Lakers’ focus is on development, front office

first_imgHere, I don’t mean stories about Magic Johnson’s headline-spewing drive to stomp his way to the top or Jim Buss’ sad departure or the complete crumbling of the sibling-run front office once envisioned by a beloved and dying Jerry Buss.I’ve already written a few of those columns, with more no doubt coming soon enough. That’s one Lakers topic in which I know readers, loyal or otherwise, have interest.No, I’m talking about the Lakers, the actual players, this collection of enticing and maddening young guns, trade-deadline trinkets and, for reasons I still don’t quite understand, Timofey Mozgov.For years, which is to say forever before the 2013-14 season, writing columns on the Lakers was, to use a familiar term, a slam dunk. It was impossible to tell enough tales or express enough opinions about an iconic, always contending, perpetually relevant franchise.The Lakers were, by every possible definition of the word, storied. Bryant wasn’t just a clutch performer for the team; he also was a go-to topic in crunch time for every writer around the team.And when Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson were here, too? Well, I could have sprouted two more hands and still not written everything there was to write on the Lakers at the time.But now…After the loss Tuesday, coach Luke Walton talked about playing 19-year-old rookie Brandon Ingram late in a game the Lakers could have and probably should have won.“We need to get him (that experience) now,” Walton explained, “so that when he trains in this offseason he kinda knows what to expect going forward in his career.”That’s where the Lakers are now and rightfully so, making decisions not about today or this season or even any season.They’re making decisions about the coming offseason, this summer when Ingram and all their other young players absolutely must continue to develop.Here’s also where the Lakers are presently: Before the game Tuesday, Walton discussed the importance of keeping DeMarcus Cousins off the free-throw line.Then, on the Kings’ first possession, 18 seconds into the opening quarter, Tarik Black fouled to put DeMarcus Cousins on the free-throw line.By the time the game was over, Cousins had shot 19 free throws, four more than all the Lakers combined. Walton later called the opening sequence “a teaching point.”These Lakers are, as the cliche smartly goes, a work in progress. But every team every season, including those Lakers during their title-winning seasons, constantly evolves.The difference between then and now, of course, is that then the Lakers were advancing deep in the playoffs and now they’re just sinking deeper in the standings.Knowing where the season is going makes for much more interesting storytelling when the season actually is going somewhere. With the Lakers still adrift, it’s sort of like critiquing a painting that’s not even half done.I know this team remains popular, statistics showing that the Lakers are by far the most liked NBA franchise on Facebook.Despite plenty of empty seats Tuesday, they officially continue to play before 99.2 percent capacity at home, while only the Warriors, Cavaliers and Thunder have been better as road attractions.On Wednesday, Forbes magazine reported that the Lakers are the second-most valuable franchise in the league behind the Knicks.But still, I wonder. Do you want to read columns on a team heading toward another 50-plus defeats?Or is it better to focus on the front-office drama as the players continue developing, well aware their 2016-17 fate was captured best against the Kings when, in one game-swinging second-half surge, they were dunked on by the legendary Kosta Koufos? LOS ANGELES >> This column is about the Lakers, the basketball team.But it’s also about you, the loyal reader.This week, I ended a drought that, genuinely months ago, reached a career-high total.I attended a Lakers game on Tuesday at Staples Center against Sacramento. Surprise; they lost. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe last Lakers game I went to was Kobe Bryant’s last Lakers game as well. Roy Hibbert was one of the other starters that night for coach Byron Scott. It was 10 months ago.Normally, I would have covered the team’s home opener in late October. But my colleague, Mark Whicker, went instead.I thought about going a few other times, particularly after the Lakers beat Atlanta early and then Golden State and, 20 games into the season, were a stunning 10-10.But then they lost eight in a row and 12 of 13 and I started thinking about you, wondering if anyone out there really cared to read opinions about a team on its way to a fourth consecutive terrible record.As the Lakers and the rest of the NBA now break for the All-Star Game, I’m still wondering. So, you tell me, do you want to read columns about this current version of Lakers?center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Cowboys, Yankees headline Forbes’ 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams

first_imgThe Lakers ($3.7 billion) and Warriors ($3.5 billion) also ended up inside the top 10.Here is the full top 10: 10. Los Angeles Dodgers/New York Giants: $3.3 billion9. Golden State Warriors: $3.5 billion8. Los Angeles Lakers: $3.7 billion7. New England Patriots: $3.8 billion6. Manchester United: $3.81 billion5. New York Knicks: $4 billion4. Barcelona: $4.02 billion3. Real Madrid: $4.24 billion2. New York Yankees: $4.6 billion1. Dallas Cowboys: $5 billion Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott planning trip abroad amid contract holdout, report says The Cowboys have had the title for the past four years and are valued at $5 billion. The numbers don’t lie. Related News Of the 50 highest-rated sports TV broadcasts last year, nine were regular-season Cowboys games. The team’s popularity helps owner Jerry Jones bring in an estimated $340 million in sponsorship and seating revenue at AT&T Stadium, which is twice as much as any other team, Forbes noted.“On and off the field, in season and out of season, there is a small soap opera going on every day,” Jones told Forbes last fall. “Everyone knows that marketing, especially in this day and time, is just another way to promote the circus, so to speak.”The NFL as a whole is still the most dominant sports league as more than half of the top 50 are football teams. The Yankees moved up Forbes’ rankings with a value of $4.6 billion.The NBA has also increased its value as the Knicks headline nine basketball teams on the list this year. New York’s $4 billion value ranks fifth among all sports teams.center_img The Cowboys aren’t just America’s team.Dallas remains the most valuable sports team in the world, according to Forbes, which just released its list of The World’s 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams in 2019.  NFL-NFLPA end ‘productive’ talks about new CBA early, report sayslast_img read more