Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Lakers’

The Cavalier/LA Conspiracy

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

by Brandon McConnell

Brandon Mac Blog







The NBA has always been full of conspiracies, for years.  Let us take a look back at some of them.  The Orlando Magic becomes a new franchise and just so happen to get the #1 pick, two years in a row.  The Cleveland Cavaliers happened to get the #1 pick the same year Akron’s own LeBron James is available.  Chicago Bulls just happen to get the #1 pick the year Chicago’s superstar Derrick Rose become eligible for the draft.  Lastly, the Cleveland Cavaliers get three #1 picks after LeBron James leaves to go back to Miami, making it very convenient for him to come back home to a championship contender.

Now for the latest conspiracy.  Lonzo Ball to the Los Angeles Lakers.  This year, the Los Angeles Lakers have the second worst record in the league.  Their pick is only protected if they get a top 3 selection, or the pick goes to the 76ers.  With that being said, the Lakers are obviously trying to lose games in order to be bad enough to get a top three pick.  They got rid of their top scorer, Lou Williams, to the Rockets and now are sitting several veterans in order to assure a bad enough record to align themselves to draft UCLA’s Lonzo Ball.

Nothing in the previous paragraph should be anything new to the average NBA fan.  Now I am going to enlighten you on a conspiracy that no one seems to be talking about.  Everyone has been conversing this week on why the Cavaliers sat their “Big 3” on Saturday night versus the Clippers, on a nationally televised game, but played everyone against the terrible Lakers on Sunday.  Their reason for sitting the “Big 3” was for rest due to back-to -back games, but they didn’t have a game on Friday.  Let me give you a little history about coach Tyronn Lue.  He just so happens to have 2 NBA championship rings as a player, 1 championship ring as an assistant coach, and 1 championship ring as a head coach.  Where did he win his player rings?  You got it, with Shaq and Kobe as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Remember the Iverson step over?  Yes, that was Tyronn Lue.  He won his first coaching ring as Doc Rivers’ assistant coach with the Boston Celtics.  Look at any film that year Boston won, that was Tyronn Lue behind Doc Rivers every game.  So, let us break it down.  The Clippers are currently in 5th place in the Western Conference, fighting for a first-round home court advantage, with several other teams to get the 4th spot.  Tyronn, being the nice guy he is, decided to help his mentor Doc Rivers gain a win to help position the Clippers to become a 4th seed while playing his starters and winning Sunday against the terrible Lakers, which helps put them in a better position to get a top 3 draft pick.  A top three pick would allow them to keep the pick and not give it to the 76ers.  If you look back at the previous paragraph, the NBA just so happens to do a good job with allowing the next coming superstar to join their hometown team.  Ask yourself, why don’t you ever see the lottery balls get selected?  So, expect the Lakers to get Lonzo Ball.  Tyronn Lue just happened to be a pawn in what I call “NBA CHESS”.


Brandon McConnell, for War Room Sports

To Stand or Not to Stand at Sporting Events?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

by Gus Griffin







On Thursday, I’ll be attending my first Washington Wizards game of the season.   They would be on a 15-game home winning streak as my Lakers roll in to make their one and only DC appearance of the year.  One could make the case that I shouldn’t stand for the National Anthem in protest of how bad my Lakers have been these past 3 years.  But of course the issue is much larger than this notion.


Long before Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the National Anthem, I was conflicted about the whole issue.  On the one hand, the mere fact that I do have the right “not to stand”, is in of itself, a reason to stand. There is something to be said for that rationale. There certainly are places where if I were to dare not follow the company patriot line, even at a sporting event, I would be subjected to much more than mean stares.  For me, that would be about the extent of my “persecution”, here in America.


Then on the other hand, should Black people feel obliged to honor a country that has treated us as it has?  And while that treatment has certainly varied and even subsided over the course of time, only volunteer denial would assert that it has ended.  Would standing be an honor to those before me never afforded full American status, or those who died trying to attain such, or a dishonor?


While the decision is personal for all, my conclusion is ultimately this: what good is it to have a “right to protest” and then not use it to raise awareness about the very fragility of one’s life?


So there it is.  I will not be standing again anytime soon.


Now surely some will read this and will say, “if you don’t like it here leave!”   I will likely take them up on that offer upon retirement.


Still others will say, “sports is supposed to be an escape from such issues”.   To a limited extent, it can be.  But when I enter that arena at about 6:59 PM, whatever realities existed about being Black in America will neither be suspended nor dissipate because I stood for the National Anthem.  Likewise, when I leave at about 9:30 PM, those realities will still be here.  In fact, my standing will only co-sign maintaining the status quo.


The last most common response is, “I support your right but wish you found another way to do it”.  To that I say, such as what?


Voting isn’t enough!

The accumulation of wealth isn’t enough!

Education isn’t enough!

Pulling up your pants in favor of a suit and tie isn’t enough!

And even going to church for Bible study and prayer isn’t enough.


While I don’t dismiss all of the above as useless, I do contend that they have all been tried and are simply not enough to address the shameful treatment of Black folks in America since our forced arrival.  So who among us with serious intent to address the problems would offer more of the same solutions?   If we do the same, we’ll get the same.  But if we dare to do something different, at the very least we can spark some conversations that may lead to positive change.


The best option as I see it, based on history and my personal experience, is to engage in organized struggle to include protest.  It is neither easy nor simple.  But I see no collective progress made that did not require this, and sports is as viable a venue to spark such struggle as any other.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Kobe Goes Out on an Epic 60-Point Performance

Thursday, April 14th, 2016


Kobe Bryant ends his historic 20-year NBA career by willing his old NBA body to a 60-point performance while simultaneously willing his young Lakers team to a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz.  It was a final game performance for the ages.  #MambaOut

Get your Kobe Bryant gear HERE, by clicking the link below:

Kobe Bryant Retirement Gear


Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

by Gus Griffin






No matter how many armchair coaches and talking heads try to give you a basketball-based explanation, resist.  It was not about the X’s and O’s of basketball, it was about understanding the psychology of teams in the moment.  On Tuesday the maddening Wizards went into Cleveland and beat LeBron and the defending conference champs.  It was their first home loss of the year.  On that same night my Lakers were beaten soundly by one of the worst teams in NBA history, giving those Sixers their first win of the year.  So all logic tells you that those same Wizards should have little trouble with my Lakers, right?  Vegas saw it that way, installing the Wizards as 10 point favorites.  Wrong!  This game was not only a classic letdown spot for the Wizards, it was a letdown spot on steroids.  It was neither some brilliant tactical adjustment made by Byron Scott, nor some great coaching blunder by Randy Whitman.

The script was a familiar one: Act 1: Kobe gets the ball; Act 2: everyone in the whole arena knows that he is going to shoot; Act 3: he single-handedly stops any semblance of functional half-court offense by dribbling and head faking with a defender on his back as if he were in the post, though he is now usually 25 feet from basket; Act 4: he shoots; Act 5: and this was the only outcome of all the acts that differed dramatically from previous scripts: THE SHOTS WENT IN.  It was the old Kobe, pun intended, not the Grey Mamba, to the tune of 31 points to include two huge shots inside the last 2 minutes.  Sure it took him 24 shots to make 10, but that’s not different from the Kobe that will be a first ballot HOF’er.  Unfortunately for the Lakers, he cannot sustain such efforts.  Last night’s Kobe was the norm for so many years, or at least 7-8 of every 10 games.  They will be lucky to see him once every 12-15 games.  I am fully prepared for my Lakers to return to being what we are: some shit!  But hey, as a lifelong diehard fan of the mighty purple and gold, in a game that may as well have been in the Great Western Forum, it was nice to reminisce of the glory days.


Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

It’s “Showtime” in The War Room with Jeff Pearlman!!!

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

jeffpearlman ad


Jeff Pearlman, sportswriter and New York Times bestselling author of books such as “Boys Will Be Boys”, “Sweetness”, “The Bad Guys Won”, “Love Me, Hate Me”, and “The Rocket That Fell to Earth”, will be in The War Room this Thursday, March 27th, to discuss his latest release, “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980’s”!

Tune in Thursday, March 27th at 6pm ET to hear our conversation with Jeff!  To tune in, go to and click the “Listen Live” button…or dial 323-410-0012 to listen LIVE by phone.

In the meantime, follow Jeff Pearlman on Twitter @JeffPearlman, and check out his website at

While you’re at it, you should also join the War Room Sports Facebook page at and follow us on Twitter @WarRoomSports!

Finally, if you own an Android phone or tablet…an I-Phone, I-Pad, or I-Pod, please go to your Google Play and/or App Store and download the FREE War Room Sports mobile app (just search “War Room Sports”)!  It’s the VERY BEST way to stay up on all of our media content from one central location!

Who is Running the Lakers?

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

by Brandon McConnell

Brandon Mac Blog






Lakers Logo


Through the years we have watched the Lakers win NBA Championships led by different Hall of Fame players from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Kobe Bryant.  One common denominator in each of the past ten Lakers championships was late owner Dr. Jerry Buss.  He turned the Lakers into the New York Yankees of basketball.

Since the Great Dr. Jerry Buss passed, we have seen some very questionable moves by the Lakers organization.  The first move would be putting all their balls in one hoop by bringing in Dwight Howard with no long-term deal and not trading him at the trade deadline when all of America knew he was not signing back with the Lakers.  Second questionable move was signing a 38-year old point guard with health issues when you know the NBA is full of top-notch point guards that will run circles around Nash.  Next, you sign a coach that has not proven anything but he can create a team that can average over 100 points, which would be good if they didn’t give up 100+ points per game.  Finally you sign a 35 year-old shooting guard at 48.5 million dollars, who is coming off an Achilles injury, without seeing if he will ever be healthy again.

So I analyzed the Lakers today and asked myself this question; “How is Mitch Kupchak going to turn this one around?”   The Lakers have a plan to clear the cap for summer of 2014 in the chance of getting multiple free agents to bring them back into a championship contender.  Part of this plan was totally blown when they signed Kobe Bryant.  There was no negotiation done when signing him; they just gave him the money.  Kobe is just like anyone else in the world, he is “not turning nothing down but his collars”.    So 48.5 million dollars for the next two years is already taken off the cap, leaving room to pay only one more max player.  While researching the list of available free agent players for 2014 that are considered max deal players, these are my top 5.

LeBron James:  He is not coming to LA to help Kobe Bryant win a 6th ring.  LeBron is legacy chasing.  It probably already pisses him off that D-Wade keeps getting one more than him, but no one thinks Wade is an all-time great.

Dwayne Wade:  He is the mayor of Miami.  He is not leaving Miami, ever!  Plus you don’t need D-Wade if you already have Kobe.  Both are playing on their last leg, literally.

Chris Bosh: He could probably help the Lakers but they would need the old Toronto, dread-wearing Bosh who averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game.  But why leave Miami when you’re winning championships and getting undeserved max money.

Dirk Nowitzki:  He is not going anywhere.  He enjoys being Mark Cuban’s #1 prostitute.  Loyal to a fault.  I call it the Kevin Garnett Minnesota syndrome.

Carmelo Anthony:  The most likely out of the bunch to leave and come to LA.  NY sucks and will continue to suck as long as they are paying Stoudemire.

There were rumors at the beginning of the season that LeBron wanted to play with Carmelo in the future.  If this rumor were to be true,  the Lakers had the money to pay both of them and put the correct pieces around them in order to contend.  By signing Kobe Bryant, who looks like he will never be himself again, they eliminated all chances of that happening in LA.  It just doesn’t make sense to give him that amount of money without knowing he will be 100% healthy.

So the sell for Mitch will be, getting an all-star to want to come in and play with Kobe, not knowing if he will even last the next two years.  So good luck Lakers fans, of which I am one.  There is no Pau Gasol to steal from any franchises.   But we do have one thing working for us; THE BEST BENCH IN THE NBA BABY!  Only because we have the worst starting five in the NBA.

Best Current Laker
"Swaggy P"

“Swaggy P”

Brandon McConnell of Respect Da Game, for War Room Sports

WRS Book Review: Phil Jackson – Eleven Rings

Friday, December 13th, 2013

by Jimmy Williams







11 Rings



Part Basketball, Part Management, & Part Leadership

Last time I wrote a review I had just finished my 37th book. Well yesterday I just finished my 42nd book of the year and I’m 81% at my goal of 52 books this year. Yes I’m still bragging but I need to step it up, considering I’m 14% behind schedule.  Yes, I have a thing for meaningless data (judge ya mother).  At any rate, let’s talk about the Phil Jackson book, “11 Rings”.

Good quick read. The book is as different look at all 11 championship runs presided over by Phil Jackson. It always amazes me at how much preparation, energy, and thought go into a single game or series. This book shows how mental the game of basketball is. This is refreshing these days, considering our country celebrates mediocrity and stupidity (don’t believe me, watch TV).  It is also interesting to see his perspective on players like Jordan, Pippen, Kobe, and Shaq.  His ability to find various ways to motivate each player on his teams is what allowed him to have the success he had.  Many look at Phil’s accomplishments and give them the Stuart Scott crooked eye because he had very talented teams.  There isn’t one successful coach in any sport who won at a high level without talent, so FOH.  Phil Jackson is the greatest coach of my generation and in my personal opinion, Phil Jackson has the best books when it comes to coaches. The reason for this is because his books are part sports stories, part self- improvement, and part management & leadership. This book is no different.  Many will feel I enjoyed this book because I’m a Lakers fan, and part of that may be true, as it is good to hear the stories behind the great Laker teams.  I also believe you will enjoy this book if you are not a fan of Phil, the Lakers, the Bulls, or even basketball.  His philosophies and mental approach to a child’s game make this book that interesting.


Jimmy “The Blueprint” Williams of The War Room, for War Room Sports

How Much Money did Dwight Howard Leave on the Table? ($9 million, not $30 million)

Monday, July 8th, 2013

by Aquil Bayyan

Quil Blog






(Image courtesy of

(Image courtesy of


In light of the 2-3 year Dwight Howard drama that has allowed him to play for 2 different teams and 3 different coaches, it seems that it is finally over. The All-Star center has decided to take his talents to Houston and play for coach Kevin McHale and with James Harden.

The big story surrounding where Dwight Howard would sign revolved around coaches, style of play, the current roster, roster flexibility, and (drum roll please)…MONEY. By staying with the L.A. Lakers, Dwight could have signed for 5-years and $117 million. By signing with Houston, Dallas, Golden State, or Atlanta he could only sign for 4-years and $88 million (the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement allows the current team of a free agent to offer 1 more year and more money to the free agent).

The big question has been, why would Dwight Howard leave $30 million on the table to go play in Houston? If you are aware of the U.S. tax structure, he is leaving far less on the table than $30 million. He is actually only leaving $9 million on the table. Here is how it all works out:

1. The effective tax rate for those who earn over $400,000 in the U.S. is 39.6%.

2. The effective state income tax rate for California residents who earn over $1 million is an extra 13.3%. (That’s what pro golfer Phil Mickelson was complaining about.)

3. The effective state income tax rate for Texas residents is 0%.

4. NBA players are taxed for 41 games in their home state and 41 games in the other states (plus Canada) that they play games in. It is understood that states like CA, TX, FL, and NY have multiple teams.

5. The average state income tax level for all of the states that have NBA teams is 4.6%. We will add the 4.6% state average rate to the 39.6% federal rate for away games to come up with a 44.2% tax rate for away games.

Now let’s do the math:
Staying in Los Angeles, CA with the Lakers, with a 5-yr/$117 million contract:

41 homes games = $58.5 million (52.9% tax rate) = $27.5 million left
41 away games = $58.5 million (44.2% tax rate) = $32.6 million left

Totals: $27.5 million + $32.6 million = $60.1 million after taxes

Moving to Houston, TX with the Rockets, with a 4-yr/$88 million contract:

41 homes games = $44 million (39.6% tax rate) = $26.6 million left
41 away games = $44 million (44.2% tax rate) = $24.5 million left

Total: $26.6 mil + $24.5 million = $51.1 million after taxes

$60.1 million – $51.1 million = $9 million


To see/hear a verbal breakdown of the comparison of Dwight Howard’s projected earnings, click HERE!


Aquil Bayyan of The War Room, for War Room Sports



Mark Cuban Thinks the Lakers Should Amnesty Kobe?

Monday, February 25th, 2013

by LeRoy McConnell III






Leave it up to Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban to provide his two cents on what the 16-time World Champions Los Angeles Lakers should do with their superstar Kobe Bryant.  I mean don’t get me wrong, Cuban just gutted his own team last season so he has some idea of what to do.  Maybe it’s his way of reaching out to the Buss Family during trying times.

Let’s play devil’s advocate:

Kobe is due a mere $30 million next season which puts the Lakers over the luxury tax threshold by $7 million.  That doesn’t even include the signing of the summer’s biggest free agent, Dwight Howard.  Howard will command at least $20 million a season on his upcoming deal, which even creates more chaos for the Lakers.  Once you pass $5 million over the luxury tax, it increases to $1.75 for every dollar over.  After that, every $5 million over goes from $2.50 to $3.25 to $3.75 and increases $.50 for every $5 million after that.  But we are talking about Kobe!  Kobe Bryant is Mr. Laker, he is the draw, the 5-Time NBA champion that is relied upon to lead the success of the franchise.  His legacy belongs in a purple and gold uniform.  Mark Cuban spoke about his reasons the Lakers should amnesty Kobe.


“If you look at their payroll, even if Dwight Howard comes back, you’ve got to ask the question: Should they amnesty Kobe?” Cuban said during an appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Ben and Skin Show.  “So I’m just saying that hypothetically. When I say amnesty Kobe, I don’t think they’d do it, but they’ve got some choices to make. Now, they’re in a big market, but they’re still limited. The Knicks, the same thing. Boston same thing.”

Is Mark Cuban trying to use his Shark Tank skills into conning the mighty Lakers franchise into disrupting their team?  When was the last time the Lakers organization were hurting for money?  Did Cuban forget that the Lakers just inked a $3 billion deal with Time Warner Cable?

Message to the Buss Family:

If you have forgotten, the Dallas Mavericks swept your team and went on to win the NBA Championship just two seasons ago.  Then Cuban referred to his Shark Tank entourage in deciding the fate of Tyson Chandler, the backbone of the Mavericks and Defensive Player of The Year.  HE COULD HAVE KEPT CHANDLER AND AMNESTIED BRENDAN HAYWOOD.  He decided against that, allowing Chandler to walk and keeping Haywood for one additional season before using the AMNESTY CLAUSE on HAYWOOD anyway.  Giving up a team that won you an NBA championship for financial flexibility!  The 2012-13 season has been a disaster for the Mavericks.  Cuban got his wish for all the financial flexibility in the world but no NBA player seems to want to play in Dallas.  So take note Buss Family, ride the horse of the Black Mamba as long as you can and find a way to keep Mr. Howard, because Mark Cuban has put your team on notice.


LeRoy McConnell III of A Fan’s Point of View, for War Room Sports

Young and Restless: The Dwight Howard Saga

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

by Brandon McConnell






Does this story sound familiar?  Dwight Howard is in his last year of his contract and has the option to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers or test the free agent market in the summer.  If this seems like deja vu, it’s probably because he was in the same situation with the Orlando Magic last year at this time when he made the bonehead decision of the year by opting back into his contract with Orlando, and postponing his chance to hit the free agent market last summer.

This year the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves trying to keep Dwight.  The Lakers have had one of their worst seasons in franchise history.  It has been a combination of bad coaching and a lack of effort contributing to the team’s lack of success.   Dwight Howard doesn’t seem to be able to mesh with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in this Mike D’Antoni offense.

Mitch Kupchak, GM for the Lakers, has a dilemma on his hands.  Wait for the end of the year and hope Dwight Howard signs a max deal allowing you to have a young player to build your franchise around after Kobe Bryant leaves, or trade him to guarantee that you do not lose him for nothing.

Dwight Howard (l.) & Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak (r.)


It is time for Mitch Kupchak to play a little game called chicken.  We learned this as a little kid, when two objects come together on a head on collision and one object moves at the last minute.  Well, Mitch Kupchak needs to enter the Laker locker room and tell Mr. Howard that I have a max deal in my hand that guarantees that you get paid about 30 million more than you can receive from any other team and you either need to sign it, or you will be tipping the jump ball in another city tomorrow.  If he decides not to sign it, in the words of Nino Brown, “You cancel him, and buy another one”.  It is not like the Lakers are winning with him now.

As GM of the Lakers, I’m calling New Jersey, Houston, or even Miami.  Yeah, I said Miami.  Dwight Howard for Chris Bosh would make both teams better.  Dwight would give Miami the inside defensive presence they need, and Bosh would compliment Gasol a lot better than Dwight since they can both play inside and outside the paint.  As the Laker GM, you have to get something.  I don’t care if you trade him to Houston for Omar Asik, some young players, and a bag of Tropical Skittles, at least you are not left looking like a man after a wet dream with nothing to show for it but sticky memories.


So Dwight, the decision is yours, make a whole lot of money with a franchise that you know will always be dedicated to winning or go back to the days of Orlando where you are the man, but can’t get anyone to come play with you.


Brandon McConnell of Respect Da Game, for War Room Sports