Coach Byron Scott’s new motion offense is the latest sign that the Lakers are ready to move past the Kobe Bryant era, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Scott drilled the team this week on the new philosophy, which maximizes the talents of guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson and represents a departure from the isolation game that Bryant favors. Bryant announced months ago that he will retire after this season, opening up $25MM in cap room, and the Lakers appear ready to turn the team over to their younger players. “It’s something that I think will help us in the long run,” Scott said. “I was going to wait until next year to do it, but then I said, ‘Why wait?’” However, Scott may not be around next season, as the front office is reportedly divided over whether to let him keep his job past April.
There’s more news from Los Angeles:
- The Lakers still haven’t recovered from the blocked trade for Chris Paul in 2011, contends Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times. The three-team deal with New Orleans and Houston would have seen L.A. ship out Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. Then-commissioner David Stern stopped it, citing “basketball reasons,” as the league was running the New Orleans franchise due to the financial distress of its former owner.
- Bryant said he feels like he needs to play every game to satisfy fans who paid to see his retirement tour, according to Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. “I always feel terrible when I can’t get out there and play,” he said. “I feel disappointment for the fans when I can’t. If I feel like I can try and give it a go, I think the fans deserve that effort from me.”
- Clippers star Blake Griffin has been shooting for about a week, but his return still seems far off, tweets Dan Woike of The Orange County Register. Coach Doc Rivers confirmed Griffin’s activity, but didn’t suggest a date when he might play again. Griffin, who will have a four-game suspension to serve once he returns from his broken hand, hasn’t played since December 25th.
- Austin Rivers, who was expected to be out of action four to six weeks after breaking his left hand February 5th, hopes to be ready for Wednesday’s game, Woike tweets.