. That's what pushed me out of Houston."
And of course there cannot be a Pippen-Chicago story with yet another dig at Jerry Krause and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, whom Pippen still feels were to blame for the dynasty break up.
"There's nothing for me to regret about that," said Pippen, who said he would have rejected a one-year $15M contract to keep the team together and left should Jordan have not retired. I didn't do anything wrong. It was not the players' fault. The regret should be for Krause and Jerry Reinsdorf. What they did makes what we did much greater. Because it's going to take that much longer for them to put any type of team together, a team that can just compete for the playoffs. The league is getting better, but they keep going back and trying to play catch-up."
Dec 30, 2002 11:22 AM EST
Marc Spears reports on Saturday's Nuggets loss to the Lakers. The final score was 112-93. The Nuggets played pretty well but were noticeably in awe of the Lakers.
It was the first sell out of the season for the Nuggets. Too bad more people at the Pepsi Center were Lakers fans rather than Nuggets fans.
Dec 29, 2002 7:31 AM EST
A champion is not supposed to go down like this. And if, in fact, the Los Angeles Lakers are down they do not seem to be too worried about their situation.
The word 'excite' is one of the last which would come into my mind if I was a vital piece to the three time defending champion puzzle that has started this season with a 13-19 record that includes a win over the lowly Denver Nuggets last night and that looks better than it did earlier in the season pre-Shaq.
But excite is the word chosen by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who's 38 point haul along with a strong game by the freshly-married Shaquille O'Neal last night was needed to dig out victory on the road. According to Bryant this situation is different from the norm, but it is still exciting and the Lakers have a favorible schedule ahead next month.
"The feeling I sense from us right now is that we understand we're faced with a big challenge, and we at a point it's starting to excite us. We are tired of going out there and doing the same old same old. We have a good month in January; the schedule is favorable; we will be able to get some rest, and we will have to respond to that. It's going to take a little bit of luck and a little bit of hard work. We need them both."
Dec 25, 2002 9:40 PM EST
The Los Angeles Times reports: Los Angeles Lakers Center Shaquille O'Neal will be getting married on Thursday at a secret Los Angeles-area site.
O'Neal will reportly wed his girlfriend of three years Shaunie Nelson.
Nelson is the mother of two of O'Neal's children and is expecting their third child in May.
Dec 22, 2002 6:42 AM EST
Jordan to the Wizards. Bird to the Pacers. West in Memphis. Isiah in Detroit and Indiana.
While in most cases legacy's of certain individuals are tied to one particlar organization, the NBA is fast becoming a place where it is extremely rare if one's services do not span more than one team throughout their professional careers, both playing and non-playing.
Keeping this in mind, is it any real suprise that Magic Johnson has linked himself as possibly the next GM of the New York Knicks?
While Garden boss James Dolan has publicly been voicing his loyalty towards current GM Scott Layden, George Willis of the New York Post writes that Johnson would certainly listen if contacted about the position witht he Knicks.
"If they ever call, you would definitely listen to them because I love the city," Johnson said. "With the city and the crowds, they deserve to have a great team here."
Johnson has watched the Knicks turn from contenders into pretenders at a rapid rate, and if given the opportunity he knows he could make a difference.
"You have to take a different approach than you've been taking," he said. "It's going to take some creative thinking because of where they are salary-cap-wise. You have to ask people to take less money to believe in your goal. But people want to play here. It's New York. The history of basketball is in the Knicks, so you've got to sell that history. You've got to sell it to the players and to the people. But you've got to have a salesman."
Magic Johnson still owns a minority stake of the Los Angeles Lakers, and thinks he can strive in the position of being boss of an NBA team after watching every move made by ex-GM Jerry West while he was with the Lakers. West was able to transform the Lakers from a lottery team into the three time champions they are today seemingly overnight via two swift moves, and Johnson believes he can combine this knowledge along with his business knowledge for the sake of his team.
"Being an owner, I know the business side, I know the sponsorship side, I know the marketing side, I know the TV side and most importantly, I know players and I know basketball," Johnson said. "People think I'm not interested in [being a GM] because I'm doing all this business stuff. But I'm waiting until the right situation comes. If the right opportunity came about, I would look at it and definitely be a part of it because this is the game I love."
Dec 21, 2002 7:15 AM EST
Howard Beck of the L.A. Daily News reports that Shaquille O?Neal is talking again. After two weeks of silence; silence for the press and his teammates, O?Neal spoke before last night?s game in Philadelphia.
In a brief pregame chat with reporters, O'Neal joked about his prolonged silence and generally was light-hearted as he predicted better days ahead. "Am I bothered? Yeah, I'm bothered. That's why I haven't talked to you guys. I'm pissed off -- to the highest of pissivity," O'Neal said, laughing.
After a bitter loss to the Warriors, O?Neal ripped the other Lakers for their lack of production. He insists that he was angry with the losing, not his teammates.
"I'll never jump ship on my guys. We win together, we lose together," he said. "The reason why I said, 'Talk to the guys who ain't doing (bleep)' is because over our last seven years here, when I make my guys mad, they usually respond. That's why I did that at that particular time."
O'Neal's surgically repaired toe continues to bother him, and he said it will be "a couple more weeks" before he's in prime condition. By that time, the Lakers could have 20-plus losses.
"I never look at the standings, but I know we're at the bottom," O'Neal said. "However, I know we're five or six games out of the last (playoff) spot. Of course, that's a disgrace to me to even talk about the last spot. ... When it comes to making the playoffs, we'll get there."
Dec 21, 2002 6:54 AM EST
Jerry Brewer of the Orlando Sentinel reports that the Magic are hopeful that Tracy McGrady?s back will be improve with rest. He sat out Friday?s game, a win over Denver, so that he would get a full four days rest before attempting to return on Monday.
The Denver game is the second he?s missed during their current west coast trip. His back was injured last Sunday and the team decided that rest was more important than trying to play through the injury. "Playing him while he's been hurt really hasn't benefited him or us," Magic Coach Doc Rivers said. "We have an important stretch of the season coming up, and we need him healthy and ready."
McGrady insists that this injury is not related to the lower back strain that hampered him last season. This is only a bruise, the result of an elbow from Los Angeles guard Kobe Bryant.
Dec 20, 2002 7:08 AM EST
Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News reports that Sixers coach Larry Brown is not taking the Lakers lightly. They may be 10-17 this season. They may be 2-12 on the road. They may be fighting amongst themselves, but Brown knows they are still the team to beat.
"I think they're the best team," he said. "They've won championships, they have two of the best players in the league [in Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant]. Nobody's had an answer for Shaq [and] I don't think there's anybody in the league any better than Kobe all-around. There might be some as good, but [those two] are special players. [The Lakers] have had their problems, but I think they've always proven to me that they're the best team when everybody's healthy."
Even though the Lakers are struggling and are in the middle of an east coast road trip, and playing on the second night of a back-to-back, Brown does not see this as an opportunity to get an easy win.
"I don't look at it that way," Brown said. "I always enjoy playing against them, no matter how they are. We all have a lot of respect for them. It's like when Michael [Jordan] was with Chicago, when the Celtics were making their run and Julius was here; those are games you always point to, because of the respect you have."
"They haven't made a heckuva lot of changes [as] some people in the league have. Sometimes it's hard when you win, no matter the competition, to get people's attention. I would suspect being on the road on this trip will bond them a little bit. I think they'll start playing like they're capable of playing."
Dec 14, 2002 8:19 AM EST
Are the Orlando Magic a team in turmoil?
Even more revelations in the whole Horace Grant-Orlando saga continue to surface days after Grant's waiving, with Horace saying in an interview with Chicago's Sam Smith that the relationship between star Tracy McGrady and coach Doc Rivers is tainted.
"The way it has been going with T-Mac (McGrady) and (coach) Doc (Rivers), I don't know if it's going to last," said Grant. "Doc keeps going behind T-Mac's back, and T-Mac doesn't like it. That's no way to relate to a player."
The dispute between Grant and McGrady on the team's flight home happened after ESPN's Sportscenter showed highlights of McGrady breaking down defensively and stated that a team mate and his had called him soft and selfish. Sportscenter had used a column written by Charley Rosen on ESPN.com, the column quoting Grant which he is denying. Rosen had earlier this season written another column on ESPN.com in which Lakers assistant Tex Winter was quoted as calling Kobe Bryant's play selfish. Winter denied making the comments.
"No offense to the guys," Grant said, "but T-Mac has been doing everything. He has to score. If he's rebounding and playing defense, the scoring is not going to be there. With the Bulls, Michael (Jordan) had me and Scottie (Pippen), so he could score. T-Mac doesn't have that. We wouldn't be 12-11 if not for him. We probably would have about three wins. The coaching staff needs to realize they need to leave this kid alone and let him play."
'This came at a time when Rivers quietly went to Darrell Armstrong, Pat Garrity and Hill and said he would be pushing McGrady to stop holding the ball on offense so much and concentrate more on defense. He told the players to back him up and get on McGrady,' writes Smith.
Grant claims that team mate Shawn Kemp broke the news to him about the internet column, and he went to McGrady to assure him he neither had made the comments attributed to him nor agreed with them. However, Grant also said he had seen Rivers having a long conversation with Rosen, and on the plane from Chicago, Grant announced that if anyone had anything to say they should do it face to face.
McGrady had already been angered after being belittled by Magic staff during a recent game against Indiana when Ron Artest had a good game on him, and Smith also states that he also was upset about murmurings by the coaching staff that he should have played when he sat out against New York last week.
McGrady, however, claims in the Florida Today that his relationship with Rivers is fine.
"I just don't understand how another player can judge my relationship with a coach. Our relationship is fine," McGrady said. "I don't have any problems with Doc, and I don't think he has any problems with me.
"(In New York) I made my decision too early in the day (not to play). Doc came to me -- which he should have -- and said he thought I made my decision too early. That's understandable and I had no problem with it."
Grant, who is upset with the Magic after joining them for lesser money than offered by the defending champion Lakers, stated he is hoping to finish out playing the season elsewhere, preferably in Los Angeles with the Lakers.
Dec 09, 2002 12:36 PM EST
Ejected within six minutes of each other in the first quarter, Greg Ostertag and Jerry Sloan had time to kill Sunday night.
Elk season is closed in the Los Angeles city limits this time of year, and the nearest tractor was somewhere in Sacramento, so they spent it watching TV.
Not the Packers-Vikings NFL thriller, or Trading Spaces or even The Sopranos, the HBO show on which so many guys get whacked even Shaquille O'Neal might raise an eyebrow.
Instead, they saw the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Jazz 110-101 behind 11 rebounds and 32 points on 13-of-19 shooting from Shaq, the Teflon don of Hollywood hoops.
Los Angeles Lakers Archives
Dec 04, 2002 | Deseret News
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