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Podcast: Steve Nash’s future, Pau Gasol’s health, the Lakers’ identity and guilty pleasure music

Posted by on Nov 15, 2013 in Boniface N'Dong, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Jim Buss, Jordan Hill, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Opinion, Pau Gasol, Phil Jackson, Podcast, Steve Nash | 3 comments

With ten games officially in the books, what to make of the .500-ish Lakers and the way things have thus far shaken out, Joe Q. PurpleAndGoldFan asks. Well, lucky for Joe Q. PurpleAndGoldFan, we happened to have an afternoon free to answer that same pressing question. The show can be heard by clicking on the module, and a list of talking points can be found below. Among the high points:

  • Our run through the headlines! Yahoo! reports the Knicks are targeting Kevin Love in 2015. Coach K thinks flopping is… un-American??? Matt Barnes loses his mind against the Thunder and on Twitter. J.R. Smith defends his brother’s honor against Brandon Jennings.
  • Steve Nash’s health has taken a turn for the (even) worse. Nerve damage related to last season’s problems has the point guard shelved for at least another week, and that is likely optimistic. What does the future hold for Canada’s favorite son?
  • In the meantime, Pau Gasol’s health/age issues aren’t nearly as extreme as Nash’s, but foot, respiratory, and conditioning problems, plus his advancing years, have nonetheless conspired to create a slow start. Is it possible El Spaniard can regain the All-Star form Mike D’Antoni predicted in the preseason?
  • Are the Lakers struggling to discover their “identity?”
  • AAK!!! If powerful aliens were to demand one celebrity sacrifice a year in exchange for the Earth’s safety, who would we nominate as the first to go? Which was the most seismic event in Lakers history: The nixed CP3 deal, D’Antoni getting hired over Phil Jackson, or Dwight Howard’s departure? What is our favorite guilty pleasure song, and what music do people try to make us feel guilty for not liking?
  • I share my theory about former NBA fringe big men Mamadou N’Diaye and Boniface N’Dong. It will blow your mind!


Click above to play, or just download the show here. Hope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

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Podcast! D’Antoni’s rotations, Nash’s health, Kobe’s latest avatar, and Rob Ford jokes!

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Jordan Hill, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike D'Antoni, Pau Gasol, Rob Ford, Steve Blake, Steve Nash | 1 comment

With the season underway, we discuss the .500-ish Lakers and what has been learned about this team after a handful of games. Listen to us while you can before BK breaks up the band for his impending high profile showbiz gig! Among your high points…

  • In case you hadn’t heard (and at least one of our Tweeps figured we hadn’t), Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has recently dabbled with crack.
  • We take a run through the latest headlines. Among other bold predictions, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein predicts Lamar Odom will reenter the NBA this season. What to make of the report that Andrew Bynum is again experiencing pain? Russell Westbrook returns to action ahead of schedule. Kobe plays more mind games through Twitter!
  • As we recorded, the Lakers were still 2-2 before Tuesday’s loss in Dallas. We convey our general impressions. Have there been any surprises?
  • There have been grumblings from fans and even players about Mike D’Antoni’s rotation. In particular, Jordan Hill’s inconsistent playing time is a sticking point. Are these complaints valid? What are the complicating factors?
  • Steve Nash, to put it kindly, has looked neither good nor healthy in his second season as a Laker. Is there reason to maintain hope for a turnaround? Are fans being overly harsh towards him?
  • While in L.A. to face the Clippers, Dwight Howard says he still talks to a few ex-Laker teammates, but none named “Kobe” or “Bryant.” Did anybody on the planet actually think those two would remain in touch? In the meantime, the now-Rocket center emerged a unifying force between both sides of the crosstown rivalry.
  • Time for some AAK!!! Which NBA player (current or former) would each of us choose to hang out with for a day? What is the worst legitimately popular TV show currently on air? What are our thoughts on the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin-Miami Dolphins mess? What’s the worst injury — and backhanded compliment — either of us has suffered?

Click above to play, or just download the show here. Hope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

 

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Podcast: Lakers predictions, NBA 2013-14 season preview, GM survey, and Nick Young’s Swaggy P-ness

Posted by on Oct 26, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, LeBron James, Miami Heat, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Pau Gasol, Podcast, Royce White, Steve Blake, Steve Nash | 7 comments

The preseason, she is officially in the books, meaning the regular season is now just around the corner. What lies ahead for the Lakers, Kobe Bryant and the league as a whole? We offer oodles and oodles of prognostications, plus our usual helping of nonsense. The highlights:

  • We take a look at the latest NBA headlines. Will recent LO’L podcast guest Royce White get another chance after getting cut by the Sixers? Yao Ming makes a difference in the effort to end shark fin soup. Carmelo Anthony has a heart-to-heart with J.R. Smith about drugs. And the annual GM survey results were released. How much love did the Lakers collectively get from the front office types?
  • We take a deep look at the season ahead. Among our Lakers predictions is a biggie: Will they make playoffs? Which teams will come out of the Eastern and Western Conferences? Who will be the surprise winners come award season next April? All that, and…
  • …even more questions! How will Dwight Howard perform in Houston? Will Steve Nash or Andrew Bynum play more games this season? What should the Lakers use as the slogan for the free T-shirts given out at Staples Center? And much, much, MUCH more!
  • I accidentally invent a NSFW nickname for Nick Young.
  • Time for some #AAK! Who would we switch faces with if possible, ala “Face/Off?” What would be our career choice if not sports journalism? Given the choice between rescuing either our parents, our spouse or a busload of children from impending death, who would each of us save?
  • And finally, Sasha Vujacic has officially launched his own wine, along with the most unintentionally funny wine website ever.

Click above to play, or just download the show here. Hope you enjoy it. To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click here. You can also find us on TuneIn.com by heading here.

 

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A list of candidates to join Kobe Bryant's #VinoClub

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in #Vino, Kobe Bryant, Opinion |

Among the batch of #AAK!! submissions for the most recent podcast was a question from @SDonTheTrack:

#AAK question: Other than Kobe and people he's tweeted, who deserves to be in the “vino” club? Not just sports maybe Tom Hanks?*

Fun, fun question!

For those living under a rock when Kobe revealed his most recent nickname, “Vino” was officially coined last March after a win over the Atlanta Hawks, highlighted by Bryant’s game-winning layup and an explosive dunk. This was about a month removed from throwing down over Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries, and before the Achilles injury, the Mamba's 2013 season was fairly bouncy. As Bryant told the media he perceives as having written him off, like fine wine, he’s getting better with age. (Once on crutches, Kobe tailored the nickname to become “Coach Vino,” a persona none too popular with Mike D’Antoni, but that’s neither here nor there.)

So who are the current members of The #VinoClub? September saw Kobe induct Peyton Manning into the ranks, outpatient drug treatment
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construction careers
partial knee replacement
general contractor
lower back pain relief
drug addiction
which according to the congratulatory Tweet pushed the club's membership to four. Kobe. Manning. Floyd Mayweather. Justin Timberlake. However, Bryant has also propped up Mariano Rivera as part of the crew, and given his constantly expressed admiration, I can't imagine 42 has been booted. Therefore, I'm setting the membership at five, with room to grow.

During the podcast, Brian nominated Tom Petty on the strength of his consistency and longevity, and I concur. Most musicians, even the great ones, inevitably churn out lesser albums with age. Petty, however, is the rare artist for whom the latter half of his career has arguably produced better music than a seriously great earlier half. Simply being able to make this case on Petty's behalf puts him in rare company. I cited Ben Affleck, who by 26 was an Academy Award winning screenwriter and rising star, then squandered that good fortune with a string of above-the-title box office and critical duds, plus the debacle that was “Benifer.” But with age came wisdom, more mature choices in front of the camera, and a serious, natural talent behind it. Affleck is now among the hottest directors in Hollywood, improbably poised to perhaps become his generation's Clint Eastwood. (As for the “Batman” grumblings, Michael Keaton and Christian Bale were also unpopular choices at the time. Just sayin'.)

And if I may, some other candidates, in no particular order…

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Kobe Bryant is back in Europe getting exotic knee treatment

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Opinion |

Kobe Bryant, who isn't going to participate in the preseason (something we all knew), is back in Germany getting additional platelet-rich plasma treatment (Regenokine to you and me) on his right knee. This via Yahoo! Sports.

“The Lakers issued a statement on Thursday indicating that Bryant had left the country for an unspecified procedure and would be gone from training camp for several days,” writes Adrian Wojnarowski. “Part of the thinking with pushing back the knee procedure until now, one source said, is the belief it will give him maximum benefit once he's able to return to play this season. It is still unclear how much longer he'll be rehabbing his Achilles before he's cleared to play for the Lakers this season.”

Or maybe he waited because he couldn't get an appointment?

Nobody at practice Thursday seemed to think it was a big deal, and it probably isn't. But Bryant's trip to the great motherland of zeppelins is a reminder Kobe's health questions extend beyond a reconstructed Achilles tendon. The dude is still 35, still has 50,000-plus regular season and playoff minutes. He still has chronic knees problems, tender ankles, and myriad other physical issues requiring attention. When a player suffers major injury, the risk to other body parts is high because an athlete's kinetic balance can easily get out of whack. Bryant, as Gary Vitti described him recently, is like a Ferrari. The whole thing has to be operating at peak levels, or things — very expensive things — go wrong.

So we all wait, hanging on every detail. Not just because he's Kobe Bryant and watching a guy with insane drive and ludicrously high standards work to overcome one of the most serious injuries in sports at, by industry standards, a near-geriatric age makes for incredible theater. It's a challenge big enough Bryant, already with five titles, spotty prospects for more, and a suite awaiting him at basketball's Mount Olympus, went from “Maybe I'll play one more” to “I'm here for another three”. But it's also because virtually everything for the Lakers hinges on the results of his comeback. Their prospects for this season, for sure (though even a pristine Bryant isn't leading this team to a title), but more importantly the upcoming rebuild. So much of the team's reconstruction, from the amount of available space to sign free agents to the types of guys they might be able to attract, fundamentally starts with questions about Kobe's future.

A couple seasons back, the Lakers faced a huge decision on Andrew Bynum as a centerpiece (see what I did there?) of the franchise's future. He was a GM's nightmare. Tantalizing talent mitigated by a brutal medical history. If he stayed healthy, he'd produce and command serious dollars as a free agent. Still, you knew somewhere in that hypothetical long-term deal Bynum would lose time to injury. Ultimately, the Lakers did the best possible thing, trading him away and making that choice someone else's problem. Even with Dwight Howard having left, the Lakers are still better off for having made the deal. That's not an option with Bryant, and should hard choices become necessary they'll be approximately seven zillion times more emotionally charged relative to anything the Lakers experienced with Bynum.

The enemy is ambiguity. On one end of the spectrum, Kobe returns at some point during the first six weeks of the season and as the year goes along, proves himself to be an altered-but-still-elite player. On the other, he comes back and for whatever reason just can't get right physically and is unable to clear his self-imposed standards bar. If that happens — and it's not what I'm expecting — Kobe will walk away.*

It's all the possibilities in the middle that become potentially problematic for all parties involved. Recovery is slow and spotty. Other nagging injuries pop up… but Kobe still plays like Kobe over stretches. That type of thing. What happens then? How much does Kobe ask for over the summer? How many years? What would the Lakers commit?

Hopefully Bryant comes back strong, and everything works itself out. I'm bullish on his recovery and certainly after last season, the Lakers could use a little good fortune. But allowing the mind to wander a little, if sailing isn't so smooth, the test faced by L.A.'s Dr. Buss-less front office this offseason will pale in comparison to anything seen with Howard. If nothing else, it reminds fans of how significant an obstacle Bryant is working to overcome.

*For what it's worth, even if he comes back and looks pretty good, I think Bryant, more in tune with his body than basically any human on Earth, will know before the rest of us if “it” isn't there, and isn't coming back. I can totally see a scenario where he finishes the year, and surprises people by retiring.

CORRECTION: In the original post, I referred to the procedure as Orthokene. As Bleacher Report's Will Carroll noted, the procedure Bryant underwent is called Regenokine. 

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