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A rough night vs. Dwight, Steve Blake trade thoughts, and more

Posted by on Feb 20, 2014 in Dwight Howard, Jordan Hill, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis | 5 comments

On the odd chance some fans hadn’t yet started seeing the Lakers’ world for what it currently is, Wednesday was a stark, unpleasant, steaming plate of reality. One symbol of last season’s failure returned to Staples to a strong chorus of boos (kudos to fans in the building, who kept up the enthusiasm for heckling Dwight Howard longer than I figured, given the score) and a very strong performance. The other symbol, Steve Nash, was not in the building. The Lakers said he had an upper respiratory infection, probably because like everyone else they need a little variety and are tired of writing “nerve root irritation” on the injury sheet.

Meanwhile, as Thursday’s trade deadline approaches, the Lakers were busy with the completely unglamorous business of (hopefully) stripping the house down to the studs, selling off the fixtures, all the copper wiring, and anything else the market might absorb. First to go: Steve Blake, sent to Golden State for MarShon Brooks, Kent Bazemore, and a cleaner payroll.

And, predictably given the players available, the Lakers proceeded to get shit-canned by the visitors. Howard’s Rockets are rising in the standings, while the Lakers lost for the eighth time in 10 games and continued their frontal assault on last place in the Western Conference. That their struggles are in big picture terms properly categorized under “NBA Circle of Life” doesn’t make it any easier for fans to watch. Wednesday was as painful an evening as the Lakers have had this year, which is saying something.

A few more postgame thoughts… 

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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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Podcast: Royce White on mental health advocacy, anxiety disorder, the NBA, music and Twitter

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Podcast, Royce White | 2 comments

It would be a challenge to name an NBA rookie who created more controversy and headlines without logging a single minute of run than Philadelphia 76ers forward Royce White. Drafted last year by the Houston Rockets, White was widely regarded as a risk because of . For the time being, the skeptics haven”t been silenced. White and the Rockets were never able to establish common ground on, and as a result, he spent the year mostly estranged from the team. It was no surprise to see White moved to Philly this summer, as Houston made space for Dwight Howard. His NBA debut remains a chapter waiting to be written.

, while admittedly fascinating, often made it unclear whether he wanted to be a professional basketball player, a mental health advocate, or whether he even knows what he wants, period. Talking directly with White, however, reveals a considerably more grounded mission statement and mindset. White clearly understands the delicate complexity for all sides. Working without a blueprint means trial and error, and also sometimes a mess. However, he”s confident about suiting up for the Sixers come fall, and seemingly more secure that any problems can be addressed on a case-by-base basis.

We spoke at length with White Monday afternoon about topics including his mental health advocacy, his NBA goals, the positive and negative aspects of Twitter, and the importance of music in his life. (I have a feeling we could have done the entire show just on John Lennon, Prince and Frank Sinatra.) You can hear the show by clicking on the module above or the link at the bottom of the post. Below is an excerpt of the conversation beginning after Brian noted how Kobe Bryant”s famous competitiveness and ferocious work ethic has been self-described, perhaps only partially tongue-in-cheek, as pathological. “Whether it”s Kobe and that kind of hyper-competitiveness or other people generally — artists, and people who have some personality attribute that”s outside the norm,” he asked. “How do you explain the difference between something like that, that”s maybe something that”s maybe an extreme version of “normal,” and something that is a disorder?”

“I think the tough thing that we have to deal with is that there may not be a difference,” responded White. “And I think in the mental health community — obviously, confidentiality is a huge piece and why there is such a disconnection between what we know about people who deal with mental heath disorders or who we know deals with them. Because of the stigma, people don”t want you to know, therefore [we] don”t know, because they have that right to privacy. But I think if you just opened up the book and could see everybody who deals with a mental health disorder, you would see a lot of people that are highly successful, like a Kobe Bryant. I went to Nike camps as a high school prospect, and I heard stories of Kobe Bryant working out until he blacks out. Right? And that”s definitely — and again, I don”t want to try and diagnose Kobe Bryant, but that definitely sounds like symptoms or traces of an OCD. Just straight obsession with the game or with success or being better or whatever the idea in his head that he wants, he”s obsessed with getting it. And that doesn”t have to be a bad thing. It can be a dangerous thing, obviously, if you”re blacking out, but if he can do it, he can do it. Right?

“But I use myself more when I talk about being hyper-competitive. When I first started with music, I remember there was this place called Uptown in Minneapolis and my friend had a studio there. This is right when I left the University of Minnesota and took that time off. I stayed there for six weeks straight in a room that had no windows. Basically you can”t tell what time of day it is in there. I was there six weeks straight and I probably lost 25 pounds. I wasn”t eating normally. But I was happy. I was happy, because I was fine tuning my ability to produce something that I love, which is music. And the crazy thing is — (laughs) crazy, I should probably change that word  – the ironic thing is I saw my family practitioner who first diagnosed me with anxiety, and she said that during that six week period, that was the best that I ever looked, in terms of color and in my face and my attention and how I was acting with my anxiety, because obviously she can pick up on things just on how you”re acting physically. She said it was the best I”d ever looked, which is really weird, because you would think that six weeks in a studio with no food and irregular sleep, you would look terrible. But that”s just not the way the brain looks. The brain is a very complex thing. It”s the most complex organ in the body.”

Thus, I noted, one man”s “obsessive” can be another man”s “healthy,” which only further complicates the issue.

“Right,” agreed White. “And one thing that makes somebody healthy could kill somebody else. Some people obsess about things and it kills them. With drugs (for example). It can be fatal. That”s why you have to pay attention to it. The first thing is, you have to pay attention. And the second thing, you have to genuinely care enough to say that you”re going to give the kind of right support. And then next you have to know that it”s very individually based. You”re not going to be able to write up a blueprint and say this is how we”re going to do it for everybody, because that”s going to be irresponsible, and you”re just gonna end up doing somebody a disservice.”

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

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Podcast: Dwight Howard chooses the Rockets

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Jim Buss, Kamenetzky Brothers Land O'Lakers Podcast, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Audio, Mike D'Antoni, Mitch Kupchak, Pau Gasol, Podcast, Steve Nash | 4 comments

For this show, we decided to think outside the box and focus the majority of conversation around Dwight Howard joining the Houston Rockets. A bold approach, for certain, but we've never been afraid to buck convention. The show can be heard by clicking on the module, and below is a breakdown of talking points.

  • When Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers nearly a year ago, even with his fickle reputation acknowledged, the idea of him bolting felt insane. By the time he decided to jump ship, a separation felt inevitable. What went wrong for Howard and the Lakers?
  • According to multiple reports, Kobe Bryant's pitch to Dwight during last week's meeting was more of a direct challenge than bro hug. Clearly, the result wasn't a center inspired. Did Kobe overstep his boundaries or does Dwight just not get it?
  • Did Jim Buss choose Mike D'Antoni over Howard (and, by extension, Phil Jackson)?
  • Speaking of Jimmy, his reputation among Laker fans is hardly rock solid. How much will it further suffer as a result of losing Dwight?
  • And speaking of Dwight, there's a prevalent narrative stating he got the hell outta Dodge because he couldn't handle the pressure that comes with being a Laker. Is this actually fair?
  • In any event, the Lakers have no choice but to move forward. With that in mind, their first free agent acquisition has been announced: Chris Kaman! Was this a good use of the entire mini mid-level exception? Is it a sign of the impending approach for filling out the remaining roster holes?

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

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Land O'Lakers Podcast: Does Dwight Howard stay or go?

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 in Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, Kobe Bryant, Lakers Analysis, Mike D'Antoni, Opinion, Podcast | 8 comments

Hope you had a chance to pitch Dwight Howard this week, because if you didn”t, it”s too late! So while Howard clears his head/weighs his future in Aspen — likely picking up one of these bad boys while he”s there — we sat down for some jibber jab time to discuss it all. And after spending the opening moments recounting the less-than-Dickensian nature of our childhood, we hit the following high points…

  • The Lakers pitch to Dwight didn”t dwell on the past, and the incredible legacy of the franchise. Smart move, or a missed opportunity?
  • Which is actually the tougher decision, to stay or go? We react to a column by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, expressing the (not uncommon) idea that re-upping with L.A. may be harder, at least initially, but would ultimately be more rewarding. “I just know that if he stays with the Lakers, he”ll put the NBA on notice that he”s finally figured it out. If he stays with the Lakers, he”ll take the first step toward repairing his image, proving his loyalty and entering the exclusive club of legends who”ve been made there,” Berger writes. “He”ll be signing up for something hard, something challenging to live up to. It isn”t easy to win championships and be great.” Is he right?
  • How does Kobe Bryant factor into all this?… does that make Howard”s return more or less likely?
  • Does he stay or does he go now? (If he goes will there be trouble? If he stays will it be double?)
  • We best wireless speakers
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    break down the two big trades of the week, involving the Clippers and the Knicks. One was great, one was awful, and if you don”t know which is which, it”s probably best you don”t run a team.

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

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