Will Lakers’ second meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge pay off?

first_imgBut it represented a pleasant surprise in a week in which very little has gone right. Various Lakers officials took a cross-country flight late Tuesday night for a visit on Wednesday afternoon with Detroit center Greg Monroe. But on Thursday morning, Monroe agreed to a three-year, $50 million deal with Milwaukee. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan considered the Lakers “very professional” and the team delivered a “strong presentation” in their meeting Wednesday night, according to a league source familiar with Jordan’s thinking. But Jordan is expected to choose between either the Mavericks or Clippers.The Lakers also could not retain Ed Davis, who agreed to a three-year, $20 million deal with Portland on Thursday. Davis hoped to stay with the Lakers and expressed gratitude for the opportunity that enabled him to average 8.3 points per game as well as career-highs in field-goal percentage (60.1), rebounding (7.6), blocked shots (1.2) and assists (1.2) in his fifth NBA season.“They wanted me to come back,” Davis told Los Angeles News Group. “But I felt like this was the right decision for me. I didn’t really want to wait around. I was comfortable with everything there. I wanted to go back. Nothing went bad or anything.”Yet, the Lakers still placed higher priority on receiving clarity on the marquee free agents, including Aldridge and Jordan. The Lakers have $23 million in cap space, and would need $18.8 million available for a max contract.“That played a big part of it,” Davis said. “They want to have that cap space open for one of those guys. I felt Portland would help me with my career down the road. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”It seems too early to know what the Lakers’ backup plan will entail. They could look to acquire Golden State forward David Lee, who will likely be traded amid a diminished role. But the Warriors do not want to absorb salary and would like outside shooters. The Lakers have expressed interest in Amare Stoudemire and Jason Smith, according to league sources, but those players are not game-changers.Currently, the Lakers’ summer league roster could represent most of their actual team, including Russell, Randle, Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Anthony Brown, Tarik Black and Jabari Brown. All of which brings the Lakers back to their latest meeting with Aldridge. Will the sequel feature a more compelling script and happier ending? The Lakers’ free-agent fortunes likely depend on it. • Whicker: Why are Lakers unable to attract free agents?How will Kobe Bryant stay durable and effective in his 20th and perhaps final NBA season after suffering three-season ending injuries in three consecutive years? How quickly will the Lakers’ young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson develop? Who else will the Lakers target in free agency?The Lakers’ second meeting contrasted the full cast the Lakers brought to their first meeting, notably featuring Bryant, Scott, Kupchak, president Jeanie Buss, executive Jim Buss and former Showtime Laker James Worthy. The Lakers’ meeting also included assistant general manager Glenn Carraro, senior vice president of business operations Tim Harris, team publicist John Black as well as representatives with Time Warner Cable SportsNet and AEG. Before the first meeting started with Aldridge, the Lakers rolled out the red carpet in Hollywood fashion. The Lakers’ Twitter account began an “LA to L.A.” hashtag campaign. Musical artists Adam Levine and Snoop Dogg also publicly pleaded for Aldridge to change his favorite colors to purple and gold. Did the Lakers’ latest effort work? Who knows. After all, Aldridge also has reportedly attracted interest from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Toronto, Phoenix and Portland. Even if their original performance elicited poor reviews, the Lakers still followed up with a sequel before a willing audience. The Lakers met with free agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge in Los Angeles on Thursday, according to a league source familiar with the situation, marking the second time in just over 48 hours the two parties discussed a potential partnership.Aldridge left his meeting with the Lakers on Tuesday night reportedly believing they stressed the wrong things in their presentation. It apparently focused too much on business opportunities and less on the team’s rebuilding strategy after ending last season with its worst record in franchise history. Hence, a league source said the Lakers centered their second meeting strictly on basketball and general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott were believed to be the only participants. Perhaps then, Aldridge received more clarity on a few things that could determine the Lakers’ success or failure in the 2015-16 season.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Federer beats great rival Nadal to win Shanghai Masters

first_imgNumber two Federer put Nadal under the cosh immediately on the Spaniard’s serve, breaking him in the first game — to roars of approval from the majority inside the arena.Another break to 36-year-old Federer in the pivotal fifth game of the second set put him in reach of a second Shanghai Masters crown — and a sixth title in 2017.“We didn’t think maybe we were going to have the year we did, I definitely didn’t,” Federer said on court afterwards, looking at Nadal, reflecting on their continued success even at this late stage of their careers.“It’s nice to share this court with you today and I hope there are more to come in the tournaments we’ve got left.“It’s been a pleasure playing against you here today.”Federer, fondly known as “Cow” in China for his laid-back personality, had started the better in grabbing the break and he then rattled through his own service game for 2-0. Federer, a 19-time Grand Slam champion, was in full flow under the Qizhong Tennis Center roof, which was closed because of downpours in Shanghai.Nadal, 31, fresh from winning the US Open and China Open, groaned while lashing many of his shots; Federer was all quiet efficiency.Somewhere in the stadium somebody rattled a cow bell.Federer rapidly made it 4-2 with two booming aces in a row, drawing huge cheers from much of the stadium. Roger Federer kisses his trophyShanghai, China | AFP |  Roger Federer got one over his old rival Rafael Nadal to win the Shanghai Masters 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday in a showdown between the two best players on the planet.It was a 94th title for the Swiss legend, drawing him level with the great Ivan Lendl, and was a fifth victory in a row against world number one Nadal.Nadal was ahead in their overall record down the years, with 23 wins to Federer’s 14, but he was up against it almost right away. In contrast, Nadal — a 16-time Grand Slam winner but who had never won the Shanghai Masters — was labouring through his service games.center_img – ‘Emotional year’ –There were suggestions that Federer might not be quite as fresh as his old foe, having been pushed to three sets a day earlier in the second semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro.The timeless Federer rubbished that notion as he seared his way to a 5-3 first-set lead.Nadal sent down his fourth ace for 5-4, only for Federer to seal the set with his seventh ace of the match.There was little between the great rivals in the early exchanges of the second set until the fifth game.Nadal saved the first break point but could not survive the second one to put Federer in reach of the title. Nadal, for whom defeat sees Federer close the gap at the top of the world rankings as the year approaches its climax, has nevertheless enjoyed a remarkable season.His triumph in Beijing last weekend was also his sixth of the year as he continues to defy doubts about his fitness following repeated injury.The Spaniard called it “an emotional year”.“Today you played a fantastic match so well done, may congratulations,” he told Federer.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more