Bernucca: While Selling a Brand, Lakers Forgot to Build a Team

Lakers Kobe Bryant James Worthy Girls Trophy

So this is how it ends for Kobe Bryant, huh? A top-10 all-time player, Bryant will spend his last four years as the face of arguably the most storied franchise in NBA history, watching it plunge into unprecedented irrelevance. What has happened to the Lakers happens to a lot of successful family-owned businesses. It was handed from the patriarch to the next generation, which was in over its head. It took its brand for granted and treated the competition with disdain rather


Heisler: Cousins to Lakers still possible: Kobe and Larry Nance make nice


If Laker fans hope—actually, expect—a fast turnaround, last week’s draft that brought D’Angelo Russell and two more of the top 34 picks was a reminder how tricky the process is going to be. The announcement of Russell’s selection at No. 2 prompted cries of anguish from the half of Lakerdom that wanted Jahlil Okafor. The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke kept from passing out long enough to tweet, “wow… crazy… wow… unreal… you’ve got to be kidding.” No, they were serious. The Lakers


Hubbard: A Perfect Shot for Dirk


When Dirk Nowitzki met Helmut Schmidt in 2013, the former German Chancellor offered what he considered to be sage advice, unaware that in the lucrative world of the NBA, his suggestion would be more humorous than practical. Schmidt asked Nowitzki his age, which was almost 35 at the time. Schmidt then asked if Nowitzki could play another 10 years in the NBA and Nowitzki said no, playing past 40 was not really feasible. So Schmidt, being practical, said Nowitzki should prepare for


Bernucca: 2015 NBA Draft Trade Grades

Billy King

As many predicted, there was no shortage of trades at the 2015 NBA draft. There just weren’t any big ones. We were all hoping for a blockbuster like DeMarcus Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers or the Toronto Raptors detonating their roster. Instead, we may have to wait for the powderkeg of Kings training camp, when George Karl first asks Cousins to show harder on a pick-and-roll. We even would have settled for a team such as the Celtics or Hawks taking


Sheridan: Knicks are more doomed than you may realize


GREENBURGH, N.Y. — I am not going to sit here and tell you that Phil Jackson made a mistake in taking Latvian toothpick Kristaps Porzingis with the fourth pick of the 2015 NBA draft. Jackson was in the press room at 8:20 p.m. Thursday night comparing the kid to Pau Gasol, and Jackson is a better judge of talent than I am. He gets paid $12 million of Jim Dolan’s money each season to make these decisions, to “preside.” But I will


Marks: “Super Stat” Harvey Pollack in the Fight of His Life

Harvey Pollack 1

Editor’s note: This story originally was published in February, when our Jon Marks had the chance to spend some time with Ron Pollack, the son of legendary statistician Harvey Pollack, who died Tuesday at the age of 93. PHILADELPHIA – The vigil begins early. Ron Pollack arrives at Hahnemann Hospital at 8 o’clock every morning – just in time for doctor’s rounds – and heads immediately for the Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit. He brings his I-Pad and other electronic


Hubbard: Blatt can learn from LeBron


The Cavaliers’ postseason press conference was a good one last week. GM David Griffin spent time explaining why David Blatt is a good coach. And Blatt spent time explaining that he and LeBron James have a good relationship. It would seem that if someone is a good coach and two people have a good relationship, explanations are not needed. But such is the dynamic in Cleveland. There seems to be little doubt that the leading characters in Cleveland are misplaced. Blatt, as


Mitnick: Top 10 Eurostash Players


You may not have heard of these guys recently, but you might be hearing of them in the days ahead. Sixty players will hear their names called in New York this coming Thursday at the 2015 NBA Draft, but some of the greatest excitement on draft night comes from the high volume of trades. From the hours leading up to the draft until the start of free agency, teams start to shake up their rosters, giving eager fans a sense of which