In their first game with the Lakers, new trade acquisitions MarShon Brooks and Kent Bazemore both played a season high in minutes, helping lead Los Angeles to a win over the Celtics. It will be interesting to watch whether the young, athletic guards continue to make the most of the opportunities coach Mike D’Antoni gives them. D’Antoni has built a reputation of giving players a chance to shine, even if they haven’t lived up to previous expectations as in the case with Brooks. Here’s some more from L.A.:
- The main reason Brooks and Bazemore will have opportunity in L.A. is that the Lakers roster has been in shambles all year. Kobe Bryant will miss at least another three weeks, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. He will be re-evaluated again at the three-week mark, so there’s a strong likelihood he misses more time than that. Even a return this year isn’t a given for the 18-year veteran, and the plummeting Lakers don’t have any competitive reasons to rush him back now that they are all but eliminated from the playoff hunt.
- Both Bazemore and Brooks say that playing on Kobe’s team is one of the more exciting aspects of the trade, reports Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times. “That’s a dream come true, growing up idolizing Kobe Bryant,” Bazemore said. Brooks offered, “I grew up a Lakers fan, a big Kobe Bryant fan, so I’m just excited to get to work.”
- Nick Young wouldn’t comment on his player option for next year, which Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak believes the small forward will decline, per Mark Medina of Inside the Lakers (Twitter link). Young’s option is worth approximately $1.2MM, but there is mutual interest for a longer stay in Los Angeles, which will have plenty of cap space to work with should he opt out for a new deal.
- In his “GM for a Day” series, Bradford Doolittle of ESPN Insider [subscription only] focuses on the Lakers. Doolittle explores upcoming Lakers decisions, including whether to agree to buyouts with veterans they were unable to move or try and squeeze value out of their Bird Rights this summer. He also touches on whether they will waive the beleaguered Steve Nash at season’s end with the stretch provision and whether they’ll re-sign Pau Gasol this summer.